We’ve talked here many a time about employment of prelicensed therapists. Most of our discussion has focused on employer abuses and how you can push back. But of course it’s worth noting that plenty of employers are fantastic, and that even a lot of the illegality in employment arrangements can be chalked up to well-meaning mistakes rather than purposeful villainy. It is in that spirit that we approach what seems to be one of the most common structures for paying prelicensed therapists who work in private practices here in California: Fee splitting.
Facebook is a great resource for gathering information. Often, and for the right reasons, we turn to social media in hopes of gathering information we need in a short period of time and with little effort. But for therapists going to social media with legal questions, that convenience may not be worth it. Many of the answers therapists give peers for legal questions on Facebook are incorrect.
We reviewed 20 recent posts that included legal questions in therapist groups on Facebook. We looked strictly at legal questions where there was a clear correct answer that we could easily reference. So anything requiring interpretation of law was purposefully left out. Our review was by no means comprehensive — it falls more closely in bar-napkin-math territory. But we still think this quick review offers some valuable information.
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
If you’re on your path to becoming a clinical counselor in California, you will need to take the state’s Clinical Counselor Law & Ethics Exam in your first year of registration as an Associate. I’m proud to announce the release of our new study guide for that exam.
Today, too many job listings for therapists and counselors are vague about pay, if they mention it at all. It’s part of a culture in mental health that keeps salaries low and professionals feeling disempowered. When employers #PostThePay — even as a range — both employers and applicants benefit.
That’s why we’re launching a social campaign encouraging employers to do exactly that.
As we put a bow on the end of 2017 and look ahead to the new year, many of us make resolutions, or plans, or promises. We make commitments for the year ahead in hopes of living our personal and professional lives that much closer to our ideals. One resolution I make each year is to update my office paperwork.
My informed consent always needs a few updates to reflect my changing practice. As I get older, I see each day a greater importance to having a Professional Will. And with technology changing so quickly around us, this year I knew I needed to add policies around social media as well.
Most of us avoid thinking about falling victim to a serious accident or illness. Should such a thing happen, we hope that we will be able to recover and our family will be taken care of in the meantime.
But what would happen to your clients? The day after you were seriously injured in a car accident, would they simply show up at your office, expecting to be seen as usual? Who would let them know what had happened, and when you might be back?
What if one of them went into crisis?
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.
Therapists and counselors have been expressing concern for some time now that Facebook can “out” their clients to other clients, even when the therapist or counselor has not done anything to facilitate the connection. It can happen even when the therapist or counselor doesn’t use Facebook. Thanks to some good reporting by Gizmodo Media, we now have a better understanding of how that happens. We also now know just how little you can do to stop it.
The whole article “How Facebook figures out everyone you’ve ever met” is really worth your time. Here, I’ll just share some of the pieces most relevant to counselors, therapists, and other mental health professionals. For us, if even just a few of your clients use Facebook, the likelihood of keeping all your therapeutic relationships truly confidential is near zero.
We have all heard it before. The classic argument. “If you can go home and have a glass of wine or a beer after work, why can’t I smoke a joint? Why can’t I have an edible?” We tend to roll our eyes when we hear this from clients who may be minimizing their marijuana use or its effects. But what do you do when you hear that argument from your colleague, or from a supervisee?
Many therapists have been discussing the impact of marijuana use with clients for years, but have only recently begun to question using themselves. With the increasing number of states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana, therapists now must consider the impact that using marijuana can have on themselves and therapy. While the legalization of marijuana does not appear to lead to increased use, those therapists and counselors who have been using marijuana all along may now be able to be more open in discussing it.