I am a hardcore fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.” However, one of the things I cannot stand about these shows is the way they portray all mental health professionals the same way. They will show psychiatrists offering hour-long psychotherapy sessions, while social workers will come in and tell clients what medications to take—it’s messed up.
However, I think this lack of understanding is a common misconception for everyday people as well. Many people don’t realize that not all providers offer the same services. I also think that some providers end up overstepping their roles and doing things beyond their scope of practice. But, if people don’t understand what different mental health professionals can and cannot do, how are they supposed to know that they aren’t receiving the correct treatment from the best possible provider?
From social workers to psychiatrists, here are all the different mental health professionals and what they can and cannot provide.
Social workers can hold many jobs once they obtain their degree and license, but a significant number of them end up offering clinical services such as individual therapy. If properly licensed, social workers can also provide family or couples counseling, substance use treatment, grief counseling, and career planning services.
Social workers often work in more acute settings, such as psychiatric hospitals. They perform intake assessments, help with discharge planning, and lead group therapy. Sometimes social workers also serve as case managers for individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses.
Despite all the things social workers can do, only Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) with a master’s degree or higher can provide most
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