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Professional Competency

A note about the similarities and differences in our practices


Coaching, Counseling, Marriage, Family Therapy, and Social Work


Rock Springs is a community of practitioners who work independently in delivering our professional services to each of our respective clients, and support one another collaboratively in our personal and professional development. There are both similarities and differences in our professional services and we want our clients to understand how this approach can be of help and service to them.


1) The practice of professional coaching can be very helpful when individuals, couples, or organizations desire a solution-focused and positive approach. Coaches partner with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process to hopefully inspire them to expand their personal and professional potential. Coaches do not treat mental illness, though they may screen for problems and refer to a mental health professional for treatment. Nor do coaches deliver marriage and family “therapy;” they will provide couples with enrichment programs and positive relational coaching, focusing on strengths, and screening for issues that would require the interventions of a family therapist. All of our coaches at Rock Springs have a relevant Masters degree in counseling or divinity; have received additional training under the supervision of a teaching psychiatrist; and are highly credentialed in their related field. However, they purposefully do not seek licensure by the State of Georgia to practice mental health counseling and instead focus on a strengths-based, positive support of the whole individual.


2) The practice of “psychotherapy” can be conducted by psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, licensed clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists. In the State of Georgia, each of these professions requires a license from the state. Licensure alone is NOT a sufficient indication of a good practitioner, but rather indicates achievement of at least a minimal level of training in the specified profession.


a) The practice of counseling can also be very helpful to certain clients. Our mental health counselors work with clients who need services from a professional counselor. Such services often include the treatment of mental health conditions that also may require collaboration with local physicians and psychiatrists such as depression, bipolar and mood instability, anxiety, and other mental conditions. Counseling may also take a strengths-based approach, but focuses on the treatment of a mental disorder or diagnosed mental condition. Each of our counselors is licensed by the State of Georgia to practice mental health counseling.


b) The practice of marriage and family therapy is a specialty focusing on couples and families, and historically takes a non-pathologizing stance about family systems. MFTs receive the same training as counselors plus additional coursework in therapies that apply to families. Each of our marriage and family therapists is licensed by the State of Georgia to practice marriage and family therapy.


c) The practice of clinical social work is conducted by professionals who have received additional training beyond their original Masters degree (which emphasized organizational help for individuals) so  they are trained to work with an individual's psycho-social needs. Each of our social workers is licensed by the State of Georgia to conduct their practice.


If you have any question about our professional practices, please contact David Harris, Executive Director, at 404-721-7409 or


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