We’ve spent the last two episodes talking about student loan debt. It’s reshaping the mental health professions. Two doctoral students were kind enough to share with us their own personal stories. In this episode, we talk about the great hope for many who are in the deep end of student loan debt: Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
There is a huge gender gap in the field of psychotherapy. At least 80% of psychotherapists in the US are women. So when a man pursues therapy, unless he specifically seeks out a man, he will most likely get a woman therapist. The dynamic of a male client with a female therapist can be both beneficial and problematic to the therapy. It can spark discussion over issues the client did not realize were there until working with a woman. It can replicate his relationship with another woman in his life. It also can reveal sexist beliefs.
In our last episode, we talked about how student loan debt is crushing the mental health professions. This time, we get a lot more personal. For this episode of the Psychotherapy Notes podcast, we interviewed two graduate students working on their doctorates at a private university in southern California. By the time they both graduate, they will together owe more than half a million dollars for their education.
It’s a sea change. And we don’t just mean the cover, which finally lets go of the pathway-in-the-forest image that graced the first four editions. The fifth edition of Basics of California Law for LMFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs, which is available now for preorder, is the biggest change since I wrote the first one.
The new edition is updated to 2018 law and professional ethics codes, and includes new material on:
- Employment Law, including wages, sick leave, termination, and more
- Family Law, including marriage, separation and divorce, custody, and more
- Supervision, including supervisors’ legal responsibilities
- Some of the biggest current controversies in state law for psychotherapists
No point mincing words here: Student loan debt is crushing the mental health professions. Perhaps it’s crushing you, too. According to a 2014 American Psychological Association study, the average recent graduate of an accredited PsyD program finishes their studies with $200,000 in student loan debt. Social workers similarly decry their debt loads, with at least one going so far as to declare the entire social work profession “untenable.”
In this episode of the podcast, we talk about student loan debt, and how it’s impacting those coming into the mental health professions. We review how $200,000 in debt can easily wind up being more than $700,000 by the time it’s finally paid off.
In a previous post, we discussed the required hours of supervised experience for psychotherapist licensure and the history of that requirement. In this post, we examine the ever-growing educational requirements for a master’s degree that leads to licensure as family therapist, clinical social worker, or counselor.
Therapists and counselors never stop learning over the course of their careers. The educational process starts in graduate school, where trainees and students absorb as much information as they can within and outside of the classroom setting. In California, following graduation and registration with the BBS (Board of Behavioral Sciences), associate marriage and family therapists seek work and training opportunities that will allow them to continue expanding upon their knowledge of therapeutic techniques and treatment modalities. Once licensed, marriage and family therapists are required to obtain CEUs (Continuing Education Units*) in order to continue practicing.
We know that continuing education is important, but do continuing education hours matter for prelicensed therapists? CEUs are required in order to renew licenses with the BBS, but not registrations; therefore, the answer may seem like a straightforward “no.” The more complex answer is that CEUs can be beneficial for prelicensed therapists in certain situations.
If you’re working your way down the long road to licensure, the holidays can offer some welcome relief. It’s a rough process, getting licensed. It’s certainly longer than it needs to be, and it helps if you’re independently wealthy to begin with. Sometimes staying optimistic is a challenge.
But going into the holidays with family and friends, we thought it would be a good time to remember all the good that comes with this work. And there is a lot!
I am a young therapist. Along with that comes a young face. Several of my clients were taken aback when they first met me. Addressing my age and experience has become a norm, and I’ve used a handful of well-practiced professional responses when this occurs.
I’m at the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) meeting today in Orange County, with Robin Andersen from Prelicensed. The BBS has returned to two issues I’ve raised here previously: The alarmingly low pass rate on the California MFT Clinical Exam, and the issue of sites charging trainees to work there.