Continuing Education for Mental Health Professionals: Who Needs It?
Many mental health professions require continuing education (CE) to keep their licensure. It helps them stay on top of the latest advancements in their field and provide the best care for their patients.
Continuing education for mental health professionals is required for a broad group, including:
- Social workers
Psychologists specialize in the science of human behavior with many pursuing professional and clinical training. This allows them to evaluate and treat mental health issues using:
- Talk therapy (psychotherapy)
- Psychological evaluations
- Psychological testing
- Neuropsychological Testing
Psychologists can generally be broken down into two different types: counseling psychologists and clinical psychologists. It is important to note that psychologists can also hold many subspecialties. Both types can help with issues such as:
- Behavioral issues
- Learning difficulties
While they overlap in a lot of areas, counseling psychologists focus on addressing the emotional, social, and physical tensions in patients’ lives.
Clinical psychologists, on the other hand, focus more on the study of mental health conditions (psychopathology). This allows them to treat patients with more serious mental health problems. While they have a doctoral degree in the field, clinical psychologists don’t have a medical degree and often can’t prescribe medication or order blood tests and the like.
Like psychologists, psychiatrists are healthcare professionals specializing in mental health. What makes them distinct from psychologists in that they are able to diagnose mental health issues as well as prescribe treatments such as medication. Another way to look at it is that psychiatrists are more medically focused while psychologists are more focused on human behavior, emotions, and the mind.
Psychiatrists can be of great benefit to patients suffering from more complex mental health problems. Their medical background makes them ideal for issues such as:
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
Psychiatrists don’t always work in a vacuum, and they often are part of a patient’s healthcare team in a hospital or clinic. In some cases, a patient may see a psychiatrist first for their initial diagnosis and then be referred to a psychologist for ongoing treatment. Regular visits to a psychiatrist may still be necessary for medications and other forms of medical treatment.
Counselors are licensed mental health professionals specializing in the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral sides of mental health and substance abuse. They work with a variety of patients including groups and couples to:
- Restore or preserve mental health
- Encourage healthy lifestyles
- Identify stressors
- Establish levels of functioning
A counselor’s role in mental health care can vary from state to state. For example, licensed professional counselors (LPCs) are able to diagnose mental health conditions in some states but not in others.
Mental health counselors may specialize in one or more forms of psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, or interpersonal therapy. They may be part of a larger team to help provide you with a holistic treatment plan.
Like psychologists, social workers can be broken down into two different types: non-clinical social workers and clinical social workers (CSWs). Both types help clients find resources and provide guidance through difficult circumstances.
However, only clinical social workers, also known as licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), are able to diagnose and treat issues related to:
Clinical social workers help their clients create strategies to deal with different issues in their lives such as navigating difficult situations or changing their behavior. They can also connect patients with much-needed services and resources including support groups and other mental health services.
Health-Focused Continuing Education for Mental Health Professionals
It can be difficult to find quality continuing education courses that fit your schedule. It can be even harder if you want to specialize in health psychology to treat patients with serious medical conditions. Find Empathy is closing this gap by providing online CE courses that specialize in supporting patients suffering from health-related mental health problems.
With Find Empathy, you can listen and learn about a wide range of medical conditions that affect patients’ mental health. Whether you’re interested in continuing education for psychologists or marriage and family counselors, our podcast is here for you 24/7.
Join Meghan Beier, Ph.D., as she explores topics such as:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Outpatient telepsychology
Once you’ve listened, all you have to do is create an account and complete the course requirements. This includes a post-test assessment and course evaluation to ensure that you receive full credit.
Do you want to grow your knowledge of health psychology to support patients with serious medical conditions? Check out our podcast to get started today!
Continuing education is essential for many mental health professionals to keep their licenses. This includes psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and social workers. It helps them stay up-to-date on the latest findings in their fields and support patients with the best care possible.
Find Empathy’s purpose is to empower mental health professionals to better serve patients living with challenging chronic illnesses and medical diagnoses. Through our easy and accessible continuing education courses and credits, mental health providers are able to become medically informed on health psychology topics to help improve patient care and clinical outcomes.