psychmom1

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Hello all, Hi psyclops,
My friend has an ultimate goal of becoming a clinical therapist and is interested in family/relationship/short term counseling. She is torn between getting her BA in psychology or social work. She will ultimately get her masters in social work and pursue therapy. She absolutely loves psychology but it will be quicker for her in her masters program if she has her BA in social work. From your perspective, considering she loves psychology, do you think she should just relax and major in psychology or just take the quick route in social work. If I'm not mistaken, isn't a BA in social work more oriented on procedures and laws and such? I always thought that social work training taught coping techniques and life strategies, and psychology teaches the mechanisms of human behaviour and the understanding of the mind. Am I way off? I would just like to know the big difference between the two!
 

Psyclops

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hi Mamma, but I don't know which would be better. I know that the SWs job description can be much braoder than just therapy, that is only one of the hat's they wear. jlw9698 might be able to shed some light on this issue though.
 

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I'm curious as to why your friend would be so interested in the MSW if she loves psychology so much? Certainly there are overlaps, but they are not the same field.

A BSW does not automatically guarantee entrance to a MSW program, although it couldn't hurt. You mentioned it will be "quicker" to do the MSW with the BSW, which sounds like you're describing advanced standing. (For those who aren't familiar, the 4th-year BSW classes are the same as the 1st-year foundation MSW classes, so if you have received a BSW from an accredited school within usually the last 5 years, and no grade less than a B in your major, the MSW program may allow you to waive those classes and give credit rather than repeating them.) Not all schools offer AS, and just because they do offer it doesn't mean someone will get the credits (ie, the school doesn't think your undergrad class covered all the info they want you to have).

The main difference at my undergrad b/t the psych majors and the SW majors was the experience factor. It's been over 10 years since I graduated, so I'm sure things have changed, but at the time, the psychs could do an elective internship that gave them something like 90 hours for one semester. SW was required (not just by the school, but by the Council on SW Ed) to do a minimum of 600 internship hours over the course of the year. We definitely felt more prepared to go into the work force after graduation. It's a generalist degree, just as a BA or BS in psych usually is, and focuses on individual, family, organization, and community interventions. There is NOTHING clinical about a BSW, and some MSWs are not clinical. Check the school websites to see what they say. I happened to go to a clinical-only (read: psychodynamic) program, but there aren't many that are so specific. Most offer a broader range of concentration options.

edit- An integral part of the BSW program is taking some psychology classes. I believe I was required to gake Intro Psych, Personality Theory, and Abnormal Psych (again, required by CSWE, not just the school), and then I remember taking Adolescent Psych as an elective.
 
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psychmom1

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Thanks psyclops and jlw. Her mom is a therapist in an inpatient substance abuse center and has her MSW. She got her BSW and had one year more for her MSW. That is where she gets most of her info from, yet it's a different area of sw than she plans on pursuing. Her struggle is which one to take b/c she wants to be done as quick as possible, but she loves psych. She has no interest in pursuing her doctorate in psych, so I figured the best alternative would be to major in psych and then apply for grad school. That is what I was going to do before I realized that psychiatry was what really turned me on (no pun intended :D ). I don't know a huge amount about the classes for your bsw. I thought I'd get some insight from you all on the inside to give her some knowledgeable advice. I will definitely encourage her to read the schools curriculum but she seems to just rather have someone tell her what is what! Thanks again!
 

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Why no interest in the doctorate? I know it can be daunting, but if one is treating people clinically the doctorate is the best way to go to even begin to know what you are doing. MSW is a good degree, but I see many LCSW's who think they are psycholgists in a clinical sense, and this is dangerous practice. Sorta like a nurse beliveing he was a physician.
 
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psychmom1

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I agree Psisi! I have tried and tried to talk her into her PhD. She says it's way too much school for far too little pay and she's really afraid off doing a dissertation. A couple of years ago our first psych teacher really freaked her out with the whole dissertation thing. She is the type that wants it all but wants it the quickest and easiest way possible.
 

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psychmom1 said:
Her struggle is which one to take b/c she wants to be done as quick as possible, but she loves psych.
This is concerning. The choice is best made based on "fit" with the field, not based on length of program or perceived ease of a program (referencing your later post that she's looking for "quickest and easiest").

I don't know a huge amount about the classes for your bsw.
CSWE requires a standard curriculum including economics, poli sci, sociology, the psychology classes I listed above, and some English requirements including business/technical writing. I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting. Within the SW undergrad major, they also require classes on human development, research, diversity issues, theory, and practice, along with the above-mentioned practicum. Individual universities may have internal requirements- ie, I had to take x number of theology and philosophy classes, a couple of historys, etc.


I thought I'd get some insight from you all on the inside to give her some knowledgeable advice. I will definitely encourage her to read the schools curriculum but she seems to just rather have someone tell her what is what! Thanks again!
Why are you doing all this work for her? Then again, why am I by answering?
 
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psychmom1

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jlw said:
This is concerning. The choice is best made based on "fit" with the field, not based on length of program or perceived ease of a program (referencing your later post that she's looking for "quickest and easiest").



CSWE requires a standard curriculum including economics, poli sci, sociology, the psychology classes I listed above, and some English requirements including business/technical writing. I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting. Within the SW undergrad major, they also require classes on human development, research, diversity issues, theory, and practice, along with the above-mentioned practicum. Individual universities may have internal requirements- ie, I had to take x number of theology and philosophy classes, a couple of historys, etc.

Why are you doing all this work for her? Then again, why am I by answering?

I totally agree with making a choice that one really desires other than with what is quickest or easier. I am not really doing all of the work for her, she is my best friend and I thought I could give her some advice from both sides in the field from this forum considering we don't know any psychologists personally or any one else in the field than her mother, which is a totally different area than what she is interested in. You have confirmed what I initially told her, which is to read about each program in detail, and then make the appropriate decision that will be satisfying throughout life, not just "right now". I was trying to give her a little realistic advice, as opposed to the straight logistics. After what you have said, I think she would be happy either way b/c both sound like they would give her the psych classes and knowledge that she is seeking. Thank you for your replies :)
 
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