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.

Bipolar Disorder

Why Have I Been Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder ?

Please read this article fully. It explains the complex condition in clear terms. Only some of it may apply to you. For others, it will be spot on. Eric Groh is an Atlanta Atlanta Bipolar Disorder Therapistcounselor who has helped hundreds of Bipolar Disorder individuals greatly improve their lives through psychotherapy.

Why the word, ” Bipolar “?

Bipolar describes the ups and downs of our mood. Ups and downs are normal. We aren’t in a good mood all of the time. We aren’t in a bad mood all of the time. That’s not how our brains operate. It is normal to feel excited. Sometimes we feel sad. Life would be boring if our mood were the same all of the time. There is Bipolar Type 1 and 2. Type 1 is much more rare. It tends to be more chronic and severe. Some believe the two disorders are only loosely related. At least 90% of those diagnosed are Type 2.

Watch the video above. Then return to continue reading.

Healthy Fluctuations in Mood versus …

The video begins with gentle waves. Interpret them as pleasant mood changes. The waves intensify with splashes of color. The colors represent ecstasy and excitement. Sadness and mourning. A normal range of emotion.

Type 2 Bipolar symptoms are often “triggered”. Panic Attacks. Memories replaying like a video. Nightmares. Rage episodes. Isolation. Dark places that feel like a cloud hanging over us. Agitation. Irritability. Negative reactions to relationship events. Disorientation.

… Bipolar is Deep Highs and Deep Lows

But notice what occurs at the midpoint of the video. There are bursts and eruptions that result in a deepening of the waves. They waves become erratic and violent. These are the distressing mood swings of Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar Type 1 and What Causes Mood Swings

With Type 1, sometimes nothing. They might be random due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. The person is usually prescribed medications to keep their mood steady.  A full manic episode ( the older name ” manic depression ” ) includes symptoms of: (National Institute of Mental Health)

Thoughts crashing into each other.
Being unusually distracted.
Increasing activities, such as taking on multiple new projects.
Irritability or agitation.
Sleeping little or not being tired.
Having an outrageous beliefs in one’s abilities.
High risk health behavior.

When most severe, one may believe they are a prophet or great figure in history. It is even obvious to family they have severe problems. Sadly it can result in forced hospitalization.  It is most effectively treated with medications to keep your mood level.

Bipolar Type 2: Milder Mood Swings With Often Identifiable Causes

People who have deep mood swings but have never had a
full manic episode are often categorized Bipolar Type 2.

In some ways, it is a catch-all category. A diagnosis for everyone who does not meet criteria for Bipolar Type 1. While not applicable to all, the following is relevant for many.

Many individuals experiencing adverse experiences in childhood have been previously diagnosed Bipolar Type 2.

A staggering number of adults who have survived sexual trauma in childhood are also diagnosed Bipolar 2. Many studies say at least twice the rate of non-trauma survivors. Therefore, many survivors have dramatic mood swings. If an adult survivor of molestation comes to me already diagnosed by a medical doctor, about 70% are Bipolar Type 2.

Sorting Out Type 1 and Type 2

There are subtle but important differences. Symptoms may appear the same, but have different processes.With Bipolar 2, the mood swings are often not random as in Type 1. Rather, they can be triggered by stress. Panic Attacks. Flashbacks. Nightmares. Rage episodes. Isolation. Agitation. Irritability. Negative reactions to relationship events. Disorientation.

Examples of Triggers