Where to earn hours toward licensure can be a little confusing for those who are looking to become a LPC-MHSP in Tennessee. Here is what you need to know.
Approved clinical setting
It is important that you are gaining hours toward licensure in an "approved" clinical setting. What does that mean? An approved clinical setting is a location that allows you the opportunity to provide clinical mental health counseling AND has a licensed professional on site at least 20 hours per week, among other things as I'll detail below.
Many people are working in community agencies and, for the most part, they often are considered approved locations because they have someone licensed on site at least 20 hours per week. Typically, this would be a clinical director or other licensed administrator, if not also a direct on site supervisor. The licensed person can be a LCSW or PhD-MHSP, it does not have to be a LPC-MHSP even thought that is the credential you are seeking.
Board definition of approved clinical setting
This is the definition of "clinical setting" as stated in the TN Laws and Rules regulating Licensed Professional Counselors:
Clinical setting - A place where the practice of professional counseling occurs. An appropriate setting for an applicant’s pre and post master’s professional experience must meet the following criteria:
(a) The place or practice shall be a public, private, or community agency/mental health setting and must have integrated programs for the delivery of clinical mental health counseling in accordance with these rules and defined by definition (29) for non-Mental Health Service Provider designation and definition (30) for the Mental Health Service Provider designation.
(b) The place or practice shall offer adequate physical resources, such as a private space that meets HIPAA requirements, necessary to allow for supervision and appropriate service delivery.
(c) The place or practice shall have at least one licensed mental health professional on site for a cumulative minimum of 20 hours per week whose assigned job duties include being available to the applicant for supervision and/or consultation while the applicant is engaging in the practice of counseling or counseling related services. In addition, the place or practice shall have a written emergency plan in place to include method(s) of contacting supervisor(s) or other consultant(s), alternative contacts when supervisor(s) is(are) unavailable, information regarding crisis services, and crisis decision-making. The licensed mental health professional can serve as the applicant’s supervisor if he or she meets the supervisor requirements pursuant to 0450-01-.10. If the licensed mental health professional on staff at the place or practice is unable or unwilling to serve as the applicant’s supervisor, the applicant must secure a supervisor who meets the supervisor requirements pursuant to 0450-01-.10.
(d) For an applicant pursuing post-master’s professional experience, the place or practice shall not be owned, or independently operated by the applicant. An applicant shall not seek a clinical setting or supervision that is in conflict with the multiple relationships addressed by the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics. Prior to choosing a clinical setting, if an applicant is uncertain, he or she shall seek advice about what is considered acceptable from the Board.
(e) In the case of pre-master’s professional experience, the place or practice shall have written provisions to provide supervision and training experience as defined by graduate counseling program expectations.
(f) The applicant shall be an employee of the place or practice, or shall be affiliated by agreement. All agreements shall include but not be limited to the following information: the name of the individual responsible for supervision, specific job duties/responsibilities, method for obtaining and scheduling clients, liability insurance information, payment arrangements, emergency plan, and facility and service logistics. Compensation for services provided by the applicant shall be paid directly to the place or practice (not the therapist directly) unless the applicant has a temporary license, at which time the applicant may be paid on an agreed upon basis or may provide services on a pro bono basis.
When in doubt, ask
Remember that counting licensure hours officially begins when you are in active supervision with an approved supervisor. It is best to talk with your licensure supervisor directly to make sure that where you are working is considered an approved clinical setting.
Where to find the complete board rules document
You can (if the link works!) view the entire Rules for TN Professional Counselors with this link:
If you have questions about licensure or looking to begin the licensure process with an approved LPC-MHSP supervisor, feel welcome to contact me.
I wish you a wonderful 2019!