Rules and Regulations related
to California Psychologists,
Marriage, Family and Therapists, and Clinical Social Workers
For the original laws visit the Board of Psychology or The Board of Behavioral Science
***Note: As of January 1, 2005 the BOP has instituted many changes to the regulations.
Consult the BOP web site for details.***
Also note that as of March 1, 2005 the new form the "Supervision Agreement" and the "Verification of Experience Form" that are posted on the BOP website contain a few errors in terms of qualifications of supervisors.
Summary and discussion of the 2005 changes to supervision of psychology "trainees."
Disclaimer: The information
provided is meant to be a guide. The
regulations can often be interpreted in different ways. I advise you to contact
your respective board for detailed answers to your questions. The information
provided is specific to the supervision of unlicensed supervisees who are
accruing licensing hours in California.
Please note that there are 8 types
of supervisees who are accruing licensing hours. The
regulations are different for each type of supervisee. (I use the term “supervisee” as a generic term. When I am discussing a specific type of supervisee I will use the term
delineating that supervisee, e.g. psychology intern, MFT trainee, etc.)
There are 5 types of psychology supervisees (intern, psychological assistant, registered psychologist, supervisee in an exempt setting, and county waivered trainee). You can access the Board of Psychology (BOP) website and print a quick reference guide related to the supervision of each of these supervisees.
There are 2 types of MFT
supervisees (trainee and intern).
There is 1 type of Social Work supervisee (Associate in Social Work—ASW). Both MFT supervisees and Social Work supervisees are managed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS).
Note that in general you, as the supervisor, must follow the regulations based on the professional status of the supervisee. For example, a psychologist supervising an MFT trainee must follow the regulations related to the supervision of MFT trainees. An MFT serving as a delegated supervisor for a psychology intern must follow the regulations related to psychology interns.
Discussion Topics below:
Supervisors of Psychology Supervisees
Group Supervision Update (9/06)
Supervisor Vacation for Psychological Assistants(revised 9/06; 8/08)
expiration of registration
Missing an occasional supervision(added 1/05)
Supervisors on vacation(update 2/08)
Supervisors of MFT and Social Work Supervisees
The following information was recently updated on the BBS website: (Note following these links will take you to the BBS web site. Be sure to also see my information and discussion centered below)
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for ASW's - February 25, 2008
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for MFT Trainees and Intern - February 25, 2008
- Examination Information - February 25, 2008
- LCSW Licensure Walk Through - The Examination Process - February 25, 2008
- MFT Licensure Walk Through - The Examination Process - February 25, 2008
- Associate Clinical Social Worker Supervision - February 25, 2008
- A Guide to Supervision for ASWs - February 25, 2008
- Marriage and Family Therapist Intern/Trainee Supervision - February 25, 2008
- A Guide to Supervision for MFT Interns and Trainees - February 25, 2008
- Licensee Renewal Information - February 25, 2008
- February Board Meeting material available - February 19, 2008
- February Board Meeting Notice available - February 11, 2008
- Updated - 2008 Statutes and Regulations - February 11, 2008
- Updated CE provider list and Web Based provider List - February 4, 2008
- Supervisor Resources - IMF Supervision - ASW Supervision - February 4, 2008
- MFT Supervisor Responsibility Statement - February 4, 2008
- LCSW Supervisor Responsibility Statement - February 4, 2008
The BBS has created an Excel file that will assist
your supervisee in calculating hours for licensure.
Qualifications of MFT and ASW supervisors(updated 2/08)
Do split groups qualify for supervision?(added 1/05)
Can case consultation count as supervision? (added 1/05)
Supervisors on vacation(updated 2/08)
The following material is based on a discussion with the Board Of Psychology (Updated, February, 2008)
The following information is specific to Psychology Supervisees:
The BOP continues to have a hard line on this issue. If a supervisor misses supervision in any given week then the hours do not count. Although this seems to go against the ethics code ("be just and fair") it is the letter of the regulations. If you or your supervisee miss supervision due to illness or any other reason, then the hours for that week do not count. However, while violating the regulations it seems appropriate to me to make up the supervision time within a reasonable time frame and have the hours count.
Is there a limit to the number of supervisees who can participate in a Psychology Supervision Group
Much to my surprise a recent workshop participant checked with the Board about supervision group size and was told that the regulations do not address group size. I have been teaching for years that groups must be restricted to no more than 8 supervisees. I scoured the regulations and discover that supervision group size is not listed.
I contacted the BOP and was told the following: there is nothing in the regulations that restrict the size of group supervision. Of course, the group shouldn't be so large that it renders the supervision ineffective.
For a psychological assistant, can supervision be “transferred” during supervisor’s absence or vacation?
1/08 According to recent communication with the Board, if the supervisor of a psychological assistant goes on vacation for a period of up to two weeks, the psychological assistant can continue to provide psychological services under the supervision of a qualifying supervisor who meets all requirements of a primary supervisor of a psychological assistant (including being employed in the same setting as the assistant). If the vacation exceeds two weeks, then a new application would have to be submitted and approved before the psychological assistant can provide psychological services under the new supervisor.
If two psychologists work in the same private practice setting, then one can provide the supervision coverage during the other's vacation. If a psychologist is alone in private practice, then his or her psych assistant cannot provide psychological services while the psychologist is on vacation since there is not another psychologist or board-certified psychiatrist who would meet the "employed in the same work setting in which the psychological assistant is employed" requirement of section 1391.5 of the California Code of Regulations.
I would highly recommend you do not violate this regulation in a private practice setting. However, in an agency setting if you decide to violate this regulation (a not so uncommon practice) then keep in mind “standard of care” in the profession. Ask yourself “What would a prudent psychologist do to manage clients while on vacation?” Most psychologists have colleagues that “cover” their practice. It is reasonable (although not allowed in the regulations) to have another psychologist (who does not meet the requirements above) “cover” the psychological assistant’s work and caseload. Should you choose to allow another non-qualified psychologist to cover supervision and the psychological assistant’s caseload you should be aware that this is a violation.
You may be wondering how you do supervision (and take vacations or get sick or miss supervision sessions) and not violate the regulations. The pure answer is to not allow the psychological assistant to see clients during any week in which you are not available to provide at least 1 hour of face-to-face, individual supervision and supervision for at least 10% of the total hours accrued during the week. This means that when you are on vacation, your assistant is to be on vacation. You would then ask another licensed professional to cover your caseload and cover the psychological assistant’s caseload. (Remember that the clients of the psychological assistant are legally YOUR clients.)
As noted above the Board does allow for a 2 week vacation if the replacement supervisor meets ALL of the criteria to be a supervisor.
When a “Registered Psychologist” has completed his/her two years of registration (that is the maximum allowed) can that person continue to offer services in the facility in which he/she is working? (Note: Registered Psychologists must have a doctoral degree, 1500 supervised hours, and work in a facility that receives at least 25% of its funding from government sources).
To continue to work in such a setting and accrue hours the Board is informing individuals that they must either 1. become a psychological assistant or 2. receive a state waiver.
The Board’s position is that a registered psychologist whose registration has expired must become a psychological assistant or request a “county waiver” to continue to offer mental health services and accrue licensing hours.
However, since mental health centers (certainly those in this category) are able to “hire” unlicensed mental health workers, it seems to me that a registered psychologist who is no longer registered and not accruing hours can work in a facility without becoming a psychological assistant or receive a waiver.
Bottom line, if this situation applies to you, consult with the Board and perhaps with an attorney to be clear. I see no reason why an unlicensed professional (not accruing hours) cannot work in a health facility and provide mental health services. This is a very common and acceptable practice under California law.
The regulations for psychology indicate that the supervisor is responsible to be sure that clients are informed
in writingthat the supervisee is unlicensed and in supervision.
First note that the in writing requirement is in the process of being eliminated from the psychology regulations, and I anticipate that it will no longer be in the regulations sometime in early 2005. In the meantime, the Board is aware of these situations and most concerned about appropriate standard of care treatment for clients. If you are in a situation where it is not practical to have clients informed in writing then at least
I recommend that notification be done in writing where possible and also noted in the client's chart that notification has been performed. You are not required to do the actual notification. Having a supervisee do this is acceptable. Note that the requirement allows the supervisee to do the actual informing of the client.
(The BBS requires that clients be informed that the supervisee is unlicensed and in supervision, but the BBS does NOT require that the client be informed in writing.)
It is recommended that while the "in writing" is no longer required it is advisable that the supervisee inform the client both verbally and (where feasible) in writing.
Many facilities and private practitioners have such notification as part of the intake paperwork. While this is good practice clients often to not read the "fine print" so even when the client signs an informed consent that includes the notification I recommend that it also be offered verbally.
How are hours counted (or not) in situations where the supervisee works all week and then, for example, misses supervision on Friday?
Hours do not count under any circumstances when supervision for a given week is missed.
While the regulations do not allow psychological assistants to even see clients in any week if they do not receive supervision, this scenario is a common one. While not providing supervision in any given week is clearly a violation of the regulations the Board understands the reality of illness or other reasons why supervision may be missed. The Board’s issue is more global and not a micromanagement perspective. If you are consistently following the regulations and providing competent supervision, then missing an isolated supervision session is not going to be an issue. The Board is not interested in hassling supervisors who are taking professional responsibility for supervision and making rare minor violations that are reasonable given the rigidity of the regulations and the reality of the work.
From a practical standpoint, however, it is unlikely that the Board would become aware of a missed a supervision session as the Verification of Experience is a total of hours and not listed week by week. If the supervision time is not indicated on the log and the Board reviewer discovers this then the hours gained during that week will be disallowed. Note that the logs are generally not submitted to or reviewed by the Board.
In Fall, 2004, I was asked about practicum students providing psychological services in a private practice.
Practicum students are not allowed to provide independent private practice services. Practicum students are not allowed to independently see private practice clients. If you allow practicum students to “sit in” with you while you do individual or group therapy that may be permissible. (The client should be thoroughly informed and agree. It is my understanding that confidentiality does not extend to practicum students. If a legal issue were to occur your practicum student may not be covered by privilege.) I would certainly consult with the Board or an attorney to review the clinical, legal, and ethical ramifications of such actions. I would not put myself in such a vulnerable position with a practicum student. There is plenty of liability with psychological assistants and having practicum students involved in a private practice increases your liability dramatically.
The following information is specific to BBS regulated supervisees:
Qualifications of MFT and ASW supervisors (Feb., 2008)
The BBS has eliminated the "average case load of 5" in the 2 in 5 rule. Supervisors must have practiced psychotherapy during 2 or the past 5 years, but there is no longer a designation of a specific case load. In addition, the requirement that supervisors practice psychotherapy during 2 of the past 5 years will also include the act of supervision as qualifying as "psychotherapy" for the purpose of this regulation only. The requirement that MFT supervisors maintain an average caseload of 5 clients has been eliminated.
Since supervision is required after the completion of hours (this is called applicant status), is it required at the same level required of those who are accruing hours?
No. The BBS expects supervisors of MFT interns or social work associates to continue to provide a minimum of 1 unit (1 hour individual or 2 hours of group) once a supervisee has accrued all his/her hours. The supervisor does not need to meet the 10-1 supervision to client contact hours ratio.
The regulations require that supervisors get the name and address of the most recent former employer or supervisor. Is it required that they contact them?
No, the information is just in case a supervisor might want to contact the former supervisor/employer.
Supervisors of MFT and Social Work supervisees are required to notify clients that the supervisee is unlicensed and supervised. Can this be verbal and not in writing?
The minimum requirement is verbal and need not be in writing. However, it is a good practice to have the client sign a document that indicates that he/she has been informed. At minimum I recommend that the verbal communication be documented in the chart. Note that the supervisor is responsible to see that the client is informed. It is acceptable for the supervisee to do the actual informing.
1. Is there specific information that is required to be shared e.g. name of supervisor, phone number license number etc.
While the regulations do not outline specifically what is to be informed, the client has the right to know the name of the supervisor, his/her license type, and how to contact him/her.
There is a new law as of January 1, 2005 that addresses supervisors of interns in private practice. This new law allows interns (in private practice only) to receive alternate supervision when their supervisor is on vacation or sick. The alternate supervisor must meet the qualifications to be a supervisor and “be employed by and practice at the same site as the intern’s employer, or shall be an owner or shareholder of the private practice.” This means that the supervisor and alternate supervisor must work in the same setting and have a legal bond through employment or business. Previously the BBS was “allowing” an alternate supervisor to be someone who shared space with the supervisor but did not necessarily have a business relationship. This will apparently no longer be the case.
There is no restriction on the length of time that this alternate supervisor may provide supervision.
As of the date of this writing (January, 2008), it is not clear how this will be implemented in practice. For example, it is not clear who will sign the weekly logs or if there will be any other paperwork required.
As of January 1, 2005 psychiatrists who supervise BBS supervisees must be board certified. Being board eligible is no longer acceptable.
Can a 2-hour “group” consist of 2, 1-hour group sessions?
While the board highly discourages this practice, the regulations allow it to occur.
If a supervisee offers therapy in ½ hour increments how does that affect the ratio?
The ratio is calculated in clinical hours. If a supervisee sees 2 clients each for ½ hour that would count as 1 hour toward the licensure and toward the ratio.
Can 2 supervisees in a two-hour group count the time as 1 hour of individual supervision for each supervisee.
No, once the “group” is formed, it is group supervision. The supervisor does have the option of meeting with each supervisee for 1 hour and then it would be individual supervision.
Can supervisors of ASWs begin supervision and accrue their supervision training after supervision has begun.
No. While there is a 60-day “grace” period for supervisors of MFT trainees and interns, there is no grace period for supervisors of ASWs. (Note that psychologists supervising ASWs or MFT trainees and interns are not required supervision training.)
Case consultation versus supervision
I am periodically asked if a consultation group with more than 8 supervisees is allowed if the other participants are licensed. Basically, the limit of 8 means 8 people presenting cases. If you have a group of 7 supervisees and 3 licensed staff all discussing their cases, then this would exceed the “8” and not count as supervision. However, if you had 7 supervisees and 3 supervisors who were reviewing cases but not presenting themselves this would fit the regulation.
From a practical standpoint anyone who has supervised a group knows that a group of 8 is large. For that reasons I highly recommend that you try to have no more than 6 in a supervision group.
Feb, 2008--Do Psychologist's Supervising MFT Trainees or Interns need supervision training
If you carefully read the regulations for supervisors of MFT supervisees, psychologists are not included in the 6-hour of supervision training requirement. Note, only supervisors "who are licensed by the board [BBS] " are required the supervision training for MFT trainees and interns. The regulation is clipped below for your reference.
ARTICLE 4. MARRIAGE, FAMILY AND CHILD COUNSELORS
§1833.1. REQUIREMENTS FOR SUPERVISORS
(A) Effective January 1, 2000, supervisors who are licensed by the board shall complete a minimum of six (6) hours of supervision training or coursework every two years. This training or coursework may apply towards the continuing education requirements set forth in Sections 4980.54 and 4996.22 of the Code.
July, 2003--Do Psychologist's Supervising Associates in Social Work need Supervision training???
If you carefully read the regulations for supervisors of ASWs, it appears that psychologists are not included in the 15-hour of supervision training requirement. Note, only supervisors "who are licensed by the board [BBS] " are required the supervision training for ASWs. The regulation is clipped below for your reference.
ARTICLE 6. LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKERS§1870. REQUIREMENTS FOR ASSOCIATE CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER SUPERVISORS
(4) The supervisor has had sufficient experience, training and education in the area of clinical supervision to competently supervise associates. Effective January 1, 2001, supervisors who are licensed by the board shall have:(A) A minimum of fifteen (15) contact hours in supervision training obtained from a state agency or approved continuing education provider. This training may apply towards the approved continuing education requirements set forth in Sections 4980.54 and 4996.22 of the Code. The content of such training shall include, but not be limited to:
February, 2008--Supervisors on Vacation--BBS Position unchanged
The question of what happens when supervisors are on vacation has been a question asked in virtually every supervision seminar I have offered. The regulations for both the Board of Psychology and Board of Behavioral Sciences are quite clear. However, both boards have taken positions that stretch the letter of the regulations in order to make clinical sense.
According to the regulations supervisees in a clinical setting may not COUNT hours in any week in which they do not receive supervision from their "designated" supervisor (in the BOP regulations this means the Primary supervisor and in the BBS regulations it means the supervisor who has signed the appropriate paperwork such as the Supervisor Responsibility Statement).
However, in most non-private practice settings supervisees may continue to see clients because settings such as government agencies, non-profit clinics, university counseling centers, etc. are permitted to offer services by unlicensed individuals who are not supervised (however, most such agencies appropriately require supervision of unlicensed therapists.)
According to the regulations, in a private practice, during any week in which the supervisor does not provide, supervision the supervisee may not see clients. See the exception for MFT Interns in private practice (noted above).
The BOP position is as follows. In an agency setting (not a private practice) if the primary supervisor is unavailable (due to vacation, illness etc.) another supervisor may provide the supervisor as long as that substitute supervisor meets the qualifications to be a PRIMARY supervisor. (This means the supervisor is a licensed psychologist, is employed by the same agency as the the supervisee, and has taken a supervision training seminar.) This excludes a delegated supervisor (who does not meet the qualifications of a primary) from providing the primary supervision.
Many supervisors have asked if the delegated supervisor can serve as the primary in the primary's absence. The position of the Board is "No" unless the delegated meets the primary requirements. However, should your situation lead to you having the delegated provide the supervision, I believe that the consequence (if anyone ever finds out) would be that the supervisee's hours for the period of time during the substitution would be disallowed and the supervisor would be informed that this is not appropriate supervision. I do not believe there would be any further repercussions.
In a private practice, the BOP position (as of 9/06) allows for a substitute supervisor if 1. the supervisor meets ALL the requirements to be a primary (including working in the same setting as the supervisee) and 2. the substitute supervision does not exceed 2 weeks.
The BBS has taken the position (which I see as more reasonable, but does appear to conflict with the regulations) that in an agency setting when the supervisor is not available for supervision (e.g. on vacation), another qualified supervisor (for example one who has completed a supervisor training course and has been licensed at least 2 years) may provide the supervision, and the actual supervisor may sign for the hours as if he/she offered the supervision. This can only be done on a limited basis, for example for about 1-3 weeks while the supervisor is on vacation or sick. If the substitute supervision exceeds 3 weeks then the appropriate paperwork must be completed to make the substitute "official."
In a private practice this "substitute supervisor" may supervise only under the following conditions. The replacement supervisor, in addition to being a qualified supervisor, must also work in the same office as the official supervisor. It is not longer acceptable for the substitute supervisor to simply "share office space" with the supervisor.
Comments: I do not believe that either Board will pursue supervisors who violate the regulations on this point, but act in a responsible, professional manner (for example have another qualified professional provide the supervision when the supervisor cannot do so). However, the hours may be disallowed and by signing the log or the verification of experience form you, as the supervisor, are committing a form of perjury.
I believe your liability will not come from either board, but will come if, in your absence, something happens resulting in a law suit against you. A lawyer will question your violation of the regulations, regardless of how the Boards might have treated such a violation. Your defense is that you acted in a way consistent with "standard of care" and in your client's best interest. Basically, you acted in a way that another prudent professional would have acted.
Bottom line is that if you can follow the letter of the regulations you are at lowest risk. If you violate the regulations as indicated above, you are unlikely to face any issue from either board.
You have to ask yourself about risk management and how much risk are you willing to take.
If you have any questions or need clarification please contact your board or contact me, and I will be happy to share my understanding with you.
The BOP will require that Primary Supervisors of Psychology Supervisees take a Supervision training course every two years beginning in January 2003. (Note the regulation says "every two years" and not every licensing cycle. The new--2008-- BBS regulation changes every two years to every licensing cycle)
Does the weekly log need to be signed weekly or can it be signed by the supervisor at the end as a summary of the experience?
It was the intent of the board in writing section 1387.5 of the regulations that the weekly log be signed weekly by the supervisor.
Can fractional hours count toward supervision once the requirement of 1 hour of individual face-to-face supervision has been met?
According to the Board of Psychology fractional hours can indeed count. The regulations require that supervisees are given 1 hour or 10% supervision, whichever is greater, per week. The regulations require that the minimum 1 hours be direct, individual, face to face supervision. The remainder of the 10% can be of a group or other nature. If the trainee is working 25 hours per week, that person needs to be provided with 2.5 hours of supervision.
Subject: Re: New Supervision Regulations (Psychology)
Date: Jan 8, 2001
From: The Board of Psychology
To: Steve Sultanoff
Note: These questions and answers refer to supervision in formal internships as defined by the BOP. The rules and regulations for Psychological Assistants are different (see questions and answers below).
Question 1. For the primary supervisor the new regulations state that "the supervisor be available 100% of the time the supervisee is accruing SPE." This surfaces a couple of questions.
First, does the "time accruing hours" mean only those hours that are being counted toward licensure or does it refer to 24 hours a day during the time of the supervisory relationship?
Second, does the 100% available mean that a primary supervisor must carry a pager, telephone, etc.? How can a supervisor be 100% available without this technology? How does the supervisor be 100% available and for example, be in the shower, seeing a client, or involved in some other activity where a pager or cell phone are not immediately accessible?
Answer 1. The 100% available requirement refers to the hours that the person is actually in training and supervision; the hours that will be counted toward license. It does not mean that the supervisor needs to be available to the trainee 24 hours a day. This new requirement recognizes new technologies. Clearly a supervisor can't be 100% available without carrying a pager or cell phone or some other appropriate technology. If the supervisor is in the shower when the supervisee needs him or her, that supervisor better be available at that time.
Question 2. Can a delegated supervisor supervise an activity which the primary is not qualified to supervise? For example, if the primary is not qualified to supervise testing or child therapy, can the primary assign these responsibilities to the delegated supervisor?
Answer 2. After a recent (5/01) discussion with the board it appears that there has been a change of heart in the response to this question. Historically, a delegated supervisor could not supervise a task that the primary supervisor was not competent to supervise. However, the board is aware of many internships/training programs where the facility has staff qualified to be supervisors who are not serving as supervisors and who may oversee specific training activities such as testing or child therapy. The Board's position is that the primary supervisor is responsible for maintaining the quality of the training experience. The primary supervisor may be considered a coordinator of the experience. To that end, the primary may delegate the supervision of activities such as testing to another competent supervisor who is qualified as supervisor. The primary supervisor remains responsible for the entire experience including the work performed by a delegated supervisor. Bottom line is that if the primary is comfortable with the skills and expertise of the delegated supervisor the delegated may provide supervision for activities that the primary is not qualified to supervise.
Please note that this applies to Internships and not to psychological assistants. There is no such thing as a "delegated" supervisor for a psychological assistant except in the case where an assistant is registered with an agency.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me or to contact the Board.
Question 3. Does the supervisee in an "internship" (as defined in the new regulations) need to also be psychological assistant? It appears to me that "Psychological Assistant" is being reserved for a supervisee who is in a private practice. Am I correct about that?
Answer 3. An internship is an entirely different category than a psych assistant registration. Internships are defined by section 2911 of the Business and Professions Code. Psych assistants are defined by section 2913 of the Business and Professions Code. If an internship requires one to register as a psych assistant (an absurd scenario which I have only seen once) then it is not an internship.
Subject: Re: New Supervision Regulations-Questions
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001
From: Board of Psychology
To: Steven M. Sultanoff
Question 1. As you are probably aware, many training sites (university counseling centers, for example) have primary supervisors that do not have testing experience while other licensed staff do. Assuming that a qualified psychologist is available to "supervise" testing is there any way that a supervisee can offer testing to clients while being supervised by a primary supervisor who is not qualified to supervise testing? Can a supervisee have two primary supervisors in the same setting? Could that be one solution? Are there any other possibilities that you might suggest?
Answer 1. In some settings (any setting other than a private practice which requires psych assistant registration), the primary supervisor can delegate supervision of activities he/she is not competent to perform or supervise to another qualified supervisor. (Remember that the Primary Supervisor is responsible for the supervision offered by the delegated supervisor and all the services of the supervisee. It is the intent of the board that the Primary Supervisor also act as the "coordinator of the entire internship experience) Or, as you propose, the person could split the experience in two and have two separate primary supervisors and the experience would be verified as two separate experiences.
Question 2. Second, since the law now "acknowledges new technologies" can a portion of supervision (in addition to the minimum, one hour of face-to-face individual supervision) be by telephone? In other words, would a 1-hour telephone "supervision/consultation" now qualify as an hour of supervision? Or, as it has been in the past, must all supervision be face-to-face either individual or group?
Answer 2. I could see some portion of the supervision taking place by phone as long as the supervisor is not using the phone to supervise the person from France, for example. The direct, individual, face-to-face supervision needs to be in person without exception. (Note: Since this the amount of time spent in emergency phone supervision is going to be minimal, and to avoid any potential problems, it is my recommendation that this time not be counted as supervision time.)
It is the responsibility of both supervisor and psychological assistant to read and understand the following important information. The laws and regulations which govern psychological assistant employment and supervision are very complex. Hours of supervised professional experience accrued by psychological assistants to apply toward meeting licensure requirements often are denied because of failure of both the supervisor and the registered psychological assistant to understand and comply with these laws and regulations. Supervisors are responsible for their psychological assistants’ compliance with the provisions of the Psychology Licensing Law (Chapter 6.6 of the Business and Professions Code) and the Board of Psychology’s regulations.
Following is a summary of important provisions governing the supervisor/psychological assistant relationship. However, both supervisors and psychological assistants should read, and are responsible for complying with, all of the provisions governing this relationship which are contained in the Board’s laws and regulations. A copy of the laws and regulations can be obtained by sending a written request to the Board. Each booklet costs $6. Please include a check or money order made payable to the Board of Psychology.
Notification to Patients
It is the supervisor's responsibility to notify patients
in writing,prior to the rendering of psychological services by a psychological assistant, that the assistant is unlicensed and is allowed to provide limited psychological services only while under the direction and supervision of a licensed supervisor (Regulation section 1391.6). Supervisors also must obtain releases from the patients of their psychological assistants to enable them to access confidential patient information related to their supervision duties (Business and Professions Code section 2960(h)).
Change of Address
The supervisor must notify the Board of any change to the address of record so that renewal notices can be received in a timely manner. Such notification must specify both the supervisor’s license number and the registration number of each psychological assistant if the assistants’ addresses are to be changed as well. Note that a change of address requested by the supervisor will not automatically change the psychological assistant’s address on the registration without a specific request to also change the psychological assistant’s address.
Initial Registration and Renewal
A psychological assistant cannot begin to provide psychological services until officially notified by the Board that the registration is approved.
In order for hours of supervised professional experience to count toward licensure requirements, it is imperative that psychological assistant registrations be renewed on or before the January 31st expiration date each year. It is equally imperative that supervisors’ licenses be renewed on or before their expiration dates so that they remain qualified supervisors during the entire period that hours are accrued.
The Board has no choice but to deny hours of supervised professional experience if there are lapses in registration or supervisors’ license renewals. While it is the supervisor’s responsibility to assure timely renewals, the psychological assistant, as the affected party, should diligently track both the registration renewal and the supervisor’s license renewal. Any psychological assistant who practices with an expired registration is practicing illegally, and the supervisor is aiding and abetting this illegal unlicensed practice.
There is a 60-day period following the January 31st expiration date during which psychological assistant registrations can be renewed. Therefore, after April 1st each year, if the registration is not renewed, it becomes canceled and no longer exists. At this point, a new application must be submitted for approval.
Note that neither psychological assistants nor their supervisors are allowed to practice (or accrue hours) while the related registrations or licenses are delinquent.
Renewal notices are sent as a courtesy by the Board. If a renewal notice is not received, the supervisor and psychological assistant remain responsible for timely renewals.
Every supervisor of a psychological assistant shall be responsible for ensuring that the extent, kind, and quality of the psychological services performed by the assistant are consistent with his/her training and experience and with the education, training, and experience of the supervisor (Regulation sections 1391.6).
Every psychological assistant must maintain a weekly log of all hours of supervised professional experience gained toward licensure (Regulation section 1387.5).
Supervisors must notify the Board in writing that a psychological assistant registration has been terminated within 30 days following termination (Regulation section 1391.11)).
Supervisors must be "on-site" 50 percent of the time that their psychological assistants are actually rendering professional services (Regulation section 1391.5(a)).
At a minimum, supervisors must provide at least one hour of face-to-face supervision per week for their psychological assistants (Regulation section 1391.5(b)).
Supervisors of psychological assistants must report to the Board on an annual basis: 1) the nature of the limited psychological functions performed by the psychological assistant; 2) evidence of employment; 3) the location, type, extent, and amount of supervision; and 4) a certification that the limited psychological functions are within the scope of the psychological assistant’s education and training (Regulation section 1391.10)). This information is reported on the registration renewal form.
Psychological assistants must at all times be treated as employees. As such, they are prohibited from renting office space from their supervisors (Regulation section 1391.8(c)).
Psychological assistants can have no fiduciary interest in their supervisors’ practices, and they are not allowed to bill patients directly (Regulation section 1391.8(b)).
Supervisors are prohibited from supervising supervisees who are, or have been, psychotherapy clients of the supervisors (Regulation section 1387.1(l)).
No hours of supervised professional experience will count toward meeting licensure requirements if the supervisor has a familial or interpersonal relationship with the psychological assistant (Regulation section 1387.1(k)).
Supervisors are prohibited from charging psychological assistants a fee for supervision (Regulation sections 1391.8(a) and 1387(b)(7)).
Qualified psychologists may supervise no more than three psychological assistants at any given time, and qualified board-certified psychiatrists may supervise no more than one psychological assistant at any given time (Business and Professions Code section 2913(d)).
Supervisors who are listed as both employer and supervisor on the psychological assistant registration are prohibited from delegating supervision to any other licensed professional. No credit will be granted for hours of supervised professional experience earned by a psychological assistant if that supervision was provided by anyone other than the approved supervisor.
Questions and Answers
1. Whose responsibility is it to notify patients in writing, prior to the rendering of psychological services by a psychological assistant, that the assistant is unlicensed and is under the direction and supervision of a licensed psychologist?
California Code of Regulations section 1391.6, requires that the supervisor inform each client/patient
in writing, prior to the rendering of services by the psychological assistant, that the assistant is unlicensed and under the direct supervision of the supervisor/employer. And that the supervisor has access to all records related to the client/patient.
2. Is a supervisee required to keep a written log to document hours of supervised experience?
Yes. Regulation section 1387(t) requires that the supervisee maintain a written, weekly log of all hours of supervised professional experience gained toward licensure.
3. May a psychological assistant rent office space from his/her supervisor?
No. 1391.8(c) does not allow a psychological assistant to rent, lease, sublease, or lease-purchase office space from the supervisor/employer.
4. The following is a three-part question:
a. Psychological assistant registrations expire January 31 each year. When do the registrations become delinquent?
February 1st; however, 1391.12(b) allows the psychological assistant to renew within 30 days after the January 31st expiration date.
b. When do the registrations become void and canceled if not renewed?
Regulation section 1391.12(e) states that a registration that is not renewed within 60 days after the January 31st renewal date shall become void and a new application for registration shall be submitted by the employer.
c. Is a psychological assistant allowed to practice while his/her registration is delinquent?
No. This would be the unlicensed practice of psychology. The psychological assistant no longer holds a current and valid registration once the registration is delinquent.
5. How long is a supervisor given to notify the board in writing that a psychological assistant registration has been terminated?
Regulation section 1391.11 states that a supervisor/employer must notify the board in writing within 30 days after termination of employment.
6. What is the fee for the psychological assistant application fee who is required to pay the fee?
1392.1(a) requires the supervisor/employer of a psychological assistant to pay the $40.00 application fee for registration.
7. What percentage of time must the qualified primary supervisor be "on-site" when the psychological assistant is rendering professional services?
Regulation section 1387(b) and 1391.5(a) both require the qualified primary supervisor to be on site at the same work setting a minimum of 50% of the time that the trainee is rendering professional services.
As of January 1, 2005 there is no longer an "on-site" rule for the supervision of psychological assistants.
8. What is the minimum amount of direct, individual, face-to-face supervision that must be provided by the primary supervisor to trainees in order for the hours of supervised professional experience to count toward licensure?
1387 (l) requires the primary supervisor provide to the trainee a minimum of one (1) hour per week of direct, individual, face-to-face supervision.
9. The following is a two-part question:
a. Is it legal for a psychological assistant to begin rendering psychological services prior to notification by the board that a registration has been approved?
No. The unlicensed practice of psychology is illegal.
b. Is a probationary period allowable prior to registration?
No. Registration is required prior to commencement of professional services.
10. Is it acceptable to supervise a trainee who is a current or former patient?
No. 1387(s) prohibits a qualified supervisor from supervising a supervisee who is, or has been, a psychotherapy client of the supervisor.
11. What is the maximum number of hours of supervised professional experience that a trainee can earn in a month that will count toward the licensure requirements?
Regulation section 1387(f) limits the number of hours to 176 hours per month.
12. How many years of professional post-licensure experience must a supervisor have to qualify to supervise a trainee?
As of January 2005 there is no longer a time requirement. Once a psychologist is licensed he/she is eligible to supervise (assuming the psychologist meets the other required criteria to supervise).
13. Can a trainee earn all of the 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience under the supervision of one qualified supervisor?
No. 1387(e) limits the number of hours under one qualified supervisor to 1500.
14. Can a trainee earn hours of supervised professional experience under the supervision of a family member or business associate?
No. For a supervisor to have a familial or interpersonal relationship with the supervisee would be a violation of regulation sections 1387.3(e) and 1387(q).
15. Is it allowable to charge trainees a fee for supervision?
No. To do so would be a violation of regulation sections 1391.8(a) and 1387(r) which state that no qualified supervisors may charge a fee or otherwise require monetary payment in consideration for the employment or supervision of a trainee.
16. Is the supervisor required to have the same education, training, and experience as that of the psychological assistant?
Regulation sections 1391.6 and 1387(d)(1) require that all qualified primary supervisors be responsible for ensuring that any supervision s/he provides is in the same or similar field of psychology as his/her own education and training.
17. The following is a two-part question:
a. What is the maximum number of psychological assistants that can be registered to a psychologist at one time?
B & P Code section 2913(d) states that no qualified psychologist can supervise more than three (3) psychological assistants at any given time.
b. How many to a board-certified psychiatrist?
B & P Code section 2913(d) states that no board-certified psychiatrist can supervise more than one (1) psychological assistants at any given time.
18. What kind of information must be reported to the board on an annual basis by the supervisor of a psychological assistant?
1391.10 requires that every supervisor of a psychological assistant submit to the board a report for the preceding calendar year showing: 1) the nature of the limited psychological functions performed by the psychological assistant, 2) evidence of employment, 3) the location, type, extent and amount of supervision, and 4) a certification that the limited psychological functions are within the scope of the psychological assistant's education and training.
19. It is preferable that psychological assistants not advertise their services since they are technically unlicensed practitioners who are allowed to perform limited functions under direct supervision. If, however, letterhead or other advertisement is developed for a psychological assistant, what kind of information (in your opinion) should be contained in the advertisement?
That the person is supervised, his or her registration number, the name and license number of the supervisor.
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