WHY CHOOSE AN LPC-ASSOCIATE?
We at Ascent Psychotherapy Center (APC) employ not only fully licensed Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs), but also counseling associates (LPC-Associates). This page is designed to answer frequently asked questions individuals many may have about LPC-Associates and explain why they are very often one of the best choices you can make in choosing a psychotherapist.
What does the term LPC-Associate mean?
In Texas, an LPC-Associate is a temporarily licensed professional counselor. This means that the associate possesses at least a Master's degree in counseling or related field (including supervised field experiences, "practicum") and have successfully passed the National Counselor Exam (NCE). They then applied and were accepted for the temporary license. In the state of Texas, this means the associate must remain in supervision for the first 3,000 hours of their career before upgrading to an LPC credential that allows independent (unsupervised) practice.
Is an LPC-Associate a student?
No. An associate has already completed their graduate degree, completed practicum and other experiential training in graduate school, passed the NCE, and been temporarily licensed by the Behavioral Health Executive Council. Associates are not students, but initiates into the profession of counseling in the early stages of building a professional identity as a counselor.
Is an LPC-Associate inexperienced?
No. While in graduate school, students are required to complete practicum (field experience or live training). The minimum required to graduate is 300 hours, but most students do more. As LPC-Associates have graduated, they have completed their required trainings. While in graduate school, students may even select practicum that specialize in certain populations, diagnoses, or treatments. Therefore, some associates already have specialized training in some areas having completed such practicum while in graduate school. Additionally, some associates are actually transitioning from one mental health profession to another or transitioning from one previous career in another field to counseling. Here at Ascent Psychotherapy Center, we have had associates from such backgrounds as teaching field, legal field and business field. The licensing laws in Texas require that all individuals seeking to become a Licensed Professional Counselor obtain a temporary license, even for those who may have practiced in the mental health field under a different license as the professional identity of "counselor" can be quite different from that of a social worker or a marriage and family therapist (as an example). As such, associates have varying levels of experience and potentially a variety of specialties or specialized training.
Why choose to work with an LPC-Associate?
While in the temporarily licensed stage, an LPC-Associates cannot be paid by insurance and so is not able to charge an insurance company for services provided. Therefore, associates tend to have lower "cash pay" rates than LPCs. Here at Ascent Psychotherapy Center, our associates charge a relatively low rate ($60). Therefore, all the benefits of using cash pay options instead of insurance applies to all LPC-Associates. One does not have to be diagnosed with a mental health condition or illness to seek services. Interns can provide therapy for issues many insurance companies will not cover, such as marital issues, relational concerns, adjustment and transition difficulties, grief/bereavement, and more (or less depending on the insurance company). Moreover, when one is receiving services from an associate, he or she is getting the benefit of having two clinicians with different skill sets and expertise, because associates are required to meet at least 4 hours per month with their supervisor. While these meetings vary in content from week to week, the primary purpose is to conceptualize cases, review interventions and techniques, collaborate on treatment options and much more. In short, receiving treatment from an LPC-Associate entails the benefit of not just that person's knowledge, experience, and expertise, but also that of the associate's supervisor!
For more information on LPC-Associates or LPC supervision, please contact:
Valerie Kuykendall-Rogers, MA, LPC-S