Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Counseling
Regulations Governing the Practice of Professional Counseling [18 VAC 115 ‑ 20]
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5/8/24  8:35 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Support to make changes

I am in support of the proposed changes to reduce residency client contact hours to 1,500. As a Resident in Counseling, I have experience working in an outpatient mental health practice as well as an intensive in-home agency. There are several barriers throughout the licensure process in regard to fulfilling the requirements. In outpatient practices, clients typically prefer a licensed clinician who is more likely to take their insurance and are less likely to want to pay out-of-pocket for a clinician who has less experience. This makes it difficult and a timely process to gain a full caseload and places financial strain on the resident who only receives payment for client contact hours. In community mental health settings, Medicaid reimbursements are also low and Residents burn out quickly as they are working many hours with clients with high needs and may not receive the adequate support and supervision to best support their clients and themselves. Virginia's residency requirements are more stringent than most states, and I believe that they prevent passionate students and residents from obtaining full licensure due to financial hardships, lack of adequate supervision/support, and difficulty accruing hours in some cases. These factors are not indicative of the capability and competency of the resident to provide quality care, but rather external factors that exacerbate the challenges of obtaining licensure. I believe that 1,500 client contact hours still provides residents with a comprehensive and learned background to enter licensure more confidently, while allowing residents to have more self-efficacy in completing residency and contributing to more residents remaining in the counseling profession. Research suggests that approximately 40-50% of residents do not complete residency, which contributes to the current mental health crisis and a lower quality of care in the mental health fields because licensed clinicians are overbooked and burned out or have long waiting lists. I believe that these changes would allow newer clinicians to contribute positively to the counseling profession by increasing the likelihood of remaining in the field.

CommentID: 222625