jeden článok, ktorý ma zaujal …má priam bojový nádych, ale páči sa mi :) (winter 2009):
Are We Not Social Workers?
Britt Rathbone, LCSW-C
There’s a cloud hanging over social work. The way we are perceived by the
public and the way we perceive ourselves impact our professional identity.
Social workers are often viewed as government officials who manage
food stamps or other entitlement programs or overworked bureaucrats
who take children away from their parents. Or the average person may
just be confused by what it is we do. No wonder many of us refer to ourselves
as psychotherapists rather than clinical social workers.
In graduate school the message was “be proud of your identity as a
social worker.” We were told about the significant contribution social
workers make to outpatient mental health care in this country. We were
instructed not to feel inferior to psychologists and psychiatrists and to
advocate for our unique ability to integrate biological, psychological, and
environmental variables when providing treatment. We have a unique
perspective and a strong emphasis on clinical training in graduate school.
We are social workers.
Now I agree that the name “social worker” is not particularly descriptive.
The profession has changed significantly since the first social work
school was established in 1898. The New York School for Philanthropy,
later the Columbia University School of Social Work, initially trained volunteers
and “friendly visitors” to serve the poor. What a long way wehave come.
Now we are an indisputable profession and provide valuable and skilled services
to all socioeconomic levels, including the poorest of the poor and the richest
of the rich. The profession is no longer a volunteer
activity and is not dominated by the wealthy spouses of
industry leaders. It is populated by educated and skilled
men and women who hope to earn respectable incomes
to support themselves and their families. Social workers
are bright and competent professionals.
And what a job! Social work is a profession that allows
for careers in administration, community organization,
clinical work, supervision, teaching, and advocacy. Clinical
social workers have the opportunity to work in a variety
of settings depending on their tolerance for risk and
predictability (agencies, government, schools, hospitals,
clinics, private practice, etc.).
Clinical social workers provide a large share of outpatient
mental health care in this country and the field is growing.
Over the next eight years the need for social workers
is expected to increase by 22%, far surpassing the average
for all occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational
Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 Edition).
Yet we have an identity problem. Many of us shy away
from the term “social worker” and distance ourselves
publicly from the social work profession. Too many of
us use terms and phrases like, therapist, psychotherapist,
and, “I work in mental health.” The solution to this identity
problem is to proudly and confidently announce that
we are social workers. Then help others understand what
we really do—educate when necessary, so that the public
begins to understand. Let’s be proud of who we are
and what we have to offer. “I’m a clinical social worker!”
And leave it at that. No qualifier, no spontaneous further
explanation. If asked for more explanation, respond; but
let’s allow professional success and expertise to speak for
When we are interviewed by the media, insist that we
are called a clinical social worker, not a psychotherapist.
Anyone can call themselves a psychotherapist—it is not a
term that is regulated. Not everyone can call themselves
a clinical social worker, and we have the numbers behind
us. We are the single largest provider of mental health
care in this country. So why do we, the largest provider
group, still feel wary of our profession and secondary to
many other mental health care providers?
Let’s be proud of our degrees and the work we do, the
services we provide and the many facets of our profession.
We don’t need to be doctors to get credibility.
What other profession focuses so heavily on direct clinical
experience and ongoing supervision? So why do we
accept lower reimbursement rates from insurance companies?
Why do we allow ourselves to be undervalued
in the marketplace? Are we buying into a paradigm the
insurance companies invented—that we have less value?
Or are we really the ones who invented the paradigm?
Are we allowing the insurance companies to exploit our
Do psychologists say they are psychotherapists when
asked what they do? Do other professions over explain?
Do attorneys say “I’m a lawyer…I litigate”? Would psychiatrists
with less therapy experience accept a lower
reimbursement rate than social workers? Probably not.
They are secure in the identity of their professions. So
let’s act as though we are secure in our identity. The public
will get on board when we get on board. Respect will
come with self-respect.
We are social workers. We are proud!