by Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
Most states that have enacted title protection have decided that you can only legally call yourself a Social Worker if you hold a social work license. My problem with this is that in New York state the LMSW and LCSW only covers clinical work; who can do assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. There is no macro or community practice license in New York State or in most states for that matter. There for, if you choose to be a community practitioner (you focus on community organizing, public policy, etc) you don’t need to be licensed. If New York was to say you can only call yourself a Social Worker if you are licensed, as I said in the previous post, this would basically be defining Social Work as solely being about mental health counseling.
Now if I was an MSW who spent the past decade working in community practice and you all of a sudden tell me I’m not really a Social Worker because I opted not to go down the clinical road; I would be pissed beyond measure. What are your thoughts on this matter? Is title protection needed? If so how should we decided who gets to use the title of Social Worker?
Related reading: Why Aren’t All Social Workers Supported and Created Equal
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One must have a recognized social work degree whether BSW, MSW or both from an accredited university, be supervised within the profession for x amount of years and if they choose to do clinical work than they should be defined as a LSW – Licensed social worker once they pass a NATIONAL exam.
If a social worker is focusing on case mangement, policy, research, etc. than perhaps the RSW for registered social worker where one proves their education and work experience to a NATIONAL association.
I disagree Rachel, the MSW is not focused on clincal (client does not necessarily mean an individual) . In fact, it is the general license for macro practioners in NY. Wordy, I know, but I copied and pasted the current NYS educaiton law section covering this point. DIagnosis, “assessment based treatment plans, and independent psychotherpay are reserved for clincial social workers.
Â§ 7700. Introduction.
This article applies to the profession and practice of social work, the practice of licensed master social work and the practice of clinical social work, and to the use of the titles “licensed master social worker”, and “licensed clinical social worker”. The general provisions for all professions contained in article one hundred thirty of this title apply to this article.
Â§ 7701. Definitions.
Practice of licensed master social work.
The practice of licensed master social work shall mean the professional application of social work theory, principles, and the methods to prevent, assess, evaluate, formulate and implement a plan of action based on client needs and strengths, and intervene to address mental, social, emotional, behavioral, developmental, and addictive disorders, conditions and disabilities, and of the psychosocial aspects of illness and injury experienced by individuals, couples, families, groups, communities, organizations, and society.
Licensed master social workers engage in the administration of tests and measures of psychosocial functioning, social work advocacy, case management, counseling, consultation, research, administration and management, and teaching.
Licensed master social workers provide all forms of supervision other than supervision of the practice of licensed clinical social work as defined in subdivision two of this section.
Licensed master social workers practice licensed clinical social work in facility settings or other supervised settings approved by the department under supervision in accordance with the commissioner’s regulations.
Practice of clinical social work.
The practice of clinical social work encompasses the scope of practice of licensed master social work and, in addition, includes the diagnosis of mental, emotional, behavioral, addictive and developmental disorders and disabilities and of the psychosocial aspects of illness, injury, disability and impairment undertaken within a psychosocial framework; administration and interpretation of tests and measures of psychosocial functioning; development and implementation of appropriate assessment-based treatment plans; and the provision of crisis oriented psychotherapy and brief, short-term and long-term psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic treatment to individuals, couples, families and groups, habilitation, psychoanalysis and behavior therapy; all undertaken for the purpose of preventing, assessing, treating, ameliorating and resolving psychosocial dysfunction with the goal of maintaining and enhancing the mental, emotional, behavioral, and social functioning and well-being of individuals, couples, families, small groups, organizations, communities and society.
Diagnosis in the context of licensed clinical social work practice is the process of distinguishing, beyond general social work assessment, between similar mental, emotional, behavioral, developmental and addictive disorders, impairments and disabilities within a psychosocial framework on the basis of their similar and unique characteristics consistent with accepted classification systems.
Psychotherapy in the context of licensed clinical social work practice is the use of verbal methods in interpersonal relationships with the intent of assisting a person or persons to modify attitudes and behavior which are intellectually, socially, or emotionally maladaptive.
Development of assessment-based treatment plans in the context of licensed clinical social work practice refers to the development of an integrated plan of prioritized interventions, that is based on the diagnosis and psychosocial assessment of the client, to address mental, emotional, behavioral, developmental and addictive disorders, impairments and disabilities, reactions to illnesses, injuries, disabilities and impairments, and social problems.
Â§ 7702. Authorized practice and the use of the titles “licensed master social worker” and “licensed clinical social worker”.
In addition to the licensed social work services included in subdivisions one and two of section seventy-seven hundred one of this article, licensed master social workers and licensed clinical social workers may perform the following social work functions that do not require a license under this article, including but not limited to:
Serve as a community organizer, planner, or administrator for social service programs in any setting.
Provide supervision and/or consultation to individuals, groups, institutions and agencies.
Serve as a faculty member or instructor in an educational setting.
Plan and/or conduct research projects and program evaluation studies.
Maintain familiarity with both professional and self-help systems in the community in order to assist the client in those services when necessary.
Assist individuals or groups with difficult day to day problems such as finding employment, locating sources of assistance, organizing community groups to work on a specific problem.
Consult with other agencies on problems and cases served in common and coordinating services among agencies or providing case management.
Conduct data gathering on social problems.
Serve as an advocate for those clients or groups of clients whose needs are not being met by available programs or by a specific agency.
Assess, evaluate and formulate a plan of action based on client need.
Provide training to community groups, agencies, and other professionals.
Provide administrative supervision.
Practice of “licensed master social work” and use of the title “licensed master social worker” and designation “LMSW”.
Only a person licensed or exempt under this article shall practice “licensed master social work” as defined in subdivision one of section seventy-seven hundred one of this article.
Only a person licensed pursuant to subdivision one of section seventy-seven hundred four of this article shall use the title “licensed master social worker” or the designation “LMSW”.
Practice of “licensed clinical social work” and use of the title “licensed clinical social worker” and designation “LCSW”.
Only a person licensed or exempt under this article shall practice “licensed clinical social work” as defined in subdivision two of section seventy-seven hundred one of this article.
Only a person licensed pursuant to subdivision two of section seventy-seven hundred four of this article shall use the title “licensed clinical social worker” or the designation “LCSW”.