Clinical Supervisor is Incompetent and Unethical

Ethics Demystified: Clinical Supervisor Incompetent Unethical

So you say your clinical supervisor is incompetent?

Let’s learn to distinguish when a clinical supervisor is incompetent versus poor quality versus unethical. They may be one or all three. Some supervisor relationships can turn catastrophic.

But for sure, let’s learn what you can do about it. But be sure to read Guidelines for APCs from the Supervisors’ Perspective.

The relationship between a psychotherapy clinical supervisor and their supervisee is complicated. Clinical supervisors who provide distance or telesupervision face other challenges. Supervision is not for the faint of heart. One needs to work fearlessly and with confidence and conviction.

It has similarities to a client and therapist relationship. You may be a student in a graduate program. Perhaps it is an employer and employee relationship. Each has specific responsibilities. Very importantly, it is a professional peer relationship.

In any case, if you think your clinical supervisor is incompetent you’re clearly frustrated with with them.

Poor Quality Supervision

We encounter poor quality in everything we buy. Whether it is goods or services. Poor quality at a restaurant or from an online marketplace. Low quality clinical supervision whether provided by a social worker, psychologist or professional counselor.

In some instances what we perceive as poor quality clinical supervision may not be to someone else. So poor quality may not mean your clinical supervisor is incompetent. In addition, high quality supervision can be subjective.

However, when there is consensus of poor quality it probably just is. But what determines quality clinical supervision?

clinical supervisor is incompetent

Clinical Supervision Training

There is quality supervisor training and inferior training. If you provide clinical supervision you should be trained properly. Training includes supervision CE continuing education workshops, masters or doctorate supervision coursework, one on one and group training in supervision of supervision and other.

In all situations, the training should meet an industry standard and be practical, logical and empirical. In many cases, a clinical supervisor is incompetent based on poor training. In short, clinical supervision training should be high quality.

A Competent and Experienced Therapist

Assuming our clinical supervisor is well trained, they also need to be experienced as a behavioral health clinician They should be a seasoned therapist with broad skills in treatment of mental illness and addictions. You will need someone to teach you these skills whether you are doing art therapy or working in a psychiatric hospital.

In other words, your therapy may not be deeply clinical. In most work settings, you WILL encounter suicidal and severe psychological disturbance. You need a clinical supervisor who has skill working with those problems.

lpc-clinical-supervisor-is-incompetent-unethical

A Supervisor Should Be Emotionally Mature

A clinical supervisor is held to a higher standard than your boss. In fact, your boss may be held to no standard at all. Perhaps held to a standard as an employee, but not as a boss. Managers are often provided little to no training.

A clinical supervisor needs to be a mentor. They need to know how to promote professional and personal growth. They need to be instructors and critics when needed. These are all skills required to provide counseling and psychotherapy.

Lastly, they should be receiving personal psychotherapy.

Incompetent or Unethical?

In brief, shortcomings in the above areas may suggest incompetence. Whereas not necessarily unethical but at it’s worst incompetent, inept and poor quality. Tragically, there are unethical supervisors.

Acting on Behalf of Another Against Your Best Interests

One encounters this most often when the clinical supervisor is also the boss. There is an inherent conflict with this arrangement. Mainly, in order for the supervisor to keep their job they must act on behalf of the mutual employer.

For example, you disclose to your clinical supervisor you refuse to comply with an employer policy of billing for services not rendered. Your supervisor reports your refusal and you are then fired. Therefore, the only way for you to resolve this conflict is to quit that job.

This does not represent high quality supervisory skills. In fact, there is an ethical violation: your supervisor has violated a confidence that has no bearing on your professional development. In fact, they have attempted to force you to something unethical. Even worse, they have pressed you to do something illegal.

Inappropriate Involvement With Your Off-Site Employer

For example, you inadvertently breached confidentiality. You have inflicted no harm. You ask your supervisor “John” for guidance. The supervisor believes it is their ethical responsibility to report the breach to your employer. They report and you are fired.

Perhaps an argument can be made for reporting to your employer. However, all other matters equal it is a violation of confidence and probably unethical. At the least, it is easy to understand why you might feel betrayed. An alternative solution might be your supervisor using this as a teaching opportunity. The breach was an accident and likely due to your inexperience.

We assume new and experienced therapists all make mistakes. The goal is first ‘do no harm’ and learn from the mistake.

As a side note, John has also put himself in a precarious position– his actions have directly caused termination of your employment. It’s easy to see this clinical supervisor is incompetent and unethical.

Appropriate involvement with an off-site employer can include confirming the worksite is consistent with that filed with the APC application and related matters. As a supervisee, you should provide your LPC clinical supervisor with a copy of the Directed Experience form completed by the Director.

Not Recommending For Licensure

John has supervised you for 12 months. It is time for you to submit your application for LPC licensing. You submit your application and it is denied because the supervisor checked the box that says, “I do not recommend for licensure”.

What happened? Why didn’t John notify you sooner? He told you he was concerned about the frequency of corrective action. However, it would have been best for John to notify you sooner that he did not intend to recommend you. It is probably an ethics concern because John accepted payment for supervision services for 12 months and was possibly aware before then of his intentions to not recommend.

Refusal to Complete Supervision Forms

lpc supervisor refuses to sign forms

Sometimes a supervisor will refuse to complete supervision licensing forms. The reasoning may be that the supervisee has an unpaid account balance. Or they do not want to recommend for licensure and refuse to complete the forms. The reason may also be they have formed opinions in their role as boss about the supervisees clinical skills.

Yet another reason, is this same boss / clinical supervisee has opinions about your job performance. Perhaps there is conflict with co-workers or deficiencies in completing agency paperwork.

Regarding an account balance, your supervisor would be wise to address it as a collection matter similar to unpaid patient accounts. In other words, this is not a matter for supervision, it is a fee dispute.

The others above are employer disputes and issues for the employer’s HR department to address. They may not directly reflect a supervisee’s competent and ethical practice.

Rude or Aggressive Behavior

There is a power differential between a supervisor and supervisee. It is unethical to abuse that power through aggressive, forceful or otherwise abusive behavior.

What You Can Do About It

Are Clinical Supervision Services, Services?

Yes they are. Like any service, we can choose to get it elsewhere. Anything we buy is a service and we pay –in some form– for clinical supervision. There is a cost of clinical supervision. That cost can be that an employer provides the supervision. Or we pay cash money for it. Ranging from $50.00 to $150.00 per session and higher.

Your Options

First, if you have exhausted all efforts to resolve the problem to no avail you can seek supervision elsewhere. If your supervisor refuses to complete your forms, you have several choices: do nothing and accept the license denial, attempt to resolve it with the supervisor, or rebut the supervisor’s refusal with the licensing board. Like all therapists, supervisors are fallible. If you want to justify your clinical supervisor is incompetent or unethical, make note of:

  • Can you defend it was an employer/employee dispute unrelated to your clinical competency?
  • Did the supervisor violate your confidence?
  • Was the conflict a result of your supervisor engaging in a dual relationship with your employer or other?

The Two Most Important Questions

There are two important questions to ask a supervisor during your interview:

• Have they ever refused to recommend for LPC licensure and if so, why.• Second, have they ever filed a board complaint against a supervisee and why.

Determine whether you believe the supervisor had just reasons.

Lastly, request your supervision forms be completed immediately after you terminate with them. You can avoid problems that can result from attempting to get them signed later.

How Do I Find a Counseling Job in Georgia

Ethics Demystified: How Do I Find Counseling Job GA

Finding a Job as a Counselor

Planning Your Job Search

  • There are Georgia-specific licensing issues as regards suitable work as a social worker, marriage and family therapist or counselor. It can’t be just any counseling work. It has to meet certain criteria. Definitely read my companion article on how to select a directed experience site or a work setting acceptable to the board, Get That LPC Application Approved. The link will open in a new window.
  • The board rules differ for Georgia marriage and family therapists and social workers, but find an established organization that is structured and provides oversight. It can be a government organization. It can be a private non-profit setting. It can be a private clinic. In some instances, employment in a small private counseling center is be acceptable.

Job Board

Job Title:  Assistant Director Of Counseling And Sport Psychology Services

Location: Mississippi State University

*Will accept APC, LMSW or AMFT as long as eligible for Mississippi license within six months of hire.*

Job Title: Mental Health Technician, Ridgeview Institute. Monroe, Georgia

Note: This job does not require an APC (Associate Professional Counselor) license and will likely support Directed Experience towards full licensure as an LPC. This is also outstanding clinical experience.

Hire a Professional Resume Writer

I can’t stress this enough. You don’t do your own brain surgery–pay a professional to write your resume. You are not simply seeking a job. You are pursuing a career that requires a state healthcare practice license.

I have helped supervisees who lose their job find work again–quickly. I have leads, but a killer resume writer will help you get the interview. Also, therapists often devalue or are overly modest about their achievements. You are in a highly competitive industry.

Networking

Now that you have put together that killer smash-hit plan, what next? Networking with other mental health professionals.

In fact, let’s use an alternative term to networking because it can be intimidating. Make professional friends. One of the most greatest returns on your investment is allowing others to put a face to your name. For example, have you ever bumped into a familiar face in a public place and realized it is a Facebook friend you have never met? It’s almost as if they are a celebrity!

Check out those after hours “come tour our practice” events. Sometimes they are hosted in the relaxing environment of a restaurant. You don’t need to even focus on selling yourself. Talk a bit about your specialty, but simply get acquainted with the individuals in that practice. You will be surprised at how often they will tell you they would like to discuss joining their group.

Join therapist listservs in your area. Employers advertise job openings in these groups. If you are a Georgia counselor seeking empployment, join GTNetwork (Georgia Therapists Network).  –an outstanding networking opportunity to meet peers.

Job Board​​​​​

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT: Licensed Professional Counselor, Chattahoochee Technical College                                      APPLY ONLINE ONLY @ www.chattahoocheetech.edu and select “Contact Us” then “CTC Jobs.” For a complete file, fill out an online application, upload cover letter, resume, unofficial transcripts and include three professional references’ contact information on application. Before a candidate is hired, a pre-employment criminal background investigation, motor vehicle records check and employer/professional reference check will be conducted.

ANTICIPATED EMPLOYMENT DATE:  April 2019

Social Media and Other Web-Based Employment Resources

Sites like Indeed.com are their own mini-search engines. Resumes need to be optimized to defeat their automated screening processes. Another advantage of hiring a professional to write that counseling resume is they know how to load it with key words. So now that you have that mind blowing resume that will rank highly on the job search sites, develop a LinkdIn profile. Upload your resume to Indeed.com and similar websites. The advantage of internet based networking is that you are reaching thousands of employers. It is an efficient means of putting your name out there.

How do I find a job that will enable me to get licensed when all the jobs openings advertise that I need to be licensed?

That’s impossible, right? No. Many organizations will hire you unlicensed, but make arrangements for you to be the eligible work setting that you submit to the board for your LAPC. In this scenario, you are hired unlicensed under the condition that you are license eligible. Also, it is in their interest to facilitate your obtaining that license so it can be a win/win situation.

State and private psychiatric hospitals

These are excellent clinical experience settings since you will encounter a range of psychosocial concerns including severe mental illness, addiction and homelessness. Many of the public community service boards are operated by private mental health organizations that contract with the state to provide services. Without a doubt, these work settings will give you the best clinical experience. Creating a framework for diagnosing will be much easier. You will learn how to quickly assess for addiction, psychosis, psychiatric symptoms related to medical conditions, and so on.

Private Non Profit

There are a number of private non-profit counseling centers that are funded through donations and provide services to patients on a sliding fee scale. Often training and internship sites, they are also employment opportunities.

Private Psychiatric Practices

This is one of the most overlooked job resources. It has been increasingly difficult for psychiatrists to survive in the world of managed mental health. In that respect, their situation is worse than yours. It is extremely difficult for a physician to survive through solely providing direct treatment. They have enormous malpractice insurance premiums and other associated costs of a private practice physician that are beyond comparison with your costs.

For these reasons, they develop multidisciplinary mental health practices which allow them to in effect see more patients. They compensate additional psychiatrists, advanced practice psychiatric nurses and psychotherapists either through W-2 employment or 1099 independent contractor agreements. They often employ provisionally licensed clinicians– LAPC, AMFT and LMSWs. They usually provide the necessary structure you need to become a well-rounded therapist. Usually the most accessible contact point is their office manager or on-call nurse. Email a resume and be persistent. Contact them frequently. If your focus is art, body or equestrian therapy that is great. However, when approaching psychiatric practices be sure to highlight any clinical mental health and addiction experience in your application or resume. Your chances of being hired are usually better if you know a colleague who works at the practice. Begin by contacting the larger practices in your area of Georgia. Determine whether they currently employ therapists. If they already employ therapists, they may be trying to expand–good opportunity for you!

Getting on Managed Care Panels

Hint: Open your office in an area where managed care companies are accepting new providers. These are sometimes distant Atlanta suburbs– Lawrenceville, Rabun County and far north or south Georgia. Should you need to relocate, your managed care contracts are portable.

Another great advantage is it is often easier to get onto managed care contracts or “panels” when you are working with a physician who operates a high volume practice. The insurance companies- BCBS, Aetna, United Healthcare, Cigna–consider them a high priority referral source. It is a ‘one stop shop’ for medication and therapy. Managed care companies favor these clinic settings. You can also hire someone to assist you with the managed care credentialing process. One such company that help you get on managed care panels is ThriveWorks.

Working in private psychiatric clinics can be a good way of jump-starting your private practice. Once you are credentialed, if it is an independent provider contract (not a group contract through the psychiatric practice) it is portable. You may open your own office and receive direct referrals through that same contract.

Smaller Private Counseling Centers

More great job resources for therapists. Caveat: these settings must be employment type settings and are often rejected by the Composite Board of PC, SW and MFT as acceptable work settings. Your director/boss is required to attest that your work will have direct oversight in formal employment arrangement. It is also wise to confirm whether their counseling organization has been previously accepted by the board for an approved LAPC worksite and accepted directed experience Form C.

Summary

You must be creative and think outside of the box if you want to make it in mental health. If you put into action the above tips and tricks, you will find your job search as a professional counselor or social worker to be more productive and less frustrating. This article has helped others obtain jobs as therapists.

Ethics in LPC License Training and Supervision

Ethics Demystified: Ethics LPC License Training and Supervision

Ethics in Clinical Supervision

Ethics is the foundation of professional practice as well as LPC licensure training and supervision. Ethics isn’t a component of your practice: all aspects of your practice are based upon ethics. It is the cornerstone of the practice of psychotherapy. Your practice can’t survive if you don’t have a solid grasp of what is right and wrong. Morally, clinically and legally. Without that foundation, even the most sophisticated counseling skills are of little value.

lpc licensure training and supervision

None of us are automatically ‘ethical’. You must learn it from more experienced peers. Either through consultation or professional CEU workshops. In a broader sense, LPC licensure training and supervision involves getting a license, maintaining it, and receiving/giving help to our peers.

The state of the profession is determined by those it gives birth to.

In other words, experienced therapists have an obligation to nurture the growth of those new to the counseling profession. Good license hygiene requires a mastery of ethics.

This should start from the time we begin pursuing a license. It transcends professional identity or orientation: this guide applies to everyone licensed to practice psychotherapy including psychologists.

Background

My decision to provide ethics training and supervision was based on my experience serving on the Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists.  Board members are appointed by the governor. I served for 7 years. When I departed, I wanted to share my experiences with peers. I knew I could have a positive impact on the profession. I felt a duty to share how the board evaluates ethics complaints.

Why ethics should be your top priority

Some of the most common ethical violations are found to be boundary crossings.

For therapists, the greatest job hazard is managing human contact. When our helping turns into rescuing, we have engaged in a boundary crossing. This type of boundary crossing is a common blind spot for new or inadequately trained therapists.

Sometimes therapists lack a capacity to see they have crossed a boundary. This is very concerning and it is compounded when their clinical supervisor doesn’t see it either.

Supervisors must be skilled not only in recognizing boundary crossings, but they must use those skills so together you can get your work back on track.

As you can see, you need a solid foundation in ethics in order to practice safely and fortify where you are most vulnerable. I explain this further in my approach to supervision.

What is good license hygiene

Hi-giene (ˈhīˌjēn) noun: conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially through cleanliness. synonyms: cleanliness, sanitation, sterility, purity.

First, hygiene is prevention. As you proceed towards licensure, you should be proactive in ensuring a clean and unblemished license history. You accomplish this by incorporating a system for addressing areas where you need to strengthen your license.

There are 7 essential elements to gaining a solid grasp of ethics and good license hygiene.

7 essential elements of ethics and good license hygiene

Read the Composite Board Code of Ethics

Review the Composite Board Code of Ethics. Georgia professional counselors, social workers and marriage and family therapists are all bound by this same code. I cover it with participants line-by-line in my ethics workshop, Understanding the Composite Board Complaints and Investigations Process.

Supervision by a Well-Trained Supervisor

Having a state practice license is a serious matter.  Select your supervisor carefully. For example, if you are working with children, they need to have worked with children. They should state to you their approach to supervision.

Your supervisor should know the board rules and ethics. They need to stay on top of rule changes as well as board policies. They need to be competent in guiding you on ethical dilemmas.

There should be a ‘click’ between you. There is too much at stake to put your pursuit of licensure in the hands of someone you don’t fully trust. You are paying them for your service. They should work on your behalf and in your best interests.

Nonetheless, they should be someone who will also kindly yet bluntly challenge your work. But, if you can’t share challenging ethical situations with your supervisor, it will be difficult for you to develop as an ethical therapist.

Rethink Definitions of Boundary Crossings

We all know the obvious boundary violations. For example, we know not to engage in intimate relationships and barter with clients. However, there are subtle boundary crossings we tend to miss.

boundaries ethics therapists

Consider how this can roll down hill very quickly. The client begins work. After several months they become disgruntled with their boss who is your friend who gave you the “hook-up” on the job. At this point a breach has occurred. The client further becomes upset with you for connecting them with a job where they have a legitimate harassment case. The client files a licensing board complaint against you for the breach and unprofessional conduct.

Do you want to avoid these types of complaints? Note the following best practices:

CEU Workshops on Boundary Management

From the above illustration it is easy to see why you can never get too much education in boundaries. Research the workshops and presenters thoroughly. It is important the information you learn is accurate and comprehensive.

Presenters/trainers should be in active clinical practice. The workshops should be empowering! You shouldn’t leave with your head spinning feeling more confused and frightened.

Understand There is Always a Power Differential

Even though client relationships can be casual and relaxed, your client idealizes you. It may not be apparent, but clients hang on your every word and see you as the expert. Therefore, clients can be injured easily.

Choose your words carefully and check in with them to confirm that what you intended to convey is what they heard.

Peer Relationships That Are Friendships.

Perhaps the best way to achieve this is to carefully screen and select practice partners and office mates. Having a trusted peer on-site is invaluable.

Working through your ethical dilemmas often requires a non-judgmental third party.

Personal Psychotherapy

It is very difficult to effectively practice psychotherapy if you have not been a client in therapy. Personal therapy compliments supervision. It also helps you recognize projections and transference/countertransference. Further, your supervisor will likely confront you when they believe that personal issues are impacting your work and you need to be able to respond to your supervisor.

Putting it all together

Now you can develop a personal system to ensure good license hygiene.

1) On even numbered years, you are required to complete 35 hours of continuing education. Take plenty of ethics courses especially boundaries. 10 hours is good. Choose topics that will help correct weak areas of your practice. Approved ethics courses can be used to fulfill all of your board CEU requirements. You can the round out our requirements with elective workshops.

2) As you encounter ethical dilemmas, you have at least two resources for help: your trusted supervisor and trusted peers. Through CE training you will have skills to interact in an educated manner with your trusted peers.

3) Incorporating and sharing your personal psychotherapy can be very helpful for your development. **More often than not, struggles with a client are related to personal issues and not sheer lack of clinical skills.**

Closing Comments

I have tried to thoroughly cover ethics of LPC licensure training and supervision. If you have questions about this article, feel free to contact me by phone. If it is simple question, I am happy to offer a free phone consultation. Best wishes wherever you are in your career as a therapist!

eric- (Go Back to Top)

 

Guidelines for APC Supervisees

What is my role as a supervisee? What should be my relationship with my supervisor?

1) Be teachable. 2) Seek personal psychotherapy. 3) Understand the rules. 4) Five areas of development. Proper assessment, asking your supervisor for help when you are stuck with a client, case management, thoroughly understanding board rules and developing a specialty. 

If you follow these recommendations your supervision should be pleasurable and fulfilling. However, you also should know ​what you can do about a rude, aggressive or incompetent supervisor. 

It’s important to obtain rewarding and flexible supervision.

Be Teachable

Supervisors may be reluctant to continue to supervise you if you don’t implement their recommendations. This is especially true when it involves risky situations such as suicidal clients or boundary issues. Be aware of improvements you want to make.

Your journey through your entire career should be evaluating shortcomings and improvements.

Personal Psychotherapy

Do not view personal therapy as optional. You are performing hazardous work. If you are reluctant to work through your issues, your ability to help clients will be limited. It is also frustrating for a supervisor to work with one who is incapable of addressing countertransference.

Much of the mentoring and development work of a supervisor is helping you manage boundaries.

Personal psychotherapy helps to address your blind spots.

Five Development Areas

Proper assessment, asking your supervisor for help when you are stuck with a client, case management, thoroughly understanding board rules and developing a specialty. 

Know the Board Rules

The Most Important Concept

This information is accurate as of 8/2/18. It is subordinate to future rule changes. I make no warranty for this info implied or otherwise.

Find the Board Rules at the Secretary of State website. The page will open in a new browser window. Attest to the copyright notice. Navigate to chapter 135-5. Notice the chapter is introduced by all of the Licensing Definitions. Once you have fully read and understood those definitions, you should have no problem understanding licensing requirements.

Memorize the following most important concept for Georgia APC/LPC licensing:

“…year(s) of post masters directed experience under supervision in a work setting acceptable to the board”.

There are eight definitions contained in that sentence:  

1) Year(s) 2) Post Masters 3) Directed Experience 4) Director5) Direction6) Supervision7) Supervisor 8) Work Setting Acceptable to the Board

For example, a “Year” can be 12 to 20 months or it can have no specified number of months as is the case with your internship. “Post Masters” can be months after your degree was conferred or in the case of practicum / internship, Post Masters can mean before you graduated. Get it?

 Study those definitions.

Studying these 12 tips and tricks and the art to reading board rules will also be helpful.

guidelines for apc supervisees

Develop a Specialty

None of us can deliver all types of counseling. Develop a specialty because it is a wise business decision and also ensures you are not practicing beyond your area of competence. If you do not enjoy working with adolescents, it is wise to not specialize in that population. If you enjoy adolescent therapy, consider specializing in DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) or another specialized adolescent / child therapy.

Become known in the professional community as a go-to therapist. You will also develop competence in that therapy – an important factor for avoiding civil and licensing board complaints.

Sample Application Denials

Many in supervision are also dealing with a recently denied license application. There are many reasons counseling license applications are denied. Most often a result of incomplete reading of the board rules.

The GA composite board denies applications requiring additional months or even years of directed experience under supervision.

Here they are in no particular order.

“You must obtain an additional 8 months of directed experience under supervision in an acceptable work setting.”

What happened? Possibly several things including the board has deemed ineligible 8 months of your work because you were not under supervision during that period, or perhaps you applied work months that were not post-masters. There may be other reasons.

Remedy: be sure to read and understand the rule that describes that work without simultaneous supervision is not allowed.

“Directed experience form C is not acceptable to the board as you have not documented training in counseling and psychotherapy.”

It is important to note that a state issued LPC, SW or MFT practice license allows you to practice psychotherapy independently. For example, your work was primarily case management. This may not theoretically be a problem, but under the law you are allowed to practice independently.

Since you may decide you want to practice independently, it is important you have been properly trained to do that.

Locate the scope of practice definition, “The Practice of Professional Counseling” in the rules. Acceptable work is further described in that paragraph. If you are a social worker or marriage and family therapist note your scope of practice differs from LPCs. 

Remedy: Ensure your work setting provides experience and training in performing psychotherapy. Also, confirm with your Director in advance that the work setting has been previously accepted by the board.

“Your forms were not notarized properly.”

A notary public swears that your signature and date are true and accurate. Forms that have been crossed out or altered are not acceptable. Ensure any form you are required to submit is clean and clear.

Remedy: the board will usually require you to resubmit properly notarized forms so it’s best to get it right first. When your application is pended or denied, this is costing you valuable time and money. 

Obtaining a psychotherapy license in GA is not easy.

Getting your LPC license is not an easy task. Don’t expect it to be.

State licensing boards’ primary role is protecting the public from harmful therapists whether psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists or professional counselors–not being charitable or empathetic to your pursuit of getting licensed.

Applicants who are in clinical supervision for LPC should know the rules thoroughly. 

It is not relevant that you graduated with a PhD from UCLA and worked at the Betty Ford Clinic if you have not met licensing requirements. It’s that simple. Completion of a graduate degree in counseling is the easier goal.

Your years of learning applied psychotherapy on the job, being the type of supervisee that a supervisor wants to work with, following licensing requirements and submitting a meticulous application are the most challenging tasks.

This requires that you read and understand the board rules and the instructions for completing the application. When you submit your APC, LPC, LMSW, LCSW or other license application, you are making a legal oath with the State of Georgia that you will abide by those rules.

How can you abide by rules that you have not carefully studied?

Understanding how to read the GA composite board rules for PC, SW and MFT can prevent a costly license denial..

Summary

These guidelines for APC supervisees address three major components.

1) Reading and understanding the board rules,  

2) reading and understanding how to complete the application and

3) adopting a proper role as a supervisee. If you follow these recommendations, you will find the entire application process to be less frustrating and help ensure that you will be issued that coveted practice license. 

Holiday Blues?

There is a quote from a famous therapist. “If you think you’ve heard it all before, you aren’t listening.” Each person is unique. Many clients feel lost. It is your role to talk in your sessions and my aim is not to fix you. It is not my role to find you. You seek counseling to find yourself.

Atlanta Depression Counseling with Eric

Thinking of getting a therapist? I work with adults who struggle with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, life trauma, dissociative disorders and gambling addiction.

There are thousands of psychologists, professional counselors, social workers and marriage and family therapists in metro Atlanta eager to help you. Like clients, each professional is unique in their approach to provide counseling for depression.verified by Psychology Today

Depression is a broad term but it often manifests as feeling stressed, irritable, sleepless and even unexplained aches and pains. It is the first word that enters our mind when we think about our emotional pain. Depression may also be the “ball of confusion” we feel when we lose a family member, divorce or are struggling in a difficult relationship. Some of the red flags of depression are panic attacks, crying spells, social withdrawal. There are others. Therapy can be incredibly helpful for reducing or eliminating these effects. In fact, many are amazed with their ability to recover from depression and anxiety once they seek help. Therapy can help with many other forms of mental or psychological distress.

I am a therapist. I am also a part time musician. The skills required for both are surprisingly similar. They are equal parts science, art, and craft. When a therapist fuses these skills, clients feel empowered, that their feelings are real, that someone understands them. As a result, they feel less depressed and anxious. When we understand our feelings and beliefs, we learn what motivates our behavior. When we learn what drives our behavior, we can change it. And also change how we think and feel.

Therapy as Science

The science of therapy is learned in graduate school through coursework and research– textbooks on family therapy, play therapy, group therapy, diagnosis of schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses. Also, there are many theories and approaches to helping people improve their mental state and change behavior. Some are therapeutically confrontational; assertive approaches to helping you see irrational behavior. Some are atlanta depression counselorshomework based. Some are targeted at specific fears like spider phobia. My therapeutic approach is focused on growth, change, developing healthy relationships, finding peace and happiness. In textbooks, it is known as eclectic or blended therapy. I blend cognitive, interpersonal and experiential therapy.

Therapy as Art

There is a quote from a famous therapist. I don’t recall his name:

“If you think you’ve heard it all before, you aren’t listening.”

Each person is unique. Therefore, I do not perform therapy as a “procedure”. I do not aim to fix you. Since my life is not your life, I don’t tell you what is best for you. You have the ability to make the best choices in your life. My role is to listen and observe carefully and provide a different perspective. Many clients feel lost. As such, it is not my role to find you, but to help you find yourself.

You as an Artist: Making a Sketchbook of Your Life.

With The Art of Experiential Therapy, everything you experience in my office is an opportunity to help you understand yourself, grieve your losses, and allow yourself to feel and heal and grow and change. When you notice something on my desk has been moved a few inches. When I yawn (but that doesn’t happen often-honestly). When YOU yawn. When your eyes tear. When you suddenly change the topic…these are only examples.

Therapy is both scary and exciting, but that is how therapy should work. As they say, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. If you are taking risk and feeling emotion in your sessions with me, you will make progress and feel better.

Therapy as Craft

The seamstress, the carpenter, the brick mason. What do these occupations share in common? They all develop their skills through apprenticeship. As a therapist, you learn special techniques; means and methods and systems. Others teach you. As you collect tools, you place them in your tool box. Some you will use often. Some only occasionally. Nevertheless, all the tools have a purpose. One of these tools are the therapist’s own feelings; their compass. It is when the science moves out of the way and the art/craft moves forward that exciting things happen in therapy. You may come to a session thinking you have nothing to share or discuss. You may leave the same session feeling incredible relief and delight that you had a breakthrough!

“There is no substitute for experience.” – Eric Groh LPC GA Licensed

My Background

Now that you know my science, art and craft for providing therapy, please feel free to book an instant appointment.

Professional Specialties

Professional Ethics Training Specialist

Licensing and Ethics Consultation

LPC Licensing Consultation

As an ethics consultant, prior workshop participants have an open invitation to call me free of charge for assistance with a personal ethical dilemma. Call now 404-985-6785

Ethics need not be anxiety provoking and frightening. Even experienced clinicians are faced with difficult treatment decisions and concerns about ethical conduct. Concerned if we are doing the right thing. I provide ethics consultation to licensed professionals to help them work through ethical dilemmas.

As a former board investigator who made formal judgements on over 200 licensee complaints,  I will teach you to quickly analyze your scenario and arrive at the decision that is best for you. Please contact me by phone. We can discuss if an in office consultation is necessary.

404-985-6785

10 Tips: Choosing your LPC Supervisor

The following rank in the top ten for choosing an Atlanta CPCS Supervisor.

1) Experience, experience, experience.

When seeking an LPC to provide supervision for licensure, there is no substitute for experience. The ideal LPC Supervisor will have at least 5 years post licensure experience working inpatient, residential, outpatient and clinical supervision training. Ethical dilemmas, substance abuse and severe clinical mental illness should not be a challenge for your supervisor. They should be fully familiar with the Composite Board license application process.

2) Client profile, crisis interventions and substance abuse / addiction.

Determine what age groups they specialize in. Ask what percentage of their experience is in geriatric, adult, adolescent and child counseling. These are all highly specialized areas and you will want to be sure a significant percentage of their client load and experience aligns with yours. Some clients require a high degree of management and often decisive action by the therapist- suicidal, self harming/cutters, binge/purge, dissociation, oppositional defiant disorder. For example, if you work with adolescents in a residential setting your supervisor should have the same experience. If you work with adult survivors of abuse your supervisor should be competent in treating addiction, PTSD, personality disorders, self-harming, panic disorder and dissociative disorders. LPC supervisors should be experienced with DSM V and a possess a working knowledge of diagnoses and determining required level of care. They should be experienced in treating substance abuse as you will encounter it in your work setting and it is a frequent obstacle to successful treatment of mental illness.

3) Ask if they have denied any of their LAPC’s recommendation for full LPC licensure upon completion of the supervision experience.

One of the primary reasons we seek supervision is because it is required for licensure. It is also in the best interest of the public that the law requires monitored training for individuals issued state licenses for healthcare practice. Occasionally, a supervisor will after completion of supervision refuse to recommend the applicant for licensure. The reasons are varied but usually because the supervisor believes the therapist has deficiencies in counselors skills or ethics or lack of competence. It is important to establish a mutual understanding that as soon as the supervisor has determined these deficiencies they will be articulated and alternate arrangements for supervision can be made if necessary.

I require an initial interview of all supervisees. The interview is free. If interested please call me, 404-985-6785. Completing this 5 hour “Ethics and Avoiding Board Complaints for SW, PC and MFT” Workshop will be very helpful for you and your Georgia LPC Supervisor as you complete your supervision.

4) Know what you can disclose to your supervisor.

In order to develop as a therapist, you should be in a training environment that feels safe. Whereas Georgia Composite Board ethics address “full professional consideration” with colleagues, communication is not legally protected in the same manner as patient information. If your clinical supervisor is also your job superior, you are in a dual relationship by virtue of the “bind” of the supervisor. This doesn’t mean that supervision with them is not possible, but they may need to make decisions whether to report to the next person up the chain of command. Clarify this in advance. It may be wise to contract with an independent LPC supervisor instead. In both cases, it is important to ask questions about their personal limits on privacy in supervision.

5) Are they familiar with LPC licensure requirements?

LPC supervisors should be experienced with the GA LPC licensure reuirements. It is important to note that despite some exceptions, nobody can say or convey to peers they know the rules simply by reading them. This is especially true for our code of ethics. The Composite Board of LPC LCSW and LMFT and most regulatory boards write rules in a manner that allows flexibility in how they interpret and apply the rules. This is referred to as, “discretion”. We can read a rule verbatim, but we can’t claim to know it. Only the board knows and they normally do not convey to the public or profession matters of discretionary enforcement. Still, you should find an LPC Clinical supervisor that has guided LAPC’s to successful LPC licensing.

6) Supervision is more than case presentation. Ask the full spectrum of their supervision objectives.

Proper supervision requires much more than going over a list of cases together.a) Sometimes you may need to utilize the entire session on one patient. Exploring issues relevant to a single patient can often translate into principles that you can use across a variety of clients and scenarios.b) Some patients are more complex than others and therefore require greater attention.c) You may require an entire session discussing matters other than case presentation- burnout, feelings of failure, etc.

7) Make sure there is a method to their madness.

A supervisor should have a clear and fully – formulated approach. Ask them which model/models they use to develop peers in supervision. There are many models but some key factors to consider and you should ask how they weigh them in importance in their development of good therapists: authority, mentoring, active intervention, gatekeeping, psychotherapeutic interventions and evaluation. View an article and pie chart that fully describes my model and rationale for supervision.

Do you want a Low or Highly Structured Supervision?

See the hand-drawn illustration below. Structure refers to the extent to which your supervisor allows you to work and problem-solve independently and with minimal intervention. As the diagram shows, the objective is to find a balanced approach but ultimately the level of structure is largely determined by the CPCS supervisor’s comfort level. atlanta-cpcs-supervisors

8) Select your supervisor similarly to how you selected your therapist

Selecting a supervisor is similar to selecting a therapist. You should have a positive rapport. There should be a ‘click’.

9) Group v. Individual Supervision

Advantages of group supervision is affordability. Advantages of individual supervision include greater privacy.

10) I am uncomfortable sharing certain things with my boss who is also my clinical supervisor.

In the State of georgia, your clinical supervisor does not need to be at your work site. (I have used the term “clinical supervisor” for purposes of distinguishing this person from your boss. In the GA licensing rules definitions, it is simply “supervisor” and “director”. Director=boss.) There are many private supervisors and you can arrange to see them at their office–same as you would see your therapist. Individual supervision with a private supervisor has many advantages–the employer/employee conflict can be eliminated, you can focus on growth and development in addition to case presentation. Private supervision usually provides a greater degree of confidentiality.

I am a specialist in LPC Supervision and adjudicated over 7000 LPC applications and 200 licensee complaints during a 7 year appointment to the GA Comp Board. I have always been happy to share my experience with counselors in any manner possible and often free of charge.

This list of tips is not exhaustive. Find a list of qualified LPC supervisors and remember: whatever choice you make, make your supervision an exciting part of your licensing journey.