There are many helping professionals who support individuals and families during times of stress, difficulty, and mental health challenges, including social workers, psychotherapists, and psychologists.

Registered Social Workers (MSW, RSW)‍ 

Social work is a very broad field and profession that is able to support individuals and families with a wide range of challenges, concerns, and difficulties including issues related to school, family life, relationships, mental health, work, housing, health and medical concerns, and more.  Social workers help people of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels to resolve problems that affect their daily lives. Social workers build capacity in individuals, families, and communities by helping people to recognize and use their own strengths so they can confidently manage life challenges, issues, and difficulties. 

Social workers are specially trained advocates who also help individuals and families engage successfully with larger systems such as the school system, the justice system, the employment and social welfare system, and the health care system.  Social workers help to connect individuals and families to important resources that are available to them and help them to navigate these systems and access resources effectively.  

Some of the ways that social workers help people improve their lives include:

  • helping individuals, families, and communities find resources and answers to questions
  • supporting individuals, families, and communities in solving problems, resolving conflicts, and developing greater coping skills
  • providing psychotherapy and counselling to individuals, families, and groups
  • working with individuals, families, and groups to make improvements within systems such as the school system, the justice system, the employment and social welfare system, and the health care system

Social workers are an essential part of a vibrant, just and healthy society who may take on a variety of roles including case management, research and policy work, and clinical assessment and treatment. 

Some Social Workers focus their education and experience on clinical assessment and treatment and are often referred to as Clinical Social Workers or Psychotherapists. These individuals are trained to conduct assessments of an individual's functioning, including their biological, psychological, social, emotional and cultural needs. 

Unlike Psychologists and Psychiatrists, although they can assess for clinical needs, social workers cannot provide a diagnosis. Their approach often takes into consideration the context of an individual’s system (family, workplace, school), or environment (country, climate).  Social workers promote an expanded perspective that enlarges the focus beyond the individual level in order helps individuals see how their issues, challenges, and problems are connected to broader elements of society rather than being solely individual in nature.  Social workers are thus able to help advocate for clients and to help clients find solutions to their challenges on multiple levels and within multiple systems that go beyond just the individual level.  

More specifically, the types of services provided can include psychotherapy and counselling associated with relationship problems, adjusting to life crises, abuse, stress management, anxiety and depression, addictions, caregiver burden and elder care, grief and loss, bullying, and suicide prevention. 

Social workers typically earn additional certifications in evidence-based therapeutic treatments such as CBT, DBT, EMDR, or ACT in addition to their Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW).  Social work services are available through numerous publicly funded health and social service agencies and organizations. Many social workers also have private practices and can be hired privately. 

Regulated by: Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers (OCSWSSW)

Education Level: Masters level degree (MSW)

Conduct Assessment: Yes

Therapy Treatment: Yes

Provide Diagnosis: No

Prescribe Medications: No

Session Fee in GTA: Typically ranges from $120-$200 with a median of approximately $150. Generally tax exempt.

Coverage: Covered by most employer benefits plans

Waitlists: Generally short or none

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