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  • Kara Tolman, LCSW

Defining the Role of Your Therapist

You may have noticed on our website the importance we place on providing evidence based care from highly trained clinicians who have a passion for mental health. At Honeybee, we pride ourselves on both our quality of care and ethical standards. While those standards are internalized values of the clinicians, the standards are backed by the boards which license them.

The majority of clinicians at Honeybee are licensed clinical social workers. While there are lots of paths to providing therapy- for example, becoming a PhD of psychology [psychologist], a PsyD [psychologist], an LMFT [marriage and family therapist], an LPC [psychological associate or counselor], or LCMHC [mental health counselor],- social workers approach therapy from a unique standpoint of assessing both the person with whom they are working as well as the systems impacting that person.

Social workers are the nation's largest providers of mental health services, and the label of social worker has what is called “title protection” in many states meaning that in order to use the title, the person must have completed a certain level of education and completed as well as a certain level of licensure to practice their skills.

Psychologists also have title protection which varies around the country but generally means they must have completed a PhD or a PsyD as well as testing for licensure in order to be able to label themselves as a psychologist. Masters level psychology professionals are, as a result, not able to use the same title.

You may be wondering whether titles even matter. We would suggest that the title matters because it reflects the amount of education your clinician has as well as the lens your therapist may be using in working with you. It also reflects the oversight board which may be setting the limits and boundaries around the work your therapist provides.

For example, the code of ethics for social workers requires that we practice from a place that honors the dignity and worth of our clients and ourselves, demonstrates integrity and competence, and in which we challenge social injustice and recognize the importance of human relationships.

As a result, social workers are trained to be able to conduct assessments, provide diagnoses, and offer treatment for emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders from a framework of social and cultural understanding. Social workers acknowledge the biological basis of behavior, as well, and we work as client advocates and often engage in community organizing.

It is our position that all therapists should be practicing from a place of evidence and should be under supervision or have completed the full scope of their own training in order to ensure they are providing ethical care. For example, all therapists at Honeybee receive supervision- either with Rachel providing it, in group peer supervision, or a combination of both.

To this end, Honeybee also works with students to help develop future social workers and counselors. We currently have an intern who will be pursing licensure as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC). Monica Flores de Valgaz is currently in her master’s degree program at Northwestern University. She is working towards being able to diagnose and treat mental and behavioral disorders, as well.

Similarly to an LCSW, she will also have to take a licensure exam and complete a period of time under supervision in order to be able to practice independently. Despite having two different names, both licensures provide quality care to individuals by helping them learn valuable coping skills that will improve their overall quality of life.

We hope this overview helps bring a little more knowledge and understanding about your clinicians and reflects our commitment to you and our field as representatives and ambassadors.

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