Six Killer LPC Clinical Supervision Tricks
LPC Clinical Supervision has become increasingly complex. Telemental health, digital information hacks and HIPAA laws for counselors make this even more complicated. Let's make it simple. Here are 6 Killer LPC Clinical Supervision Tricks for simplifying that side of your therapy practice.
These are generally applicable tips, but some will apply to the APC LPC supervision process in the state of Georgia which is where I practice and provide supervision.
1) Stay in Your Lane
You don't have to be experienced with every clinical situation your supervisee may encounter. None of us know everything. Still, there are simple and practical guidelines for choosing LAPC supervisees that are within your area of competence.
For example, some counseling specialties have unique legal considerations. This is particularly true with child and adolescent populations. You may have child psychotherapy experience, but unless this is a specialty area it may not be possible to competently train and mentor your supervisee.
Each state has unique reporting laws and a host of legal issues related to work with children and adolescents. You need an understanding of how both criminal and civil law impact your psychotherapy. The same goes for geriatric psychotherapy. A thorough understanding of medical conditions related to aging is required.
None of us can know every clinical specialty. It is expected that your supervisee may be more knowledgeable than you in certain areas. There are many general principles of clinical intervention that are common such as teaching them triage or assessment, screening and referral. Consult with colleagues. Teach your supervisee how to become an expert in their specialty.
2) Develop a Solid Written Contract.
Holding a state license to practice psychotherapy is a serious matter. It is a privilege--not a right. It is important you convey this fact to your supervisees in your written contract. In Georgia, APCs and lpcs share the same scope of practice. The primary difference is that as a licensed APC you must be under direction and supervision simultaneously during all periods of active psychotherapy practice.
In contrast, LMSW and LCSW scopes of practice differ. Your APC supervisees have taken the same oath as you when you were issued your LPC. Both of you are held accountable for your licenses in the same manner by the Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists.
The spirit of your supervision contract should convey, 'You have been issued a license and you can lose it. It is therefore in your best interest to invest in your supervision with me and be teachable.' Some supervisees may find this intimidating, but it is critical for you to impress upon them immediately this enormous responsibility they have to the public.
Would you like a free sample LPC supervision agreement?
Here is a free fully-editable sample supervision agreement. Some aspects apply to Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists. Customize it to your needs.
3) Clear and Explicit Financial Arrangements
One of the best ways of avoiding licensing board complaints is by minimizing financial disagreements with colleagues and your clients. Keep a contemporaneous record of supervision dates and periodically compare these with your supervisees' records to be sure they match.
If there is a disagreement on hours or monies owed, work together towards an agreeable solution. Taking these steps will also minimize the chances of the board auditing your supervision records.
4) Obtain Copies of Supervisees' License Application and Supervision or Directed Experience Forms
It is important to verify all information pertinent to the APC application, work settings and supervision prior to rendering supervision. By obtaining copies of related documents, you can avoid unexpected scenarios such as inadvertently supervising when the APC isn't actually employed (yes, it can happen).
By having this documentation you can know the names of all individuals directly involved with the services your supervisee is providing. Finally, this information will enable you to determine your LAPC's remaining licensing requirements even if they are not under your supervision for the duration of their pursuit for licensure.
5) Avoid Conflicts of Interest
If possible, avoid engaging a supervisee who is also your employee, subordinate or where there is a power differential. While not impossible, as board rules change this scenario is becoming increasingly fraught with problems.
You shouldn't be paying each other for services and if you are simultaneously their director or employer that is what's happening.
6) Telemental Health and Distance Supervision
If you don't have experience delivering distance counseling, it is best not to supervise an APC who is actively developing a telemental practice.. Again: stay in your lane.
Mastering LPC Clinical Supervision
Stay in Your Lane
Develop a Solid Written Contract
Clear and Explicit Financial Arrangements
Obtain Copies of Supervisees' License Application and Supervision or Directed Experience Forms
If you want to train in telemental health methods, have experience.