Job Title: Psychiatric Social Worker
Type of Company: I work in the psychiatry clinic of a large teaching hospital and have a private psychotherapy practice.
Education: BA, Psychiatry, Wellesley College MSW, Smith College School for Social Work
Previous Experience: I worked in the in-patient units of two psychiatric hospital and then in the out-patient psychiatry clinic of a general hospital, and had a private psychotherapy practice.
Job Tasks: I provide evaluations, long- and short-term psychotherapy to patients who are referred to the psychiatry clinic by their primary car doctors. In a typical week, I do one evaluation of a new patient, which takes about an hour, and have about ten 45-minute therapy sessions with ongoing patients. I write notes in the electronic medical record. I participate in a teaching conference in which psychiatrists-in-training present their work to a group of seasoned colleagues. I attend a weekly staff meeting. I work at this job twenty hours a week. I am about to be laid off, because the hospital I work for no longer appreciates the kind of work social workers do in this setting and is eliminating most of the positions in my clinic. Psychiatrists will also be laid off.
In my private practice, the work with patients is much the same, but of course I am also responsible for running the business end of things. This involves billing and assorted dealings with insurance companies, which can be frustrating and time consuming. A billing service helps me with that.
The wonderful things about this work have to do with the interactions with patients and colleagues. Although often sad and or disturbing, the privilege of being allowed to share in another person's inner life is always moving and fascinating.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts are the feeling of satisfaction when patients improve or at least remain stable, and the enjoyment from regular contact with colleagues who are true friends, and who share common interests and goals with abundant humor and caring.
The worst parts are the sometimes sleepless nights worrying about someone's safety. The frustration of dealing with managed care insurance and excessive paperwork are also horrible.
Job Tips: Get a good liberal arts education.
Read a lot, especially fiction. Study literature, which has a lot to teach about human nature.
Don't expect to make a lot of money.
Consider developing an interest in geriatrics or end-of-life care, for which there will be greater and greater need.
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).
Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
For over 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, quality career education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions.
Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.
Welcome to Argosy University
Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges: College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education, College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.
For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.
One of the world's leading private research institutions, the University of Southern California (USC) was founded in 1880.
Pursue a certificate, master, or doctorate degree in Psychology at The Chicago School for Professional Psychology.
Adler University Online Graduate Degree Programs
Adler University offers fully online, accredited master’s degrees with the academic rigor, personal attention, and commitment to social responsibility that have distinguished our institution for more than 60 years.
Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.
Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.
The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.
Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.
Most stories include:
Please also see our detailed information about Psychiatrists, including: