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.


Cash: The Ultimate Fear Killer

New entrepreneurs know fear is a part of success just like a cramp is a part of winning a marathon. Sadly, fear is also a part of failure. Fear-based decisions, like neglecting marketing, DIY bookkeeping, and solo decision-making, can kill a practice before its third anniversary. Worst of all, the fearful owner of a struggling young practice may start to see each client as a dollar sign rather than a relationship. Don’t get me wrong; fear will be your constant companion on the road to success in business. You just can’t let him drive. In this blog, I’ll cover the number one tool that will help mitigate new-entrepreneur fear and replace it with confidence: cold hard cash.

Cash Bridges the Gap
Cash bridges the gap between the startup phase of a new business and the profitable phase. With a financial safety net, new business owners can be creative and take more risks. They will focus less on the desperate “PLEASE give me referrals” attitude and focus more on building a brand and networking in the community. Best of all, a FSN allows new business owners to take less from their profits and actually invest back into the business. Ideally, when the new business owner is ready to grow he will be debt free.

Let’s take Bob as our example.
Bob has a great job at a supermarket but he’s ready to join the entrepreneurial world and open a real estate office. He has read lots of business books and knows:
• Mistakes are inevitable and expensive.
• It takes time to market and develop referral sources.
• He has to keep the lights on and the rent paid.
• He doesn’t have the expertise to do every job by himself so he will have to hire help if he wants to stay out of trouble and grow.
• He has his own rent to pay and groceries to buy.

Scary stuff.

Where can Bob get the FSN net so when costly mistakes happen they don’t tank his new business? How can he keep the lights on until the community starts banging his door down? What can he do besides get another credit card or bank loan in order to grow?

Here’s what I recommend:
1. Enlist your supportive partner. Bob’s husband Stan has a great job in the oil and gas industry and he fully supports Bob’s decision to go into real estate. They agree that for one year Stan will carry a heavier load paying the family bills so Bob can put any profit he earns back into his business. Because he is less pressed to take home an income, Bob can build his brand, enhance his business skills with continuing education, hire an assistant to take phone calls when he’s with clients, and purchase software to stay organized.
2. Don’t quit your day job. While Bob was going to school to get his real estate license, he kept his job managing a supermarket. Once he became fully licensed and ready to start the business, he managed to reduce his schedule to part time. If the supermarket had refused to allow Bob to work part time, Bob had already decided he would take a job working nights so he could work on building his business during the day.
3. Live on the feathers not the chicken. Bob knew about the cyclical nature of business from working at the grocery store. He and Stan sat down and looked at the family finances and created a lean-but-comfortable budget. They agreed to live off this lean budget even when Bob’s business was booming and put any extra profit into a FSN savings account. Since the family’s basic needs were always met, Bob didn’t panic and make fear-based decisions when cash flow was down.

To be a successful business owner you must realize mistakes are inevitable and expensive; it takes time to build a network of referral sources; and you must reinvest in your business not leach from it. There lots of resources to help you build your FSN. Why not schedule a consultation with Kate Walker Training and create a strategy today?


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!