Out Patient Therapist
Amy Morin is an outpatient therapist who works with individuals referred by doctors or other health professionals. One of the highlights of this career field is the ability to work in a variety of different settings as well as treating a variety of different types of patients.
Through our interview with Amy, we have learned that one of the most important aspects of working as a social worker is allowing the individual to set their own goals and then helping them to achieve those goals. In addition to her duties as a therapist, Amy teaches college classes and does freelance writing.
What made you want to start becoming a Social Worker?
I love working with people and I have always been fascinated to know what makes people do the things they do. I also like the broad range of opportunities for social workers. I knew if I pursued a degree in psychology, I'd have options in the mental health field, but there seemed to be a lot more opportunity for people with a social work license.
Can you tell us a bit about your career as a Social Worker?
Once I got my bachelor's degree in social work I began working as a hospital case manager on the medical and surgical units. I conducted discharge planning for patients who may need to have some home healthcare or who may need rehab after a hip replacement or a stroke.
I completed my master's degree in social work and began working as an outpatient therapist. I began teaching at a community college a few years ago and I teach a variety of classes in mental health and psychology. I also began doing some freelance writing a few years ago where I write parenting articles, in fact I just wrote a study guide for social workers who are about to take their licensing exam.
What exactly is it that you do as an outpatient therapist?
I provide mental health counseling to individuals, families and groups. I meet with people who are often referred by a doctor or sometimes self-referred and they may be struggling with depression, anxiety or some other problems in their life. I teach them skills like how to reduce stress, manage their emotions, solve problems or make lasting changes in their life.
How are you able to serve and help these individuals?
The people I work with get to establish their own goals. I help them decide how to meet their goals. Then, together, we decide what sort of treatment is likely to work best for them. Sometimes they need referrals for other services as well, such as to see a psychiatrist for medication or to attend a group to help with anger management.
I also help link them to services that will help them meet their basic needs. For example, if a person comes to see me for depression but they don't have enough money to eat, I can't help them with their depression until we address their financial strain. This may mean linking them to a case manager or helping them apply for assistance.
What is the job market like for the outpatient therapist profession? Where do professionals such as this tend to become employed?
No matter how tough things seem to get in the economy there seems to be tons of jobs for social workers. One of the best parts about being an outpatient therapist is that you can work for a variety of places. Prisons, schools, nursing homes, doctor's offices, and hospitals all hire outpatient therapists so you have the opportunity to work with lots of different populations.
You also teach as a professor, can you tell us a bit about that?
A few years ago I had an opportunity to begin working as an adjunct instructor. I teach part-time classes to students pursuing various degrees in the mental health field. I've taught a variety of classes and I really enjoy seeing the excitement in the students who are about to enter into the field.
What would be your advice for someone looking to become a social worker?
I would recommend anyone looking into the field to be willing to try working with many different populations. I have heard people who often say they want to work at a nursing home but by the time they enter the field they discover they really have a talent for working with adolescents. So, be willing to branch out and try new things.