You’re (probably) not a doctor, and that’s okay. Here we’re going to break down some frequent terms or “provider definitions” in simple, every day English anyone can understand. If you have questions about something that isn’t covered or want a more in-depth explanation of anything, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.

A physician must be licensed in the state where he/she practices, and while this medical licensure sets the minimum competency requirements to diagnose and treat patients, it is not specialty specific. Board certification means a physician has passed rigorous testing in his/her specialty. In the United States, this medical specialty certification is a voluntary process. Board certification demonstrates a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice.

A licensed chemical dependency abuse counselor (LADAC) is a masters level therapist who provides evaluation and treatment of chemical dependence and abuse.

A nurse practitioner, or APRN, is a registered nurse who also has a master’s degree. They have extensive medical and pharmacological education. Nurse practitioners are considered mid-level, independent practitioners in the state of Nebraska. They prescribe medicine and work collaboratively with physicians.

A psychologist (PhD, PsyD) is a doctorate level professional who provides psychological evaluations, psychological testing and psychotherapy.

A psychotherapist (CMSW, CPC, LIMHP, LMHP, LCSW, MS) is a masters level therapist in clinical social work or counseling who specializes in providing therapy for a wide variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, marital and relationship issues, parenting, and emotional, sexual and physical abuse.

A physician assistant, or PA, is a mid-level medical practitioner who can prescribe medication and works under the supervision of a licensed physician (an MD).

A psychiatrist, or MD, is a physician who first attends medical school and then completes a residency in the specialty of psychiatry. He/she may specialize further by completing a fellowship, for example in child psychiatry or neuropsychiatry. A psychiatrist provides psychiatric evaluations, prescribes medication when necessary and assists patients who need hospitalization.