Why Choose a Licensed Psychologist as a LPC supervisor?
You’ve finally finished graduate school. Yes!! What a great accomplishment! It’s always been your dream to be a licensed professional counselor (LPC). You land a job at a local agency, but alas there is no one there that can supervise you so you are left to find a supervisor in the community. Luckily, the Tennessee Board of Professional Counselors gives you some options regarding who can provide post-masters licensure supervision. In addition to LPC MHSPs, the Board allows licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers and licensed psychologists to provide half of the required hours (75 of 150 hours) you need for licensure purposes. Here are some reasons why you might want to consider seeking supervision from a licensed psychologist.
First, licensed psychologists have extensive training in assessment. What comes to mind when you think of the word “assessment?” Perhaps you thought of the stereotypical psychologist who holds up an inkblot card to a client and asks, “What does this look like to you?” However, it is much more than that. In addition to psychological testing, licensed psychologists receive training in diagnostic interviewing and behavioral observation and take coursework in personality theory and psychopathology to help them figure out key features of their clients, which they can use to help them help their clients. Even though you might not have a big interest in assessment a licensed psychologist could certainly teach you some techniques and strategies that will take a lot of the guesswork out of “sizing up” clients during intake sessions and make counseling a much smoother process.
Secondly, licensed psychologists are trained according to the scientist-practitioner model in which they operate from a scientific frame of reference when counseling people. Counselors, on the other hand, are trained according to the scholar-practitioner model in which they operate from a humanistic/post-modern framework. One model is not better than the other and they simply offer mental health professionals different lenses through which to view and work with clients. Having said this, you can broaden your approach by using elements of the scientist-practitioner model. One way that you could do this is learning how to develop hypotheses regarding clients and to obtain information from them that confirms or disconfirms your hypotheses so you know whether or not you are on the right track when counseling them. A licensed psychologist can teach you how to “add a dash of science” to your work with clients!
Strength in Diversity
Third, as a prospective licensed professional counselor you will benefit from the diverse viewpoints and methods of practice of other mental health professionals. Just like licensed psychologists can develop a broader perspective on how to help clients based on theories and philosophies from the counseling tradition (e.g., humanistic orientation; wellness perspective), counselors can benefit from the perspectives of licensed psychologists. For example, counselors oftentimes find it useful to learn about evidence-based counseling approaches and how to evaluate counseling outcomes, which is an important part of the psychology tradition.
Are you Game?
Historically, tension existed between counselors and psychologists because of differences in views and approaches to helping people although this has reduced significantly in recent years. Indeed, counselors and psychologists have grown to respect one another for what they “bring to the table” and how they can collaborate and mutually benefit one another (and their clients) in terms of their respective approaches. In fact, I value the things that I pick up from my counselor supervisees in terms of what they are learning in their graduate programs and have modified my clinical thinking as a result! If you are a post-masters counselor who sees the value in being supervised by a licensed psychologist for a portion of your LPC hours then feel free to contact me so we can talk about your needs and interests (615-403-5227 or firstname.lastname@example.org)! : )
Christopher J. Quarto, Ph.D., ACS, PLLC, Licensed psychologist
Tennessee & Michigan