Friday, October 28, 2011

who's better

So I've been set off by a facebook post that began a slight debate that I have not really partaken with in some time. What is this great debate?

Who's better...the social worker or the counselor. or. LCSW vs. LCPC

We are not even going to throw psychologists or psychiatrists into this argument.

The debate usually comes up when someone is considering grad school.

Of course, as an LCPC (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor) I understand that I do have a bias towards my own certification over the LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker).

Now I can definitely step back and take an objective perspective to this. Both have their advantages. They really do. I have worked with both in different settings. Social services management, direct services, case management, and government, for profit and non-for profit work.

In my opinion, the main difference, simplified is breadth vs. depth. Someone may come along and argue that, but I don't really care. I think it just depends on which is more important to you. See, I actually tend to be more of a "breadth" person, I love having lots of kinds of knowledge in different areas, which allows me to speak to lots of different people about different things. However, in this debate, I am more of a depth person.

Social workers are trained in a variety of different things. Theory, psychopharmacology, legislation and lobbying, clinical skills, research, law, welfare, policy, etc. Look up any curriculum.

Counselors however are trained in almost strictly theoretical and clinical skills. You have to continually prove that you know theories, the DSM, clinical diagnosis and counseling skills and then prove that you can use them (not just know them) effectively to move on to each stage of your education. Including practicums in counseling couples, families, adolescents, groups, individuals, etc. and giving assessments. Look up this curriculum now and see the difference.

So what makes one better than the other? It depends on what you want to do with your degree. Now, social workers have to their advantage the fact that they advocate for themselves better in governmental institutions than counselors do, because they have that knowledge base. You often see more social workers in social programs, homeless, seniors, hospitals, military, DCFS, etc. However this is not exclusively the case. So there are often more opportunities in say the military or government jobs for social workers. Their ability to advocate has also allowed for more consistency across state lines in licensure laws. Counseling licensure still varies state to state.

Counselors on the other hand, from my experience, are very good therapists. That is what the training is in. They do well in non-for profits or private practices or whatever where they can counsel clients directly, and have less involvement in programming, grant writing, larger macro issues. (again, not exclusively).

So this is my simplistic analysis. Both are very vital positions. In my opinion. I enjoy doing hands on therapy with clients and getting down to the nitty gritty, like solving a puzzle, which is maybe why I am biased towards Counseling. I just came out of a social services management position, and trained case managers and ran a state funded senior service program, which maybe was better suited for the training of a social worker. And I will try my best to avoid going back into.

And there you have it.
The debate will probably continue.
I'm sure there are other fields that have similar "wars" going on.
 Curious what they are.

And these are my 2 cents worth. Maybe 3. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

why blog

I'm not quite sure why I have decided to retry a blog. Facebook is not quite thorough enough, and there are thoughts I often want to expand upon. although I do enjoy seeing what others are up to. And somehow facebook has replaced Livejournal in my friend circle. And while I do have an old fashioned type of journal, its more about my psychological and spiritual growth and is often too philosophical for even me to reread.

So here we are.

As I type my kitten is staring at me, willing me to play, which means in her terms, bite and claw at my hands. But she's so adorable, its difficult to resist.

I love, absolutely love having this kitten.
She came to us at an interesting time, which can only be called perfect.

There is a timeline here. Over the summer, we were blessed to discover that we are pregnant and due in February. Something we've wanted fora while now. Additionally I was working a social services management job that I was not enjoying AT ALL. So when the time was right, and had 2 part time direct service counseling jobs offered to me, which were flexible enough to work with my desire to work part time when I am a mom, I quit the management job. Oh how freeing that has been!!

Approximately 4 days after I was done with that position and started the part time ones, we went to the in-laws for Labor Day weekend. In their barn one morning my father in law and I found this orphaned 2 week old kitten near some dead ones. Clearly unable to fend for herself, we brought her into the house. Bill and I decided to take her home after we saw no signs of mama cat coming back. A 2 week old kitten is pretty time consuming; we had to feed her every few hours, with a bottle, groom her, teach her to deficate, spend social time with her, etc. I never would have been able to swing that with the old job.

Whats been interesting to me is the prep-work I feel its given me for aspects of motherhood. Even if it was a short spell of checking on her and feeding her throughout the night, I still did it. The guilt of leaving her at home while I work. Getting excited at her small feats/accomplishments. I mean, I got excited when she pooped for the first time! Being responsible about my time, making sure she isn't alone too long. Taking her to the kitty doctor for her shots. And even now, over 2 months old, as she's going into kitty toddler-hood, and she wants to play rough, I just want to snuggle with her. Can it really be like when your kid starts to pull away? Or am I just overthinking all of this.

One way or another I like it. I like the responsibility for something other than myself. It makes me excited to be a parent of a human. Its taken away a little of the fear, makes me feel like I have a bit more purpose and am moving towards the life I have been meant to live. Its funny the little things that prepare us in important little ways.