|05-20-2012, 03:40 PM||#1|
Hunter School of Social Work-- Quality of Counseling/Clinical Skills...MHC?
Hello, I am a newly accepted student to Hunter's School of Social Work. I hear that the program is excellent, particularly the clinical track-- which is what I am pursuing.
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I have my undergrad in psychology and have gained familiarity with psychotherapeutic concepts from this perspective. When viewing the social work curriculum it seems that psychotherapy is taught from a social work purview-- meaning I find some of the terminology to be somewhat different and find the focus to be infused with a "social consciousness/social justice" slant.
I honestly am not sure if my reading of social work clinical training is correct. But it seems like social work incorporates social status and culture to a large extent, and in so doing, sometimes loses perspective of the individual. I don't favor this approach to counseling. I think it presupposes understanding people by understanding the society they are brought up in, and though our social contexts are an important piece of who we are, I feel that this perspective allows individual traits to be grossly overlooked, and understanding individuality is an important piece to treating people.
In reviewing the social work curriculum-- core courses like "Human Behavior and the Environment", "Social Policy", "Social Work Ways of Knowing and Communicating"-- the core classes seem to stress environmental factors for treatment at the expense of individual factors for treatment. The individual and family counseling courses for the clinical track at Hunter College SSW are more individual based, and therefore are more to my liking, so I am excited about taking on these classes.
I am just concerned that by taking on these "social work" courses that seem to be less "therapy" based, I will be losing the chance to acquire the clinical skills that I feel are valuable to treating mental disorders.
I have considered going the mental health counseling track for this reason. (I have been accepted to Brooklyn College, so anyone who can speak for that program, please tell me your thoughts.) Mental health counseling is more in line with my psych undergrad training. Still, I know it is less established than social work and there seems to be more opportunity for employment and financial gain for MSWs who later become LCSWs.
So my problem in a nutshell is, I am not sure if the social work training will give me the clinical chops I want. In particular, I wonder, does Hunter College have a good clinical program?
I also am not sure if Mental Health Counseling will suit me better, and am I correct to assume that MHCs are more limited financially and professionally than LCSWs?
Third, suppose I choose to study social work, can I enroll in extra counseling classes after my MSW? Can anybody include links where such training is available for LCSWs?
Sorry for the very long post, but I felt I needed to give sufficient background in order for my questions and concerns to be addressed properly. I am interested to hear from all, especially LCSWs from Hunter College and Hunter College students in general. I also would like to hear from MHCs that may tell me their experience in the field in NYC. Do they feel they are limited financially/professionally? Would they have preferred to do social work?
Thanks to all in advance.
Last edited by goodfella1; 05-20-2012 at 03:44 PM. Reason: Grammar
|05-21-2012, 10:36 AM||#2|
M.S.W. Student at Hunter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Your perception of the core courses is mostly accurate: I did find that my courses at Hunter tended to emphasize the social and environment over the individual. I wouldn't say that this is overwhelmingly true, though. Significant attention was also given to genetic and early developmental factors in my introductory courses on behavior and mental health. From what I can tell, the more advanced electives provide more opportunities to focus on practice methods that emphasize the individual. However, if you're not keen on social/environmental approaches, this may not be for you.
Re: job opportunities for M.S.W. vs. MHC, every counseling graduate that I've spoken to has had great difficulty getting a job in the New York area. A couple of caveats, though: at the time I spoke to these people, I was working in settings with positions that required B.A.-level credentials, so I may have just been talking to the counselors with the most career difficulties. It's also different state-by-state, so if you're planning on moving somewhere else after graduation, you may have better opportunities. I will say, however, that if you're planning on working for the government or in a publicly-funded clinic, it will be easier with an M.S.W., especially if you want to work with the mentally ill population. Definitely search around the forum for recent threads about the job market for clinicians.
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