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11 Reasons why you may want to see a Licensed Therapist First (before a Psychiatrist)


11 Reasons why you may want to see a Licensed Therapist First

(before a Psychiatrist)


A therapist and a psychiatrist are both Behavioral/Mental health professionals whose area of expertise is the human mind. They sometimes collaborate with each other when it comes to preventing, diagnosing, and treating the symptoms for the purpose of making people emotionally, psychologically and behaviorally well. Although there are differences between their professions, it can be confusing to decide who to seek for help when you need it.


The easiest way to unlock the difficulty is to see a therapist prior to a psychiatrist due to these 12 reasons:

  1. Therapists are able to provide support and guidance to help you sort and manage most of life’s stressors. Seeing a therapist is the first step when you want to unload the burden weighing you down. If your condition can be managed with therapy, there’s no sense seeing a psychiatrist who is more focused on medication management.
  2. Therapists can provide a variety of treatment for rehabilitation. Your initial therapeutic sessions may already yield positive and long-lasting results, rendering it waste of time to see a psychiatrist in the future.
  3. Therapists have the expertise to evaluate the symptoms and match the right kind of treatment for you. They are trained in various disciplines and specialized in many fields, thus they can assess your condition right away to determine what type of treatment will be effective for you.
  4. Therapists tend to spend quality session time with you. Therapists see to it that all of your concerns are discussed in the minutest detail, unlike psychiatric sessions that usually last for a maximum of 15 minutes mainly involving medication management.
  5. Therapists serve as a fallback support to psychiatrists. If the psychiatrist’s views that a patient’s symptoms are severe they usually refer their patient to a licensed counselors for continuity of care. If you know you may benefit from therapy, then it is best to directly see a therapist.
  6. Therapists can monitor your compliance with your medications. Clients trust and feel more confident with therapists because of quality time spent together. Most psychiatrists recognize the special bond forged during therapy thus they encourage their clients to see a therapist to help them in convincing patients to adhere to medications.
  7. Therapists can help you choose the best treatment option. Therapists excel in presenting all the options appropriate for your signs and symptoms. If the manifestations are already detrimental to leading a normal life, your therapist can help you make an informed decision with your best advantage in mind.
  8. Therapists can connect you to a psychiatrist who can help. Mental health professionals co-exist with each other so it will be easy for therapists to lead you to a psychiatrist licensed to write prescriptions, if your condition requires specific treatment drugs.
  9. Some psychiatrists require a Therapist’s Referral before seeing new patients. Due to the limited time psychiatrists can devote per client, a Therapist’s Referral is usually required to indicate that initial assessment of symptoms has been performed. This effectively covers up the psychiatrist’s lack of time to discuss or resolve the basic concerns and it also reduces the preliminary procedures. The document shows that a client has been seen by a therapist so they can proceed to the essential psychiatric treatment process after their initial Diagnostic Eval.
  10. Therapy is a safer health care option without resorting to medications. Therapists help clients by providing tools and techniques to manage a wide range of emotional, psychological and behavioral concerns. The goal of therapy is to modify the pattern of thinking about how a person can have a positive and healthier way of interacting. If therapy can help, who needs psychotropic medications?
  11. Therapy is more affordable. On the average, a 45 – 50 minute session with a psychiatrist may cost $250 on the first appointment; follow-up sessions that usually last for 5 – 15 minutes are charged at about $85. If you’re not covered by insurance, or a high deductible or copay, you need to pay the consultation fee and the cost of psychotropic medicines directly from the pocket. On the other hand, a therapist may charge you $100 or less for a 60-minute appointment. The whole or partial amount may be covered by your insurance, depending on your plan.


Seeing a mental health professional depends largely on what emotional or behavioral concerns you’re facing. If you feel you’re too stressed out and your world has turned upside down, it will benefit you if you see a licensed therapist. To ensure you’re getting the best help for your psychological health care, call Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC. The independently contracted therapists are always ready to help.

Confidential / Private Sessions

Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC contracts with Licensed professional counselors/therapists/psychologists who provide a friendly, caring, and relaxed atmosphere in the Southern Pines/Pinehurst/Aberdeen/Raeford area. These independently contracted therapists/counselors assist adult individuals, couples, families, and children with resolving issues and getting back to enjoying their lives. Whether you are non-military or military, the independently contracted therapists with Carolina Counseling Services-Southern Pines, NC are able and happy to assist you!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Southern Pines, NC

Counties: Moore county, NC, Lee County, NC, Montgomery County, NC, Richmond County, NC, Randolph County, NC, Chatham County, NC

Cities: Southern Pines NC, Pinehurst NC, Aberdeen NC, Taylortown NC, Pinebluff NC, West End NC, Seven Lakes NC, Eagle Springs NC, Ashley Heights NC, Ashmont NC, Five Points NC, Wind Blow NC, Jackson Springs NC, Whispering Pines NC, Vass NC, Cameron NC, Carthage NC, Eastwood NC, Lakeview NC, Narrow Ridge NC, Robbins NC, Roseland NC, Tramway NC, Troy NC, Zion Grove NC, Biscoe NC

We are located at:

Carolina Counseling Services - Southern Pines, NC
780 NW Broad St. Suite 210
Southern Pines, NC 28387

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

  • Call: (910) 725-6336 (Fastest way to schedule)
  • Text: (910) 308-3291 (Reply will be via phone)
  • Click here and use our Contact Form (You must include your phone number, because replies will only be made by telephone to ensure security/privacy)
  • Call or Text for your New Patient Appointment Anytime!
  • Appointment scheduling for NEW clients: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:15pm
  • New client appts may be scheduled when therapists have openings, which may include daytime, evenings and weekends.
  • Established/Standing Appointments are made directly with your therapist!
  • Referrals: MOST beneficiaries do NOT need a Referral!

Choose your Therapist

  • Kristin Vernon, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Adolescents, Couples, Families, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem Issues, Grief and Loss, Communication Skills, Divorce, Adjustment Disorders, Mood Disorders, Coping Skills, Parenting, Family Conflict, Marital Conflict, Relationship Issues
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, cash
    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Gretchen Montesanto, MA, LPC, NCC

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Teens, Individuals, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem Issues, Grief and Loss, Stress, LGBT, Adjustment Disorder, Motivation, Life Transitions, Mood Disorders, Military Spouses

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare and Cash
    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Jaime J. Fitzpatrick MS, LPCS, LCAS

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Adults, Families and Couples, Anxiety, PTSD, Trauma and Abuse Recovery, Depression, Military Life Issues, Adjustment Disorder, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused Therapy, Addictions, Emotional Disturbance, Coping Skills, Impulsivity, Grief and Loss, Self-Esteem
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Kelly ErkenBrack, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Teens, Adults, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Mood Disorders, Trauma, Adjustments and Life Transitions, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting, Relationship Concerns, Self Esteem
    Insurance: BCBS, Medicare,  Tricare Prime/Select and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Pinehurst, NC and Southern Pines, NC
  • Kathryn Wiens, PsyD. HSP-P

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Adult, Individuals, Couples and Families.
    Insurance: BCBS, Medicare, Tricare Prime/Select, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Pinehurst, NC and Southern Pines, NC
  • Tracy Goldberg, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Individuals, Adolescents, Adults, Couples, Children and Families. Attention Deficit, Oppositional Defiance, Behavioral Issues, Peer Relationships, Family Conflict, Depression, Anxiety, Parenting Anxiety, ADHD, Self-Esteem Issues, Family Conflict/Divorce, Marriage Counseling, Adjustment Disorders, Relationship Issues, Grief and Loss, Communication Skills, Behavioral Issues, Coping Skills, Mood Disorders, Parent Skill Building, Christian Counseling upon request
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, Cash, HRA and FSA accepted

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC
  • Robin Caswell, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 5+), Individuals, Adults, Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Loss, ADHD, ODD, Trauma/PTSD, LGBTQ, Self-Harm, Military Family Life, Mood Disorders, OCD, Phobias
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Southern Pines, NC