What Do Social Workers Do?

The social workers on the Mindful Living Centre team are highly skilled mental health professionals who provide psychotherapy to treat a wide range of concerns. They work from a strengths-based, client-centered perspective, and use a variety of treatment approaches (e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [CBT], Solution-Focussed Therapy, Internal Family Systems [IFS]). Social workers are trained to consider a wide variety of influences on mental health, including systemic factors that may make – and keep – people challenged with respect to their emotional health and relationships. The assessment process considers historical factors that may contribute to unhelpful patterns of thought and behaviour, stressors that preceded the decision to seek out treatment, and factors that may be acting to maintain current challenges.

Track athlete with performance anxiety preparing to run at the starting line

What training do social workers have?

The Mindful Living Centre’s social workers are highly trained mental health professionals who each hold a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW). As part of their professional practice, they also engage in ongoing professional development and training to continually expand their knowledge and skills and to stay current in the ever-changing mental health field. Training in cultural humility and inclusive practice is also part of ongoing professional development.

Social workers are licensed professionals, regulated under the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Additionally, they may be members of professional associations such as the Ontario Association of Social Workers.

What are social workers’ values?

A social worker has a commitment to the social good, which means they are advocates for the overall benefit of society, the environment and the global community. They are person-centered and have a commitment to the following values and practices: professional competence, social justice, respect for people’s intrinsic worth, integrity, objectivity, and confidentiality.

Diverse social workers students on master studies

What kinds of concerns can social workers help treat?

A social worker often specialize in working with a particular age group, and generally have the ability to treat a wide array of presenting problems. These may include concerns such as anxiety, depression, relationship issues, anger issues, grief, and trauma. Areas of specialization will vary from clinician to clinician. 

Learn more about the treatment focus areas of our social workers at the Mindful Living Centre on our bio page.

Businessman Preparing Checklist - social workers

Who would benefit from seeing a social worker?

Anyone looking to improve their mental health and relationships, address specific mental health concerns, find greater clarity about life direction, cope with challenging transitions, or who simply wishes to have an objective person with whom to speak about life issues, can benefit from the services of a social worker on our team.

What don’t social workers do?

A social worker can assess individuals for symptoms of various mental health concerns, but they cannot formally diagnose a mental health disorder. They also cannot prescribe medication. A social worker can, however, connect with allied healthcare providers and provide treatment notes and/or recommendations if the client wishes, and consent is provided. As part of a multidisciplinary practice, social workers at the Mindful Living Centre can also refer and consult with other team members when needed.

What are the similarities between a psychologist and a social worker?

In terms of therapy, social workers providing psychotherapy services practice similarly to psychologists, specializing in many of the same treatment modalities. A primary difference is that social workers do not provide intensive diagnostic assessments and diagnoses. 

Do private health care benefits cover social work services?

Yes, most do! Also, fees for social work services are typically less than those of psychologists. 

All of the social workers at the Mindful Living Centre are registered and in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). You will be provided with a receipt that includes a registration number to submit to your insurance provider if you have private benefits. You can check with your provider to ensure that you have coverage for social work services provided by a Registered Social Worker (RSW) with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.

Want to find out more?

Any questions you may have will be answered during the Mindful Living Centre’s intake process. Our priority is to match you with a therapist who aligns with your particular needs.

Click the links here for more about the social work profession, and the social workers at the Mindful Living Centre.

Headshot of Erika Ristok

Ms. Erika Ristok

Registered Social Worker

Marie Alexis

Ms. Marie Alexis

Registered Social Worker

Ms. Danielle Pomeroy

Ms. Danielle Pomeroy

Registered Social Worker

Please note: this article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for therapy or advice from a qualified professional.