Frequently Asked Questions

What is Clinical Social Work? Clinical social work is a behavioral health profession whose practitioners, educated in social-work graduate schools and trained under supervision, master a distinctive body of knowledge and skill in order to bring about the healthy bio-psycho-social functioning of people - individuals, couples, families, groups - of all ages and backgrounds.

What is the ABCSW? The American Board of Clinical Social Work (ABCSW), founded in 1987, is a national education, advocacy and credentialing organization created by and for the profession of Clinical Social Work. The ABCSW’s main purposes are to issue advanced credentials to Clinical Social Workers based on uniform national standards of practice, and to educate the public and various audiences about the value of these certifications and the services of those who hold them.

What are some important issues in the profession?

  • Some schools do not adequately prepare graduate students for clinical practice.
  • Often, clinical supervision is not available in work settings.
  • Younger clinical social workers tend not to self-identity in terms of their profession.
  • Younger clinical social workers are insufficiently supported, rewarded, and recognized as professionals.
  • State licensure laws and regulations differ greatly, without portability.
  • Mid-career colleagues are passed over for promotion and not adequately compensated or valued for their abilities.
  • No national organization has promoted the rights and recognition that clinical social workers deserve.
  • The Affordable Care Act is causing many changes in professional practice.

What is the ABCSW's Bill of Rights for Clinical Social Workers? The Bill of Rights summarizes for clinical social workers their rights to practice as professionals–rights that are promoted and defended by the ABCSW.