How to Find the Best Mental Health Professional for You

Do you need a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a therapist?

You work out for your physical fitness. You get your checkups, brush your teeth, get enough sleep and wash your face. You take so many steps to maintain your health, but they'll only take you so far if you feel depressed or struggle with alcohol or can't stop fighting with your spouse. Most of us (hopefully) wouldn't think twice about seeing a doctor if we had, say, strep throat, and we'd gladly take the antibiotics prescribed. So if you're feeling sick in other ways – you're anxious, you don't want to eat – why wait to get help from a professional?

Here are the different people who can help:


A psychiatrist is a doctor who has attended medical school and done a residency in psychiatry. In many states, psychiatrists and other medical doctors are the only professionals who can prescribe psychiatric medications. Many psychiatrists focus on severe issues such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. These challenges usually require a combination of therapy and medication. Medication management is one of psychiatrists’ primary roles, and they are less likely (but certainly qualified) to provide counseling. Here at Crossroads we are honored to have Dr. Michael Saliba on staff with us. He is a Double Board Certified Psychiatrist in both General Adult Psychiatry and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry. Click here to learn more about our Psychiatric Center.


The two “psych-” professions can be easy to mix up. Here’s a basic distinction: While a psychiatrist holds a medical degree, a psychologist has a doctoral degree, either in clinical, educational, counseling or research psychology. Psychologists can diagnose mental health disorders and provide counseling in either an individual or group setting. While most psychologists cannot prescribe medications, they may work with a physician to coordinate a medical treatment plan, if necessary. At Crossroads, we have one Psychologist on staff who provides psychological testing many of our clients. While some people will never need a psychologist, some may benefit from a more in-depth look into their issues.

Therapist / Counselor

Counselors are Master's-level psychotherapists who are focused exclusively on providing therapy to individuals, couples, or families. Counselors do not prescribe medications. Many counselors focus on common life issues, including stress and anxiety, mild to moderate depression, relationship conflicts, trauma, and work or career development. Although counseling graduate programs include a great deal of psychology, the emphasis is more on working with "problems of normal living" rather than severe mental illnesses. At Crossroads we have over 10 fully licensed and credentialed therapists on staff with many having multiple certifications in different areas of expertise. 

So how do you know which kind of therapist you need?

Before deciding which type of therapist or doctor you want to see, it’s important to know why you want to go to one in the first place. Aka what do you want to have changed, or what do you want to come to accept about your life? Once you’ve identified the underlying reason you're seeking treatment, it’s time to get specific about which type of therapy will work best for you.

For instance, many treatments are based on diagnostic disorders. Are you depressed? Have you gone through a trauma? Do you have constant anxiety? Then you might want to find a therapist who’s been trained in certain types of therapy that are effective for those types of problems. At Crossroads our therapists are a diverse group of people representing many different specialties and cultures. We will be sure to put you in the hands of someone who has years of experience in dealing with your specific needs.

The easiest way to find the perfect therapist or doctor for yourself is to either call Crossroads Counseling at 918 270 4100 or fill out our Make an Appointment form. We have an expertly trained front office staff that will walk you through the steps of finding the right clinician for your specific situation. Make the step today to finding the freedom you deserve.