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Hi everyone,

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. It is not my intention to put down any profession or discipline. I'm just confused and trying to seek advice. This may be long, so please bear with me.

I'm 32 years old, and have an undergrad degree in Psychology and a master's in environmental safety. I've worked in mental health for several years, and recently decided that I want to return to school to obtain a graduate degree in the human services field. My goal is to work as a therapist and one day have my own practice working with the adult population. I keep reading and hearing that it's best to become a LCSW rather than an LPC because an MSW degree is far more marketable, profitable and recognized as opposed to a master's in Mental Health or Clinical Psychology for example.

I've been accepted into an MSW program with a Micro concentration, which will begin this Fall. However, I'm having second thoughts. My main concern: Does the Social Work philosophy align well with my personal philosophy? Sometimes I get the impression that Social Work tends to, for the most part, "blame" the client's problems (like oppression or the government, etc.). I've come to understand (through my own hardships and life experiences and that of others') that looking at outside factors as the cause for our misfortunes keeps people from accessing their Higher Self, if you will. I guess you could say that I'm more into Positive Psychology. Rather than looking at how messed up the government is and perceiving ourselves as being oppressed, I believe it's important to take radical responsibility for our circumstances by looking within ourselves, and that focusing on the good in our lives will help transform the areas we are not happy about. This is all assuming a person has their basic needs met. I would never expect someone who is homeless or has nothing to eat to work on accessing their Higher Self.  But basically, I'm not sure that my personal values and outlook are consistent with those of the Social Work discipline. And so I wonder if the field of Psychology would be a better fit than the field of Social Work.

I'm torn because I've already been accepted into the MSW program and would have to wait about 6 months to get into a graduate psych program that's more than $10k more expensive than the MSW program. On one hand, I wonder if I'm simply mistaken about the Social Work discipline and judging it wrong. On the other, I wonder if I'd be making a mistake by getting my MSW versus a Psych degree. I know that an MSW program is more marketable and offers greater job security, but I want to make sure my values align with my field of study.  

My questions:

  1. Do you think that my values and beliefs are too different from the Social Work values and philosophy?
  2. Am I better off just waiting to apply to a Psychology program instead?
  3. Am I overthinking things?
  4. Should I go the MSW route and just make my practice what I want it to be (Positive Psychology approach)?

Thanks again for your time!

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