By Harry Bliss
|Myth:||For psychotherapy or other mental health services, |
you need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist.
|Fact:||Social workers are the largest group of practitioners|
providing psychotherapy and other mental health
services.In fact, social workers are often the
only mental healthcare providers in many rural
and remote communities. Social work is unique
among the helping professions because it
looks at people's problems within the
context of their families, workplace and
communities and considers the connection
between personal problems and larger social issues.
Found at http://www.oasw.org
Back when I was entering grad school I was trying to decide whether I wanted to study for an MFT degree (masters in family therapy) or an MSW degree (masters in social work). I spoke to various professionals and informed them that my ultimate goal was to begin a private practice in psychotherapy. I learned that social workers can provide therapy and often social workers can obtain jobs that MFTs cannot as many employers prefer MSWs.
There are a lot of different areas in social work and I think most individuals are lead to believe that social workers work with children and families only. I think social workers have a reputation for being baby snatchers. Individuals who walk into homes and take children away from unfit parents.
Not me. I currently work as a psychiatric social worker in a long term psychiatric hospital. It is there that I am able to conduct one on one therapy as well as other case management duties. My long term goal is to obtain my license where I will be considered a LCSW (licensed clinical social worker). At that time I will be able to pursue a private practice if I so choose.
It was surprising to me that when I entered my grad school program that there were some students that had no idea that social workers could be therapists. I remember when one particular student asked me what my concentration was and when I told her it was mental health she asked me rudely, "Then why are you in social work?"
When one enters a social work program there are concentrations available. Some may choose to work with families and children, some macro work which will most likely entail grant writing and policy change (Yuck! God bless em' we need people in this line of work but I would never have the patience or interest in such a thing. Funnily enough many macro social workers find the idea of sitting with a patient all day to be a daunting idea).
Like a MFT student I studied psychology, therapy modules, the DSM (diagnostical and statistical manual of mental disorder) aka The Bible and issues surrounding substance abuse and domestic violence.
If you are ever to seek therapy pay attention to the licensure titles. LCSW, LMFT, Psy. D, Ph.D, M.D.. Ask about the therapists background and why they chose the clinical area they did. And if you get a social worker, know that we are competent!