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derrick2005

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Hi,

If after completing an MSW I were to complete an EdD which is related but obviously a different field would I be entitled to use the title? I understand that the tile of Dr is mental health is protected by Psychologists and Psychiatrists but if it were my aim to both practice as an LCSW (using my MSW!) and educate in the field (the EdD) I would want to be able to proudly utilize my earned title all the time. Could I?

Thanks!
 

Psychadelic2012

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It's not legally protected, so you can do whatever you want. But why would you care to? It's misleading and says more about your superficial desire for labels and authority than anything else.
 

derrick2005

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I won't deny that narcissism play a role in it!

However, my ultimate aim actually is to utilize the EdD for a position in an administrative role in the school system where I know many others who have the EdD do use the title which (fair or not) assists them in terms of positions they get etc.

In addition to an administrative role I may have the opportunity to teach on a BSW course once I complete my MSW and start work on my EdD. Once I complete the EdD I feel it would be useful to utilize the Dr title. Ego perhaps, but certainly common in Colleges.

Finally, my other aim is to become an LCSW – the third feather in my bow. If I am using the title “Dr. Derrick” for 2/3rds of my professional life I wouldn’t want to eliminate that from this third part. Not that I would insist on clients calling me Dr or anything of the sort but I wouldn’t want to lose that part of myself.

You say that it speaks more about my superficial desire for labels and authority, in honesty I cannot deny that the label would mean something to me, but there’s more to it than that…
 
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Vasa Lisa

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In my profession - Counseling - if we have a higher degree in another field, we don't use it when presenting ourselves as counselors. It is important to not present ourselves as more than we are. And it is important to not present ourselves as less than we are.

The DSW is a rather rare degree - until recently - the MSW was the terminal degree in the profession and still is for most non-academics - so I would be curious to learn what a DSW would think of a clinical MSW with an LCSW calling himself Dr. something in the context of SW.

That said - there are college employees who go off and get quickie EdDs to they can be promoted as administrative faculty - which creates a rift with the academic faculty who have hard earned PhDs.

Who we are is so much more than our credentials and outer accolades. I suspect this will be a blind spot for you as you move forward as a helper. And I admire your courage for exploring it here and I would encourage you to explore it in a more private context where you can explore your vulnerabilities around position and power.
 
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derrick2005

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Thanks for your reply.

There is an unfortunate reality associated with titles. As someone who currently has a masters degree in counseling and is halfway through an MSW I in no way feel the need for a doctorate to enhance my role as a therapist.

That being said, professionally, and most certainly finanically, I am seeking employment in an administrative role. Simply put - it pays a lot better. I already have an administrative position, my completed MSW or LCSW will do nothing to enhance the role - an EdD, and speficially the title that comes with it will enhance it tremendously. I know this as my boss has shared this information with me many times!

Perhaps I am expeciting too much of myself but my expectations for my financial and professional future are to be an administrator (requiring the EdD and title), a professor (useful to use the EdD and title!) and a therapist (no need for the EdD). As 2/3rds of my professional life will see me as Dr Derrick, fulfilling whatever purposes, and then considering some of my potential client base associating me with that role (not directly but through the same educational facility) I just wonder about it all.

Sorry for the length in my reply but this is the scenario in my mind. Once I complete the EdD and recieve a promotion at work, this will be broadcast at work - I will head an administrative dept. The name on my door will be Dr Derrick, on the letterhead etc. This fulfils a specific purpose for my boss. From that same office, I will leave to go to a partnering facility to be a professor - sharing the voicemail etc. And then finally, depending on office availability, location etc - I may also use the same office in my role as a therapist - LCSW.

I will not ask colleagues, students, clients, family members etc (!) to refer to me as Dr Derrick, but departmentally and profesionally that will be my title. My query is perhaps confused (within me) but I want to be an honest individual, I don't want to present myself as something I am not. I am talking about a few years down the line and my mind is asking me - when I create my business cards - as administrator Dr Derrick will be on there, as Professor it will be there, do I leave it off my therapy card?
 

wigflip

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I only skimmed this thread, but anyone who earns an accredited doctorate may refer to themself as "Dr." (Well, there's really nothing stopping anyone with an unaccredited doctorate from calling themself "doctor" either).

Whether or not other people refer to you as "doctor" depends on the institutional context. I know people with PhDs who make their mechanics refer to them as "doctor." Of course, people choose to call them something else behind their backs...

The most productive question to ponder is what degree do you need for the position you want. Hopefully your co-workers will address you appropriately.
 
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Psychadelic2012

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I honestly don't think it matters at all. At all. I am currently in a clinical position (capable of being filled by a bachelor's-level paraprofessional) where another equal role is filled by an employee with a recently-earned PsyD. This person never asked to be called "Dr. Jill" (not their real name), but the hiring administrator (not a person with a graduate degree) gloated for months about the fact that this employee held a doctorate and many workers called "Dr. Jill" by that title for a while. Well, we have an MD on staff and the clients were confusing the two "Dr."s. "Dr. Jill" got a lot of special attention and was praised very highly. Turns out, "Dr. Jill" isn't doing a good job in their position and now the administration won't stop complaining about how horrible their work is. Did it help? Heck no. It just set everyone up for disappointment. Be honest. Get over being a "Dr." for the sake of it. Create low expectations and surprise everyone by how awesome YOU are, not how awesome your title is.
 

derrick2005

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The most honest answer I can supply is the financial one. As long as my boss doesn't drop dead (!) between now and then, and the retirement plans of a dept head doesnt change, by me gaining the EdD and calling myself Dr Derrick I will earn a an annual bump in salary that will more than cover the complete cost of the EdD. However awesome I am (and continue to be :p) will not affect my getting that position. At the moment my boss likes me a lot and has like me for a while, we work very well together. It has been made very clear to me that an EdD will get me the role. The reason for the offer is that over a shared lunch with my boss I mentioned my (personal life goal) plans of completing an EdD as something I really want to do and that started the ball rolling.
 

Qwerk

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Technically, you don't call yourself "doctor." The title "Dr. Joe Blow" is something other people use when speaking or referring to you. You would use post-nominal initials and call yourself, "Joe Blow, Ed.D., M.S.W." on your business cards. That way, people are clear on what degrees you have and in what fields you earned them. People might then use the title "doctor," but it's bad form to insist.
 
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AcronymAllergy

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I would honestly say that in an ethical sense, when practicing clinically, it would be misleading to identify yourself as "Dr. XXXXX" to patients unless you explicitly clarified with each and every individual that you're licensed at the master's level, and do not hold a doctorate or medical degree related to mental health treatment. In other contexts (e.g., administratively), call yourself whatever you'd like.

This is why the "burden of clarification" falls on psychologists in medical settings to let their patients know that they're psychologists and not physicians. Same deal when you'd be working with clients.
 

PhDstudent1982

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Hi,

If after completing an MSW I were to complete an EdD which is related but obviously a different field would I be entitled to use the title? I understand that the tile of Dr is mental health is protected by Psychologists and Psychiatrists but if it were my aim to both practice as an LCSW (using my MSW!) and educate in the field (the EdD) I would want to be able to proudly utilize my earned title all the time. Could I?

Thanks!

As long as you have a doctorate, you are free to refer to yourself add Dr. If this degree is unrelated to your work with clients/patients, than I might refrain, however, if it is an EdD and relates to the work you do with them, than of course you can refer to yourself as Dr. It doesn't matter what level you are licensed at. Academic titles and licenses are two completely separate entities.

I might introduce myself as Dr. Joe Smith, Licensed Clinical Social Work, or something similar.
 

BlackSkirtTetra

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Hi,

If after completing an MSW I were to complete an EdD which is related but obviously a different field would I be entitled to use the title? I understand that the tile of Dr is mental health is protected by Psychologists and Psychiatrists but if it were my aim to both practice as an LCSW (using my MSW!) and educate in the field (the EdD) I would want to be able to proudly utilize my earned title all the time. Could I?

Thanks!

As others have said, the title "doctor" is unregulated in most places. Maybe what you're thinking of as being the domain of PhDs and PsyDs is the title of "psychologist." That's regulated and can only be used by those people who have a doctoral-level degree in most states, although in a couple (including Kansas, where I used to live) some Masters-level practitioners are called "psychologist" in some circumstances.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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For things like a name tag or office you'd list your highest degree....that's it. Rarely if ever do you see: John Smith, M.S., Ph.D. In the case where you have two doctorates (e.g.physician scientist) it'd be M.D., Ph.D. There are some exceptions I have seen with this: MBA, and MS-Pharmacology (for RxP folks), but typically the highest degree is the anchor degree. People handle boarding differently. Sometimes you'll see Ph.D., ABBP, other times it will just be noted on CV, biz card, etc.

Please please please do not fall into the Alphabet Soup trap that occurs with certain professions where they list every last certification and degree: John Smith, A.A., B.S., M.A., R.N., LPC, CCC, etc. Those things should be on a C.V. and the licenses and certifications should be posted, but it seems overkill to list everything everywhere.
 

PhDstudent1982

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For things like a name tag or office you'd list your highest degree....that's it. Rarely if ever do you see: John Smith, M.S., Ph.D. In the case where you have two doctorates (e.g.physician scientist) it'd be M.D., Ph.D. There are some exceptions I have seen with this: MBA, and MS-Pharmacology (for RxP folks), but typically the highest degree is the anchor degree. People handle boarding differently. Sometimes you'll see Ph.D., ABBP, other times it will just be noted on CV, biz card, etc.

Please please please do not fall into the Alphabet Soup trap that occurs with certain professions where they list every last certification and degree: John Smith, A.A., B.S., M.A., R.N., LPC, CCC, etc. Those things should be on a C.V. and the licenses and certifications should be posted, but it seems overkill to list everything everywhere.

Agreed :)
 

wigflip

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For things like a name tag or office you'd list your highest degree....that's it. Rarely if ever do you see: John Smith, M.S., Ph.D. In the case where you have two doctorates (e.g.physician scientist) it'd be M.D., Ph.D. There are some exceptions I have seen with this: MBA, and MS-Pharmacology (for RxP folks), but typically the highest degree is the anchor degree. People handle boarding differently. Sometimes you'll see Ph.D., ABBP, other times it will just be noted on CV, biz card, etc.

Please please please do not fall into the Alphabet Soup trap that occurs with certain professions where they list every last certification and degree: John Smith, A.A., B.S., M.A., R.N., LPC, CCC, etc. Those things should be on a C.V. and the licenses and certifications should be posted, but it seems overkill to list everything everywhere.

In academia there are particular degree combinations I frequently see listed:

PhD, MFA (or for folks who stopped at the MA: MA, MFA)
PhD, MPH
PhD, JD

I've also seen people who practice some form of art therapy list their MFAs alongside their license:
LCSW, MFA
 

BlackSkirtTetra

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I also agree.

I actually have in my possession a business card which reads Jane Doe, "PhD, DMin, CADC, LMFT, LCAT, MPA, BSN."

I had to retrieve it to remember all the initials she uses.

:eek:
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I think that it's pretentious to refer to yourself as "Dr" when you are going to be working under your terminal Masters degree most of the time. It is also unethical according to the APA, ACA and probably the ASW code of ethics.

You'd be shocked by how some people advertise/introduce themselves. Awhile back someone posted something about some "profiles" on Psychology Today's website. There are a TON of people who are licensed at the MA/MS level, but they received a degree in a completely unrelated field (and/or bogus online/fly-by-night program) and advertise themselves as Dr. So and So. They may list their license #, but fail to specify in what area or what level. Sketchy indeed.
 
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wigflip

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I'm thinking of one individual in particular: practicing MFT with a Harvard PhD in another social science field. Cited her recently in an article we're working on, so I looked her up. Doesn't advertise self as "Dr." on website, but notes the PhD and field in which it was obtained, which I think is proper, especially given that she had a productive R1 tenured faculty position for many years, and her research expertise in her clinical focus areas far exceeds what one would otherwise expect at the masters practitioner level.
 

movershaker

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Anyone remember Dr. Laura? She had some kind of talk show where she gave advice under the name "Dr. Laura," letting anyone believe she was actually qualified at the doctoral level in something psychology related. Indeed, her doctorate was in physiology. (After the show got popular she went back and got some training in marriage and family counseling). I'm sure a physiology doctorate required intelligence and is a good field and all, but it's obviously misleading, which goes against most ethics, values, and theories of the counseling profession. Google something like "dr. laura's not really a dr" and you'll get the public's unfavorable opinion on the facade.

I recently had a supervisor (actually not my supervisor, as he had an LMHC and was not qualified to supervise an MSW graduate student) who owned a private practice and also had an educational doctorate. He adamantly went by "Dr. (FirstName..let's say 'Joe')" and even signed his initials "D'J'". His clients routinely assumed he was a psychologist or MD, without little to no correction. I heard him refer to himself as "the company doctor" about some of his EAP contracts. K.


So after saying all that, if you have a doctorate you can go by Dr., and if you interested in education admin then an Ed.D. makes sense (but why not a Phd which would be even more beneficial?), but be weary of pretending you're something you're not. The people you want to impress most will see right through it. (and you could be crossing an ethical line with those that don't)
 

socwrkr

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I've worked in the school system with administrators who have EdD degrees. They were all referred to as doctor somebody or other and nobody batted an eyelash. One principal and a school superintendent insisted that everybody address them as doctors, including parents. Needless to say, this rankled most of the parents! I think that if you're working in the school system being called a doctor with an EdD is not a problem.

Working in mental health, the title doctor can cause confusion, especially for clients. Clinical psychologists, MD's, DO's, NP's with DNP's, social workers with PhD's, all referred to themselves as doctors. We recently hired a mid-level prescribing clinician with a doctoral degree who insisted on being called a doctor but does not clarify to clients that he is not a psychiatrist when he sees them. Is there so much shame in admitting to what you really are? Similarly, in academia, I've met social work PhD academics who no longer use the MSW or LCSW, as if they're ashamed of being known as social workers.
 
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mkberry85

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This is not an issue regarding legality, but ethics. But, with that said, there is nothing legally that will prevent you from advertising, marketing, or referring yourself as a doctor with an EdD. If you are working exclusively in administration, with a doctorate in leadership, management, administration, etc, referring to yourself as a doctorate is ethical. But, if you are working as a clinician and your doctorate is in an unrelated, "non clinical" field, it is unethical to refer to yourself as such.
 
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