Thinking about counseling? Here are 5 things you may not know about LCSWs.
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Thinking about counseling? Here are 5 things you may not know about LCSWs.

LCSW Group PhotoMarch is National Professional Social Work Month, and Springfield Clinic’s ever-expanding team of licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) are ready to help you talk out problems and work on your goals. The theme of this year’s Professional Social Work Month is Elevate; because social workers spend their time elevating their patients, Springfield Clinic wants to elevate them and their work this month by explaining what they do and how they fit into your health care team.

While social workers in general can work in many different types of roles, Springfield Clinic’s LCSW team are therapists within the Family Medicine, Interventional Pain Management and Pediatrics Departments. Kelsie Tobias, LCSW, with Springfield Clinic Lincoln and Springfield Clinic Decatur recently provided some insight into a few things you might not know about licensed clinical social workers and the therapy services they provide.  

1. LCSWs are professional therapists.

Licensed clinical social workers have master’s degrees, which means they have completed clinical requirements and testing in order to practice psychotherapy and provide other services. While you may see a psychiatrist for medication management or a psychologist for testing and assessment of disorders and conditions, you would see an LCSW for therapy or counseling. “Counseling and therapy are typically interchangeable terms,” Kelsie says, “but when someone is classified as a therapist, it means they have at least a master’s level of education.”

2. Your LCSW’s main goal is to help you work on your goals.

“Often, people don’t come to counseling because they have a diagnosis.” Kelsie says. “People come in because they have a problem and they need help. While we can and do diagnose for a variety of reasons, our main goal is always to help you reach your goals and help you feel better.” This is why it’s important to understand that counseling can be beneficial for just about anyone, and you don’t have be diagnosed with a condition or disorder to do it.

So what are reasons to see an LCSW? Kelsie says she sees people with problems related to school, home, family, marriage/partnership, depression and anxiety. “For example, depression is the main reason we see people in counseling, but the reasons for depression can vary, such as family stressors, bullying, low self-esteem, economic circumstances, trauma,” Kelsie says. But those are only a few of many reasons you might benefit from therapy, and it really comes down to working on your goals with your therapist and getting the personalized help you need.

3. Therapy is not scary.

Kelsie emphasizes that counseling is completely confidential and should be stress free. “You can come and have an initial session with an LCSW before you decide if you want to get started,” she says. “And you might not always have a good fit with the first therapist you talk to, and we don’t take that personally!” Any of Springfield Clinic’s LCSWs will help you make an appointment with another social worker; LCSWs can also connect you with other resources if you need them. “Our job is to help you feel better,” Kelsie says. “I want you to find someone that you get along with.”  

If you’re not sure if counseling if something you’d benefit from, Kelsie suggests talking to a family member or friend in counseling to see how they feel about it. You can also consult with your doctor, who can provide you with more information about therapy and help you make the decision. (Depending on your insurance, they may also need to refer you to an LCSW.)

4. LCSWs are available at many different locations.

Springfield Clinic’s LCSW team holds office hours in several different locations so that you have access to the mental health services that you need close to home. The following comprehensive list are the Springfield Clinic locations where you can see one of our licensed clinical social workers.

  • Springfield Clinic Carlinville
  • Springfield Clinic Decatur
  • Springfield Clinic Effingham
  • Springfield Clinic Hillsboro
  • Springfield Clinic Jacksonville
  • Springfield Clinic Lincoln
  • Springfield Clinic Main Campus East
  • Springfield Clinic Pediatric and Adolescent Center
  • Springfield Clinic Taylorville
  • Springfield Clinic Wabash

5. LCSWs provide the same services, but have different focus areas among them.

All of Springfield Clinic’s LCSWs have the same skills and can use the same therapies, however some have specializations. For example, Amy Goldstein, LCSW, with Interventional Pain Management specifically provides pain counseling and biofeedback, a special type of pain management therapy where you learn to control your body’s responses to pain.

Kelsie herself specializes in child & adolescent behaviors, ADHD, depression, suicidal ideation, self-harm, anxiety, stress management, mindfulness meditation, relaxation techniques, gender identity, sexuality issues and trauma. But she doesn’t want you to worry about trying to match your “problem” to the right therapist. All LCSWs can help you with any issue, and it’s more important to find a therapy relationship that works for you.

Read more about Kelsie and counseling services offered at Springfield Clinic, or call 217.528.7541 to make an appointment. 

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