What is a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work? (Or why is a BCD a BFD?)

First, an announcement:

I am now a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work!

San Diego Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work, Abigail Burd

What is Board Certification in Clinical Social Work?

From the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work:

“Board certification at a high level of practice is essential to every healthcare profession—uniquely, it establishes the standards by which competent practitioners may be identified… The Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (BCD) is the profession’s premier advanced-generalist practice certification, embodying the highest standards in the areas of clinical education, training, and experience.”

The “Gold Standard” (or why is a BCD a BFD?)

Ever since I had my first social work supervisor while working for UCSD, before I even went to San Diego State for a  Master’s of Social Work (MSW), I knew the BCD was the “gold standard.” I remember the day she handed me her new business cards with her new “initials” after her name. She was really proud of finally becoming a diplomate as board certification had been a goal of hers for a long time. For me, the day that I would have enough experience to do the same seemed too far away to contemplate. I guess time goes by faster than we think…

Why does having a counselor who is a BCD matter for therapy?

For many, knowing that the professional they are entrusting with their lives has the skills, training and experience is important. For some, having some one who is an “expert” or “the best” is important. A Board Certified Diplomate is the highest designation for a clinical social worker.

But do you want to know what I truly think? I think that years of experience are not as important as connection. Over the last 20 years I may have improved on my skills, including my ability to connect, but it is not a guarantee that I, or any other therapist, is going to be the right fit for someone. That’s why I offer free phone consultations to let someone get a feel if I am going to be someone they feel comfortable with. There is also no commitment or pressure to continue if someone doesn’t feel we click after the first session. It’s like trying on a glove.

Why does having a supervisor who is a BCD matter for clinical supervision?

Associate Clinical Social Workers (ASWs), Interns in Marriage and Family (IMFs), and Professional Counseling Interns (PCIs) are all required by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to have clinical supervision with a qualified supervisor. One of the minimum qualifications for a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), like myself, as well as for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors is that they have been practicing for at least two years post license. All Board Certified Diplomates have been practicing clinical social work for at least five years before applying for certification.

The granting of the certification is a mark that your supervisor has currency in practice, meaning that at a minimum, they have had 3,000 hours of direct general clinical social work practice in the past 10 years. They must also successfully pass an evaluation by two advanced clinical social workers. All this can help you in the quality of the clinical supervision you receive and in the manner in which your supervisor is able to help you prepare for your licensing exams.

And what does becoming a Board Certified Diplomate mean for me?

I get more initials after my name! That’s always fun. And it means it’s time to print new business cards!

Stay tuned for an even bigger practice update next week!!!

 

About the Author:

Abigail Burd, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist practicing in San Diego. (CA lic #LCS26867.) Specialties include maternal mental health, parenting, addiction, depression/anxiety and personal growth. Abby is experienced providing counseling to others in the helping fields, college students, and graduate students.

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