Social worker

What is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker?

counselling

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Written by Claire Raworth

Claire is an experienced social worker with over 30 years in practice.

02 Feb, 2023

What is a Mental Health Social Worker?

One of the greatest advantages of working with an AMHSW is their level of training and expertise. AMHSWs are university educated professionals who have completed a master's degree in social work, followed by at least 2 years of supervised clinical experience in a mental health specific social work role, and then completion of a thorough accreditation process. Only after successful completion of this accreditation process, can a social worker be known as an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW) and be able to register with Medicare for rebates for counselling through a Mental Health Care Plan provided by a GP. They may also provide therapy or supports through NDIS funding. This level of training and experience allows them to provide a wide range of effective mental health services to clients and to work with a variety of mental health issues.

What can they do?

AMHSW are trained to provide counselling, therapy and support to individuals, families, and groups with mental health issues. They work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, schools, and community agencies, and may also provide case management services and collaborate with other healthcare professionals.

They can also work in private practice, offering mental health services as self-employed practitioners. The professionals advertising though Talked are offering their services in this capacity. They can offer a wide range of services, including individual, couples, and family therapy, as well as group therapy. They may also provide counselling and support for clients dealing with a variety of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationship problems. They work with clients of all ages, including children, adolescents, and adults, although typically specialise in providing therapeutic support to a particular age group.

Private practice AMHSWs may also choose to specialise in certain areas of mental health, such as working with specific populations (e.g. veterans, LGBTQ+ individuals, or people with addiction) or specific issues (e.g. depression, eating disorders, PTSD, or grief and loss).

In addition to working with individuals, mental health social workers also provide support to families and groups. They can help families to understand and cope with a loved one's mental health issues, and can provide guidance on how to communicate effectively and provide support. They may also work with groups of individuals who have similar mental health concerns, such as veterans or survivors of trauma, facilitating the provision of support and guidance to each other.

AMHSW’s are trained to use a variety of evidence-based therapeutic techniques, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), ACT, Schema therapy, and EMDR (to name a few), to assist clients to achieve their goals. AMHSW, like psychologists and counsellors, tend to have particular modalities which they prefer to utilise, based on their personal preference and client group; some modality’s are believed to be more effective with specific issues and sometimes a particular approach just sits best with a therapist’s approach and values. Usually their bio’s will specify what modalities they use.   

One of the aspects that separates AMHSWs from other therapists is their comprehensive focus. Social workers usually apply a holistic approach, considering the person within their entire psycho-social system rather than seeing the person as the problem. They also tend to encourage a therapeutic relationship based on collaboration and partnership rather than the therapist being the “expert”.

Mental health social workers are also trained to work with other healthcare professionals in providing treatment for clients. They may work with psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals to develop treatment plans that are tailored to the unique needs of each client. They may also collaborate with primary care providers, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that clients receive the most appropriate and effective care if this is required.

Overall, mental health social workers play an important role in helping individuals, families, and communities to cope with mental health issues. They are trained to provide a wide range of services that can help clients to improve their mental health and well-being. If you or a loved one is dealing with mental health issues, a mental health social worker can provide the support and guidance you need to achieve a better quality of life.

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Claire Raworth

Claire is an experienced social worker with over 30 years in practice.

Claire is an experienced social worker of over 30 years and an AMHSW herself. She is a compassionate and empathic counsellor who provides effective counselling support to a wide range of adults based on evidence based approaches such as CBT, ACT and Mindfulness. She provides sessions both face to face in Coburg, Melbourne and online. Book a session with her today.

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