Role Distinctions and Role Overlap Among Behavioral Health Providers

Wendy L. Ward*, Jason J. Washburn, Patrick T. Triplett, Sara L. Jones, Amber Teigen, Mikah Dolphin, Ole J. Thienhaus, Natasha Deal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Integrated behavioral health care (IBHC) models are a growing trend for health care delivery, particularly in the primary setting. Clinicians working within IBHC contexts provide a spectrum of behavioral health services, including screening, prevention and health promotion, assessment, and treatment services. Integration of behavioral health providers into primary and specialty medical settings addresses the significant need for behavioral health services, improves care quality, improves patient experience, and reduces costs of care, access issues, and delays in service provision. While benefits are clear, what type of model to implement and which behavioral health care providers to include in that model remain elusive. This is partly due to the failure of IBHC models to include all behavioral health providers in their design, a lack of clarity of the expertise of each provider, and how providers work together. IBHC models are also complicated by contextual issues such as the relative availability of each profession, population health needs in different clinic populations, and financial factors. The purpose of this manuscript is to the clarify roles and responsibilities of different behavioral health professions including similarities and differences in their training, areas of unique expertise (role distinctions), shared responsibilities (role overlap), and relative cost and availability in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-91
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Behavioral Health Providers
  • Education and Licensure
  • Health Service Psychology
  • Mental Health
  • Psychiatry
  • Scope of Practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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