What Is a Clinical Social Worker?

What is a clinical social worker


A Clinical Social Worker and How are They Different from Psychologists

What is a Clinical Social Worker? Many individuals have a basic understanding of what the social work profession entails, but it is so much bigger than people realize. More than just a caseworker in the foster system or someone working for CPS, a social worker can work across many different fields. In fact, most social workers find themselves in the mental health profession and not all social workers are licensed to work in a clinical environment. So what is a clinical social worker?


What is A Clinical Social Worker?

When answering the question, “what is a clinical social worker,” you should first define social work. Social work practice is defined by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) as consisting “of the professional application of social work values, principles, and techniques to one or more of the following ends: helping people obtain tangible services; counseling and psychotherapy with individuals, families, and groups; helping communities or groups provide or improve social and health services; participating in legislative processes.

When asking the question, what is a clinical social worker, you should know they fall into the category of mental health services where a professional focuses on assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness and behavioral issues.


How Do They Differ from Psychologists?

What is a clinical social worker compared to a psychologist? Different from psychologists, clinical social workers do not need a doctoral degree to be able to practice. Clinical social workers study specifically counseling and its mental, behavioral, and emotional impacts on an individual and are required to have a master’s degree in their field. Psychologists attend graduate school for psychology and receive a Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy) or a PsyD (doctor of psychology.) Overall, psychology follows a researched-based approach rather than a human services approach.


How Might You Benefit from Working with A Clinical Social Worker?

What is a clinical social worker able to help with? If you are asking the questions, “what is a clinical social worker,” then you might be interested in learning more about mental health services in your area.

Finding Answers to Your Symptoms

Newly presented or long-lasting symptoms of mental and behavioral health issues like depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more can be scary when you do not know what the cause is. What is a clinical social worker able to help with? They can help put a face to your symptoms and finally provide answers and insight into why you feel and act the way you do.

Teach You Helping Strategies

When you are diagnosed with a mental or behavioral health issue, it is important to find strategies that lead to a better quality of life. What is a clinical social worker better at then teaching you tips and techniques that help you cope and conquer your new or existing diagnoses? Even if you do not have a formal diagnosis, a clinical social worker can still help you navigate confusing or difficult times in your life and find ways to grow through them.

Connect You to Resources

There are usually more resources in your area than you think that can help you on your journey toward mental and behavioral balance. What can a clinical social worker do for you? They can help build a bridge between you and these resources so that you have all the help you need to get on your way.

What is a clinical social worker? A clinical social worker is someone who can work with you to identify and navigate complex mental, behavioral, and emotional situations in your life, reach conclusions regarding mental and behavioral diagnosis and refer you to important resources to help you through difficult times. 


© Copyright 2020 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by

  • 1 comment
  • Leave a Comment
  • Cheryl

    October 7th, 2020 at 9:41 AM

    Looking for a Lcsw counselor who takes United Health Care Dual Complete

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.