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Brief Overview of Care Providers

Clinicians: Who Do I Need?

This is a medical doctor with an MD. They have competed medical school, internship, and residency studying the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders. They can prescribe medication if they beileve it is necessary. These are doctors on a treatment team in addition (not in place of) a patient's primary care physician. Their viewpoint often embodies a biological and neurochemical perspective. Often effective in combination with interventions from a psychologist, but be sure to check with your doctor to determine what is best for you.


This is a doctor with a PhD often in some form of clinical or counseling psychology. While most cannot prescribe medication, they are trained to conduct psychological tests like IQ or personality tests, which a psychiatrist may not be equipped to provide. Psychologists may focus more strongly on behavioral, sleep, eating, and thought patterns. Interventions are more often behavioral than pharmacological. They may recommend therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or group therapy. These professionals are often effective in combination with treatment by a psychiatrist but be sure to check with your treatment team to determine what is best for you.

Social Worker

This is an indvidual with a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree with significant training in the field. They help individuals, families, and communities overcome difficult like challenges and prevent crisis by teaching coping skills. They enhance capacity for social functioning.

Occupational Therapists

This is an individual with at least a master's degree. According to The American Occupational Therapy Association, for people with mental health disorders, these therapists help patients "...develop the skills and obtain the supports necessary for independent, interdependent, productive living." The goal tends to be to improve quality of life and decrease hospitalization. However, they can also play a role to help develop skills in parenting, as well as at work and at school.

Case Managers

This is an individual who advocates, communicates, coordinates care, and identifies resources, services, and providers for their clients. Optimally, this is done in the most cost-effective way possible for both the client and the providers. These professionals must be certified.

In the case of an emergency please call 911.

If located in the Harford County, Maryland area, ask the operator for a CIT (crisis intervention) officer who will be best equipped to mediate and find the best help in the case of a mental health crisis. If a CIT officer is available, they will be the responder. 

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