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It is true that a LP is required to have a doctoral degree in order to meet one of the requirements for getting a license to practice psychology, while a LCSW only needs to have a MSC, but this is not a criterion to distinguish a LP from LCSW as the former being more academically suited for a job in a health care setting than the other. "A psychology whose primary rationale is to promote social justice need not throw away its scientific aspirations. Indeed, the things it studies will be more rigorously arrived at. Hence its methods of solution will e more scientific than ever" (Bradley, 2005, p.3).
The globalization world is requiring disciplines to cooperate and help people in the twenty-first century cope with technological advances, scientific breakthroughs and new challenges that changed the pace of our society's development from one century to another. Walls between nations are falling, while transportation and communication means enable people to travel from one point on the globe to another and to exchange goods and information in a matter of hours or seconds. Societies are shaken and put to new tests and the field of behavioral sciences must keep up with the changes. Sociology and, in our case, Clinical Social Work, although deeply rooted in the field of psychology and using a whole range of methods and notions specific to psychology, became a filed that is required to support the whole health care system to work in the best interest of the population.
Bradley emphasizes that "psychology is both science and profession. As science it aims to accumulate knowledge through research. As profession it aims to sell services for the betterment of others and thereby advance the common good"(Bradley, 2005, p.19 ). The Clinical Social Work is "the professional application of social Work theory and methods to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of psychosocial dysfunction, disability or impairment, including emotional, mental and behavioral disorders (Barker, 2003)" (NASW, 2005, p.9). Both fields interact in their practice in so far they are seeking to work in the benefit of their clients who in turn will return to society that will benefit from their improvement as a whole. Research stands at the basis of both professions, but sociology is generally supposed to work with short-term therapies, as shown before and therefore, it is more adequate in the certain conditions in health care institutions, depending on third party funds and destined to serve a community.
There is a further distinction that is necessary to be made between a LCSW and the field of Social Work in general. Rebach and Bruhn have defined the clinical sociology as "the use and application of sociological theory, methods and findings to bring about social change at the individual, small group, organizational, community, institutional, or social system level (Bruhn & Rebach 1996; Kallen, 1995; Rebach & Bruhn 1991)" (Rebach, Bruhn, 2001, p.3). Rebach and Bruhn quote Straus (1995-9) to conclude that clinical sociology means "using theory to make sense out of life" (Straus,1995-9, quoted by Rebach&Bruhn, 2001, p. 396).
Both future LCSW and LP are supposed to have a certain number of years of clinical experience under the expertise of a master, depending on the state laws, in order to get their license to practice. The former is required to have beside the clinical course "at least three years full-time supervised post-graduate clinical social work experience in diagnosis, psychotherapy, and assessment-based treatment plans, or its part-time equivalent" ( OP New York State Education Department. Education Law. Art 154. Social Work. §7704. 2.c.). The latter is also required to have full time supervised experience in the field. The experience through apprenticeship that is inherited for earlier years in the field of clinical expertise is applied both to the LCSW and the LP.
First, both aforementioned workers are supposed to apply the information gathered during their academic studies and their clinical work to effective intervention. Psychologists as well as Licensed Clinical Social Workers are expected to act like a scientist that is using scientific methodologies specific to psychology, respectively Social Work, quantitative and/or qualitative methods of research in order to advance diagnosis hypothesis, choose between them and decide the appropriate treatment. While the psychologists usually address the specific problems of one patient or group of patients, the LCSW is dealing with "involvement in and the interaction with members of a specific social system" (Rebach, Bruhn, 2001, 15).
The clients of a LCSW could be individuals or groups, depending on the identified problem and the person, group, or institution who is asking for the assistance of such a professional. LCSW may address problems related to a specific individual, but they can also participate in developing and implementing programs, according to the identified problem, at a macro level. The different kinds of intervention, depending on the client and the settings in the work of a clinical social worker are providing diversity in this field (Rebach, Bruhn, 2001, 15). The context, according to Swann and Straus is crucial in the intervention of a clinical social worker because the same problem may require different theoretical approaches in order to be solved (Straus, 1984, p.2). The LCSW is a "change agent" that observes the environment the system in question is working in. He studies and analyses these systems in order to asses and then guide those who are involved in that system and affected by the studied environment. The aforementioned worker has to be able to assume the role of a director who makes decisions destined to alter relations, in order to create the premises for better interrelationship. According to Rebach and Bruhn, the professional in the field of clinical sociology must be able to adapt to each case and find solutions addressing each problem as a unique problem. He is also expected to guide the client toward addressing and resolving future similar problems alone. The LCSW is also supposed to work toward minimizing the chances for regression, preparing his or her client for a continual adaptation to social change (Rebach, Bruhn, 2001, p.34).
The same changes in science and technology and at a macro and micro level that occurred during the last years and made a LCSW be ready to assume several different activities during the day, affected the way a LP practices his profession. Diversity is required in both professions and the fields of practice have extended from being a "manager, a clinical supervisor, an educator, a therapist and a consultant" (Hersen, Gross, 2003, p.110) in the same work day." They are required to deal with various problems and subjects in different settings. Psychology has its roots in philosophy and it swept through art and science, leaning toward one or another along the way. The contemporary field of psychology, although it has its principles based on science, and it is a rigorous matter, it is also based on humanity. It deals with human beings in a social environment and although human behavior and human mind are considered objects of study with scientific methods and research, they also have a spiritual side that escapes scientific rigor.
The interrelationship between clients and LCSW or psychologists and their clients is a special field where both professionals have to be well aware of the ethics of their profession, the rules and regulations as well as learn the art of communication. First, they have to know themselves, in order to be able to get to know others and furthermore, help them solve their problems at a micro or macro level of their environment. Bradley emphasizes that the basis that helps a LCSW or a LP develop his skills and become successful in his or her field of work is common for disciplines like psychology, social work, occupational therapy and psychiatric nursing.
As all practitioners and academics emphasize, the field of work for both LP and LCSW requires excellent communication skills. Since "the structuring formula common to all clinical sociologists -- and to all the helping professions -- is that a client comes to them seeking help" (Rebach, Bruhn, 2001, p.37), they must be prepared to form "positive relationships with clients" (Rebach, Bruhn, 2001, p.37).
According to NCSPP, in 2002, the list of the competencies for a psychologist included the following: "relationship, diversity, assessment, intervention, research and evaluation, consultation, education, management, supervision." All these are available today for a LCSW, too. Moreover, a LCSW is required to be able to strategize, develop and implement programs at a macro-level, depending on the type of client. Cultural and ethnic issues are two elements brought by diversity in unity that are bringing new aspects that have to be especially addressed in both professions. The two practitioners have the goal to reintegrate their clients into the frame of their environment and the social aspect of the human existence is equally affecting their practices.
The contemporary social problems require theories in the…[continue]
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