When you’re tired of struggling with a problem on your own, and you’re ready to reach out to a professional, where do you begin?  A personal recommendation is wonderful, but that doesn’t always happen.  Many people choose a therapist by searching online, and many begin with directories such as Psychology Today and Good Therapy.

Once you get to the listings in your zip code (93101 for Santa Barbara), you begin to notice all the different letters after the therapists’ names.  Do you know what they mean?  Don’t feel bad if you don’t.  It can be confusing!

I’d like to explain what is after my name: Linda Menesez, MSW, LCSW.  Right after Menesez, there is “M.S.W.”  This relates to my education, and means that I have graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Work.  After that, there’s “L.C.S.W.,” which means that I am licensed by the state of California, as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

What does a Licensed Clinical Social Worker do?  When many people hear the term social worker, they connect that with someone who does case management.  Social workers help clients in a wide variety of ways.  Case management is only one avenue of assistance.

The way I help clients is by working with them on clinical issues.  By clinical, I mean all types of emotional issues, such as anxiety, depression, grief and loss, past trauma, relationship problems, low self-esteem, etc.  I hope this post gives you a better understanding of what the letters after my name mean, and how I could help you.  If you are looking for a therapist/counselor in Santa Barbara, I would love to talk with you.

From time to time, I will be doing additional posts to clarify some of the other educational degrees and licenses that you might see connected with psychotherapists.  If you have specific questions, I would be happy to answer them.   Just comment below, or send an email to linda@counselinginsb.com.

Until next time,



  • Thanks Linda! I always do wonder what all those initials mean, but I did know yours 🙂 My question was going to be if you could answer what all the rest meant for all the other professions too! All the nursing degrees sure confuse me 😉

    Signing off as,
    Andreana S.A.H.M., C.O.O of this household!

  • Hi Andreana,

    Thank you for commenting. I don’t think I would have the knowledge, space, or time to answer what every initial for every profession means! You would have to contact someone from each profession that you’re curious about and ask them. But I do agree that all the letters can be very confusing. I only know about the initials in my field, and I will write more about them in the future. Now, you have me curious about your initials! 🙂

    Take good care,


    • Hi Amy,

      No, you can’t be a L.C.S.W. without the M.S.W. It’s a process to become licensed. The last step towards licensing are two tests which must be passed. To be qualified to take the tests, each intern must have accumulated 3200 hours of clinical time with clients. You can’t even begin to count the hours until after you’ve finished your master’s program. So, getting the M.S.W. is the first big step toward licensing. Thank you for asking that question, Amy!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *