Who Performs the Treatment

Increasingly, PTSD is treated by a multitude of health and mental health disciplines, oftentimes within a treatment team and in a collaborative manner. The following is a list of professionals that one can seek help from:

Psychiatrists are medical doctors specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, including the use and prescription of medication and psychopharmacological agents as well as other somatic therapies such as electroconvulsive therapy. Some psychiatrists are trained to conduct psychotherapy, but not all.

Clinical psychologists are doctors of psychology specifically trained in the diagnosis and treatment and rehabilitation of mental disorders, abnormal mental processes, abnormal behavior, and related biopsychosocial disorders and dysfunction. They have unique specialty training in psychological assessment and testing, and they are trained as psychotherapists in all aspects.

Clinical or psychiatric social workers are masters-level practitioners with specific training in working with the social and interpersonal consequences of mental disorders and abnormal behavior. They, too, are trained as psychotherapists and often have specialty training in social services provision and family, couples, and group therapy.

Collateral and adjunctive support and treatment for related dysfunctions and issues can be performed by marriage and family therapists, physicians such as internists or pediatricians, neuropsychologists, drug and alcohol counselors, counselors, clergy, and peer counselors.

Finally, if you are one listed in the preceding, you have to ask yourself whether you have the appropriate training, experience, or expertise to work with PTSD. (For resources on training, see Appendix A.) Consumers of mental health services, too, have the right to ask the person they are seeking help from about his or her experience, level of training, and level of expertise in working with PTSD.

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