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What is an LCSW?

LCSW is an acronym for Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  An LCSW is someone who has a Bachelor’s degree in a social work or a psychology related field and acquired 2 years of experience working in the helping profession prior to acceptance into a Masters in Social Work program accredited by the state of CA.  Once the Masters degree and internships are complete, this person must complete 3,200 hours of supervised work doing therapy, advocacy and assessment with the population of their choosing.  Once those hours are complete and approved by the State Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), this person can sit for a 4-hour comprehensive exam and once passed sit for the final 2-hour vignette exam.  After completion of the final exam, this person is now licensed to practice therapy with the population of their choosing.  All LCSW’s are monitored by the BBS for completion of on-going training, proper documentation of services and adherence to the Code of Ethics (please click on link to view the Code of Ethics).

For additional descriptions of an LCSW, please see the BBS website.

Who do I call in an emergency if it is your day off?

I will go over that in detail with you at the first session.  Please see the instructions for “what to do in an emergency” on the “Consent for Treatment” form which all current clients should have a copy of.  

If you are experiencing a life threatening emergency  (contemplating suicide is life threatening), please go to the nearest emergency room or call 9-1-1.

What is the difference between and LCSW and an MFT, psychologist or a psychiatrist?

There is little difference between an LCSW and an MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist), the small differences are defined at the BBS link posted above.  There are some differences in the type of schooling required, the post graduate hours required and the information tested by the state.  Both types of therapists have a Bachelors and Masters degree and have completed thousands of post graduate hours prior to passing the state licensing exam.

A psychologist is someone who has a Doctorate or Psy.D. degree in addition to a Masters degree.  They also have to have post-doctorate training and pass a test with the state.  Please go to the California Board of Psychology for more information.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who is specifically trained in working with psychiatric clients.  Currently, they are the only mental health professional that can prescribe medications.   If you feel like you need medications, this would be the type of professional to seek out.  Many psychiatrists are not able to do therapy given the time constraints they have.

If you are not sure what type of services would best suit you, I would be happy to meet with you for a few sessions to do an assessment and make recommendations for your treatment.  It is common for people to meet with both a therapist and a psychiatrist so that both their therapeutic and medication needs are being met.

What if I have an issue you feel you cannot help me with?

I pride myself on being an extremely ethical therapist.  I would never continue to work with someone whose needs exceeded my abilities.  If this were the case with you, I would work with you to find a more suitable therapist to work with your specific problems.  I encourage honesty between the therapist and client and would expect for you to voice your own concerns should you feel you are not getting the help you deserve.  Again, there are no consequences for this type of honesty and I would do my best to help you find a more suitable therapist.

Sometimes, there are other reasons why I would not be able to take certain clients.  One example of this is if I know you through either a former or current relationship.  As stated in our Code of Ethics, it is unethical to practice therapy with someone to whom you have a pre-existing relationship with.