Paperwork For Your Intakes

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Happy 2018! Every January I edit and revise all of my paperwork. As promised, here is a fifteen minute video blog of me editing my new client intake paperwork.  What do you think?


New Year New Paperwork?

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Annual Paperwork Cleanup

January is that beautiful time of year when I clean my counseling practice ‘house’ including my paperwork. This year was a little extreme because I literally got a new coat of paint and new floors. As you can see from the artsy filtered photo I took below, my office looks amazing.

But what about the things you can’t see in the photo? Is my paperwork up to date with the latest licensing laws? Have I changed my passwords on a regular basis? Have I checked to see if my credit card charges are accurate?

I’m not even joking – I called about a charge on my account I didn’t recognize and found out it was from something I THOUGHT I had closed in February 2017. The lesson? Watch your bank account.

January 2018 I will edit all of my new client paperwork, change my passwords, and update my bookkeeping. Today’s housekeeping item will be my new client intake Face Sheet. Catch my next blog and I will walk you through my editing process for our 2018 Service Agreement/Consent to Treat. Is it exciting? No, not really, but it’s only 3 minutes of your life and it will save you a lot of headaches down the road. When you’re ready you can even head to our store here to purchase the fully edited  paperwork you can download and customize for your practice. Enjoy!

Watch Me Edit My Face Sheet








Dear Future Counselor

Dear Future Counselor,

Now that you have decided to become a professional helper, I want to welcome you to the field! It won’t be easy and it won’t always be neat and tidy, but it will be the most satisfying thing you have ever done. As I think back to my own journey from ‘thinking about counseling’ to ‘actually counseling,’ I remember some key elements.

The story

We all have a story that led to our passion.

Ask any professional counselor (and that includes licensed professionals and school counselors) ‘what made you choose counseling?’ and you will hear the story. It is usually a tale of heartbreak, perseverance, pain, and victory. The teller will probably explain how an important person, perhaps a counselor, clergy member, or family member, listened and served as a guide through the fire. The professional counselor may then relate how this experience led to the desire to become a helper and provide hurting people with the same unconditional positive regard he or she received.

The training

Once we decided that we could not live a moment longer without actually becoming a counselor, we started our training. Not gonna lie, the search for the perfect school has gotten a little more complicated (CACREP, non-CACREP, online, etc.) over the years. I cannot emphasize enough Future Counselor, the importance of choosing a school that will actually enable you to get PAID once you have your almighty license or certification. Even if you earn your master’s degree and pass your exams, many organizations and third party payers (think insurance panels, the VA, some schools) will NOT hire you (or pay you) if you went to the wrong type or insufficiently accredited counseling program. Choose wisely.

Speaking of exams…

The Exam

Yes, there is an exam. Also, you will have to be supervised, evaluated, and followed closely for THOUSANDS of hours while you practice your craft as an intern. Once you are fully licensed/certified you will continue gaining continuing education and passing exams tailored to ethics knowledge in order to stay licensed/certified. The learning and growing never end!

“I’m a good listener, why should I go through all of that?”

A license protects the public from individuals who may be ‘good listeners,’ but don’t have the skills to help. Ditto with school counselor certification. If you choose to practice without a license, that is grounds for a conviction. If a school district hires you to be their school counselor and you are not certified, then you, and the students you serve, are being set up for failure.

So, dear Future Counselor, the stakes are high

But in the end, it is worth it.

Do You Have a Calling to Help Others?

The steps to full licensure can seem complicated but you will see they are completely do-able. This Live Event September 21, 2017 from 11 – 1:00 is only $75 for materials to attend in person or via webcam. You can also purchase the recording of the live event. Click here to register.

After Sunset: Still Work To Do

Last week the Texas legislature ended its special session and voted to extend the life of the Texas LPC/LMFT boards. By extending Sunset two more years, the boards got some time to reorganize, fix some problems, and prepare for the next Sunset review in 2019.

As this process has unfolded I have noticed confusion and agitation among the affected mental health professionals. I have heard the arguments for and against organizing a special Behavioral Health Advisory Board and I have seen the posts in social media about what is really ‘good for us’ as licensed mental health practitioners in Texas. Rather than tackle this issue myself, I have invited someone more knowledgable to write the blog this week.

Katherine Bacon Ph.D., LPC-S, NCC is an assistant professor of counselor educationinternship coordinator for graduate counseling students, project director for experiential earning in integrated behavioral health, project director for CMHC scholarship for disadvantaged students, and she is the legislative liaison for the Texas Counseling Association. August 4, 2017 Dr. Bacon testified at the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearings. She spoke eloquently about our current situation and what still needs to be done. Please read her comments below and see why TCA and TACES are so passionate about the work ahead of us.

My name is Dr. Katherine Bacon. I am testifying in support of SB 114 on behalf of the Texas Counseling Association.  In consideration of the committee’s time, I will be the only person testifying on behalf of the 7,000 members of TCA. 

Thank you for this opportunity and for your work on this committee.

As a mental health counselor and business owner, I know the impact of the delays to licensure due to our current system.

So although, I have been able to bring over 3.5 million dollars into Texas to train mental health counselors to work with Veterans and to address the mental health workforce shortage; it’s been difficult for these new counselors to get to work due to the limitations of the board because they are housed at the Department of State Health Services. Staff shortages, the inability to hire or fire staff, and the low priority of regulation within the DSHS mission, all contribute to those challenges.

As the TCA volunteer liaison to the LPC board, I have been attending LPC Board and Committee meetings for at least six years. I observe the diligent efforts of the Board to manage regulation of the more than 22,000 Licensed Professional Counselors in Texas without an adequate infrastructure to support their work.

Without SB 114, these challenges will persist for at least another two years for all licensing boards. Simply extending their sunset date to 2019 will cause Texas to lose momentum

This is why we support SB 114.

This model allows each licensing board to develop substantive rules on standards of care, licensure, educational requirements and disciplinary guidelines for their respective professions.  This model would NOT allow the Executive Council or any mental health licensing board to impose standards or modify the scope of practice for any other profession.

SB 114 will not change the composition of any of the licensing boards.  It will simply allow for consistency in administration for all mental health boards. It will create a one-stop shop for those who hold dual licenses.  It will make it easy for the public to know where to go to find a licensed mental health professional or to file a complaint against one.

I chose a career in mental health because Texas was on the cutting edge. We need to act now, we can’t wait two more years, SB 114 creates the opportunity for Texas to establish a model that will create unity across all mental health professionals. This unity will enhance the delivery of mental health services in Texas.

Thank you.