The Difference between LPCs and LCSWs
The work responsibilities of Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) often overlap. But what are the differences between LPCs and LCSWs in terms of education, licensing, and job description?
LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor)
To become an LPC or a Licensed Professional Counselor, one must obtain a license(1) that regulates the practice of providing mental health counseling. This particular license is what separates LPCs from other individuals who provide advice or counseling services, such as members of the clergy, spiritual advisors, and even financial consultants. As an LPC, an individual must possess a high level of professionalism and should follow strict ethical and confidentiality standards.(2)
A majority of licensed professional counseling jobs require a master’s degree at the very least. As undergraduates, students aspiring to become LPCs need to complete a bachelor’s course in psychology or a related program, such as coursework in human development, statistics, or the foundations of behavior.(3) Likewise, master’s degree programs that specifically pertain to major counseling professions, such as marriage and family counseling, mental health counseling, and behavior analysis are available.(4) As a requirement for completing clinical experience, students must work in the field under licensed supervisors.
LPCs provide individual-based mental health counseling and lean toward a more collaborative approach than other means of mental health counseling. In addition, LPCs tend to be more flexible when it comes to methodologies than social work or psychology. As a result, LPCs are usually able to make use of innovative or uncommon approaches to treat their clients. They are also able to use the therapies they deem effective as long as the method is within the bounds of ethical standards as well as the legal guidelines for counseling professionals established by the state in which one practices. (5) This kind of flexibility in methods and practices is what most people find appealing in choosing a career in professional counseling and in selecting this particular branch of mental health therapy.
Understanding the client’s situation and establishing rapport are the principal means LPCs use in order to develop a series of interventions to resolve the client’s. This is usually done by altering and refining the client’s ability to make decisions. In general, LPCs work with the client on an individual and intrinsic level to ensure that the client focuses on the steps they can take within themselves to change their situation. This aspect makes the work of LPCs substantially different from social work, where an analysis of the client’s societal and economic position, along with their current environment in the home, play a material role in the type of therapy.(6)
To summarize, the LPC designation refers only to those who are licensed by a state board to provide mental therapy based on professional counseling. To receive this license, one must have advanced degrees and training. Academic requirements usually include a minimum of a master’s degree in counseling, as well as post-graduate supervised experience. As with most professionals who need to obtain licenses to be allowed to practice, LPCs must abide by high ethical and confidentiality standards according to the provisions dictated by the state board. To come up with the best way for the counseling sessions to have preferred outcomes, the LPC and the patient must work together and employ a collaborative approach. This approach is also specifically designed for each individual client, particularly their decision making process, in order to help the client achieve his or her objectives and goals. Finally, LPCs can access a broad range of potential programs and means for therapies in mental health.
LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
The LCSW or Licensed Clinical Social Worker is a subset of social work with a specialization in mental health therapy in the form of counseling. To become an LCSW, one must undergo a significant amount of training, which includes earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program. Depending on the state where one earns the degree or where one intends to practice, the requirements for acquiring the title of LCSW vary. In most cases, however, requirements include an MSW and considerable post-graduate supervised experience. Moreover, one needs to pass a national clinical social work test that is approved by the ASWB.(7) (8)
The work of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker primarily revolves around what is called a strength-based approach to client counseling. In this approach, the LCSW is required to work with the client to assess their own situation by considering internal as well as external factors, such as home, career, one’s position in the society, and economic status. Doing so helps the client identify both their strengths and weaknesses. Conducting treatment in this manner makes social work a holistic approach to mental health therapy and sets it apart from the way LPCs and other mental health professionals perform their functions. Once the strengths and weaknesses have been determined, the qualities perceived as strengths will be used to determine the most effective means possible to address the weaknesses. The succeeding phase involves a collaboration between the LCSW and the client to formulate a series of precise steps, which will bring about positive changes in the life of the client.(6)
To summarize, the LCSW designation refers to individuals who are licensed by a state board to provide mental therapy based on social work. To become an LCSW, one must earn at minimum a MSW. Signing an ethics pledge or oath is often necessary, and a practitioner must abide by high ethical and confidentiality standards according to the provisions by the state board. An LCSW must use a strength-based approach that is rooted in research on treating clients. He or she must also be able to assess and make clinical evaluations of the client’s mental health, as well as diagnose any mental illness. Furthermore, an LCSW must be able to make judgements on the best series of treatments that take into account the current clinical research in the field of social work.
Jobs in counseling and social work are in demand. They are also rewarding because both fields involve helping individuals who are dealing with mental health problems. You can choose to pursue either career path depending on the type of counseling and mental therapy you want to provide.
Search DifferenceBetween.net :
Email This Post : If you like this article or our site. Please spread the word. Share it with your friends/family.
Wendi Garcia. "The Difference between LPCs and LCSWs." DifferenceBetween.net. February 23, 2017 < http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/career-education/the-difference-between-lpcs-and-lcsws/ >.
Leave a Response
Written by : Wendi Garcia. and updated on February 23, 2017
See more about : LCSWs, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Professional Counselors, LPCs