Would I Make a Good Social Worker?
What makes an effective LCSW?
So, you’ve found yourself wondering “Would I make a good social worker?” on more than one occasion? You aren’t alone. It’s becoming a more and more popular question. We’ve put together a few more to help you come up with the right answer. Do you want to support individuals with their mental health and daily living needs? Then consider pursuing a career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). In order to become an LCSW, you must complete your master’s degree in social work and become licensed within the state you would like to practice. Becoming an LCSW requires you to use certain skills and abilities to be successful within the field. So it’s important to always stay ready to learn more!
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Job Description
An LCSW is trained in psychotherapy and provides counseling to individuals with mental health problems. They also help those who are experiencing difficulties in their daily lives. An LCSW provides therapy, case management, and advocacy to a diverse range of clients in many different clinical settings.
What Does a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Do?
According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the field of clinical social work specializes in providing “assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses, emotional, and other behavioral disturbances”. There are many types of settings an LCSW can work which include private practice, psychiatric and medical hospitals, community mental health, and social service agencies.
LCSW practitioners provide psychotherapy to address mental health treatment needs and improve daily functioning and living for adults, children, and families. Additionally, LCSWs have the unique ability to provide advocacy and case management to their clients and within organizations.
Many LCSWs explore different roles throughout their career, allowing their career to evolve over time. For example, an experienced LCSW can also provide clinical supervision and management to employees within mental health facilities and social service agencies as supervisors, mangers, and directors. There are many areas to explore within the field of social work as an LCSW.
Traits of a Good LCSW
EMPATHETIC: As an LCSW you must demonstrate empathy with your clients on a regular basis. You will often work with clients that are in emotional distress or a state of crisis. When you demonstrate empathy with your clients you make yourself relatable, which results in your clients feeling more comfortable to be open and share more personal information. It is your responsibility to express empathy so your clients feel heard, understood, and supported to build trust, progress treatment, and improve their quality of life.
PATIENCE: As an LCSW you often must demonstrate patience, as you are typically working with complex cases and a variety of client needs. Even with specific goals and treatment strategies in place, every client will progress at different rates and their needs will fluctuate and vary over time. Therefore, you must be able to demonstrate patience and not rush or get frustrated if they are not meeting goals or progressing at the pace you may expect. When LCSW practitioners demonstrate patience, they allow their clients to feel comfortable and supported, which ultimately builds trust and improves treatment outcomes.
Effective COMMUNICATOR and LISTENER: Providing effective and excellent communication and listening skills as an LCSW is very important. You have to clearly and appropriately express and discuss goals, treatment, and recommendations to your clients so they can understand and process the information your share. Furthermore, you must be able to listen and comprehend the information your client is providing you to provide appropriate and effective communication in return. No matter how knowledgeable and valuable the information, your clients will not be able to understand anything you share unless you listen to their feelings and needs and communicate effectively in a clear and appropriate way, tailored to your specific client’s age, needs, and abilities.
OBJECTIVE: There will be many stressful and emotional situations you experience with your clients as an LCSW. Therefore, it is highly important that you remain objective. This means you must remain calm and level-headed while providing support and treatment to your clients. You must be able to remain open-minded and non-judgmental when working with clients so you are able to provide the most appropriate and ethical treatment possible.
ORGANIZED: Having strong organizational skills will help you work efficiently and successfully as an LCSW. You are often managing heavy caseloads that require strong time management, clear note-taking and logic-based skills to help you remain organized and capable of providing the best care to your clients. Organization can also help ensure that your documentation is efficient and on-time, which protects you as a practitioner and helps you keep track of all the important information you learn about your clients throughout the treatment process.
DEPENDABLE: As an LCSW, you will work with individuals experiencing significant life stressors, emotional crises, and traumatic experiences. It is important that you can remain a dependable and stable resource for them when everything else in their lives may be unstable and uncertain. Dependability is a crucial and important character trait that LCSWs must have to maintain trust, build relationships, and effectively support their clients throughout the treatment process.
FLEXIBLE: LCSWs must deal with fluctuating demands. It would be difficult to effectively engage and support clients if you are rigid or unable to remain flexible as stressors and changes occur. You must be able to remain flexible and adapt to changes and needs as they arise with your clients and cases as an LCSW.
RESILIENT: As an LCSW you will likely deal with struggles, such as heavy caseloads and extremely distressed clients. Just as many of your clients may demonstrate resilience, you must also have emotional strength and persevere to effectively support and advocate for your client’s needs in treatment. Your role as an LCSW requires you to take on the burden, challenges, and heartache your clients experience and remain strong, so you provide the best therapeutic support throughout the treatment process.
PERSISTENT: There are many challenges and roadblocks that will arise when navigating the therapeutic and case management needs of your clients. You may need to make multiple calls and do additional research to obtain recommendations, resources, and treatment support for your clients. Therefore, you must be able to remain persistent and committed to obtaining the information and answers you need to provide the best resources and therapeutic support to your clients throughout the treatment process.