This episode is brought to you by PAR. The Feifer Assessment of Writing examines why students may struggle with writing. The FAW and the FAW screening form are available on PARiConnect- PAR’s online assessment platform. Learn more at parinc.com\faw.
All right, everybody. Welcome back.
Today’s episode is a continuation of our beginner series, although it certainly applies to folks who have been in practice for quite a bit as well. I’m going to be talking about how to find a supervisor or consultant in your practice for clinical issues after you’ve already been licensed for a bit.[00:01:00] Now, heads up, disclaimer, I stumbled over the word consultant two times in the episode. I don’t know why I couldn’t think of that word when I was talking, but just know that that happens. My apologies. Sometimes my brain does not work.
I hope that you’ll take a lot out of this episode. I am going to be talking about when you might want to seek consultation or supervision post-licensure, how to find that individual, and how to approach that individual. So, I hope that you take a lot away from this episode.
Without further ado, let’s get to the conversation.
Okay, welcome back. [00:02:00] This episode is going to be, I think, relatively short and sweet. I want to get right to the point and just give you some quick tips on when you might want to seek consultation and where to find that individual.
I want to start just by noting the importance of finding consultation or supervision after we get licensed. As I mentioned in the intro, it can be really easy to slip into practice where we maybe do some reading, maybe do some CEs, but we really miss that one-on-one connection with another professional. That can be so valuable when we’re doing case conceptualization.
In my career, I have found it very, very valuable to have a supervisor that I can go to if I need to. And I think all of us just, you know, we are always going to run into those cases where we need a little bit of help. So, if that sounds familiar to you, please continue to [00:03:00] listen. I’m going to dive into this topic in a little more depth.
Here are some instances when you might want to seek consultation or supervision after you’re licensed. Keep in mind that I’m not going to really be talking about supervision pre-licensure. So, this is all just for those of us who have been licensed and are out on our own.
The first instance is I think pretty clear. Maybe you’re seeing someone, a case or a patient, who is clearly outside your area of expertise for whatever reason. Now, there are a number of reasons where you might find yourself in this position. I think we all try to steer clear of cases that we know are outside of our expertise, but there are some of those instances where you find yourself in that situation.
The one that comes to mind for me right away is more of a rural setting- folks that are practicing in areas where there are no other [00:04:00] practitioners for a pretty large radius and you have to… it’s sort of like something better than nothing in terms of clinical services. I’ve seen discussions like this in the Facebook group often where people say, I’m the only provider within 100 or 200 miles, and this is outside my area of expertise, but somebody has got to see this person. So that’s one instance. And I know there are other examples of getting stuck in that situation. That’s the one that comes to mind right away for me.
Another time that seems to be a little more common for a lot of us is when you are seeing a patient or client that certainly feels within your wheelhouse or area of expertise in most regards, but then some dimension of the evaluation pops up that clearly falls outside your area of expertise.
An [00:05:00] example that comes to mind and for me right away is if we’re say doing an autism evaluation, but all of a sudden, there are symptoms that could be construed as OCD or maybe psychosis or maybe a personality disorder in adults. So any of those times when the differential diagnosis gets a little more complicated than it seems on the surface, or you’re digging in and recognizing that some aspect of the presentation is outside your area of expertise.
I see this a lot as well with any differential diagnosis and trauma pops up. That’s another one that often needs to be consulted on. And there are many cases, at least in my world, where there is some kind of medical concern that might be going on as well. Maybe there’s a vague incident or ill-defined incident [00:06:00] of a head injury or there’s a genetic disorder or something like that where the majority of the case feels like, Hey, I’ve got this, but there are just these little components that pop up that throw you for a loop. And you want to make sure that you’re within your scope of practice.
The third situation that I think of in terms of seeking consultation or supervision is one that is quite personal to me. And this is when you’d like to develop a new specialty area. Now, I don’t want to get into the debate right now about psychologist versus neuropsychologist, but I’ve told the story on the podcast about how a few years into practice, I clearly recognized that there was more to evaluations than what I was taught in grad school, which was largely, I would say a traditional sort of Psychoeducation or just [00:07:00] psychological evaluation framework.
So, I looked around. I knew that I could not go back for the formal postdoc or fellowship to become a neuropsychologist, but I really wanted to gain more expertise in the neuro-psych realm and be able to bring more of that knowledge to my conceptualization. So, I sought supervision. I looked around. I found someone, a board neuropsychologist, and paid for supervision from this individual for probably 4 or 5 years. And I still talk to her to this day here and there. So, that’s another area.
And this has come up on the podcast a few times as well. I know Chris Mulchay talked about developing forensic expertise. And one of the best ways to start doing that is to seek consultation from trusted folks in the [00:08:00] field. So, so this is another area. You maybe have grown bored or you’d like to add a specialty area, a good way to do that is to seek consultation first to even get a roadmap for how to add that new specialty area.
So, those are just a few instances where consultation or supervision might come in handy.
All right. Let’s take a short break to hear from our featured partner.
The Feifer Assessment of Writing or FAW is a comprehensive test of written expression that examines why students may struggle with writing. It joins the FAR and the FAM to complete the Feifer family of diagnostic achievement test batteries, all of which examine subtypes of learning disabilities using a brain-behavior perspective. The FAW can identify the possibility of dysgraphia as well as the specific subtype. Also available is the FAW screening form which can be completed in 20 minutes or less. Both [00:09:00] the FAW and the FAW screening form are available on PARiConnect- PAR’s online assessment platform, allowing you to get results even faster. Learn more at parinc.com\faw.
Now, let’s talk about where you might find that and how to approach those individuals. In my experience, there have been a few areas, some a little more intuitive than others that can help you find a consultation source or supervisor.
One, I’ll start with the most obvious, is old supervisors. So, people that you might know from graduate school who have a demonstrated expertise in the area that you’re interested in. If you have good relationships with those individuals, you can always get back in touch and see if they’d be willing to provide post-licensure consultation or supervision.[00:10:00] Another source of consultation is listservs. We’ve talked about many listservs on the podcast. There seems to be a listserv for pretty much any specialty area that you could think of. Certainly pediatric and adult neuro-psychologist listserves. There are forensic listservs. These are good sources of supervisors or consultation individuals. I’m not sure what the right word for that is. So, you can search around on listservs. There are often folks who were quite active on listservs. And you can contact them directly and simply ask if they’d be willing to provide consultation in the area that you’re interested in.
Somewhat related to that, The testing Psychologist Community on Facebook is a great place to find a supervisor. [00:11:00] We have recently started making a regular once-a-month post called supervision Sunday, where all of the individuals who offer supervision or consultation can list their contact information, the State that they’re located, and their area of expertise. So, you can search in the group for Supervision Sunday, cruise through the list and see if there are folks who specialize in the area that you’re interested in.
I do want to mention and just make sure to say that the Facebook group is not a substitute for formal consultation. While there’s plenty of case discussion that happens in the group, it cannot take the place of formal consultation and certainly would not hold up in court if you were to try to say that that’s how you validated your clinical opinion or anything like that. [00:12:00] So don’t use the Facebook group as formal consultation though you can get some ideas here and there. If you really want a legally defensible means of developing expertise, you need to seek a formal supervision arrangement with an individual.
On that note, there are plenty of local and national chapters or directories or APA divisions, for example, or societies that correspond to your sub-specialty. So, you can look in those directories. This is actually how I found my supervisor is looking at the Colorado Neuropsychological Society, and just went through the list and found folks who specialized in kids and contacted each of them. So, look in the directories and try to find folks that [00:13:00] do what you want to do.
In terms of approaching these individuals, once you found a few, 1 or 2 options, people you might want to work with, in terms of approaching them, I always just advocate being direct and explaining where you’re at in your career and what you’d like to get consultation on. The most important thing I think is to make it very clear that you are willing to pay for these services. I think it’s a big pitfall to just assume that people are going to provide supervision or consultation for free.
So, when you reach out to these individuals, make it very clear that you’re willing to compensate them for their time and ask what that rate might be. For the majority of supervisors or consultants, you can expect to pay a ballpark around that person’s hourly rate or maybe even above their hourly [00:14:00] rate for the service, just to put that out there so that you can know what to expect in these arrangements.
And then from there, I think it depends on what you need. You can certainly set up regular meetings. You could do a one-off hourly deal. You can do a retainer arrangement. I’m seeing those work quite well where you’re just able to call the individual when you need it. So, talk with that individual, think about what you might need, and make sure to lay out those terms as clearly as possible.
Okay. So that’s just a little bit about when, where, and how you might find post-licensure supervision or consultation in assessment. I think this is something that is super important. And I know that there are plenty of folks out there who are willing to provide supervision or consultation, so don’t let it scare you off.[00:15:00] And this is part of getting better at what we do. It is a great way to not even just supplement continuing education, but really when I say supplement, that almost means continuing education is the preferred option. And that’s great, but I get so much more out of talking with an individual over a case or an issue or an area of specialty than doing CE credits. So, I think it’s not something that supplements CEs. It’s more something you said you should just pursue on its own, independent of CEs.
So, hopefully, you took a little bit away from this episode, gained some confidence, and maybe started thinking about where you might want to seek some consultation or supervision. It can also be really fun. It’s a good way to expand our scope of expertise without necessarily going back for a full re-specialization.
Okay. [00:16:00] Thank you as always for listening to the podcast. And stay tuned. We’ll continue with business episodes on Thursday, clinical episodes on Mondays.
I’m really excited about this upcoming clinical episode on Monday. It’ll be the first of hopefully many quarterly masterclasses. And the masterclass this Monday is with Dr. Stephanie Nelson talking about a case where psychosis was a differential diagnosis. We talked through all the ins and outs of that case conceptualization and how she arrived at that conclusion. So, you don’t want to miss it. I think it’s going to be pretty amazing.
And again, if you have not rated or subscribed to the podcast, I would love for you to take a couple of minutes and do that. It’s super easy in the podcast app for Apple. Spotify is pretty easy as well. I’ll be [00:17:00] very grateful like I said.
Hope you’re all doing well. Have a great weekend. And we’ll see you on Monday.
The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologists website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here, and similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. [00:18:00] If you need the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner or medical provider, please seek one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.