Mental health counseling vs. Social work


I’m currently a social work student working towards my BSW, but I’m considering alternatives to getting an MSW in grad school. I don’t really know much about mental health counseling or how it’s different from social work other than the longer grad school education part. Can someone explain to me the pros and cons of going into mental health counseling as opposed to sticking with social work?

Hii.  I outlined some of the differences between grad programs on my blog here.  Feel free to send me an ask if you have any specific questions I can help answer.


Right now in my master’s program we have been going over various theories. On my final for tomorrow we have to be able to name at least <b>two styles of attachment</b> and describe how the caregiver’s availability and the child’s working model contribute to the specific style. Then I have to make one recommendation for how a social worker might use the theory to assess or intervene with a client….

Haha please help! I get all of the other theories (social identity development, bicultural identity, biological and lifespan development theory, the general idea of attachment theories of development, cognitive moral and spiritual development theories, and behavioral and social learning theories). Those are the only theories on my final exam thankfully, but I’m totally not understanding how I would “ASSESS, or INTERVENE”.

Also, regarding Erickson’s Stages of Development, what are examples in adults when unresolved?

Thank you thank you thank you!!

To assess attachment you would gather information about the caregiver-child relationship (though interview and observation).  Caregivers of anxiously attached children are often inconsistently attuned and unpredictable.  Their children tend to be distrustful of them and become highly anxious an distressed upon separation.  Avoidantly attached children have caregivers that are unresponsive to the point that their children have learned that they cannot rely on their parents and become more independent.  These children do not look to their caregivers for support or become distressed when they leave.  The social worker would need to assess further to determine if this constitutes neglect (ex. the parent leaves the child alone for extended amounts of time or is unresponsive due to heavy drug use).  Disorganized attachment is usually a sign of more serious issues, such as abuse, gross neglect or trauma.

Intervention focuses on enhancing the caregiver-child attachment relationship.  This involves psychoeducation for the parent about infant development/parenting and helping parents to be more attuned to their child’s needs.  They may need to be connected with resources to help them adequately care for their child (ex. child care, mental health services, ect.) or taught tools to cope with their child’s behavior (ex. temper tantrums and separation anxiety in anxiously attached children)

I’m not sure what your professor will be looking for but that’s how I would respond.  I hope that helps.  You can message me if you have any more questions.  Good luck on your final!


I am beginning to prep for the GRE and applying to an MSW (master’s in social work) program, mental health track. I’m nervous! my school provides some resources, but no one really gives good advice. It’s all really ambiguous. I want someone to be real with me right now.

Does anyone have any resources for applying to grad school they want to share? Or just share their experience in general?

I just finished my MSW program and am glad to answer any questions you may have.  Just send me a message or email (

I cant believe how much time you took to answer my questions and that you actually read my personal statement!!! I am SHOCKED!!!! You helped me soooooooo much! Thank you!
AnonymousAsked by Anonymous

No prob.  Good luck :)


I’m 95% sure that I want to go back to school and get my MSW in the Fall. I’m looking primarily at schools in NYC and Chicago. I would like to end up working with individuals who have been victims of abuse, including human trafficking, and working in the realm of social justice in general. I’ve…

Hiii.  I’m so glad you are considering going into the field.  We need more social workers.  I just got my MSW it was one of the best decisions i’ve ever made.  I wont be much help on choosing a program because I only looked in California but feel free to ask me any other questions you have.  Just send me a message or email (  

FYI: I changed my tumblr url from uclamsw to creativesocialworker

It was easy for people to misread my username and I have received a number of asks saying “What does U Clams W mean?” and “What do clams have to do with your blog???” lol  

I may use this blog still to reblog questions people ask 

Click here to visit my new CreativeSocialWorker page or here for my other blog, SocialWorkin’