What Are The Different Types Of Mental Health Counseling Services?

Updated April 20, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

If you’re interested in trying mental health counseling services, you may have many options to choose from! A few of the most common types of counseling services can include working with licensed clinical social workers, licensed chemical dependency counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, peer specialists, and licensed professional counselors. Online therapy with a licensed therapist may also be an option for you.

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What Are Mental Health Services And Why Do They Matter? 

There are often numerous types of mental health services available to those in need. Some can help with mental health challenges that may be associated with physical illness, loss, and unhealthy relationships. Others can address specific mental health disorders, offering support to individuals coping with anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, or substance use disorder, among other diagnoses.

Additionally, online counseling options can provide resources for relationships of all types, including those in marriages or parents who wish to learn the best ways to raise their children. Clients of all ages and identities can benefit from professional counseling services and may receive tailored approaches that are suitable for their needs and age group.

Types Of Mental Health Counseling Services

Mental health professionals can be licensed for particular types of mental health therapy or services. Understanding the range of services available and how a mental health counselor can help to find more tailored care and a proper approach for your specific area of need. 

Below are just a few of the mental health counseling services that may be available.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) can be located in hospitals or hospital-like settings. They may provide assistance with diagnoses, as well as offer individual and group counseling and recovery services. They can also help with the study, treatment, and prevention of mental health disorders. These specialists can be an invaluable source of information for individuals and families, connecting them with additional resources and referrals so the client can continue to progress after leaving the hospital setting.

There can also be licensed social workers who may work in another location outside a hospital, such as the non-public sector. Generally, LCSWs possess many of the same skills as licensed professional counselors, as many have completed similar education and licensure.

While certain subgroups of LCSWs may focus less on diagnosing, they can be just as helpful in assisting patients in identifying appropriate referrals and resources.

Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor

A licensed chemical dependency counselor (LCDC) or substance use counselor is generally considered to be a team member who works with clients with addictions. Those living with substance use disorder may benefit from receiving help from these specialists on their journey to recovery. 

While most counselors are technically qualified to work with substance misuse, they may have limited experience if it is not their explicit area of specialty. 

LCDCs generally work with anyone who is living with substance use disorder, ranging in scope from teens to veterans. They can help in times of severe mental health crisis, such as a time of intervention or during a clinical assessment period, to determine what level of care the individual needs (e.g., detox services or inpatient/outpatient treatment).

In a session with an LCDC, you may be asked to explain your substance use history. The sessions can then support you in identifying potential triggers and developing coping skills that can actively support sobriety. In addition to individual work, many substance use counselors offer group therapy, which can be a helpful and essential part of recovery work. The office staff and your provider may also collaborate to ensure comprehensive care for your journey toward sobriety.

Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist

Many individuals find themselves in need of help with their relationships. Therapy can be a resource to those in marriages, partnerships, or relationships of any type.  Licensed marriage and family therapists, or LMFTs, can support those who may be struggling in intimate or family relationships. They can help you eliminate any dysfunctional patterns within these relationships in favor of a stronger connection with your partner or family.

Marriage and family therapists can also address general struggles in the family or home system that may be impacting relationships of all types. Conflict between children and parents, adjusting to divorce or remarriage, and other challenges can affect the mental health of all involved. In these circumstances, an LMFT can serve as a mediator to create a safe space to talk about hard things. Additionally, they can provide suggestions and feedback for improvement.

Peer Specialists

Peer specialists are unique counselors that generally have experience in recovering from specific ailments or troubling situations. They can provide useful advice to many, as they usually have first-hand experience with particular mental health challenges. 

Licensed Professional Counselors

Mental health counselors, also referred to as licensed professional counselors (LPCs), are perhaps the most familiar type of counselor for many. These counselors are generally trained to assess and diagnose a vast range of mental health problems and can assist with filing FMLA for mental health diagnoses. They can also offer supportive strategies in the treatment of any mental health disorder and may choose one or more different specialties. LPCs can work in various settings, including clinics, hospitals, schools, and exclusive practices, often giving you many different opportunities to support your mental health.

How Can Online Therapy Help Those In Need? 

Online therapy programs generally match individuals with licensed professional therapists based on preferences, goals, and specific mental health concerns. The therapist can guide them through a treatment plan that may include counseling, interactive lesson plans, and other tools that can help them understand their thoughts and behaviors. Clients can communicate via email or message, ask a question, and receive guidance at flexible hours, making therapy more accessible across various states.

Individuals with certain conditions, such as anxiety disorder or depression, may have difficulty leaving their homes for traditional in-person therapeutic methods. Online therapy can provide a more accessible, convenient (and often affordable) method of treatment. 

Many people wonder whether online therapy works as well as traditional therapy. A growing body of research has shown that online therapy can be highly effective in treating a range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD.


Those who wish to seek professional help with their mental health often have numerous options. For instance, they may choose to try online therapy with a licensed therapist. Depending on the particular challenges they’re living with, it can be possible to connect with a licensed marriage and family therapist, a licensed chemical dependency counselor, a licensed clinical social worker, a peer specialist, or a licensed professional counselor. Whatever your choice, it's important to be ready to get the support you need, whether through medication management, counseling, or other resources. If you believe you’d benefit from working with a mental health professional, please don’t hesitate to get the support you deserve!

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