arlyt

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Jul 2, 2008
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Well it's getting close to the time to apply to graduate school and I still for the life of me have not decided between a MS in Counseling or a MSW. I will be applying to Portland State University. Overall I think I would enjoy a career where I can help youth/20 somethings out in a variety of problems. I want to do more than just listen to people for an hour talk about their problems but actually be able to assist them in researching options.

I would love to be a counselor/adviser at a college but I know the reality is those jobs are highly wanted and it would require moving to who knows where in the country. I am more interested in the courses a counselor would take however I want to do more than just purely counseling/listening to people. Course maybe I am too unexperienced and counselors do more than the standard listen to a client talk for an hour (one on one).

I just wanted to hear people's thoughts on which field might be best/or areas I should more into.
 

Lilianita2003

10+ Year Member
Dec 15, 2008
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Psychology Student
HI... I am undecided too.. I don't know if go for the MSW or for the master in mental health counseling.... but I was checking for the requirements of the type of job that I want and they always ask for one licence or the other so it overlaps and I think that both are very similar but the MSW is more broad.
 

PizzaButt

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Sep 25, 2005
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I can't decide either. I much prefer the coursework of the community counseling degree, but at the same time feel that the MSW as a degree would help me more. However, I'm not interested in the first year MSW curriculum at all. Social justice courses, etc. don't interest me. At the same time, many MSW's I've spoken with say they feel unprepared to be therapists after the graduate, whereas the community counselors feel they are very well prepared. I don't want to have to take extra training after the MSW just to feel that I'm a competent therapist.

At the same time, however, I'm thinking that the MSW, as the broader degree, would serve me better. And it seems that about 90% of master's level private practice therapists are LCSWs.

I want to be a private practice therapist.

It also seems like the jobs for MSWs are a lot of casework, which I am not interested in at all.

I'm still undecided, and am having trouble reconciling all these different pros and cons.
 
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pingouin

just chillin'
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2005
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It also seems like the jobs for MSWs are a lot of casework, which I am not interested in at all.
You keep mentioning this. Repeatedly. I'm curious as to where the information is coming from that a) MSWs "seem" to do a lot of casework and b) unlicensed counselors do not seem to do that, especially given the feedback from myself and others on this board that these ideas are not necessarily true.
 

WannaBeDrMe

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Apr 14, 2008
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You keep mentioning this. Repeatedly. I'm curious as to where the information is coming from that a) MSWs "seem" to do a lot of casework and b) unlicensed counselors do not seem to do that, especially given the feedback from myself and others on this board that these ideas are not necessarily true.

Agreed. I've personally posted at least 5 novellas.

To all the undecideds... talk to the schools, talk to the community professionals, check the reputation of the program among real practitioners and alumni, see if you feel like you fit there...

Tons of info out there and in here on the differences between the degrees but it seems like you might be searching for something more personal. In that case, the only way to get that solid feeling in your gut is to visit or at least start randomly emailing the department or community people.

Don't be shy... once you are a therapist, you are going to be talking to dozens of people a week that you don't know, have never met, and probably don't even want to talk to at the time... Be your own advocates.

Good luck with your decisions.
 
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