When many people think of social workers, they do not think Psychotherapist. In fact many people do not know what to think. I love to see the look of surprise on many people’s faces when they learn exactly what social workers do. I am a psychotherapist and a social worker. I think and work with people with various mental health disorders. As a social worker, we are seen in various arenas, i.e. hospitals, schools, active duty military, veterans, inpatient, outpatient, in the home, hospice, nursing homes, and even in private practice to name a few. Social workers are literally with people from their first’s breath (pregnancy and birth) to their very last breath(death). Social workers help clients cope with problems such as poverty, abuse, addiction, and mental illness by providing counseling/therapy, connecting clients with service providers, and empowering clients to meet their own needs.
I can say that being a social worker was never in my plans. I will admit that I too was oblivious to what exactly a social worker did. It was also never in my radar to become one. I originally wanted to be a lawyer. My passion grew when I was first introduced to three fictional characters on television (Claire Huxtable of the Cosby show, Maxine Shaw of Living Singles, and Terry from Soul Food). Seeing these three powerhouse women live out their dreams, take charge and not only advocate for their clients, but their families as well. Seeing them led me to do more research on what attorneys did and law schools. I had two real life idols and my versions of superstars. I decided that I wanted to be a Civil Rights Attorney after reading and researching two well respected people; Thurgood Marshall and Johnny Cochran. I wanted to advocate for those who were voiceless. When I thought of lawyers, I thought lawyers were in a unique position to help individuals, groups, and organizations with their legal problems and further the public good. I had dreams for the greater good of society and help those in need of legal assistance who might not otherwise be able to afford a lawyer. I also had hopes to help low-income individuals and underserved portions of the population such as the elderly, victims of domestic abuse and children.
I had it all planned out. (At least so I thought) a 45 year plan which consisted of me going to law school and being a judge by age 37. That dream was going well in college; I majored in political science, joined a pre-law fraternity, and even went to a few law school conferences. Then life stressors and heartbreak struck and I found myself on the couch for therapy. I began to see a social worker/psychotherapist. She was able to help me get out of a rut and it really changed my perspective of not only what a social worker is, but in a way they do the same thing as an attorney. They advocate and help individuals who cannot help themselves, and provide resources to those who otherwise might be lost. I then switched my major to sociology with an emphasis in social welfare. (Mainly because the university did not offer a social work major and it was the closest that I could get to a social work degree). Being a sociologist not only helped me study people and learn development, structure, and functioning of human society and social problems.
I told myself that I would obtain my master in social work. After graduating from undergraduate, I took a two year break from school and became an AmeriCorps VISTA. During that time I was able to learn more about various cultures and populations. I was able to work with individuals who homeless, survivors of domestic violence, HIV positive, LBGTQ, substance use disorders, etc.. Since I was blessed with the gift of talking and helping, the field of social work came so naturally to me. While being an AmeriCorps VISTA I did not earn a lot of money but I said if I love what I do and make hardly any money then this is the field for me. I loved it in fact. I completed 2 years as an AmeriCorps VISTA and eventually graduated from Norfolk State University with my Master in Social Work degree. Was the program easy? Not by a long shot. They pushed and challenged me to be the best clinician I can be.
It is interesting because as I type I realize that I have been a social worker well before I even realized that I wanted to be a social worker. I am always rooting for the underdog. I have a way of seeing the good and I am constantly processing and attempting to find out what and why a person is the way they are. I have been told that I have a way about me that makes people feel safe and unjudged. When I think of social workers I see more than what television says (which is that we take people’s children and provide government assistance to individuals. And after much research, I discovered that most of those employees do not even have a degree in social work.) I see myself as a cheerleader and motivator not only for myself, but for my co-workers and clients.
The field of social work is so broad and ever changing like the clients we serve and even in my life. I picked the field of social work, but I oftentimes feel that social work choose me. I get great pleasure in helping clients “get unstuck”. I oftentimes tell my substance use clients, “the substance you use brought you to me, but I want to uncover what happened in life that caused you to want to block it out by using.” Life stressors get in the way for many of us and oftentimes caused us to need assistance with the next steps in our lives. I am merely a small part in a lifetime of change. You are the driver, I am just here to guide, assist, & empower you with building the coping skills to teach you not only how to drive the car on your own verves driving the car for you or watch you sit in the parking lot.
In a nutshell, I love what I do, hence why I have never worked a day in my life. I would love to help guide and assistance you on this journey called life.
L. Nicole Edwards, LCSW
herapy with Nik is an online blog space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness for individuals, couples, and family around the globe. So often the stigma surrounding mental health issues and therapy prevents many men and women from taking the step of seeing a therapist. I developed this blog to be a safe space to present mental health topics in a way that feels more accessible and relevant.
I am a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Virginia. My specialties include working with men and women in both individual, couples, and family counseling. My primary areas of interest include break up, divorce recovery, depression, work-life balance, relationship skills, self- esteem improvement, substance use disorder, trauma/grief, anxiety, and life transitions to name a few. I also have a wealth of knowledge in working with undergraduate and graduate students in areas including procrastination, stress management, and career development.
My approach to psychotherapy/counseling is heavily focused on the therapeutic relationship and I place a strong emphasis on co-creating an environment where clients feel safe, supported, and challenged to become the best possible versions of themselves. I completed a Dual Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Welfare and African American Studies with dual minors in Political Science and Women’s Studies at Old Dominion University and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work with an a specialization in military service members and substance use disorders at Norfolk State University. I have worked in various clinical settings and populations which includes inpatient, outpatient, crisis intervention, case management, colleges/universities, community mental health, hospitals, schools in home base, and most recently private practice.
Macaroni and cheese.
Thunderstorms (only if I’m already home and tucked in bed).
Reality TV shows.
The colors yellow and orange.
Anything Kate Spade.
binge watching Netflix shows…
every person should have a theme song and/or quote that helps motivates and encourages them to push through.
in good kisses, good cries, good friends, and good food!
broken hearts can heal.
there is nothing more awesome than a woman who knows her power and walks in it.