You are (probably) not a doctor, and that’s okay. Here we are  going to break down some frequent terms or “provider definitions” in simple, every-day English that  anyone can understand. If you have questions about something that isn’t covered or you 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.