Clinical Social Work

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Choosing a career is a very important aspect to people's lives. One goes to college, usually around the age of eighteen, and by the time they leave they are expected to have decided on the career that they will have for the rest of their lives. Being a psychology and interpersonal communication major, I have always had an interest on relationships between individuals given certain stimuli presented to them. I want to have the ability to touch people's lives by helping them understand themselves and why they behave the way in which they behave. Relationships are such an important aspect to the process of human growth, and they impact each and every one of us. Due to this assessment of myself, I have decided to go to Western Michigan University to pursue my goals of being a clinical social worker.

Becoming a social worker is dependent on numerous factors, one of which being education. "A bachelor's degree in social work (BSW) degree is the most common minimum requirement to qualify for a job as a social worker, however, majors in psychology, sociology, and related fields may be sufficient to qualify for some entry-level job" (Chao & Orr, 162). Many people when pursuing the goals of being a social worker, however, are most interested in jobs in public agencies and/or having their own practices. "A master's degree in social work (MSW) is necessary for positions in health and mental health settings and typically is required for certification for clinical work" (Chao & Orr, 162). One's level of school is not the only thing employers are focusing on when looking to hire social workers. Along with one's education, a social worker must have "a broad liberal arts base which includes a knowledge of the social sciences (sociology, psychology, anthropology, history, political science, and economics) to provide explanations about the nature of human society and the human condition" (Johnson, 48). There are many more skills that are just as essential, if not more beneficial, to the employer as well as client.

Social workers must be very goal oriented with high leadership abilities. "Being a leader in a multidisciplinary therapy industry requires clinical social workers to use networking skills so that each clinical social worker is well connected in the community" (Roberts and Greene, 7). Employers want people who are able to stand up to the demands of the public and to be able to make themselves known in the community, and these leadership qualities enables them to gain the trust of the society around them. One must also be able to adapt themselves to their public. "Social workers have a comprehensive knowledge of community resources and are able to tap them to meet the needs of their clients" (Skidmore, Thackeray & Farley, 8). Becoming a social worker does not mean that you work with just one type of person with just one type of disability. "Some communities need more practitioners with expertise in working with small children or with clients diagnosed with both mental disorders and developmental disabilities. Clinical social workers should target those areas and develop effective practices and directly market themselves in experts in these areas" (Roberts and Greene, 7). It is very important to be able to utilize the community resources to help solve problems. According to Holly Hill Children's Services in Cincinnati, Ohio, (2002) one must be "flexible and capable of setting firm limits and boundaries...must be able to function in a leadership capacity while working as part of a team." Being team oriented is also a very crucial aspect into being an effective social worker. It is important to be able to ask co-workers for guidance, because as earlier noted, people are different so some problems that clients face may be more vague to you, but necessarily not to everyone in your field. An organization in San Diego, California (2002) states that to get hired into their program one must "be able to work...
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