Why a Licensed Clinical Social Worker?

When you are shopping for a therapist (as you should be), and your search leads you to our website, it should become evident as you look around our site that if you struggle with certain problems, you have come to the right place. This is because we specialize in helping people with anxiety disorders such as Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, and Phobias, OCD and OCD-related disorders, PTSD, and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors like hair pulling or skin picking. Also, you may have learned through your research that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other “evidenced based therapies” are the preferred modes of treatment for these disorders. Seeing that we utilize these therapeutic modes of treatment exclusively, you would then become even more convinced that Stress and Anxiety Services of New Jersey (SASNJ) is the right place for you or your loved one to receive help.

You would then begin to read about the clinical staff on our website. You see that most of our staff has the degree of Psy.D., or Doctor of Psychology, our director has the degree of Ed.D., or Doctor of Education in Counseling Psychology, and that all of them have gone through the very rigorous postdoctoral process of becoming New Jersey licensed psychologists. You might have also read our section on our Post-Doc Fellows, by reviewing the web page dedicated to that topic and have learned that they, too, have doctorates and are well trained.

But then you see our LCSW, or Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Maressa Nordstrom. For many of you, you read “social worker” and what comes to mind are professionals who help place abused kids in foster care or help the poor to find legal services, apply for food stamps, or obtain health care. You might think of social workers who respond to crisis situations by helping people to cope with and get help when there is a fire, a flood, or family violence. In addition, you might envision social workers who promote many other community or family-centered services. While these are all of course very noble activities and are desperately needed services, licensed clinical social workers are something different. They, like their psychologist counterparts, are trained to diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues. Like psychologists, they are therapists.

We invite you to examine closely the bio for Ms. Nordstrom. She was selected to join the clinical staff at SASNJ, in part because she has had rigorous training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), an important component in our overall cognitive behavioral therapy services, and which is often applied to the clinical problems that we address here at SASNJ. While all our clinical staff are proficient in the application of DBT in treatment, most others on our clinical staff have not had the formal training or the amount of experience as has been had by Ms. Nordstrom. The same can be said about her certification in Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD, a highly specialized skill set which sets her above many doctoral level professionals in the field who treat this disorder, and which only a few of our own clinical staff have obtained.

In addition, when it comes to the application of Exposure and Response Prevention for the treatment of OCD, one of the staple services we provide here at SASNJ, Ms. Nordstrom came to us with extensive training and experience in that area as well. Like the rest of the licensed professionals on our clinical staff, she has gone through the formal training of the BTTI- the Behavioral Therapy Training Institute, the training and certification arm of the International OCD Foundation. In addition, Ms. Nordstrom’s placement experiences and previous employment sites have provided her with a wide variety of treatment contexts and expertise. And, unlike the rest of our clinical staff, she is licensed in New Jersey for Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counseling and is a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist.

We here at SASNJ view ourselves as an elite, specialized practice. We are not just a group of therapists who happen to be practicing together. We wanted to take this opportunity to educate the reader about how this particular professional adds so much to our clinical practice, because we understand that the alphabet soup of professional degrees in mental health can sometimes be confusing and that sometimes a lack of information can lead some to assume that not having the title, “doctor,” means that the services provided will somehow be less effective. We cannot speak for all such professionals in all situations, but we can strongly stand by our commitment to excellence and state clearly that, at our practice, nothing could be further from the truth.

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