Becoming An LPC Intern
Kathleen Mills: I do not like technology.
Phillip Crum: Well, technology does not like you so let’s get started because I’m still Phillip Crum, content marketing coach. You can find me at www.contentmarketingcoach.us, and who are you?
KM: I’m Kathleen. How are you?
PC: I’m pretty darn good for a Friday afternoon. Friday afternoon, middle of the afternoon. And here we are with a new face.
KM: It’s a brand new face.
PC: So who have you brought in here?
KM: I have a graduate student. Is that awesome?
PC: Kind of a cougar-like thing.
KM: Yeah, it’s a cougar-like thing. (Laughs) Jordan Dunn, how are you, sir?
Jordan Dunn: I’m doing pretty well, thank you. How are you?
KM: I am good. Welcome to Dallas.
JD: Thank you. I appreciate it.
KM: You’re very welcome. Yeah, we’re going to have a graduate student and we’re going to ask some bold questions. And if you’re a graduate student listening to this podcast, I want you to email me and tell me what your thoughts are about this podcast because it is for you.
PC: Jordan, where do you go to school now?
JD: Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.
PC: Ruston. How close is that to New Orleans?
JD: Oh, goodness. About five and a half / six hours.
JD: Yes, sir.
PC: That puts you into like Iowa, doesn’t it? Six hours? No?
JD: Contrary to popular belief, Louisiana is a little bit bigger than you’d think it might be. Just a little bit.
PC: What’s the best thing that’s happened to you during your college days?
JD: The best thing? Realizing that I finally found… (Laughs)
PC: I’m trying to give you a hint here, buddy, okay?
JD: Well, first off, my fiancé. We met at Louisiana Tech. And then, of course – secondly, finding my field in my junior year of college.
PC: And what would her name be?
JD: Danielle Bennett.
PC: The lovely young blonde behind you there.
KM: Hi, Danielle.
PC: Danielle Bennett. Soon to be Danielle Dunn. Or Danielle Bennett-Dunn. No, no, no. Okay, Danielle Dunn. Good, I like that. I like that. So alright, back to the question at hand, which was the best scholastic thing that’s happened to you during your- well, you know what? How did you decide you wanted to get in this field in the first place?
JD: Whenever I was in high school, we had the opportunity to take college classes. One of the classes I chose was a psychology class, and that was kind of where I discovered by love for psychology to begin with. After that, I went into college going into something completely different. I went into a dual major in Business and Pre-Med. Eventually figured out I did not really like the biology classes – it took me three years to figure that out, and four changes of major. I ended up switching back to psychology, something I had originally found my roots in. At that point, things clicked, and eventually I found the counseling path through exploring things I could do with a psychology degree. And that really resonated with me.
PC: Did you talk to anybody before you embarked upon that particular career path?
JD: I had. I had actually talked to my fiancé a bit about it, and I had also talked to my advisor. Whenever we were talking, I want to say it was just before my junior year started, she started talking to me about different things I could do with my psychology degree – my advisor. For some reason, counseling really stuck out to me because I’ve personally been through some stuff. Back in high school, my parents divorced, and just a couple different things that made me want to reach out and maybe give back to the population where I was at, a high school teenager struggling with personal issues. I know that I could have used counseling back then so it’s something I kind of want to give back to those who could be in the same position that I was in.
PC: Okay. Did you speak to anybody outside of academia about your career path?
JD: I did. Actually I found Kathleen Mills right at the very end of my undergraduate degree. I want to say it was the first weekend after I graduated; I came into Dallas to visit my fiancé. That weekend I picked out a bunch of different counseling sites and Life Tree Counseling Center just really stood out to me, and I wanted to go and talk to Miss Kathleen, and ask her a little bit about the counseling profession. After that, really it was kind of sealed. I saw her personality and I saw that she was having a really good time doing what she was doing. She seemed very positive about the way the field was progressing and growing, and that seemed like somewhere I wanted to be.
PC: You must have caught her on a good day!
KM: Wow, I’m feeling totally responsible now, just in case things go awry.
PC: You’re totally alright. Yes, you are. Let’s see, so where are you now in the college?
JD: I am at my last quarter. We’re on a quarter system over at Louisiana Tech. I have my second internship and I’ll be working at a behavioral health unit for that and I’ll graduate in August.
KM: Now this is your graduate degree, so go your Bachelor’s and then you went into the graduate program for counseling.
JD: Right. Correct.
KM: Gotcha. And tell me about your first practicum. You just got done with-
JD: I got done with my practicum, which was just a basic 100 hours. That was actually at a behavioral health unit, but working on the out patient side doing a little bit of out patient therapy for senior citizens. It was quite the experience.
KM: What did you like about it?
JD: I liked about it that people really seem to speak their mind, and weren’t afraid to do that. Having them be as open as they were really made for a really good group process. So I really did enjoy that.
KM: You’re talking about the actual patients?
KM: That’s kind of neat, isn’t it?
JD: Yeah, it was. It was great.
KM: And how did you find the placement for that particular practicum?
JD: Actually my father is a medical doctor, and he works over at Glenwood Hospital. It’s over in West Monroe, Louisiana. He works there and kind of hooked me up with some of the people in the behavioral health unit side, and that’s how I ended up kind of finding a placement there.
KM: Right. So you were responsible for finding your own placement?
KM: That would be anxious-provoking for many.
JD: It was a little bit at first, and especially for my second internship – well, my first internship after my practicum. I had to kind of go out and find that one on my own. I ended up getting a school counselor position, so it was a completely different demographic, completely different job basis even. The whole thing was totally different than regular counseling.
KM: So the school hired you, or just allowed you to come in and see students, or how does that work? How did that work for you?
JD: Well, for me I had them basically just fill out a couple forms for my internship, just to kind of sign off that they agree to supervise me and basically to just kind of keep track of my caseload. From there, I did all kinds of things. School counselor, I heard over and over again, wears many hats. It’s certainly true. I got a lot of respect for the two counselors that are over at Good Hope Middle School. They’re incredible. But they balance the load of basically scheduling students, doing any kind of administrative duties they have to do, doing the counseling, going into the classrooms and doing classroom guidance presentations. It’s a really hectic field. I really appreciate what they do.
KM: That’s awesome. And now you’re going into your next practicum. Is that right?
JD: Right. My next internship.
KM: And is that the last internship before you graduate?
KM: And where are you going to be?
JD: I’ll actually be back at the behavioral health unit, but I’ll be doing both the in patient and the out patient side this time.
KM: Ooh, you’re going to get to see some good stuff and learn a whole lot.
JD: That’s what I’m hoping. I’m really looking forward to this experience.
KM: That’s awesome. And how long is that internship going to be for you?
JD: Let’s see. I start June 2 and I’ll end up, I want to say the first week of August. So a pretty fair amount of time.
KM: And where are you- so you will graduate in August? And then you will go to the next level.
KM: And what’s the next level for you?
JD: Finding a way to get through the Texas board and everything like that, and getting my LPCI here in Texas.
KM: The LPC intern piece of paper, which takes a while, doesn’t it?
JD: So I’ve heard.
PC: So let’s go back and, for the benefit of hindsight, if you had to do it all over again – not would you do it, but how would you do things differently? And what tools do you wish that you had that might make it easier?
JD: Well, at Louisiana Tech we have a career center. I really wish I would have utilized that more in my undergrad, because I searched for so long trying to find what major would fit me. I feel like if I had accessed those resourced that were available and maybe I would have gotten to where I am now a lot sooner. But other than that, I’ve had a really positive experience and I can’t really think of too much that I would change.
KM: So you’ve enjoyed the school experience?
JD: Oh, absolutely. Yes.
KM: The learning has been really good for you?
JD: It has been, yes.
KM: Gotcha. So you’re going to be graduating in August. What kind of concerns do you have now?
JD: Concerns now are-
KM: As a graduate, you’ve graduated from college and now what?
JD: Right. I guess just finding the appropriate timing to put in all my paperwork and find the right supervisors and everything. Just doing that and figuring out how exactly the 3,000 hours works, because I know that’s something they don’t really cover in most of our curriculums. I know CACREP has the eight core areas that we have to cover for our programs, and in that it doesn’t really talk about what happens afterwards. It doesn’t really talk about how to manage a private practice, how to get your LPC internship hours. I mean, we had a 30-minute orientation at the very beginning of the program that was supposed to cover some basic licensure stuff afterwards. But other than that, we didn’t really have a conversation about how to run a private practice or how to bill insurance or anything like that.
KM: Those are some concern now, aren’t they?
JD: Absolutely. Yes.
PC: Have you, in any of your classes, talked about data protection or HIPAA, federal regulations-?
KM: Malpractice liability insurance? What it does or does not do?
JD: We pretty much- it was maybe a 10-minute discussion one class, period.
PC: That would be a no.
KM: (Sighs) Right.
JD: Right. I mean, went over the basic, general details, and we had a section in our textbook that we were supposed to read outside of class. But other than that, we really didn’t do much of anything in regards to actually how we’re going to practice in the field, other than just techniques and stuff like that.
KM: It’s specifically related to the clinical skill set.
KM: Not necessarily pertaining to being in private practice or a group practice or seeing clients. Yeah. Wow.
JD: I feel like maybe a medical business diagram would have helped.
KM: You think?
JD: Just a little bit. Just to kind of learn how to work with insurance companies, and maybe the business aspect – just learning how to manage a private practice because I know a lot of doctors that’s a route that they choose. So I think having that kind of a background, or maybe even just having a private practice- I guess more of a business oriented counseling class teaching you the basics like how to deal with HIPAA, and how to deal with insurance companies, and just the basic stuff.
PC: It takes more than 10 minutes to get your arms around HIPAA. She talks about it all the time. I still can’t spell HIPAA right.
KM: Well, just so you know, Jordan, I’ve been working on my HIPAA compliance for the last 18 months and I’m not done yet.
JD: I know you had begun that process whenever I came to your talk.
KM: The workshop or whatever we did. Yeah, which workshop did you go to?
JD: I want to say it was the HIPAA compliance one with Security Metrics, was it?
KM: Right. Yep – Security Metrics. There it is. And that’s my best friend these days. (Laughs.) Sort of. Sort of.
JD: Whenever he agrees with what you’ve done.
KM: Phillip’s looking at me weird. Yes, what I need to do or whatever. So that’s awesome.
PC: Become an intern is the next step, right?
JD: Yes, sir.
PC: At what point do we need a supervisor? We’re getting there?
KM: Pretty close before the filing of all the paperwork.
PC: What are your big concerns about finding a supervisor?
JD: Well, so far I’ve discussed a little bit with Miss Kathleen about maybe doing some work over at Life Tree, and that’s my main concern – doing some there. And then also finding a secondary site to kind of help boost my hours a little bit, too. And that was also per her suggestion.
PC: Have you had any training on anywhere from any source on how to find a supervisor? How to interview, what questions to ask, anything like that at all?
KM: Quality features?
PC: What to expect? What not to expect?
JD: Actually, yes we did. In our ethics class, our ethics professor covered that pretty in depth.
PC: Oh, 12 minutes.
JD: Yeah. 12 whole minutes. (Laughs) But I want to say we spent maybe a couple of days on that.
PC: Really. What did you get out of it?
JD: Basically just to kind of look for credentials. Check the state site to make sure that they are certified as a supervisor before you consult with them, because then you’ll have wasted God knows how long. And then, also just to check to see if your personalities match up. Maybe meet with them a couple times and really see if there’s any kind of clashes there or if there’s a big difference in your theoretical approach to working with clients. Because sometimes that can kind of askew how the relationship is between you and your supervisor.
KM: You do want to have a good match, that’s for sure, because those 3,000 hours is a long time.
JD: It is.
KM: Right? And so you kind of want to have somebody that you feel comfortable with.
PC: What about money and agreements that you sign?
JD: That’s kind of one of my concerns is that I don’t know how any of that really works. From what I understand, it differs based on your supervisor. So that’s just another conversation I’ll have to have.
PC: So it was like a snow day or something when that came around and you missed that class?
JD: I guess so.
PC: Didn’t have it at all.
KM: It wasn’t discussed, I think, is your point, Phillip.
KM: It wasn’t as thorough as probably you would want to have had that insight about the money or the contract or the service agreement or how does that work with a supervisor and an intern kind of thing.
KM: Yeah, I think that’s right on the mark.
PC: What do you think is the largest expectation or misconception – it’s not necessarily the same thing, but could be – amongst your peers, your fellow students who are in the same place you are about to go out into the world and figure it out?
JD: Speaking from my personal experience, there are a couple classmates that I’m in classes with over and over again each quarter. Our group just is really, really good about staying on top of things and making sure that we’re preparing ourselves for the next step, which is state licensure, and working towards internship hours. So there are a few though that seem kind of aloof as to what they want to do with their counseling degree. They vary back and forth, and it doesn’t really seem like they’re exploring that and I feel like encouraging them to explore that would be a good thing, just to figure out what niche in counseling that they should go into.
KM: That surprises me. What do you make of that?
JD: To me it just seems like they know they want to do counseling and they really just have a genuine desire to help people, and they just really haven’t figured out what their specialty, or what their main concern is.
KM: I noticed that you’ve got this big, huge notebook that you brought, which is fairly impressive I will say.
JD: Thank you.
PC: She has a thing for notebooks.
KM: I think you have a thing for notebooks. But tell me- because it’s about preparation and how you’re preparing.
PC: What do you have in front of you there?
KM: Yeah, tell me what you got in front of you.
JD: What I have, I just basically got a half-inch binder and I put in it my resume and I call it my LPC intership preparedness packet.
KM: That’s so awesome.
PC: And we’re going national next week.
JD: (Laughs) But I do have my resume. I have just an example of my work, and it just happens to be my theoretical position paper, which kind of describes a little bit about how I view the counseling process. I have my notes for this interview. I also have some information on the Texas board, just all the different applications that I’ll have to go through for LPC internship.
KM: For Texas.
JD: Right. Correct.
KM: Welcome to Texas, my friend.
JD: Thank you.
PC: Did you hear that? Notes? Interview? Notes? Interview? Okay. Alright. Anything else? That it? That’s a pretty good start.
JD: I believe so. Oh, I do have the ACA ethics code back here, and my NCE scores.
PC: Is that right?
KM: So you took your NCE and you passed, my friend?
JD: Yes, I did.
KM: Isn’t that a big relief?
JD: Oh, my goodness, yes. It took about six weeks to get the results, so I was sitting on the edge of my seat for about four weeks then forgot about it for two and there they were. (Laughs)
KM: And it was a happy ending is what I’m hearing.
JD: Most definitely, yes.
KM: That’s a real anxious-provoking thing for grad students is to take that big, fat NCE test.
PC: And the other thing you have in there is the ACA what?
JD: Code of ethics.
KM: American Counseling Association Code of Ethics.
KM: My thoughts – it doesn’t mean anything in the state of Texas. Are you prepared for that?
JD: More or less. I think I’ll get more prepared as I intern in the field and get a taste of that, so we’ll see.
KM: Yeah. I think colleges teach the code of ethics from the American Counseling Association because it’s a blueprint that they think is a standard, which I agree with. The skinny of it is that it doesn’t mean anything in the state if the state sovereignty laws override, and there’s a big, huge disconnect with that. Or understanding of the difference. So yeah.
PC: Coming to a seminar near you.
PC: Interesting. So what do you want to be when you grow up? What’s your specialty going to be?
JD: Right now I’m trying to broaden my scope so that way I can narrow it and find my specialty. But I really do enjoy working with honestly a variety of populations is what keeps me happy. I like change, but if I had to really narrow it down, I would have to say working with teens and adolescents would probably be my main focus.
JD: For some reason, I really have a soft spot in my heart because I was in a tough spot in that time in my life, and I know that being in this field kind of gives me the opportunity to reach out and be able to help somebody that’s in that same position. So I guess that’s what it kind of really resonates with me is some way to give back to that particular population.
PC: Danielle, he’s a big teddy bear, isn’t he? He’s a big kid himself. Mmm hmm. That’s what he’s saying. Alright, interesting. You have any other thoughts or questions you’d like to ask?
JD: I do have a couple of concerns.
PC: Uh oh, he’s turned a chapter over here.
KM: He’s got another list. I’m surrounded by people who have lists.
PC: That’s right. Alright, let’s hear it.
JD: Alright. Well, one of the things that we kind of covered and touched on a little bit earlier was one of the things that- you were wondering what my concerns were and what I wasn’t learning. We did talk a little bit about the business aspects about private practice. What I’m a little bit confused about and would like a little bit more information: The best way to handle client records that touches on the HIPAA stuff that we were talking about earlier. Learning how to manage those and what are the regulations in managing those? I want to say that I’ve heard a classmate talk about you have to have records behind two locks, or something like that? Is that correct, or is that-?
PC: That’s her college transcripts is what they’re talking about.
KM: Yeah, you have to secure the client records and you’ve got to have duplicate ways of protecting it.
JD: Got it. Okay.
KM: The technology field today, there’s even more extra layers which is fairly annoying. But I understand why because it’s all about breach. HIPAA, there’s one word to know about HIPAA, and it’s “breach,” control of it and what you’re going to do if it occurs. So you have to cover all your As.
PC: The questions you asked are very good ones, and they’re 30,000 ft. questions and each one of those is at least a half day seminar. They really are.
JD: I’m sure.
PC: Fortunately, we have some interviews online on our website - www.practicementors.us - that address most of that, if not all of that.
KM: Like right on the front. So they don’t have to worry after they graduate. But it’s while they’re in school so they can start preparing a notebook similar to yours, Jordan, so you are sequencing your preparation ahead of the game – staying ahead of the curve and trying to formulate funneling into this is what I need to do for the next level before it happens. And that is a wonderful thing to do.
JD: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.
KM: You are very welcome.
PC: All you have to do is go to the site. There’s a little search area, and you put in your little key words. The posts are very heavily tagged and categorized so that there’s not difficult to find. And, bang – start listening.
PC: Do something this weekend besides chase the blonde around, okay?
JD: I’ll try. I’ll try.
PC: We’re working for you here. Your mother and I want to see some really good results here, okay?
JD: Alright. I’ll try.
PC: Alright. Anything else, lady?
KM: Jordan, it is a pleasure that you’re here in Texas and I’m so glad that you gave an hour away to come here and do this podcast because it hopefully will help the graduate figure it out.
PC: How much longer do you have in school before you’re back here?
JD: I’ll be out in August and then I’ll be moving over here in October.
PC: Oh, right around the corner. Okay, good. Go to work over at Life Tree, would you? I need some help. I need some help.
JD: Also, I would like to take the time to say thank you for having me here. This is a really, what I feel be to be, a big opportunity for me to be able to sit here and ask these questions. So I do want to say thank you for that as well.
KM: Our pleasure. That’s what we’re here for.
PC: There is an Ask Kathleen little function on the website, too, so if you come up with these questions just type them in – 3 in the morning – go back to bed.
KM: On each of the podcast sites there’s an Ask Kathleen little thing, so as you’re listening to the podcast you just fire away and we will do it.
PC: What a deal. What a deal. Alright, Jordan, thank you very much. It’s been fun.
KM: Thank you, Jordan.
JD: Of course. Thank you.
PC: You don’t happen to have a website or anything if somebody wants to check you out, do you?
JD: I am on LinkedIn, so I do have that going for me.
KM: There you go.
PC: There you go. There you go. And the wedding is in October?
JD: Yes, sir. It sure is.
PC: Yay – congratulations!
JD: Thank you.
PC: Don’t forget to tip the preacher, and what else?
KM: That’s it. I’m really glad you guys are here. Thank you so much.
JD: Thank you so much.
PC: You’re still Kathleen Mills. Where can we find you?
PC: I’m still Phillip Crum at www.contentmarketingcoach.us. And what else did you want to say?
KM: That’s it, man. I’m done.
PC: Alright, we’re out of here. See you later, Jordan. We’ll see you again.