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What is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)?
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) is a mental health professional authorized to practice clinical social work in a specific state or jurisdiction. They typically hold a master’s degree in social work and have completed supervised clinical training and work experience mandated by their state licensing board.
To become an LCSW in Tennessee, individuals must meet the following requirements:1
- Education: Completion of a master’s or doctoral degree in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program
- Supervised Experience: Completion of at least 3,000 hours of clinical social work experience. At least 100 hours must be spent under direct supervision, and 60 must be one-on-one.
- Examination: Successful completion of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Clinical Exam. To pass the 170-question online test, candidates must score at least 75%. There is a three-time limit on exam retakes.
- Background Check: Passing a criminal background check
- Licensure Application: Submitting a completed application for licensure to the Tennessee Board of Social Workers, along with all required documentation and fees
In addition to these requirements, individuals must maintain their social work license in Tennessee by completing continuing education credits and adhering to the Tennessee Board of Social Workers’ code of ethics and professional standards.2
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) can conduct behavioral health assessments and offer therapy and counseling services to individuals, couples, families, and groups. They assist their clients in dealing with various mental health and social concerns, including depression, anxiety, trauma, addiction, and relationship issues. LCSWs also help their clients navigate social systems and connect with community resources that can promote their well-being.
Besides clinical social work practice, LCSWs may engage in research, advocacy, and policy work related to mental health and social justice. They work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, schools, and social service agencies.
Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance can help with the costs by calling your insurance provider or by contacting us below. One of our care coordinators can help you navigate your insurance coverage and get the care you need.
What to Expect When You Talk to an LCSW
When you speak with an LCSW therapist, you can anticipate a caring and helpful atmosphere where you can openly discuss your concerns and problems. LCSWs have received training in evidence-based methods and interventions, and they adapt their approach to fit each client’s specific needs.
During your initial session with an LCSW counselor, you will have the opportunity to talk about why you are seeking therapy and what you hope to achieve through treatment. The LCSW may ask questions about your personal history, relationships, and current circumstances to understand your situation better. They then use this information to develop effective treatment plans. LCSWs may also refer their clients to other healthcare professionals for additional assessment and treatment if necessary.
The LCSW therapist will collaborate with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your requirements and objectives. This plan may incorporate specific therapy techniques and interventions, as well as recommendations for self-care and other resources that can help improve your mental health and overall well-being.
During therapy sessions, you can anticipate having frequent discussions with the LCSW, examining your thoughts, emotions, and actions, and gaining new abilities and coping strategies. The LCSW therapist will create a secure and unbiased environment for you to articulate your experiences and will assist you in identifying and overcoming any setbacks that may hinder your progress.
Signs an LCSW Counselor is Right for You
Selecting the ideal LCSW counselor is an important decision. First, finding someone who fits your needs and personality is essential. Trusting your instincts is the key to finding the right licensed counselor in Tennessee. If you feel comfortable and supported, and your counselor is using evidence-based treatments and providing a sense of hope, then you are on the right track.
When seeking the support of an LCSW therapist in Tennessee, finding someone with experience with the specific issue(s) you’re dealing with is vital. A good counselor will create a welcoming and non-judgmental environment, allowing you to open up and share your concerns without fear. They’ll also be able to explain their treatment methods and expected outcomes thoroughly.
A skilled LCSW counselor should also possess excellent listening and communication skills. They can help you sort out your thoughts and emotions and provide guidance towards positive changes.
LCSW therapists cannot independently prescribe medication or diagnose behavioral health disorders. Nonetheless, they can collaborate with other healthcare professionals, like psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and physicians, who have the authority to prescribe medication and diagnose behavioral health disorders.
While LCSWs are highly trained mental health professionals, there are some situations where they may not be the most appropriate resource for addressing a particular issue. Here are some examples:
- Medical emergencies: LCSWs cannot provide medical treatment or handle medical emergencies. Please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room for a medical emergency.
- Legal issues: LCSWs are not authorized to offer legal representation or advice. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a licensed attorney for any legal concerns.
- Substance abuse disorders that require detoxification: If you’re struggling with a severe substance use disorder (SUD) that requires medical detoxification, an LCSW therapist may not be the appropriate professional to provide treatment. Instead, you may need to seek treatment at a specialized detoxification facility or inpatient rehab program.
- Severe and persistent mental illness: While an LCSW counselor can provide therapy and support for many mental health concerns, they may not have the specialized training and expertise to treat severe and persistent mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In these cases, seeking treatment from a psychiatrist or other mental health professional with specialized training may be necessary.
How Much Does LCSW Counseling Cost in Tennessee?
The cost of seeing an LCSW counselor in Tennessee can vary depending on several factors, including the therapist’s experience, location, and the type of therapy provided. The average cost of treatment with an LCSW therapist can range from $75 to $250 per hour.3 Remember that some therapists offer discounts for purchasing numerous sessions or a sliding scale for income-based rates.
Additionally, some LCSW counselors may offer teletherapy or online counseling services that are more affordable and convenient. It’s always advised to discuss fees and payment options with your LCSW therapist before beginning treatment to ensure that the cost is within your budget and to avoid any surprises later on.
Furthermore, some insurance plans may cover the cost of LCSW counseling. Therefore, verifying your insurance benefits is important to understand your coverage options.
Athena Care is in-network with most major insurance plans, and we have multiple therapy clinics in Tennessee. Allow one of our expert care coordinators to contact your insurance provider for more information on your specific benefits. They’ll review your policy and thoroughly explain your options for counseling services in Tennessee. Call (615) 320-1155 or complete our no-obligation, confidential online form to start today.
How to Choose the Best LCSW Therapist in Tennessee
Choosing the best LCSW therapist in Tennessee can be challenging. The most critical factor is finding someone you feel comfortable with who can provide the support and guidance needed to achieve your mental health goals. So, take your time, research, and trust your instincts to find the best LCSW therapist.
Below are a few key factors to consider to help you make an informed decision:
- Check their credentials: To ensure that the LCSW therapist you are interested in is authorized to practice in Tennessee, verify their license with the Tennessee Board of Social Work.
- Consider their specialties: LCSW counselors have different specialties and areas of expertise. Look for one whose specialties align with your specific needs. For instance, finding an LCSW therapist specializing in anxiety treatment will be beneficial if you struggle with anxiety.
- Read reviews and testimonials: Look for online reviews or testimonials from previous clients to understand the therapist’s approach, communication style, and success rates.
- Consider logistics: Consider practical factors such as the therapist’s location, availability, and fees. Make sure that their office is easily accessible to you and that their schedule aligns with yours. Also, consider whether they accept your insurance or offer a sliding scale fee if you need financial assistance.
- Schedule a consultation: Many LCSW therapists offer free consultations to potential clients. This is a fantastic opportunity to get to know the therapist and ask any questions you may have before committing to therapy.
LCSW vs. LMFT vs. LPC: What’s the Difference?
Mental health professionals, including counselors, psychiatrists, and psychologists, are skilled individuals who can provide valuable help and guidance to those seeking mental health care. It’s important to consider their qualifications, expertise, and therapeutic approach to choose the right professional and ensure they meet your needs.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) are mental health professionals who have completed a master’s degree in social work and have obtained a license to practice in their state. LCSWs have received training in therapy, counseling, case management, and advocacy for individuals, communities, and families. Depression, anxiety, trauma, and substance abuse are just a few mental health conditions that LCSWs are trained to treat.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) are mental health professionals who have completed a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and have obtained a license to practice in their state. LMFTs are trained to provide treatment and counseling services to individuals, couples, and families across a broad range of mental health issues, focusing on relationship and family dynamics.
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) are mental health professionals who have completed a master’s degree in counseling and have obtained a license to practice in their state. LPCs are qualified to offer counseling and therapy to individuals, couples, and families. They have received training to deal with various mental health conditions, including substance abuse, trauma, depression, and anxiety.
- “Social Work Licensure in Tennessee | Find Accredited Programs.” SocialWorkLicensure.org, July 2019, socialworklicensure.org/state/social-work-licensure-tennessee.
- “Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers.” Tn.gov, 2017, www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/healthprofboards/social-workers/NASW-Code-of-Ethics.pdf.
- Panganiban, Kimberly. “How Much Does Marriage Counseling Cost?” Choosing Therapy, 6 Aug. 2021, www.choosingtherapy.com/marriage-counseling-cost.
If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.
One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control.