Masters programs in clinical social work/mental health
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Hi everyone! I currently have a Masters in International Development and have been working in Kenya for the past 5 years. I’ve been working to move into the MHPSS world, and I’d also like to become certified to conduct one-on-one mental health therapy sessions. I’m currently thinking of pursuing an MSW and becoming a LCSW. Does anyone know what is the best recognized certification internationally and if there’s a way to avoid getting another masters? Additionally, online program options would be ideal given the current situation. Many thanks!
As far as I know, there isn’t one internationally recognized licensure to work in the MHPSS space. MSW/LCSW is usually preferred if you work within US government agencies. As long as you are properly trained and licensed to practice as a mental health provider in your country, you should be able to serve in the MHPSS space. Of course, you need to familiarize yourself with the laws of the country in which you want to practice to ensure you’re not violating any laws. If you plan to provide one-on-one mental health therapy or counseling sessions, Master’s degree is the absolute minimum amount of training you should aim for. Mental health professionals – as any healthcare professionals – require rigorous training and supervised clinical experience, because we are entrusted with the health and wellbeing of humans. That’s a big responsibility. However, if you’d be ok with programmatic and admin roles in the MHPSS space, I’m sure an awareness-type certification would probably suffice. If you choose to go the Master’s degree route, please make sure the program emphasizes multicultural competencies in therapy, as we can’t assume we have it because we work in international development or live abroad. Multicultural competency takes on a whole another meaning in a therapeutic context. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!
Thanks, Afa! That’s helpful advice!