What do the letters after a person’s name mean?

M.D. - Medical Doctor: 

This one you already knew, right? Psychiatrists are medical doctors (although some are D.O.s).  Their education includes a four year undergraduate degree + 4 years of medical school, and  then 4 years of residency training after med school (for psychiatrists).  As a comparison, family practice doctors and internists finish 3 years of residency training after medical school.  Thus, psychiatrists are in a unique position to evaluate the need for psychiatric medications, and to evaluate the impact other medical conditions may have on a psychiatric condition. 

D.O. - Doctor of Osteopathy: 

Very similar to an M.D. Osteopaths generally have the same residency training as M.D. physicians. Their medical schools include additional training in physical manipulation techniques somewhat similar to chiropractic.


Ph.D. psychologists have about 5 years of graduate training in psychology and usually an undergraduate psychology major as well. Psy.D. psychologists have almost as much training but with less emphasis on performing research. In order to obtain a license as a psychologist most states require a further 1 or 2 years of post-graduate supervised experience in the field. Masters level psychologists are not addressed as "doctor" and have only about 2 years of graduate training

Note: You can also get a Ph.D which stands for “doctor of philosophy” in Social Work, Nursing,  English, Mathematics, and Philosophy.

N.P.- Nurse Practitioner:

Nurses who have obtained a masters degree can apply for a nurse practitioner license.  Nurse practitioners may open their own practice, and may prescribe medication under the supervision of a medical doctor.  According to the North Carolina Medical Board www.ncmedboard.org they must have an ongoing collaborative practice agreement with a medical doctor.

There others APBN, “advanced practice nurse-board certified” (exact details to be updated soon)

P.A.- Physician’s assistant: 

This is another type of “physician-extender” that requires completion of a physicians assistant program.  PA’s may also prescribe medication under the supervision of a medical doctor.

D.S.W. - Doctor of Social Work: 

An advanced social work degree, often held by educators in social work.

L.C.S.W.- Licensed clinical social worker: 

Usually 2 years of graduate training with an emphasis on psychotherapy, an internship also emphasizing psychotherapy, and a year or two of supervised post-graduate work before obtaining the license.

Ed.D. - Doctor of Education.  Many Schools of Education confer this degree. A recipient can be a psychologist, an educational administrator, or someone in another education-related field.

DCM - Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine:  A chiropractor who completes a 4 year program.

D.Min. - A minister. Possibly a doctoral level pastoral counselor, but not always. Th.D. or D.Div. are also used.

J.D. - Doctor of Jurisprudence - An attorney. Some mental health professionals also have law degrees.


13123 Rosedale Hill Ave.

Huntersville, NC  28078


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Insight Psychiatry Inc., Robin Stone, M.D.

13123 Rosedale Hill Ave., Huntersville  NC  28078  -  704-948-3810