Tips for Choosing a Psychotherapist:
Understanding the Different Credentials

There are a wide variety of master's and doctoral programs available to someone who seeks to become a therapist. After graduating with one or more degrees, one can qualify to become licensed by the state in which they reside. In addition, after completing certain post-graduate training programs or meeting specific criteria established by state or national professional organizations, one can obtain an ever widening variety of certifications which may indicate additional achievement in a particular area of practice.

Unfortunately, there are also an increasing number of "degree mills" and self serving training programs which enable anyone to obtain an official looking graduate "Diploma" or framed "Training Certificate" for the right price. It is often difficult to discriminate between the legitimately recognized universities and organizations from the meaningless ones.

To emphasize the point, psychologist Steve K. D. Eichel, Ph.D.'s article, "Credentialing: It May Not Be the Cat's Meow" describes how he successfully received credentials for his cat named "Dr. Zoe D. Katze, Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA", by three major hypnotherapy associations, having met their "strict training requirements" and having had the cat's background thoroughly reviewed!

Licensed Psychotherapists
Having a license to practice psychotherapy in Colorado simply indicates that the therapist has met minimum qualifications for academic knowledge as indicated by having a master's degree from an accredited graduate school, passing a qualifying exam, and having completed two years (or about 2000 hours) approved supervised experience in the field.

In Colorado, there are four kinds of licensed psychotherapists:

• Licensed Psychologists (Ph.D., PsyD.)

• Licensed Social Workers (LCSW, LSW)

• Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT)

• Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC)

The next section will explain more about them.