Licensed Clinical Social Workers by Anne Grasee

October 13, 2011

A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) assists individuals facing an array of mental health and daily living issues to improve functioning and quality of life. Trained in social work and psychotherapy, the professional must earn a Master of Social Work, and typical licensure requires working under the supervision of a licensed professional for nearly 3,000 hours. Next, the LCSW candidate must pass a test with written and oral components given by the state’s Board of Behavioral Examiners. While a license holds validity only in the state of issuance, a number of states offer reciprocal agreements based on additional training and/or experience.

[Czytelnia Humanistyczna BUR

Wikimedia Commons
Author: Piter]

While education and training remain paramount, a good LCSW possesses other equally significant attributes, including empathy. Competency also means maintaining flexibility and adaptability, depending on the circumstances. Because of patients’ heightened vulnerability, ethics holds greater significance than in most any other profession. The position also requires organizational skills in managing caseloads and the ability to collaborate effectively with resource providers and orchestrate a variety of services.

LCSWs treat patients of all ages dealing with emotional and/or mental conditions. Some patients abuse substances, and an LCSW might facilitate long-term assistance or group-home living arrangements. Other patients may face depression, recovery from a trauma, anxiety, fear, or the gamut of emotions. Still others find the changes or transitional periods in their lives unmanageable. Treatment may include families or groups as well as individuals and couples.

In addition to working in private practices, LCSWs provide services in such settings as mental health clinics, hospitals, and treatment centers. Prisons often release non-violent substance abusers for treatment by skilled social workers. The greatest benefit of achieving LCSW status remains sharing the joy when a patient regains a footing and can rejoin society in a meaningful way.

About the author: Possessing more than three decades of experience in psychotherapy and counseling, licensed clinical social worker Anne Grasee owns Life Change & Transitions, LLC, based in Denver.

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