Supervising interns is one of the most powerful ways to impact your community and the counseling profession. With supervising, however, comes increased liability. In Texas, both LPC and LMFT codes specify that supervisors share and/or bear full responsibility for their supervisees’ actions and that can be intimidating. You may have a supervisee who resists your instruction or who lacks clinical skills. Maybe you discover that your supervisee is so anxious that he or she hides important information from you. These are scary situations that can impact your license. If you determine that your supervisee is struggling to meet the requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, can you ‘fire’ them immediately? While every situation is different (and of course if you have a complicated case, consult your attorney) both licensing boards require a remediation plan first.
LPC (as of this writing):
681.93 (e) (4) If a supervisor determines that the LPC Intern may not have the counseling skills or competence to practice professional counseling under a regular license, the supervisor shall develop and implement a written plan for remediation of the LPC Intern.
LMFT (as of this writing):
801.143 (f) (4) If a supervisor determines that the LMFT Associate may not have the therapeutic skills or competence to practice marriage and family therapy under a regular license, the supervisor shall develop and implement a written plan for remediation of the LMFT Associate.
What does a good remediation plan contain?
- Issues stated in terms of specific, observable, behaviors
You can’t remediate ‘attitude’ or ‘flaky,’ but you can remediate ‘has forgotten to bring case notes four times in the last two months,’ and ‘takes phone calls and answers texts during supervision.’
- Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, trackable goals (SMART goals) with accountability dates
- Research the LPC and LMFT rules regarding intern and supervisor liability and write a one page paper – Due March 3, 2016
- Attend supervision one extra hour each week (at the supervisee’s expense) for a total of eight hours for the month of March – Due March 31, 2016
- Refrain from cell phone use completely during supervision – Due immediately
- A ‘strike 2’ clause if the intern struggles to complete the assignments by the specified due dates
- A paragraph stating that failure to complete the initial and ‘strike 2’ remediation assigments will result in termination of the supervision relationship
It is important to mention here that there are preemptive steps to remediation. Supervisors who have contracts that are unclear or an evaluation process that is sporadic or missing altogether will experience issues with communication, skill building, and the supervisory relationship. Before you remediate, ask yourself:
- Did I teach the issues that I am trying to remediate?
- Did I lay the foundation for our supervisory relationship in our supervision contract?
- Do I regularly evaluate my supervisees so I can establish teaching/learning objectives in a meaningful way?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ or ‘I’m not sure,’ please consider revisiting those items before you begin supervising or take on your next supervisee. Remember, your license is on the line!