The California Board of Behavioral Sciences will discuss clinical exams this Friday. My colleague Tony Rousmaniere and I decided to dig into these exams, beyond just the horrifying report ASWB released this summer. (TLDR: Wildly disparate passing rates by race/ethnicity.) While I’m previously on record as not a fan of clinical exams, they’re widely accepted. We figured we would follow where the data leads us. And so here it is:
Under California law, supervisors of BBS associates must give at least one week notice if they are planning to stop signing a supervisee’s hours. Some supervisors and supervisees are not aware of this rule. Others misunderstand it. Here’s a rundown of what the one week notice rule means — and what it doesn’t.
Following the release of a horrifying report from the Association of Social Work Boards acknowledging significant racial disparities in license exam performance, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has written to social work boards across the country urging them to pause the use of ASWB social work licensing exams.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday signed Assembly Bill 1759, making a couple of key changes in continuing education (CE) requirements for California MFTs, clinical counselors, and clinical social workers. There’s a new one-time Telehealth CE requirement for everyone, and a new annual Law and Ethics CE requirement for Associates.
The bill was tagged as urgency legislation, meaning it took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature. In addition to making video supervision legal across all work settings, it also newly requires supervisors (in all work settings, not just private practice) to assess a supervisee’s appropriateness for video supervision. I’ve created a form for that, modeled after the specific requirements in the bill. It’s available on my Resources page at the Ben Caldwell Labs site.
I wrote this poem several years ago, and republish it each fall as a welcome to students beginning their graduate studies in the mental health professions.
Every fall, the universities where I teach enroll dozens of new students into our graduate programs in mental health care. Our new students tend to be immensely talented, and many of them (as at any school) are also immensely anxious as they begin their journey.
On Tuesday, mental health clinicians for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California went on strike. While Kaiser and the union representing the therapists appear to have reached agreement on wages, the sides remain in dispute on issues related to staffing, working conditions, and client access to care. Kaiser reps have responded by calling the strike itself “unethical.” They have said that union leaders were asking therapists to “walk away from people who need help.” Suggesting that your own employees are unethical when they are striking to force Kaiser to improve patient access to mental health care is, as they say, a choice. It’s one that would seem destined to only worsen Kaiser’s ability to recruit and retain therapists in the future.
On Friday, the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) released a report detailing four years of data on its various exams. The report shows that white examinees were almost twice as likely as Black examinees to pass the ASWB Clinical Exam on their first attempt. This data supports the notion that license exams are more than passive recipients of existing inequities in training, and instead actively heighten racial disparities in the mental health work force.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) informed its members last week that CareDash, which operates a health care provider directory, is engaging in what “appears to be an improper deceptive practice.” NASW says that CareDash’s process of using clinician listings to direct prospective clients to online therapy platform BetterHelp rather than to the listed clinicians “potentially violates federal and/or state consumer protection laws.”
Despite what a reasonable consumer would expect, you cannot, in fact, check my availability using the button that says Check Availability.
As I’ve covered here before, it can be quite difficult to get a real sense of how much your MFT graduate program will cost before enrolling. Universities have a habit of being opaque about MFT program costs. And the end result is that financial planning around graduate education can be a serious challenge. New data shows that MFT program costs vary even more widely than I had suspected, with full program tuition cost estimates ranging from less than $15,000 to more than $120,000.