Similar to a counselor in terms of education and training, a social worker focuses on solving social problems, connecting clients with appropriate resources, and helping with referrals to other professionals, if needed.
NASW sent the following note to the publication seeking a correction. We will update you on the response:
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) respectfully requests you correct the definition of social workers in the May 23 Harvard Men’s Health Watch article, “What Men Can Gain from Therapy.” Your publication’s definition of clinical social workers is inaccurate and does not convey the full scope of services social workers provide.
Clinical social workers are the largest group of mental health care providers in the United States. They do far more than “solving social problems, connecting clients with appropriate resources, and helping with referrals to other professionals, if needed,” as your article states.
Social workers also follow educational and licensing requirements and an NASW Code of Ethics that sets them apart from other mental health professionals, including counselors. Part of the Code of Ethics calls on social workers to provide services to all, no matter their income, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or gender expression.
Mental health social workers assess and treat people living with mental illness and substance abuse issues. Such services include individual and group therapy, outreach, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation, and teaching them skills needed for everyday living.
They also plan supportive services to help clients ease back into society.
Mental health social workers, who may be known as clinical social workers, work in various sectors. These include the U.S. Veterans Administration, in hospitals, family service agencies and local governments.
Please change the definition of social workers in your article to reflect this information.
UPDATE: Harvard Medical School’s Health Publications graciously amended the definition of clinical social workers in the article to address NASW concerns.