Remediation vs Progressive Discipline Plan. What’s the Difference?
Counselor supervisors who are also practice owners must know the difference between a remediation vs progressive discipline plan. Here's what you need to know.
What are the requirements for LPC in Texas?
Counselor supervisors who are also practice owners in charge of counseling associates and staff must know the difference between a remediation vs progressive discipline plan. That is, unless you only plan on hiring and supervising practically-perfect-in-every-way people.
For the rest of us, knowing the difference is crucial. Why? Because these plans are tools to correct behavior and make good decisions. The remediation plan tool is for clinical use, and the progressive discipline plan is for hiring and firing.
What are the LPC Supervisor Roles?
Every licensed professional counselor in Texas has completed 3000 hours of supervised experience. This clinical supervision can begin after graduation once the state grants the new counselor their LPC Associate license. Clinical supervisors are counselors licensed for five years or more and who have completed a 40 hour continuing education course or graduate course in clinical supervision. The supervision relationship can last anywhere from eighteen months to five years. During that time the supervisor serves many roles, including:
- Gatekeeper for the profession
- Career coach
The goal for clinical supervisors? Help trainees proceed developmentally from a clinician who knows a lot of counseling facts to a professional who can analyze situations, synthesize their knowledge and presenting information, in order to create an intervention that is therapeutic and helpful to the client. In order to do this, clinical supervisors utilize the remediation plan.
What is the remediation plan?
When a supervisee shows a deficiency, the clinical supervisor can utilize a remediation plan. The remediation plan serves as a written set of goals with deadlines designed to remediate that deficiency. In Texas, the clinical supervisor must remediate before they terminate (unless the deficiency is egregious):
LPC 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 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 is in a good remediation plan?
- Defines the problem in specific, observable, behaviors. You can’t remediate ‘attitude’ or ‘flaky.’ 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.’
- Identifies specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, trackable goals (SMART goals) with accountability dates. Here are some examples:
- Supervisee must research the LPC rules regarding intern and supervisor liability and write a one page paper. This is due March 3, 2016
- Supervisee must attend supervision one extra hour each week (at the supervisee’s expense) for a total of eight hours for the month of March. This is due March 31, 2016.
- Supervisee must refrain from cell phone use completely during supervision.
- May contain a ‘strike 2’ clause if the supervisee struggles to complete the assignments by the specified due dates.
- Contains a paragraph stating that failure to complete the initial and ‘strike 2’ remediation assigments will result in termination of the supervisee relationship.
It is important to mention here that there are two preemptive steps to remediation that I have covered in other blogs: a supervision contract and a process of regular evaluation.
What is a progressive discipline plan?
When an employee shows a deficiency, use a progressive discipline plan. The progressive discipline plan serves as a written set of goals with deadlines designed to remediate that deficiency. Most plans consist of two parts:
Immediate Disciplinary Action for egregious acts including:
Disciplinary Steps for deficiencies:
- The professional will be given a verbal explanation of the errant behavior
- If the problem persists, the professional will be given a written explanation of the errant behavior
- If verbal and written warnings fail to bring about a change in the undesired conduct, the professional will be suspended
Clinical supervisors, you must know the difference between a clinical remediation plan and a progressive discipline plan. Are you in that dual role yourself? Have you hired an administrative supervisor to do the job? Either way, knowing how to use each tool correctly is crucial.
Blog post by Kate M. Walker Ph.D., LPC/LMFT Supervisor
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