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Is a Career in Social Work for Me? – Samantha, LLMSW

March is National Social Work Month. Hope Network recognizes and celebrates the significant contributions of our social workers to the communities we serve.  A career in social work is fulfilling in so many ways. Read on to learn more.

Samantha, LLMSW, Therapist – Addiction Recovery, Grand Rapids

The time right for social work.  What does this mean to you?

The pandemic has caused so much isolation, lack of jobs, so there’s definitely a need for social work and therapy, probably more now than ever. With the emergence of telehealth, it has been so much more accessible and convenient for people seeking help.

What inspired you to pursue a career in social work?

Around 16, I started experiencing depression and I saw a counselor. She helped me so much – she taught me to love myself and get through that hard times, it made such a difference. I wanted to be able to help people the way she helped me, without judgement. Then when I got to college, and I took an intro to social work class in my first semester. My professor told me I seemed like a natural, so I decided to explore the social work program.

What advice do you have for someone considering a career in social work?

In order to help others, you need to be able to help yourself. You have to be able to dig deep to be vulnerable and face your own problems. Self-care is so important both physically and emotionally; set boundaries, and don’t be afraid to say no or to ask for help and support.

Could you describe your job duties and the population you support?

I am an outpatient therapist for our Addiction Recovery services. We do medication assisted treatment for people in recovery, mostly in maintenance, but they can be in any stage. We have primary care physicians across the hall that the therapists work hand in hand with. Together, the patient, doctors, and therapists, establish recovery goals, review medication and dosages, and assist with any hardships that might trigger a relapse. There is a set of requirements that the patients must meet in order to stay in the program, which includes therapy once or twice a month but they can always do more.

What was your education/ licensing path?

I graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Social Work. I decided to go back for a Master of Social Work in 2020 for more job opportunities, but I had gone to a conference and that motivated me to pursue therapy.  I am currently studying for my LMSW test, and also working towards my CADC license (Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor).

What do you find most fulfilling about your profession?

Those connections, having people be able to trust you with the most vulnerable parts of themselves. Having the honor to be trusted with that, and them allowing me to help. Some people have never had someone who is kind, caring, and supportive, and if I can be that one person to show that, it just fills me up.

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