Copyright 2013. Personal Counseling Services. All rights reserved.

Frequently Asked Questions



Does it matter if my therapist is licensed or not?

Yes, your counselor should be licensed, or working toward licensure under a reputable supervisor.  Licensure requires coursework/education, testing, training, and continuing education in the counseling field.  Licensing and regulatory boards investigate and govern complaints about counselors.  It is your counselor's professional responsibility to comply with state statutes, as well as the ACA code of ethics.  


What do the letters behind my therapist's name mean?

The letters behind a therapist, counselor or doctor's name represent the degree, license and/or certification that each holds.  

  • MA or MS represent Master of Arts or Master of Sciences
  • CIT = Counselor in training   PLPC= Provisionally Licensed Professional Counselor

         Professionals with either credential are in supervision for licensure with an already licensed professional.               This process usually lasts a minimum of two years. 

  • LPC = Licensed Professional Counselor.  Professionals with this credential have taken the  National Counselor Examination (NCE), completed supervision under another licensed counselor, and are licensed with their state to provide counseling services.  Requirements for this credential vary by state.
  • LMSW = Licensed Master Social Worker
  • LSCSW= Licesned Specialist Clinical Social Worker
  • LAMSW = Licensed Advanced Macro Social Worker
  • LCSW= Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • LMFT= Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist  LCMFT=Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist
  • PhD = Doctorate in Philosophy, in the Liberal Arts field including Counseling
  • PsyD = Doctorate in Psychology, with extensive training in applied psychology
  • MD = Doctor of Medicine.  This credential is given to psychiatrists.  Psychiatrists see clients for psychiatric evaluations and treatment.  They are able to prescribe medications.  Psychiatrists usually do not do extensive "talk therapy" as is done in counseling.  However, they can be invaluable when paired with a counselor for a more holistic approach. 


How long will the counseling process take?

There is no magic formula for counseling.  Everyone's life experience is different.  Therefore, the length of time you will be in counseling will depend on the commitment and work you put into each session.  Setting counseling goals with your counselor is an important part of the process.