Around the US, most mental health professions have the same titles. A Psychologist in New York is likely to be pretty much the same, in terms of what they do, as a Psychologist in California, Montana, or anywhere else. Same for Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs). In other words, you can recognize the job by its title. If you’re a counselor, on the other hand, you may have any one of several different titles.
I mentioned recently that our old California MFT Law & Ethics Exam prep books kicked ass. But you know what was even better? Our California Clinical Social Work Law & Ethics Exam prep book.
It’s gotten more love than I ever expected, and only now do I see why: With a study guide and practice exam already baked in, it’s a power pack of exam prep. It’s a lot cheaper than the online prep programs available for L&E. And, like our books for the other professions, it’s efficient. We teach you what you need, without a lot of fluff that only serves to make people more anxious.
We gave the book an update for 2019.
When you decide to become a therapist, it is important to consider your finances. You need a plan for how to make ends meet. Ben made the point in Saving Psychotherapy that our field is mostly comprised of wealthy people, in part because those are the people who can afford to take on the financial burden of grad school and the years of low income while working toward licensure. One of the main reasons people drop out of our field before licensure is that same financial burden.
Some of us are fortunate to be able to lower our cost of living by moving back in with family or having a spouse’s support to draw from. The rest of us aren’t so lucky. We need side income to make it through to graduation.
So, uh, yeah, it’s pretty much all in the headline! We’ve updated our essential guide to California law for master’s-level mental health professionals. Basics of California Law for LMFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs (6th edition) is now available on Amazon and at our site. Here’s a rundown of what’s new, with a discount link at the end of this post.
It’s worth pointing out here that, unlike the fifth edition, this sixth edition isn’t what we would call a major update. While there are several new laws we included in this edition, the main legal changes taking effect in 2019 are around supervision — more on that below.
We’ve all been dropped by clients at some point in our therapy careers. It may be due to scheduling, payment for services (or lack thereof), your specialty or theory of choice, your interventions, or just your own unique personality. That is all OK. It is OK to lose a client. In fact, there are a number of situations when losing a client may be beneficial. When a client drops you after you were challenging them in session, it may make more sense — at least sometimes — to consider it a success than a failure.
I’ll share a personal example here, from earlier in my career.
Here’s a quick and easy lifehack for California mental health professionals working under supervision: Get automatic email notifications if your supervisor’s license lapses or changes status.
This has been available for a few years, and I’m surprised how few people seem to know about it. If a supervisor’s license lapses, any hours you gain while that license isn’t active will not count toward your own licensure. Unfortunately, I’ve known several folks who lost hours for precisely this reason. It’s imperative — and really easy! — to make sure your supervisor’s license remains current and active while you’re under their supervision.
When a piece of technology works well and makes life easy, that doesn’t mean that the building of it went well or that the lives of the builders are easy. Many in the technology industry struggle with symptoms of anxiety and depression. In fact, they struggle with these symptoms much more often than the general population.
Working 50-hour weeks for months on end, having limited interactions with others, feeling multiple levels of oversight, and constantly being unsure whether your project will be used or scrapped — technology professionals experience all of this, typically with little or no recognition for their work. (Think about it: You probably use Gmail, but if you don’t know them personally, how many Google employees can you name?)
I get really passionate when talking about data and using data to direct clinical decisions. Although I’m aware that I am often alone in that passion, it’s worth acknowledging that we all use data to direct all of our decisions. We’re not just guessing in the dark. We may not always directly attend to the data available to us, but I have yet to meet anyone who makes a decision without using some form of information to guide them.
Previously, I wrote about the importance of using assessments to collect data on clients, both for the purpose of diagnosis and evaluating progress. I continue to promote the value of those assessments and want to take one more opportunity to encourage you to use them in your own practice if you are not doing so already. That client data can be tremendously helpful in a variety of ways. This post, however, is meant to discuss a different category of data. One that I would argue is equally important: Therapist data.
I’ve been doing couple therapy (not “couples therapy”) for almost 20 years now, going back to my time as a graduate student. I truly enjoy the work. It’s enriching in countless ways, one of which is the amount of time I get to spend learning about and thinking about how romantic relationships are built and sustained. While my couples have taught me a great deal, I’ve also learned from some great books that take the mechanics of couple relationships and either break them down or bring them to life.
Here are, in just one therapist’s opinion, three books every couple therapist should read.
On Monday, roughly 4,000 mental health professionals employed by Kaiser Permanente in California began a planned five-day strike. The therapists (and nurses, who also walked out in solidarity) say they are protesting the massive and continued failure on Kaiser’s part to provide adequate mental health care to its own patients.
This strike is, in some ways, like other strikes you’ve heard about. While the therapists are highlighting client care issues, Kaiser itself notes that those therapists also are demanding better pay and working conditions — common demands to strike over. But this strike is also deeply unusual in the mental health world. Even when therapists are in a union, strikes are very rare. For that reason, this strike is uniquely important.