I Must Teach You to Cook

Supervisor training, Consultation, Speaking, Teaching

Supervisor or Chef?

Last week I was listening to an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air. A chef with Michelin stars by his name was describing his passion for cooking for the displaced. Jose Andres described how his non-profit had gone into Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria and cooked thousands of meals for survivors (read his book We Fed an Island). In my mind I could imagine this magnificent cooking machine where trained chefs would train other chefs to train volunteers who would then have the responsibility for cooking meals for the needy. “I must do this!” I thought. Then I realized; I already do.

The Joy of Supervising Interns

When I decided to supervise interns, I accepted the responsibility to teach an apprentice my skills. Sometimes I was Emeril Legasse and we would laugh and enjoy our time; sometimes I was Gordan Ramsey and my trainee would leave my office in tears. Regardless of my methods, when I signed on the dotted line, I was confident that the counselor I trained would go on to serve his or her community and do good work.

The Joy of Creating New Supervisors

Supervising interns led to my decision to train licensed professional counselors to supervise. Thirty-five cohorts later I look back and realize (if we follow the metaphor) I have trained hundreds of cooks to train other cooks to serve meals to countless communities. The number of people served is mind-boggling! Still I want to do more. I want to teach supervisors to provide their own counselor supervisor training.

Let’s do the math. One training creates five new supervisors. Those five supervisors take on two interns each. Those ten interns each take on a caseload of twenty clients per week for eighteen months. And since they won’t see the same twenty clients for the entire eighteen months, let’s guesstimate that each intern will impact five hundred individuals and families over the course of their internship via individual and group counseling. Check my numbers, but that sounds like five thousand people impacted by a single supervisor training.

Save the World With Supervision

That is why I must teach you to train others. I must teach you to go beyond supervising interns and make the leap to train counselors to become supervisors. This will require skills that look more like opening a restaurant than counseling a client, but you can do it. There is no end to disasters, loneliness, grief, and war, so why stop with just serving a small group, or one community? You don’t have to do this aloneLet’s go save the world, one meal at a time.

Core Components of a 40 Hour Supervisor Training

Texas supervisor training program, speaking, consulting
40 hour supervisor training, consultation
Dr. Kate Walker Ph.D., LPC/LMFT Supervisor and Dr. Christopher Taylor Ph.D., LPC-S

40 hour supervisor training, consultationOn May 19 2018 Dr. Chris Taylor and I traveled to El Paso and delivered a train the trainer course to twenty licensed professional counselors. Why? Because there is a massive shortage of licensed mental health providers in the El Paso and surrounding areas and the domino effect is devastating. Where there are few licensed providers there are few approved supervisors and where there are few approved supervisors there are few interns. Bottom line: we can’t attract new professionals into rural communities unless we establish a pipeline of licensed professionals willing to become approved supervisors.

Thanks to Dr. Paul Carrola, The University of Texas El Paso, and the Paso del Norte Center for Mental and Emotional Well Being we were able to deliver a FREE six hour training to licensed professional counselors interested in providing the 40 hour supervisor training. Using the content from the Kate Walker Training 40 Hour LPC/LMFT supervisor course, we were able to give participants a solid foundation to provide their own 40 hour course. We chose to focus on four key elements:

  1. Become a CE Provider
  2. Create legal/compliant content
  3. Create practical/effective content
  4. Create content that safeguards the public and your license

40 hour supervisor training, consultationBecome a CE Provider

First, fill out the form, write your check to the state, and become a CE provider. As of the date of this published blog, in Texas both LPC and LMFT rules require that you must become an approved CE provider before you can sell seats to your own 40 hour training. LPC rules go on to stipulate that 40 hour teachers must also be approved supervisors and approved 40 hour training providers.

Compliant Content

Next, you must have content that is compliant with the rules for the training you wish to teach. This includes not only checking out LPC and LMFT rules for the content you must include, you must also make sure you cover recent rule changes, trending complaints, and policies the board may have adopted but not published yet. Creating compliant content means as a trainer you must attend board meetings so you will be familiar not only with the rules but with the latest board actions and policies.

40 hour supervisor training, consultationPractical Content

In addition to compliant content, you must deliver practical tools. As a wise man once told me, “I’ve never heard a complaint against someone because they didn’t know their theories.” Most board complaints against supervisors are administrative in nature. The supervisor didn’t keep accurate records; the supervisor wasn’t aware of the number of supervision hours needed each month; or the supervisor didn’t provide enough documentation. When you teach a supervision course you must provide practical tools so new supervisors are successful.

Content that Safeguards the Public

Finally, you must provide content to help new supervisors safeguard the public, their license, and your license. How do you teach a new intern to assess suicidal and homicidal ideation? Assess and report abuse? Stay safe with violent clients or dicey work settings? These are things your participants may KNOW because they are seasoned practitioners. As the instructor you must teach your participants how to ‘teach that skill’ to level 1 interns who may think they already know it all. At Kate Walker Training we devote time to helping our participants go beyond a supervision contract so they are able to confidently teach new interns these skills before they ever start seeing clients.40 hour training, consultation

We need more supervisors! We also know that designing and delivering an effective supervisor training can be hard. If you are interested in becoming a trainer, stay tuned. We’ll have more info coming the end of August.

 

Texas Mental Health Crisis: Intern Supervision and Underserved Areas

Texas supervisor training program, speaking, consulting

Texas We Have a Problem

Here’s the thing. In light of recent events I want to speak to all of the problems Texas has when it comes to providing excellent, accessible, and affordable mental health care. I want to outline solutions, propose law changes, and rally the troops. Texas seems to enjoy competing for 49th or 50th place when it comes to quality mental health care in America and this little blog post probably won’t change that. So, as a counselor supervisor, counselor educator, and practicing clinician, I will talk about what I know. This post is about counselor intern supervision and supervisor training.

For those readers who aren’t familiar with Texas rules governing licensed professional counselors:

  • Every Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Texas must spend 3000 hours as a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern under the supervision of a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPC-S).
  • There are places in Texas where there are no licensed professional counselors or supervisors (see the white areas in the map below).
  • There are strict limits on the number of supervision hours interns can accrue using technology.

Training more supervisors in rural areas and lifting the restrictions on webcam supervision would be easy first steps to helping Texans gain access to quality mental health care.

Texas supervisor training program, speaking, consulting

 

Counselors and Webcams

Increasing allowable intern supervision hours via technology is a no-brainer. The Telemedicine Wellness, Intervention, Triage, and Referral Project at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is pioneering the use of technology to screen junior high and high school students, identify those most at risk for committing violence in schools, and intervene before anything happens. Data are already showing that the screenings have helped avert violent incidents and provide students the help they need. Why can’t interns attend supervision using the same technology? Counseling graduates on the fence about where to practice might choose underserved areas if they did not have to travel long distances to receive face to face supervision. Arguments against using technology in mental health are archaic and have become a roadblock to care.

Counselor Supervision Training

Changing the rules about technology and supervision is only a start. Long story short, we need seasoned counselors and counselor supervisors in underserved areas. One LPC Supervisor Course attended by five participants who agree to take on just two interns can impact hundreds of people in need of quality mental health care. Recently I, along with Dr. Christopher Taylor offered a six hour course to twenty participants in El Paso interested in offering their own 40 hour training. How exciting is that? Twenty seasoned licensed professional counselor supervisors near one of the most underserved areas in the state are now trained and willing to provide their own courses. Their impact alone could be a game-changer for interns who feel called to work in underserved areas.

Texas supervisor training, speaking, consulting

Lifting limits on technology and increasing the number of supervisors won’t solve everything but it’s a start. We still need to give interns the ability to bill Medicaid. We still need to convince the military and Tricare to hire licensed professional counselors. And we need to help Medicare understand that refusing to allow counselors to be credentialed under their plans makes them part of the problem. Texas, we need counselors and supervisors more than ever before. And we need them now.

We Need You Counselors and Supervisors!

Texas Supervisor Training Consultation and Speaking

Texas, we have a problem.

Our state has over 15 universities with CACREP accredited counselor education programs. There are almost twenty thousand licensed professional counselors at this writing and almost four thousand counselor interns. Counselor supervisors are ready to offer consultation and supervision. We have active state organizations, a legislature that is open to hearing us if we choose to speak, and one of the hottest business demographics in the United States.

So why is the Texas prison system our biggest mental health provider? According to NAMI 2010 statistics Texas spent just $35 per capita on mental health agency services in 2006. This was just 1.1 percent of total state spending that year in the state of Texas. Nationally, approximately 70 percent of youth in juvenile justice systems experience mental health disorders and in 2008, approximately 37,700 adults with mental illnesses were incarcerated in prisons in Texas.

It’s not easy being a counselor.

Potential counselors enter universities with dreams of helping, but the reality is, the job market doesn’t offer much. LPC Interns, after having completed a sixty-hour master’s degree program, still cannot bill insurance for their time. As a result, they compete for lower paying bachelor’s level Qualified Mental Health Provider positions, gain low quality hours in hospital settings, or volunteer. That is tough to do when you are paying a supervisor and student loans every month.

When fully licensed counselors get a job, the situation is less than ideal. Counselors who seek me out for consultation tell me they are overworked, underpaid, and forced to do paperwork on their own unpaid time. Not only that, they are often placed in dangerous situations, and required by third-party payers to apply ineffective treatment modalities that are inconsistent with their training. Counselors in private practice face the daunting task of running a business, a skill that was missing from their counseling.

We need counselors and supervisors.

We need passionate people who will advocate in the legislature and supervise the interns. We need generous people who will give time because not every client has the means to get the help they need. We need balanced people who will focus on their own attitude and mental health so we don’t lose them to burnout. Good training, consultation, and opportunities to grow will help counselors keep the passion that got them started. Counselors who train to become supervisors can expand their knowledge, grow their practice, and impact the next generation.

So consider supervising. Remember, we need you.

 

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Creating a Counselor Supervisor Training Course

Supervisor training consulting speaking
Interesting Day at the LPC Board Meeting

I was at the Texas LPC Board meeting for Applications and Supervision Issues Committees Meeting June 15, and it was an interesting day. The cases that disturbed me the most were the ones involving forty-hour supervisor training courses that were not following the rules. Issues included:

·       Supervisor training instructors allowing their continuing education provider status lapse and teaching the course anyway

·       Supervisor training offered to LPCs by non-LPCs

·       Supervisor training courses that did not offer enough ethics CEs to meet the Texas LPC requirements

·       Supervisor courses that were listed on the LPC Board’s list of approved providers who do not currently meet the LPC board requirements

The Domino Effect

Anyone can make a mistake. Offering a forty-hour training is hard work and there is a lot to keep up with. Mistakes in the 40-hour training arena are compounded, however, because of the number of people involved. When the mistake is discovered, any action by the board will affect several new supervisors, dozens of counseling interns, and who-knows-how-many clients on the interns’ rosters. Anyone creating a supervisor training course must be aware of this domino effect.

I co-created the Kate Walker Training 40-Hour Supervisor Training course alongside my mentor Dr. Judy DeTrude in 2007 (when we were achievebalance.org). I had NO idea what I was doing and without her knowledge and guidance the course would have fizzled early on. Now in 2017 we are about to begin Cohort 30 and our curriculum is stronger than ever.

Speaking to Future Supervisor Trainers

When I am speaking at events or consulting one-on-one with mental health professional, I find most want to know how to grow in their career and give back to their community. Many want to know how to create their own 40 hour training course. Here is what I tell them:

1.     Don’t do it alone. Working with a co-creator, involving other LPC or LMFT instructors, having colleagues I can consult with at any time means that although my name is on the certificate, I am not making decisions in a vacuum.

2.     Read the rules. A lot. I know this sounds obvious, but you are creating a train-the-trainer course so you must know the rules better than anyone who will be taking your course. This means going to disciplinary hearings as well.

3.     Develop an adult-learning-model teaching style. No one wants death by PowerPoint. If you have never taught or managed grown-ups before then get some practice. Offer to teach some local community college courses or substitute teach at a local high school,

4.     Assess, assess, assess. The only way you will know if you are teaching what you think you are teaching is to ask your participants if they understand. The KWT Training Course instructors conduct an assessment after each learning module so we know if we are teaching the material effectively.

5.     Have fun! A forty-hour training can be pretty intense. Break it up, show You Tube Videos, do group work, and play with marshmallows and spaghetti. The people who take this course are your colleagues and friends. Welcome them to the supervisor community!

There is a good, bad, and ugly side of creating and delivering an effective counselor supervisor training course. If you would like more information about starting your own course, give us a call. We’d love to help you out!