Friday, July 23, 2010
The recent passage of legislation that streamlines the application process for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) seeking medical treatment is a long overdue win for the mental health community. As a social worker, I immediately thought of the opportunities for career expansion in our field. However, my enthusiasm was curbed when I read a letter to the editor in the Boston Globe written by a veteran titled “Diagnosing PTSD” (July 17, 2010). The article discredits the field of social work for lacking “Federal recognition” and our clinicians as secondary to that of federally recognized Psychologists “with doctorates.” This line of thinking is reminiscient of the old turf wars between the Hatfields and the McCoys and it is just a flimsy and decadent. The misguided writer is as ill informed as his Appalachian predessessors. Most educated mental health professionals have known for years that clinical social workers have the training, the clincial expertise and the authority to diagnose and treat mental illness. In fact, there are many outstanding social work clinicians, with doctorates and masters degrees than any other mental health professional group, currently working for the Veterans Administration Hospital System.
Oh well, old myths, sure do hang around.