Psychiatrists have an MD degree and by virtue of his or her license to practice medicine and they usually treat mental illnesses through a combination of medication and hospitalization. Some psychiatrists can perform psychotherapy or psychoanalysis with the proper education and training after medical school. Psychotherapy involves regular discussions with patients about their problems or the exploration of their past experiences. Psychoanalysis involves long-term psychotherapy for patients. In many cases, medications are administered to correct chemical imbalances that cause emotional problems. Psychiatrists also may administer electroconvulsive therapy to those of their patients who do not respond to, or who cannot take, medications.
Mental health counselors typically earn a Masters degree (usually two years beyond a bachelor degree) in psychology (MA or MS), social work (MSW), counseling (MA or MS) or marriage and family therapists (LMFT or MFT), licensed professional counselors (LPC), licensed professional therapists (LPT) or licensed clinical social workers (LCSW). Mental health counselors can practice independently in some states such as Oregon, although most are employed in clinics and hospitals. They perform individual, couples/family, and group therapy, and may assist psychologists with testing and other forms of treatment.
Coaching focuses on helping persons utilize their abilities more effectively than they have previously. Some coaches refer to this as “achieving your full potential.” Some general characteristics of coaching include: appointments are usually conducted by telephone; it can focus on personal work, but it is usually used in business settings with executives; it tends to help persons achieve personal and business goals.