What is an LCSW?

LCSW stands for "Licensed Clinical Social Worker". Therapists with these credentials have a graduate degree in social work. A "clinical" social worker differs from an ordinary social worker in that clinical social workers either primarily or exclusively provide therapy and counseling to clients. They have passed a national clinical examination, had two years of post-graduate clinical experience, and are licensed by the state that they practice in. Over half of practicing clinicians in the mental health field are clinical social workers.

Other clinicians who practice therapy but do not have degrees in social work may have degrees in education, counseling, or psychology. With therapists having so many different educational backgrounds, it can be difficult for clients to make sense of who it is that they should ideally meet with. In looking for a counselor, it is nearly impossible to ascertain the quality of a clinician based on a degree. All of the mental health related disciplines teach roughly the same subject matter and there is no one discipline that is uniformly "better" than another.

Browse this information for more detailed suggestions for selecting a therapist. In short, keep in mind that the most important factor in counseling is the working relationship that you are able to develop with your counselor, the type of experience that your therapist has, and the competence with which the clinician practices.