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.
How much does the average Psychologist, counselor, MFT, or social worker make? Are salaries rising or falling relative to inflation? Therapist salary data can tell us a lot about the overall health of the professions. I’ve gathered 15 years of therapist salary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to see what insights can be gained from it.
In California, it is perfectly legal to advertise mental health services provided by associate therapists. Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapists (AMFTs), Registered Associate Clinical Social Workers (ASWs), and Registered Associate Professional Clinical Counselors (APCCs) all can advertise or have ads placed by their employers for services they provide. However, many of the ads I see for California associates do not appear to be compliant with the legal requirements for such advertising. Here are some important advertising reminders for California associates governed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS).
Emotional support animals (ESAs), and therapists writing ESA letters for clients, are frequent topics around here. After years of overuse, the FAA allowed airlines to ban ESAs from passenger cabins early this year, and every major domestic airline has done so. Now California has developed new rules for therapists wanting to write ESA letters, most commonly for clients who want an ESA in a housing situation that does not allow pets.