In the state of Michigan, there are several different types of therapists that you may encounter. Whether you are considering educational training to become a therapist yourself, or have a personal issue you would like to work on, this post will help to explain the differences across these related professions. First, it is important to understand the level of education required for each type of therapist and the kind of expertise that each has to offer. Second, knowing what you are looking for and understanding the scope of practice for each discipline will further help you decide which type you choose. And, third, you will also want to know if licensing for each discipline is required or not. Below is a list of the therapist types in Michigan with a description of what each one looks like.

Different Types Of Therapists Available In Michigan

Art Therapist

Educational Requirements

The minimum educational requirements are an undergraduate degree with a Master’s degree either in Counselling, Art Therapy, or Creative Arts Therapy. One may also choose a Master’s degree in Education (M.Ed.). The difference between the MA and M.Ed. in Michigan is that the MA requires 73 credits of graduate course work and the M.Ed. only requires 48 credits.

From there, therapists may choose to go on to get a doctoral degree (PhD, PsyD) but this is typically not needed to begin practice.

Scope of Practice

Art Therapists assess and provide counseling to people using art as the primary, but not the sole method, to help people express, gain insight into, and resolve their issues. Art Therapy can be used for any of the typical issues that people go to counselors for.

Is Licensing Required?

Unlike some states, professional licensure in Art Therapy is not required to practice in Michigan.  However, most employers will only hire someone who is licensed. Another important point to note is that the MA qualifies one to become a licensed counselor allowing for greater employment opportunities. Work may include independent practice or work in clinical settings or other social agencies. Therapists with the M.Ed. typically work in school settings and are not qualified for licensing.

Joining the Michigan Association of Art Therapy (MAAT) is also a good idea as they are dedicated to maintaining the standards of practice in art therapy.

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

Educational Requirements

Someone wanting to become a Clinical Social Worker or Therapist in Michigan must first obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from an accredited program. From there they must obtain a Master’s of Social Work from an accredited program and then pass the Association of Social Work Board Clinical Exam with a passing grade of 75%. Finally, they are expected to undergo 4000 hours of supervised work experience in Social Work. At that point, they may then receive designation as a Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW).

Scope of Practice

A Clinical Social Worker provides assessment, diagnosis, case management, and therapy for people with mental health disorders. They typically work in hospital, mental health, alcohol and drug centers, and other clinical settings with high risk individuals. They may also engage in private practice.

Is Licensing Required?

A Social Worker may practice Social Work with a Master’s degree. However, in order to be employed at this level for professional clinical work, they should take the Social Work Board Clinical Exam and then complete the 4000 hours of supervision.

Counselor

Educational Requirements

Typically, someone who calls themselves a Therapist usually has higher education and licensing. Someone who practices Counseling may have life experience and no higher education, as in the case of some Substance Use Counselors or Support Workers. Or a Counselor may have a Master’s degree with full licensing. It is important to check out qualifications for the services or training you desire.

Scope of Practice

Counseling is a general umbrella term describing what a professional and paraprofessional (someone without advanced qualifications) does. For example, under the umbrella of Counselor there are Social Workers at BA and MA levels with and without licensing. It depends on the type of in-depth work done as to the scope of practice a Counselor engages in. A Counselor without higher education will advise, assist, support, and coach someone.

Is Licensing Required?

It depends. The greater the expertise called for, the greater the qualifications needed in the state of Michigan. For someone who is providing assessment, diagnosis, and therapy then licensing is generally required for employment and private practice. If the objective is to offer less in-depth support, then a license and higher education is generally not required.

Drug and Alcohol Counselor

Educational Requirements

Education will range from no formal education to a Master’s degree or higher. Typically, employment opportunities are greater for those with advanced education.

Scope of Practice

A Drug and Alcohol Counselor may work in hospital settings, treatment and rehabilitation centers, outreach clinics, and mental health agencies. Some even work as Private Practitioners. The Drug and Alcohol Counselor may see people individually or facilitate group work. Types of practice range from Support Workers to Concurrent Disorder Therapists depending on educational qualifications.

Is Licensing Required?

Michigan does have a Certification Board. It is called the Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals (MCBDAP). The type of certification offered depends on your level of experience and education. You may not need to be licensed. It depends on qualifications required by the employer and the type of practice you will be doing.

Licensed Professional Counselor

Educational Requirements

In Michigan, you are required to have a Master’s degree with a 600 hour internship. After obtaining the Master’s, the Counselor must then apply to be a Limited License Professional Counselor (LLPC) and complete 3000 hours of counseling experience of which 100 hours are directly supervised by a certified supervisor. Once the hours are completed, the Counselor must then pass either the National Counselor Exam or the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification Exam in order to obtain their full LPC license. The LPC may also specialize in certain areas by completing further course work and training.

Scope of Practice

A Licensed Professional Counselor is qualified to work in a variety of settings from mental health clinics, hospitals, addiction clinics, private practice, and other social service agencies.

Is Licensing Required

Yes, a license is required in order to practice as an LPC.

Licensed Psychoanalyst

Educational Requirements

Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatrists, or Clinical Social Workers who have already obtained either their Master’s or PhD. degrees and have gained experience in their field may specialize in psychoanalysis through a psychoanalytic training program. Along with coursework, an analytic paper, and supervised work with clients, the applicant is screened for personal suitability. As part of the educational process, the applicant is also expected to participate in intensive psychoanalysis themselves.

Scope of Practice

Once trained, the Psychoanalyst will specialize in providing analysis to adults or children and youth. A Psychoanalyst helps the client become aware of unconscious motivations for behaviors in order to help them change and develop healthier ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Psychoanalysts typically work in private practice, hospital settings, mental health agencies, or other social agencies.

Is Licensing Required?

Anyone may call themselves an Analyst regardless of training. Those who have advanced graduate degrees, several years of clinical experience, and specialized psychoanalytic training offered in Michigan are recognized with membership in the Michigan Psychoanalytic Society. Membership means they are deemed qualified to practice.

Limited Licensed Psychologist

Educational Training

In Michigan, a Limited Licensed Psychologist (LLP) is either one of things. They are someone who has received their Master’s degree in Psychology or they are a PhD. candidate who has not yet written and passed their National Board Exam and/or has not yet completed the number of required supervised practice hours.

Scope of Practice

A Clinician with a Master’s degree with an LLP may engage in the duties of a Psychologist but only while under the direct supervision of a fully licensed Psychologist. A Doctoral candidate may work as a psychologist under the LLP while finishing their supervised hours and waiting to write their National Board Exam.

LLP Psychologists and Clinicians with a Master’s degree under supervision may assess, diagnose, engage in psychometric testing, and provide therapy to people. Clinicians with an LLP work in a variety of social agencies and may also be in private practice.

Is Licensing Required?

Yes, Michigan State Psychologists are regulated and licensed by the Michigan Board of Psychology. For licensing information, check out our licensing guide.

LPC Intern

Educational Requirement

An LPC Intern is a simply a Master’s student who is in the process of completing a minimum of 600 hours of supervised counseling experience as a step in completing one of the many requirements for obtaining a license to practice.

Scope of Practice

An LPC Intern works in social agencies or clinical settings approved by their Michigan educational institution. They are supervised by a Licensed Professional Counselor who is qualified to provide supervision.

Is Licensing Required?

Not at this point. However, the LPC Intern may only practice while being supervised by someone who is licensed.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Educational Requirements

In Michigan, this type of Therapist requires either a Master’s degree or PhD with specialized graduate course work in Marriage and Family Therapy. After a satisfactory criminal background check has been conducted, the Therapist is then eligible to apply for a temporary Limited License for Marriage and Family Therapy. This enables them to pursue the practicum and supervision requirements at either the Master’s degree level or the PhD level. The Therapist should identify themselves as either a trainee or an intern until they have received their full license.

When all educational and supervisory requirements are met and the Therapist has passed the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards Examination, they are then eligible to be a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Michigan (LMFT).

Scope of Practice

A Limited Licensed MFT works under the supervision of a qualified supervisor in agencies that are approved by the Board of Marriage and Family Therapists of Michigan.

A LMFT works with couples, families, and individuals regarding relationship and family problems. They work in hospitals, mental health, other social agencies, and in private practice.

Is Licensing Required?

A Michigan Board of Marriage and Family Therapy license is required in order to practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Michigan.

Occupational Therapist

Educational Requirements

An Occupational Therapist may begin their education following one of two routes in Michigan. They may undertake their Master’s degree after they have already obtained an unrelated undergraduate degree. Or they may take a combined degree while they are completing their undergraduate degree. In this option students take a combination of coursework and fieldwork training. This results in both a Bachelor’s of Science degree and a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy.

Scope of Practice

Occupational Therapists work in hospitals or share space with other health science professionals. They may also work in various social agencies, schools, or do outreach in people’s homes. OT’s do prevention and intervention work in schools. They also work with people with medical illnesses and disabilities.

Is Licensing Required?

Michigan Occupational Therapists are members of the Michigan Board of Occupational Therapy and must be licensed in order to practice. They are regulated through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

Pastoral Counselor

Educational Requirements

Education requirements for Michigan Pastoral Counselors will vary depending on the religious denomination they belong to. Typically they will have a Master’s degree specific to Pastoral Counseling. Or they may hold a graduate degree in Social Work, Psychology, or Counseling with training in ministry work as well.

Scope of Practice

In addition to providing therapy and counseling, Pastoral Counselors practice from a faith based, religious platform. They integrate spirituality and biblical teachings into their practice. They work with people on family, relationship, spiritual, and personal issues. They work in churches, schools, other social agencies, hospitals, and in private practice.

Is Licensing Required?

A Pastoral Counselor is often regulated by the religious denomination they belong to and they may be certified as a member of a professional body of Pastoral Counselors. However, most Pastoral Counselors in the state of Michigan go on to obtain a license specific to their graduate training in Psychology, Social Work, Counseling, or other profession.

Pre-Licensed Professional

Educational Requirements

A Pre-Licensed Professional is often what a Social Worker, Psychologist, Counselor, or other Therapist may be termed after they have obtained their graduate degree but before they have completed all the requirements for a license. A Pre-Licensed professional may hold a Limited License to Practice. They may or may not be under the supervision of a qualified, licensed professional, may be completing a specified number of practicum or intern hours and may have yet to write their qualifying licensing exams.

Scope of Practice

A Pre-Licensed Professional is often limited to, but not always, employment in board approved or educationally approved work places. Sometimes employers will hire Pre-Licensed employees with the understanding they are completing the steps to obtain their license in a timely manner.

Is Licensing Required?

Often a Limited License is required. Sometimes the term applies to someone who has obtained their graduate degree but has not yet applied for their Limited License if one is required.

Psychiatric Nurse

Educational Requirements

Psychiatric Nurses are also known as Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses (PMHN). Nurses may choose to complete either a Bachelor’s degree in nursing or a two to three year diploma. In addition, they must complete the educational training to become a Registered Nurse. Further course work and training is then needed to specialize in Psychiatric Nursing.

Scope of Practice

Psychiatric Nurses can provide counseling, case management, administer and monitor medication and treatment plans, assessment, and a variety of other nursing duties. They work in hospitals, schools, mental health and addiction centers, other social agencies, and in private practice.

Is Licensing Required?

Psychiatric Nurses must be licensed and registered as Registered Nurses.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Educational Requirements

A Michigan Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, also known as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who has gone on to obtain either a Master’s of Science degree in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctorate degree.

Scope of Practice

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners assess, diagnose and treat clients who are mentally ill using psychobiological interventions. They work in hospitals and mental health centers. Unlike a Psychiatric nurse, they work collaboratively with Doctors and Psychiatrists rather than being supervised by them.

Is Licensing Required?

In Michigan a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner must become certified by taking the Psychiatric Mental Health NP certification exam offered through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Once this is completed, they can obtain certification through the state of Michigan to practice.

Psychiatrist

Educational Requirements

In order to become a Psychiatrist in Michigan, the first step is to take premed courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math while obtaining a Bachelor’s degree. The next step is to complete a four year medical degree with a four year residency specializing in Psychiatry. Psychiatrists may than decide to add another year of training to concentrate on subspecialties within Psychiatry such as addictions or geriatrics.

Scope of Practice

Psychiatrists practice in hospitals, mental health centers, government, and other agencies. Psychiatrists diagnose, assess, treat, and prescribe medications for psychiatric conditions.

Is Licensing Required?

Michigan Psychiatrists are licensed in their state after taking and passing the United States Medical Licensing Exam. If they want to prescribe medication, they must obtain their Federal Narcotics License and complete registration through the Drug Enforcement Administration. Additionally, Psychiatrists are encouraged to obtain additional credentials by becoming certified through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Psychological Associate

Educational Requirements

In Michigan, the term Psychological Associate for a Master’s level Psychologist has been suggested to replace the term Limited License Psychologist. The other suggested change is that Psychological Associates no longer need to be supervised by Psychologists with a PhD once they have obtained 6000 hours of supervision and have passed an exam. This is more in keeping with other professionals with Master’s degree who are licensed and do not need to be supervised in order to practice.

Scope of Practice

A Psychological Associate may assess, diagnose, conduct psychometric and psychological testing, and treat clients with mental health and psychiatric concerns. They work in schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, other social agencies, and private practice.

Is Licensing Required?

A Psychological Associate, if adopted, will be required to be licensed in the state of Michigan in order to practice.

Psychologist

Educational Requirements

A Psychologist in Michigan must have a PhD from an accredited school in order to use the designation and work as a Psychologist. They must do an internship with a minimum of 2000 hours of supervised practice in a health care setting while holding a Doctoral Limited License. They must also pass the Professional Practice in Psychology Exam. Finally, fingerprints are taken and a criminal background check is done. After that, they may apply for their full licence.

Scope of Practice

Psychologists may practice in hospitals, prisons, mental health facilities, schools, other social agencies, and private practice. Psychologists conduct psychometric and psychological tests. They also assessment, diagnose, and treat mental health conditions and other psychological and emotional issues.

Is Licensing Required?

A Psychologist is required to be licensed through the Michigan Board of Psychology in order to practice in Michigan.

Registered Psychotherapist

Educational Requirements

A Registered Psychotherapist must have completed a PhD, a postdoctoral internship, and a minimum number of supervised practice hours. This is really more of an umbrella term to describe a professional who is licensed and practices psychotherapy.

Scope of Practice

Registered Psychotherapists provide therapy to people with mental health issues and personal problems by working through social and emotional issues and facilitating better ways to cope. They practice in hospitals, government agencies, clinics, other social agencies, and private practice.

Is Licensure Required?

Each state requires specific licensure and certification qualifications. In Michigan, ghe term can be used interchangeably with practitioners referred to as Psychologists, Limited License Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Social Workers who have obtained their Doctoral degrees and are licensed.

Treatment Facility

What is a Treatment Facility?

In Michigan, treatment facilities are residential and/or outpatient centers where people with substance use disorders can go for help regarding their substance use. Sometimes treatment facilities specialize in concurrent disorders which are a combination of mental health and substance use disorders. Treatment facilities focus on either abstinence, typically the AA 16 step model, or harm reduction programs. Costs vary widely.

There are treatment facilities for both youth or adults. Youth treatment facilities tend to be oriented toward high risk youth involved in the justice system. There are both private and public treatment facilities in Michigan.

What Types of Therapists Work There

All of the above mentioned types of therapists and support workers may be found at treatment facilities from paraprofessionals to professionals.

Is Licensing Required?

In the state of Michigan, for any substance abuse treatment facility, a license is required through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

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