I had a chance to review the last LPC Board Meeting again last week with a group of Supervisors attending one of our workshops. Things tend to focus the more you review them and such is the case with this particular topic.
Building on my "Potential Harm" hierarchy I presented last week (go read that first before you finish this post), the following are essentially my notes from my umpteenth viewing of the Board meeting, in the form of a diagram.
Potential Harm Decision Tree
You'll notice two things about this workflow.
1. That there are no "What's the benefit(s) to __________" in the diagram and that is because any benefit to Joe or the Supervisor or even an Associate is always outweighed by any potential, probable harm that may come to him because of a rules change. So a discussion of benefits is a misplaced discussion until the question of potential harm has been settled for all three parties.
2. If you determine at any stage of the workflow that there is potential harm to that particular entity that cannot be mitigated then you cannot proceed to the next level. It should be cause (legal or common sense) to terminate the issue.
If one can traverse the "Potential Harm" gauntlet below and come out the other side unscathed, then, great! We can have a second, but separate, rosey discussion about the potential benefits to all parties. But given that the BHEC and Boards' mandates are first and foremost to do no harm, why don't we begin there?
Enter The Gauntlet
So what is the potential harm to each of the three parties? Let's make a list for each of them then we'll begin with an examination of Joe's list, next week.
1. Expected Competence-"Business ownership" carries an implied status of professional competence which simply cannot exist after only 300 Practicum hours. Joe is expecting an experienced level of service and will be delivered something quite different.
2. Expected Compliance-Joe is expecting a service environment that is as close to total compliance with Federal and State law as is required. That would not be the case if Associates in today's required training environment were allowed to practice on their own.
3. Experience-Related Services Fees-The average consumer places a value figure on a product or service in direct proportion to it's requested pricing. Associates utilizing a "grad-school pricing" schedule will be misrepresenting themselves to the public and Joe gets to pay for it.
1. Risk/Liability-Higher, unacceptable risk of liability/lawsuits from secondary business operations.
1. Complaints-Associates face a greater likelihood of having complaints filed against them due to a lack of formal training in compliance and other disciplines.
2. Financial/Career-At greater risk of financial disaster from a lack of training in compliance issues.
Let's Unpack This
That's my list of Potential Harm issues faced by each of the three parties. If you know of something I haven't addressed I'd sure like to hear about it.
Next week we'll take a look at Joe's list above, detail my supporting arguments for each point, and look at mitigation tactics that might be used to eliminate that risk. If we can do that successfully then we can give ourselves permission to move on to the Supervisors' issues and repeat the process. You with me?
There's no point in discussing potential harm to Supervisors or Associates if we can't protect Joe Citizen. The Board's "Do No Harm" mandate (or common-sense!) would require the rules change request be denied.
And now you know!
Plan Smart. Be Safe. Serve Others.
Kathleen Mills, LPC-S, CEAP