What is a Counselor

Q:  What is a Licensed Professional Counselor?

A:  A Licensed Professional Counselor, also known as an LPC, is a professional with either a master's degree (MA, MS, M.Ed., M.A.Ed., or MAE), a specialist degree (Ed.S.), or a doctorate degree (Ph.D., Ed.D.), in counseling or a related field. This person also has passed the National Counseling Exam (NCE) administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). In Idaho, this person will have met the requirements for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential, administered by the Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists.

Q: What population groups do Counselors work with?

A:  Counselors work with all population groups including children, adolescents, and adults. They work with groups, couples, and families as well. In addition, LPCs work with individuals challenged by mental and physical disabilities.

Q: In what fields and/or settings do Counselors work?

A: Counselors work in many different fields and/or settings such as:  

mental health
chemical dependency
career development

vocational rehabilitation
physicians offices

private practice
business and industry
residential facilities

Q: What kinds of problems do Counselors treat?

A: Counselors treat a wide range of mental and emotional problems including depression, anxiety/panic, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, addictions, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, behvaior problems, and many more. Counselors also help people cope with such life events as divorce, grief, retirement, and chronic illness. Counselors may also work with individuals challenged by learning differences and development disabilities.

Q: Can Counselors prescribe medication?

A: No. Currently, only medical doctors such as psychiatrists and other physicians as well as nurse practitioners can prescribe medication. However, many Counselors work closely with psychiatrists and family care physicians and will refer clients for medical and psychopharmacological evaluations when called for as well as educate clients about their medications and help monitor their effectiveness.

Q: How are Counselors trained? Where do they go to school?
A: Counselors are required to complete a minimum of a master’s level education in counseling or a related field at a university but many complete a doctorate degree. This degree includes both extensive coursework and completion of an internship. In addition, in Idaho, to obtain a Clinical License, the counselor must complete two years of supervised clinical experience beyond the graduate degree and 2,000 direct client contact hours.