A common inquiry I receive from those searching for help for themselves or a loved one struggling with postpartum depression is "Who can help me?", "How do I find a provider?", "What should I look for and expect in therapy for postpartum depression?" Here are the different kinds of mental health professionals who may offer postpartum depression therapy, how you can find them and the approaches that may be used.
Clinical Social Workers who carry the advanced license (LCSW, licensed clinical social worker which is only offered at the post Master's level of completed education) deliver most of the individual mental health services sought by consumers today. The advanced license is conferred only after after rigorous exams and thousands of supervisory hours of clinical practice. The license is conferred by each state after the Social Work Examiners Board has verified passage of the clinical exam and maintained through additional annual educational requirements and continuing training in their chosen area of specialty.
Clinical social workers maintain group or independent private practices, are directly accepted by insurance companies, make diagnostic and treatment determinations, but do not prescribe medication. They are among the most respected mental health practitioners for women, families and children with a special appreciation for the biopsychosocial perspective.
Clinical Psychologists must have a Ph.D. and a state license in order to practice or offer mental health services independently outside an agency or hospital setting. Today, many psychologists are employed for their specialized skills in testing and evaluation. They also provide individual and group therapy, but are not able to prescribe medication. Licensed psychologists are directly accepted by insurance companies.
Nurse Practitioners - Are licensed to assessed, treat and in some cases prescribe medication for the clients they treat. A rapidly developing field of private practice, nurse practitioners are highly trained clinicians whose medical background and experience gives them great professional understanding of the perinatal period.