What’s the Diff Between Clinical Social Workers, Counseling Psychologists, and Alcohol & Drug Counselors?

Question by Victoria A: What’s the diff between clinical social workers, counseling psychologists, and alcohol & drug counselors?
When all three work with individuals with mental disorders then what is the main difference between the three. What is the strengths of clinical social workers, counseling psychologists, and alcohol & drug counselors that sets them apart from each other?

Best answer:

Answer by Caitlin
Social workers and counselors wouldn’t have as much experience to deal with someone whom may have a more serious mental illness. Psychologists are trained to control their body language and behaviours during sessions, counselors and social workers can become anxious or panic because they may not know what to do.
My own experience, I was with the school counselor and became angry with her and started to ignore her, she became irritated and anxious herself and then impatient.

I also have seen a psychologist and she remains calm, relaxed and shows empathy when necessary etc, she knows what to do in a situation if you were to become upset or angry, she could control me to calm my farm.

Answer by Bhante U
CSWs are Master’s-level degree. They have a lot of training in counseling. Their basic training is in Social work, i.e., finding resources to help the client.

To have the “ist” attached to your title, it takes a Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist, for instance. Different systems use different terminology, so I don’t know what a “Counseling Psychologist” would be in your community. Sounds like the Psychologist would have extra training in “talk therapy” rather than psychometrics.

Alcohol and drug counselors, in my experience, have little or no training beyond a “certificate”, if that. Example: an addict or alcoholic who has been through the 6-month Daytop program, and who returns to works as an unpaid or low-paid “counselor” would fit into this class. The absolute WORST alcohol/drug counselors are active members of the so-called anonymous programs. They have no training at all, but love to tell you how to stay clean/sober. Telling you what to do is not counseling.

A good therapist, on the other hand, would help you to discover your inner strength for recovery. Would help in planning to avoid relapse.

BTW the anonymous programs are good for relapse control, except for one terrible fact: AAs are four times as likely to turn a “slip” into a full-scale relapse.

Also BTW, researchers have found that effective psychotherapy or counseling is not dependent on the degrees and training of the counselor. Rather, it depends on the counselor’s humanness, understanding, empathy, ability to relate to the client and to allow/encourage the client to grow.

The worst psychotherapist I ever saw was a psychiatrist–all he wanted to do is stuff me full of pills. The best was a young woman who had Rogerian training, although she was short of concrete help, which I later obtained in CBT.

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