Agave Wellness Blog
Supervisee in Social Work vs. LCSW
It can be a daunting task finding the right person to help you with your health and wellness especially mental health. And with the many different types of practitioners, it can be confusing and overwhelming. One area that I have to qualify for clients is where I am in my practice as an MSW working towards my LCSW licensure and what that means for them.
Virginia's Department of Health Professions regulates the laws and guidelines by which mental health professionals are governed. In my case since I have my Masters in Social Work then I must follow the guidelines set by the Virginia Board of Social Work (which is under the VDHP). Once I graduated, I decided that I wanted to pursue my Licensed Clinical Social Work designation (LCSW). In order to do that, I had to secure my own licensed Supervisor (LCSW with the proper credentials) and apply to the Board to start my process as a Supervisee in Social Work. This means that I cannot work 'independently' as I work towards gaining the hours and experience to sit for the LCSW exam (3000 hours total). Yes, I have my own practice, but I am under supervision of Carroll Martin, LCSW, until I am eligible to sit for the exam and pass it. I must stay actively under supervision until I qualify to take the exam and pass it (100 hours total). My supervisor reviews my cases with me and helps me gain confidence and knowledge as a therapist and practitioner. She is paid an hourly fee which we agree upon as part of my supervision contract with her.
When I decided in graduate school that I wanted to pursue my LCSW after graduation, I knew that I wanted to have my own supervisor (even at my own expense). I wanted to work with someone that I knew was professional, knowledgeable, and dedicated to my growth and journey. Many practices and companies will offer 'free' supervision, but you are stuck with whomever they decide and if that person leaves then that can disrupt the process. That offer of 'free' can also come with a commitment to stay with a practice for up to two years after receiving your LCSW. Honestly, I worked in corporate too long to know that I did not want to risk my own mental health working in an environment that I might not truly love just to secure 'free' supervision.
So here I am today, an MSW and Supervisee in Social Work working towards my LCSW which I hope will be by the end of 2024 if not much sooner!