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May 30, 2017

Some Myths About Social Work & Psychotherapy

Shift Team

Three Myths

Myth: Only “crazy” people or people with severe issues receive psychotherapy.

Every day, people seek therapy for a range of reasons. Some pursue psychotherapy as a treatment for anxiety, depression or other disorders. Others want help coping with life stressors or transitions, like martial strain or separation, parenting challenges, the loss of a job or a loved one, stress, or conflict at work. Others may need help managing and balancing work and family responsibilities, coping with an ageing parent, or improving relationship skills. By learning problem-solving skills and coping strategies, anyone (young and old) can benefit from psychotherapy.

Myth: Social Workers only work in Hospitals, Schools, and the Children’s Aid Society.  

Registered Social Workers work in a variety of settings and have different and unique areas of specialty. While Social Workers do work in the above settings, they are not limited to those places. Social Workers can also provide Psychotherapy (also called counselling or talk therapy). Registered Social Workers who work as therapists, providing Psychotherapy, have schooling, training and certifications that enable them to do this work. However, unlike a Psychologist, Social Workers can neither diagnose clients with disorders nor prescribe medication, like a Psychiatrist. Therefore, Social Workers often offer lower rates for therapy and are more accessible in the community. For now, Registered Social Worker Psychotherapy services are not covered under OHIP. Hopefully, as our societies and governments recognize the importance of a range of mental health care services, this will change.

Myth: Talking to family members or friends can be just as helpful as going to a Social Worker/Provider of Psychotherapy.

When you’re having a difficult time, support from trusted family and friends is very beneficial. Friends, families and therapists can provide similar but also different types of support. Talking with a Registered Social Worker can be helpful because they have a Master’s Degree in Social Work. This means they have specialized training, knowledge and experience that make them experts in treating and understanding complex problems. Therapists can be there when you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to, but therapy is also more than someone listening or offering advice. Registered Social Workers can help identify and address behaviours, thought patterns and broader structures that may be negatively impacting coping or decision-making. Therapists are also a neutral party, providing an unbiased and open space to talk through complex, sensitive issues in a confidential setting.

This article was written by Lindsey Danisch during their time at Shift Collab.

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