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Career Story: Counselor And Clinical Social Worker

Counselor And Clinical Social Worker

Job Title: Clinical Social Worker, In Private Practice

Type of Company: Private Practice doing individual, couple and family therapy.

Education: BA, St John's Seminary College •• (Camarillo, CA) •• Simmons College School of Social Work (Boston, MA)

Previous Experience: I worked as a clinical social worker, supervisor and executive director for 26 years before going into private practice.

Job Tasks: I counsel people with emotional, cognitive and relationship problems. Most of my clients are adults; some are adolescents and a few are children. The most common issues people come to me about are anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, gambling and internet addictions, fears, relationship problems and family conflict.

I usually see 7 or 8 clients per day, 4 days per week. Each session lasts for about 50 minutes. Between clients I make phone calls, do paper work, check the records of the next client. If there are cancellations I may read or take a walk. On my off day, I do billing to insurance companies and track payments that come in. Periodically I go to educational seminars, at least 15 hours per year. I am continually reading books in the field.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best aspects of my job? I work for myself at my own pace. I talk with people about some of the most important things in their lives. I meet people from all walks of life and learn a lot about different ways of living.

The worst: Since I work for myself, I don't get paid if I want a vacation or am out sick. Insurance companies can be a pain with their byzantine requirements on how you go about getting authorization to see someone and how you have to bill for your services.

Job Tips:
1. You need at least a masters degree, so be prepared for a lot of schooling.

2. You may be working for relatively little compensation for the first few years.

3. Get experience with a lot of different age groups and types of people and problems.

4. Consider doing volunteer work. This may help you decide if this is a career for you; if nothing else, it will help you to get into a graduate school.

Additional Thoughts: You must like people and be non-judgmental with divergent life styles. You must be able to keep information to yourself as most of what is talked about is confidential.

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