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.

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.

+More > Privacy In Clinical Supervision

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.

Psychotherapy Practice Development

Psychotherapy practice development is an essential element of our profession. Business Relationships 101: natural human interactions allow for current adversaries to become future allies. Did you know that nearly as many Georgia LPC’s allow their licenses to lapse each year as are issued licenses? Many LPC’s who have worked hard for their license are also in need of the skills to develop and maintain a solo practice.

Psychotherapy Practice Development and “Opportunity Expansion”

Opportunity Expansion is an approach for maximizing achievement in private practice. It is a means for accelerating one’s career. I provide professional training to therapists and business professionals to help them achieve goals they had not thought were possible using the principles of “Opportunity Expansion”. This is a 5 hour Atlanta GA psychotherapist workshop. Who should attend?
1) Those interested in accelerating career achievements and therapists in private practice. Did you know that nearly as many LPC’s allow their licenses to lapse each year as are issued licenses? In other words, many LPC’s who have worked hard for their license are also in need of the skills to develop and maintain a solo practice.
2) Some of the principles of Opportunity Expansion include:
a) Never burn bridges.
b) Always have a Plan B. When Plan B must default to Plan A, immediately create another Plan B.
c) Develop a network of close advisors.
d) Natural human interactions allow for enemies to become allies. Be open to it!
3) Don’t be a Generalist. One of the best ways to avoid civil suits is to develop a specialty.
The workshop program covers all of these principles -and more- and teaches you how to immediately execute these principles in your professional pursuits.

If you’re interested in this valuable training, call or message me through my contact page for a calendar of training. For general information on Life Coaching this site has additional information.

Telemental Health Georgia Rules: Will Insurance Pay?

Telemental Health Georgia Rules: Will Insurance Pay?

*3/15/20: I will update this page as soon as possible. The process has been streamlined with Anthem and there are many more third party payers who have entered the market with telemental health protocols since this post was written in 2015. *

This article will inform the reader of Anthem Blue Cross planned services and they are related to the new telemental health rules in Georgia.

Anthem Blue Cross: TeleMental Health Defined

According to an undisclosed source with Anthem, effective January 1 2016 Anthem Blue Cross (formerly known as Wellpoint) will introduce a video conferencing service delivery system. Eligible psychologists, LPC, LCSW and LMFT may be reimbursed through this system. Psychiatrists are not included in this program.

Anthem defines Telemental Health specifically as live, interactive video conferencing–electronic face-to-face contact as the vital element. TeleMental health Georgia rules also include video conference in their definition. Georgia LPC LCSW and MFT rules define TeleMental health as a “mode of delivering services”.

Anthem requires it’s members and providers to utilize a web application (app). This app is a sophisticated system that has built into it aspects ranging from member payment to authorization and claims submission. This allows Anthem to ensure HIPAA and other privacy compliance and provide a structure: the live interactive video conferencing session will be extensively automated. Services will likely include 45 minute sessions.

How do I become an eligible telemental health provider with Anthem?

Basic criteria for eligible psychologists, LPC, SW and MFT are:
1) Current State License and Malpractice Insurance
2) Completion of 6 hours of telehealth education. These hours may be obtained online.
3) Members accessing telemental health must reside in the same state as the counselor/therapist.
You may contact your Provider Relations representative to determine if additional information is available. However, eligibility criteria allow for a straightforward approval process for currently contracted mental health providers.

How does Anthem’s system work with regards to the new Georgia TeleMental health rules?

(Here are my Former Board President’s Practical Guidelines for reading GA Board Rules. This information is both reliable and practical.)
Now retrieve the Georgia Telemental Health Rules at Chapter 135-11 from the GA Secretary of State website. The link will open in a new window. Note the Composite Board CE requirements as they will likely be similar to Anthem’s finalized requirements.

I don’t want to do TeleMental health. Can I choose to simply continue to schedule and see my BCBS clients in my office?

Yes. Becoming a TeleMental health provider with Anthem is elective. You may choose to continue to deliver the mode of face-to-face psychotherapy. Nothing has changed with Anthem regarding electronic communications including scheduling, crisis calls, email and so on.At present, Anthem will not reimburse any electronic communications (Skype, telephone counseling) outside of their web application.

Summary

1) Anticipate that you will need a minimum CE/training requirement if you choose to deliver TeleMental health services.
2) It is likely other managed care organizations will implement TeleMental health services within a similar framework as Anthem.
3) Becoming a TeleMental health provider is voluntary with Anthem BCBS.