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Types of Providers

There is a wide array of mental health professionals with a variety of different backgrounds, education, knowledge, skills, areas of specialty and licenses.  Below is a short description of the types of mental health professions that are licensed in the state of Vermont to treat mental health disorders. 

Psychiatrist  A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental or psychiatric illnesses.  Psychiatrists differ from other mental health professionals in their ability to prescribe psychotropic medications – medications that may be used as part of mental health treatment.  Chittenden County has a shortage of trained child psychiatrists.  Don’t be surprised to hear that there is a waiting list to get an appointment with a psychiatrist or that a psychiatrist is not accepting new patients. 
Psychologist  A clinical psychologist licensed in Vermont is trained to evaluate and treat mental health disorders.  Psychologists have different specialty areas and use different treatment approaches, but they all share a deep understanding of the mind and how it relates to and influences behavior.  If you are planning to work with a psychologist, check that his/her area of speciality is compatible with your child’s needs. 
Neuro-psychologist Neuropsychologists are not the same as medically trained neurologists.  They are doctorate level psychologists with specialty training in the structure and function of the brain, particularly as it applies to cognitive processing and behavior.  
School Psychologist A school psychologist licensed in Vermont has extensive training in the relationship between the mind and behavior and learning.  School psychologists work within a school system where they often administer psycho-educational evaluations or tests that evaluate a student’s cognitive ability, achievement, and learning styles.  Not all schools in Chittenden County have school psychologists on staff.  To find out if your school district has a school psychologist and the services they provide, contact the school directly.
Clinical Social Worker Clinical social workers are mental health professionals with advanced mental health training. Clinical social workers are trained and licensed to evaluate mental health, make diagnoses, and to provide psychotherapy.
Board Certified Behavior Analyst Behavior analysts are experts in understanding how biological and environmental factors influence behavior and how behavior changes over time.   
Psychiatric Nurse Most psychiatric nurses are trained first as nurses (R.N.), but go on to get specialized mental health training that qualify them to conduct mental health evaluations and to provide psychotherapy. In Vermont, psychiatric nurses can prescribe psychiatric medications.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor Licensed mental health counselors are mental health professionals with advanced training in mental health and licenses that allow them to evaluate, diagnose, and treat mental health disorders through psychotherapy.
Marriage and Family Therapist Marriage and family therapists are licensed counselors with specialized training in working with couples and families. They can diagnose mental health disorders and provide individual psychotherapy as well.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor A certified and/or licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselors are licensed counselors with specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of substance use disorders. They may also diagnose other mental health related conditions and provide non-substance related psychotherapy.
Student Assistance Professional (SAP) Student Assistance Professionals provide school based services such as substance abuse prevention, education, screening, and  intervention.  Student Assistance Professionals also make referrals to community providers and/or programs for assessment and treatment.
School Counselor School counselors in Vermont hold a master’s degree with a concentration in school counseling (or the equivalent.)  School counselors work in every school in Chittenden County where they support children’s mental health within the school environment.  School counselors provide different services from school to school, including: teaching social/emotional learning curricula to students, providing individual and/or group counseling to students,  providing consultation to staff and parents regarding social, emotional, and behavioral issues, and helping to promote and create a healthy learning environment at school.