HFM Christian Counseling Center

a division of Have Faith Ministries, Inc.

Types of Mental Health Providers

There are different types of mental health providers*.  Here's a quick guide:

  • Psychiatrist* - medication management; takes insurance
  • Psychologist* - psychological testing and counseling; takes insurance
  • Therapist* - person trained in the use of psychological methods for helping patients overcome psychological problems
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)* - Completed master or doctorate degree, passed National Counselor Examination and obtained 3,000+ hours of post-graduate clinical experience; most LPCs take insurance
  • Certified Professional Pastoral Therapist (CPPT)** - Certification by passing the National Association of Faith-Based Counselors (NAFC) examination. Requires giving evidence of successful completion of required counseling coursework, verification of education and a Doctorate or PhD degree from a Seminary or Christian College or School of Theology; may take insurance
  • Provisionally Licensed Professional Counselor (PLPC)* - Completed master or doctorate degree, passed National Counselor Examining and is working towards obtaining 3,000+ hours of post-graduate clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed therapist; do not take insurance
  • Counselor-In-Training (CIT)* - Completed master or doctorate degree and working towards obtaining 3,000+ hours of post-graduate experience under the supervision of a licensed therapist; do not take insurance
  • Intern - Currently obtaining a master or doctorate degree while counseling in an internship setting under the supervision of a licensed therapist; do not take insurance
*Titles and criteria can vary from state to state and apply to SECULAR counselors.
Non-Profit Religious Organizations are exempt from state regulations and are commonly referred to as Christian, Biblical or Pastoral Counselors. These counselors are sometimes Ordained Ministers and commonly receive their training and certification(s) and/or degrees from Religious Organizations or Seminaries with accreditation not recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Counseling: What to Expect

Many people feel anxious prior to beginning counseling - this is normal!  It's difficult to open up to a complete stranger and talk about your deepest hurts, fears, problems and mistakes.  Although every counselor is different in how they work with new clients, there are common principles and practices that a good counselor will use:

  • Paperwork - I know, I know...it's boring and tedious!  The initial barrage of paperwork (technically called "Intake Forms") ensure we keep accurate records and are compliant with HIPPA regulations. Good agencies will include a client questionnaire (also called a Psychosocial Assessment) where you provide some basic history and a brief explanation of the issues at hand.
  • Consent to Treatment - It is standard practice to sign a "Consent Form" which indicates that you agree to obtain treatment from the counselor and/or agency.
  • Notice of Privacy and Practice Rights - A document describing your rights as the client should be made available to you.
  • Confidentiality - Counselors are ethically obligated to keep all of your information completely confidential. By law, we are mandated to breach confidentiality if we believe the client is a physical harm to themselves and/or to others, particularly in the case of minors.  Additionally, if your records are subpoenaed we are legally obligated to turn them over to the authorities.
  • Client Files - Counselors are mandated to keep a file on each of their clients, and these files are to be kept in a locked facility to ensure confidentiality.  Clients are able to review their records at any time.
  • Counseling Sessions - Most counselors hold weekly or bi-weekly sessions that are 45-60 minutes in length.  You're probably wondering why counseling is so expensive if it's less than an hour!  Truth is, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes: session preparation, treatment planning and updating session notes.  The session cost includes all of the time involved in these areas.
  • Counseling Duration - The counseling process can take as little as four weeks to as long as a lifetime.  Everyone is different and will process through their issues at a different pace.  Individuals with severe mental health issues or long-term illnesses are likely to need more time in counseling.  A good therapist will check in with you periodically throughout the duration of counseling to monitor your progress and re-evaluate the therapeutic goals.


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