Robin Gluck

Recent Posts

Answer and Rationale for FREE Practice Question on Treatment Planning

Posted by Robin Gluck

October 19, 2017 at 10:26 AM

Yesterday's FREE practice question featured the topic of treatment planning. Today we have the answer and rationale for you!

bigstock-Couple-Discussing-Problems-Wit-105454238-1.jpg

QUESTION:

A therapist meets with the parents of a 16-year-old boy who was recently suspended from school after being caught with alcohol on campus. The parents share that their son has been fighting and abusing alcohol for several years. The father cries as he expresses his sadness and frustration, noting his son’s behavior has caused a serious strain in his relationship with his wife and that is why they are seeking therapy. The wife nods in agreement, sharing their lack of intimacy and constant arguing that she hopes to address through therapy. The wife states, “our son had a difficult childhood because his sister was constantly sick and he didn’t get the attention he needed. My husband is too hard on him, he treats our son terribly.” Which of the following goals should be included in the treatment plan for this case?

A.Improve problem solving and conflict resolution between parents; Refer parents to Al Anon; Increase intimacy between parents

B.Improve problem solving and conflict resolution between parents; Refer son to Alcoholics Anonymous; Increase levels of empathy between parents

C. Increase positive communication within the family; Refer son to Alcoholics Anonymous; Increase levels of empathy between parents

D. Increase positive communication within the family; Refer parents to Al Anon; Increase intimacy between parents

The best answer for this question is A.

The question is asking which goals should be included in the treatment plan for this case. This question is not only testing your ability to identify appropriate goals for therapy, but also is ensuring you are able to understand who comprises the treatment unit. The parents are in the room and although they are having problems with their son, he is not part of the therapy and thus goals should not focus on him. The issues presented by the parents include arguing, lack of intimacy, and conflict due to their son’s behaviors. Answer A directly addresses the parents expressed concerns about their relationship and a referral to Al Anon, a support group for family members coping with loved ones abusing alcohol, would help them to understand how alcohol abuse affects their family and their relationship. Answer B and C both include referrals for the son, which is inappropriate since the son is not part of the treatment unit. Answer D includes a focus on improving communication within the family, but again this is incorrect because the entire family is not working with the therapist.

Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of treatment planning and how you would work in the clinical setting? Or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are right on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep or our our MFT licensing exam prep by clicking one of the links below. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE.

We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

 

 Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

 

 

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, Practice Questions, MFT Exam Prep

FREE Practice Question: What to Include in a Treatment Plan?

Posted by Robin Gluck

October 18, 2017 at 9:23 AM

Our practice question blog a few weeks ago explored the topic of assessment. As we discussed then, therapists must conduct thorough assessments at the onset of therapy to understand why their clients are seeking treatment and what they hope to achieve in addition to managing potential crises. Armed with the information obtained through a thorough assessment, therapists are able to collaborate with their clients to develop comprehensive treatment plans, the subject of this week’s free practice question. Similar to assessment, treatment planning is an ongoing and dynamic process. What appears to be indicated at the start of therapy may change as clients’ needs change and treatment moves in unanticipated directions.

Treatment planning is a broad category, which includes identifying the treatment unit, developing short and long-term goals, identifying, accessing and collaborating with adjunctive services and community resources, and takes into account the therapist’s theoretical orientation. When taking your licensing exam, you can expect to encounter a large number of questions testing your ability to address the various components of treatment planning based on the information provided in the vignette/question stem.

With all this in mind, let’s look at this week’s practice question.

bigstock-Couple-Discussing-Problems-Wit-105454238

QUESTION:

A therapist meets with the parents of a 16-year-old boy who was recently suspended from school after being caught with alcohol on campus. The parents share that their son has been fighting and abusing alcohol for several years. The father cries as he expresses his sadness and frustration, noting his son’s behavior has caused a serious strain in his relationship with his wife and that is why they are seeking therapy. The wife nods in agreement, sharing their lack of intimacy and constant arguing that she hopes to address through therapy. The wife states, “our son had a difficult childhood because his sister was constantly sick and he didn’t get the attention he needed. My husband is too hard on him, he treats our son terribly.” Which of the following goals should be included in the treatment plan for this case?

A.Improve problem solving and conflict resolution between parents; Refer parents to Al Anon; Increase intimacy between parents

B.Improve problem solving and conflict resolution between parents; Refer son to Alcoholics Anonymous; Increase levels of empathy between parents

C. Increase positive communication within the family; Refer son to Alcoholics Anonymous; Increase levels of empathy between parents

D. Increase positive communication within the family; Refer parents to Al Anon; Increase intimacy between parents

So, what would we do here? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale!

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: Marriage Therapy, MFT, Family Therapy, Exam Prep, Practice Questions

Answer and Rationale for FREE Question on Record Keeping

Posted by Robin Gluck

October 6, 2017 at 11:59 AM

In honor of TDC's launch of our new continuing education courses, yesterday's practice question explored the legal issue of record keeping. Today we have the answer and rationale for you!

bigstock--189659989

QUESTION:

A therapist worked with a couple for several years following mutual infidelity. The couple separated after two years in treatment and is in the midst of divorce proceedings. The husband requests access to his records. What actions should the therapist take to address the legal issues presented in this case?

a. Inform the husband that the records belong to both the husband and wife and would require a release of information from both.

b. Request a written release from the husband and turn over all of the records, but redact information deemed detrimental to the wife’s well-being or therapeutic relationship.

c. Determine how access to records would affect the therapeutic relationship and the well being of the husband and wife.

d. Inform the husband that records belong to both the husband and wife and request the wife sign a release.

Answer:

  • The best answer to this question is A. The husband is requesting records, but the client is the couple and the therapist would need both members of the treatment unit to authorize release of records before doing so.
  • Answer B is too limiting in what would be redacted. Without a release from her, the therapist would need to redact all information for the wife, not just information that could be detrimental.
  • Answer C would be an option if an individual were requesting records, but that is not the scenario provided in this question.
  • Answer D is incorrect because the therapist is requesting the wife sign a release, which is inappropriate. Answer D would be better if the answer had the therapist asking the wife what she would like to do in response to the request, but the therapist should not request the wife sign a release.

This topic is explored in much greater detail in our second CE course and our social work and MFT programs prepare you for all of the legal and ethical questions that could show up on your exams!

Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of the law and how you would apply it in a clinical setting? Or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Or have you already passed the exam and need to complete your continuing education requirements? Our structured, straightforward approach will provide you with exactly what you need!

You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep HERE, our MFT licensing exam prep HERE, and continuing education courses HERE. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE.

We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

 

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, Professional Development, Continuing Education

Announcement: BBS ESL Accommodations Are Back!

Posted by Robin Gluck

October 6, 2017 at 8:12 AM

 

bigstock-Make-your-announcement-Mixed--188795527

It’s official! After many years of advocacy from professional associations and practitioners in the field, the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) once again offers accommodations for English as a Second Language (ESL) test takers!

To qualify for this accommodation, the BBS requires you to meet one of the following criteria and to provide accompanying documentation:

1. Score of 85 or below on the Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet-Based Test (TOEFL-iBT), taken within the two (2) years prior to application

· Required Documentation: Your TOEFL-iBT scores must be sent directly to the Board from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), or you may attach them in an envelope that has been SEALED BY ETS.

2. Prior ESL accommodation granted by your qualifying degree program

· Required Documentation: Attach a letter from the chair of the degree program or from the school’s chief academic officer.

3. Degree program that qualified you for licensure was obtained from a school outside of the United States AND at least 50% of the coursework was presented in a language other than English

· Attach a letter from the chair of the degree program or from the school’s chief academic officer.

The BBS form can be found here:

http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/forms/esl_specaccom.pdf

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep

FREE Practice Question: Record Keeping

Posted by Robin Gluck

October 5, 2017 at 11:59 AM

This week, we are excited to expand TDC’s professional development opportunities for therapists with the launch of our first continuing education courses. This first set of courses focuses on the laws and ethics of our profession. In honor of these courses, this week’s free MFT practice question will explore the legal issue of record keeping. More specifically, we will examine who has the right to access client records.

bigstock--189659989

When it comes to working with couples, record keeping is more complex than working with individuals. Some therapists try to simplify the process by maintaining separate files for each member of the treatment unit, with one record for partner A and another for partner B. However, this may not be advisable since the client is the couple and all treatment goals and case notes will pertain to the dynamics within the treatment unit. Thus, it would make more sense to keep a single file for the client (the couple) with this file containing information regarding both partners. It is important during the informed consent process to make this policy clear to your clients.

If you maintain a single client file, what happens if one member of the treatment unit wants to access the records? Since the records include information about more than one person, you would need to take steps to ensure confidentiality is being protected adequately for all members of the treatment unit. There are two options available to a therapist in this case. To meet the legal requirements of confidentiality, you would either want to set a policy that requires each member of the treatment unit to sign an authorization of release before sharing records with either party OR you can provide records to one member of the treatment unit with only an authorization of release from that member, but you must then redact (black out) all information related to the other member(s).

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the question.

QUESTION:

A therapist worked with a couple for several years following mutual infidelity. The couple separated after two years in treatment and is in the midst of divorce proceedings. The husband requests access to his records. What actions should the therapist take to address the legal issues presented in this case?

a. Inform the husband that the records belong to both the husband and wife and would require a release of information from both.

b. Request a written release from the husband and turn over all of the records, but redact information deemed detrimental to the wife’s well-being or therapeutic relationship.

c. Determine how access to records would affect the therapeutic relationship and the well being of the husband and wife.

d. Inform the husband that records belong to both the husband and wife and request the wife sign a release.

So, what would we do here? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale!

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

 

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, Professional Development, Continuing Education

Answer and Rationale for Practice Question on Assessment

Posted by Robin Gluck

September 23, 2017 at 11:59 AM

 

bigstock--125508848

On Friday we posted the following question on assessments, and today we have the answer and rationale for you!

A 50-year-old male client meets with a therapist on the advice of his husband. The client shares that he has been out of work for almost a year, losing his job after his company completed mass layoffs. He reports feeling discouraged by his job prospects, feels lost without a place to go each day, and feels increasing hopelessness with each passing month he is unemployed. He states, “I feel completely useless and am questioning the point of it all. I feel completely dependent on my husband and I know he’s sick of being the sole breadwinner.” Which of the following actions should the therapist take to assess this client?

A. Explore job history, identify existence of somatic concerns, identify familial coping patterns

B. Explore job history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore support systems

C. Explore mental health history, identify existence of somatic concerns, explore coping mechanisms

D. Explore mental health history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore coping mechanisms

This question provides information that should raise a red flag regarding the client’s safety and influence the therapist’s priorities for assessment. First, the client reports he is feeling hopeless and helpless, and makes the alarming statement, “I feel completely useless and am questioning the point of it all.” With this in mind, let’s look at the answer choices and evaluate which answer choice is the best.

Answer:

The best answer for this question is D.

The question is asking which actions the therapist should take to assess this client. With this type of question, it’s possible several answer options include items we would want to assess, but we need to prioritize what is most important in this case. We’ve already noted that the client’s expressions of hopelessness and helplessness should raise red flags regarding danger to self. The client is expressing thoughts and feelings that are indicators of potential suicidality. Client safety is our priority and we must immediately assess for risk of harm to self. If an answer does not include a focus on the client’s risk of self-harm or suicidality, we can eliminate it. Therefore, answers A and C can be ruled out. This leaves us with answer B) Explore job history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore support systems, and D) Explore mental health history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore coping mechanisms.

A strong consideration when assessing risk is the client’s prior mental health as well as the coping mechanisms available to the client. These two items included in answer D would help the therapist better understand the client’s level of risk based on prior mental health AND help the therapist identify strategies to manage safety. While there is nothing inherently wrong with answer B, the client’s job history is not as important a factor to consider, making it the weaker answer choice between B and D.

Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of assessment, or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep HERE and more about our MFT licensing exam prep HERE. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE.

We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, Practice Questions, Suicide Prevention

Free Practice Question: Assessment

Posted by Robin Gluck

September 22, 2017 at 8:39 AM

bigstock--125508848.jpg

For this week’s MFT practice question, we explore the subject of assessment. If you are preparing for your licensing exam, whether the Law and Ethics or Clinical exam, you can expect to see multiple questions on this topic. The importance of conducting a thorough assessment cannot be overstated. Comprehensive assessments are necessary at the onset of treatment to help clinicians understand why their client is seeking treatment, what their client hopes to achieve, if any crisis issues are present and require attention, and ultimately allows them to develop an effective treatment plan. Knowing when to assess and what the priorities of assessment are will both be tested on your exam.

A crucial goal of assessment is to identify and properly manage potential crises. Therapists are legally and ethically required to both assess and manage their clients’ safety. Therapists put themselves, their clients, and sometimes even the public in harms way when they fail to identify and explore potential safety issues. It is important to note for both your exam and your clinical practice that assessments are not a one-time deal. Therapists are expected to conduct assessments when first interacting with a client and over the course of treatment. Clients are dynamic. Priorities and needs shift over time, and without continuously assessing clients, it will be hard (if not impossible), to best meet their needs. Therapist Development Center will help you understand how to approach these questions on the exam AND will allow you to carry this knowledge into your clinical practice.

Let’s move on to this week’s question:

A 50-year-old male client meets with a therapist on the advice of his husband. The client shares that he has been out of work for almost a year, losing his job after his company completed mass layoffs. He reports feeling discouraged by his job prospects, feels lost without a place to go each day, and feels increasing hopelessness with each passing month he is unemployed. He states, “I feel completely useless and am questioning the point of it all. I feel completely dependent on my husband and I know he’s sick of being the sole breadwinner.” Which of the following actions should the therapist take to assess this client?

A. Explore job history, identify existence of somatic concerns, identify familial coping patterns

B. Explore job history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore support systems

C. Explore mental health history, identify existence of somatic concerns, explore coping mechanisms

D. Explore mental health history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore coping mechanisms

The answer and rationale will be posted at noon PST tomorrow! We encourage you to post an answer in the comments section below or on our Facebook page (you can also post your reasoning behind your answer choice!). Then check back in tomorrow for the correct answer and rationale explaining why the correct answer is correct and why the other answers are not correct.

Haven't signed up for an exam prep program yet? Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep HERE and more about our MFT licensing exam prep HERE. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE.

We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, Practice Questions, Suicide Prevention

Combatting Test Anxiety with Self-Compassion

Posted by Robin Gluck

September 1, 2017 at 1:33 PM

Last month I wrote about the role anxiety plays in preparing and sitting for your licensing exams. In particular, my goal was to assure you that anxiety is not only a normal part of the process, but can even benefit your study process. If you didn’t have an opportunity to read it, here is the link. As I discussed in the last blog, while a moderate amount of anxiety can be beneficial, too much or too little can actually be detrimental. In this month’s blog, my goal is to help you develop awareness around your anxiety and begin developing skills to temper it when it becomes too high.

The first step to increase control over your anxiety regarding this exam is to understand it better. There are two parts to achieving this goal: 1) identifying the thoughts that trigger your anxiety and 2) recognizing the physical responses your body experiences when you are anxious. First, let’s talk about thoughts that often arise with this exam. When I talk with people getting ready for the exams, a few common statements I hear include, “I’m not a good test taker,” “I am scared I won’t pass and will never get licensed,” “Everyone tells me these exams are so hard,” “I’m on a Facebook group and everyone is saying it’s impossible,” and “I will be so ashamed if I do not pass.” These thoughts may push you to work harder, but if they go unchecked, they can also become too overwhelming and undermine your efforts.

bigstock-Writing-569845

Let’s do a brief exercise now. Take a piece of paper and write down some of the thoughts that arise when you think about preparing for or taking your exam. What kinds of internal or external pressures exist for you and what thoughts do they provoke? How do you rate yourself as a test taker? What feedback have you received about the exam from friends, colleagues or through social media, and what thoughts come up for you as a result? Hold on to this list, as we will return to it later.

Now let’s shift to physical sensations you experience when thinking about the exam, studying, or taking mock exams. Anxiety will manifest itself differently for each of us. For me, when I am nervous my hands become clammy and I feel a bit shaky or lightheaded. Take a moment to think about what happens for you when the thoughts you just identified occur. Write these physical sensations down next to each of the thoughts you’ve listed. Do you feel your heart rate rise? Does your breathing become more pressured? Do you feel more jittery than usual? How intense are the sensations?

Identifying thoughts and their corresponding physical sensations could be a new practice for you. Some people are unaware of what happens to their bodies when they are anxious and may not even realize what thoughts they are having or their impact. If this is true for you, it could be helpful to keep a daily log of thoughts and physical sensations over the next week or two as you study. This will not only help you increase awareness, but also begin to gain control over them.

For those of you that were able to identify some thoughts and corresponding physical sensations, you know that these thoughts can feel very true (even when they are not) and as a consequence can become debilitating when we leave them unchecked. We are often our own worst enemies and harshest critics. But imagine if a dear friend came to you with this list of thoughts and accompanying sensations: how would your thoughts and feelings shift if they were no longer about you?

Imagine a good friend sitting in front of you, wringing their hands and expressing self-defeating thoughts to you. Imagine seeing how shallow their breath is and hearing about how much their mind is racing. What do you notice in yourself? Can you feel how much your heart fills up with softness and compassion for them? It’s sometimes hard for us to demonstrate this level of compassion for ourselves, but it’s important to nurture this skill.

Let’s do one final exercise. Look over the lists you’ve created for a final time and this time imagine that a friend is expressing these things to you. Write down how you would respond to them. For instance, if I had a friend say to me, “I will never pass this exam. I’ve never been a good test taker,” I might respond by acknowledging the exam is difficult, but that it is testing skills they’ve demonstrated competency in over time. I would encourage them that with proper studying and support, they will rise to the occasion like they have done in other situations before. I would also want to remind them of the successes they’ve had during their academic and professional careers, and of all the clients who benefitted from their knowledge and skills. It is oftentimes easier to find words of encouragement and feel compassion for others. They are just as true for you.

I encourage you to take some time and sit with each one of these thoughts and sensations. Imagine the words you would say to a friend and then imagine if they were said to you when you are thinking and feeling this way. Try to feel the softness, kindness and compassion you would show towards others and begin to internalize it for yourself. Slow down and take time to really feel connected to the words being said. Integrate deep breathing as you continue to build your self-compassion. Self-care is not just about getting exercise or pampering yourself physically. Take time to also care for your emotional well-being; not only do you deserve it, it will help you as you work to achieve your goals.

The Therapist Development Center was created by Amanda Rowan with the goal of empowering test-takers, and recognizing anxiety and stress management were critical parts of the test-taking process. Our Social Work and MFT programs can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and test-taking strategies to help you PASS WITH CONFIDENCE, and you also have the power to adjust how you think and feel as you prepare for the exam and on test day. This is just one exercise that can help you increase self-compassion and temper your anxiety. This blog will continue to provide tools to help you move in this direction. And remember, you can always reach out to your exam coach if you need additional support.

 

more

Topics: Exam Prep, Self Care

BBS Board Meeting Update

Posted by Robin Gluck

August 28, 2017 at 11:17 AM

On Friday I drove up to Sacramento to attend the BBS board meeting. My goal was twofold: to gather information on matters of importance to MFTs and Social Workers, and to ask a few questions specific to the concerns we’ve heard regarding the MFT Clinical exam. Thankfully, both goals were achieved and I want to share with you what I learned and discuss how this information impacts you.

 

bigstock-Corporate-Board-Room-Table-Wit-3741811

 

First, some positive developments:

1. The BBS passed legislation that will allow English as a Second Language (ESL) test-takers to request accommodations for time-and-a-half. This process will begin in October. To qualify for this accommodation, the BBS will require you to show proof of one of the following:

a. A Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet Based Test (TOEFL-iBT) certification score of 85 or below; or

b. Documentation from a qualifying Master’s degree program showing they granted additional examination time or other allowance due to English as a second language; or

c. Documentation of a foreign qualifying Master’s degree that was presented primarily in a language other than English

Retrieved from: http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/regulation/2016/1805_isr.pdf

2. The BBS, alongside licensing agencies throughout the country, recognize the need to improve mobility and are developing processes to make interstate mobility easier for MFTs and Social Workers. The Pathway to Mobility Committee will take charge of this and develop standards. Among the big changes for MFTs is the CA Clinical Exam being accepted in other states (already true for Oregon) and CA accepting the National Exam for those licensed elsewhere!

3. The BBS is hoping to launch their new and improved website in September. This site will make it easier for licensees to navigate, renew licenses, access forms, etc.

Now let’s talk about the MFT Clinical Exam. To be completely honest, I deleted a few drafts before settling on how to present what is clearly a sensitive subject that elicits many emotions. I am acutely aware, based on feedback from recent test-takers and reading threads on various social media sites, there is a lot of anxiety and anger regarding this exam. And while I do not want to minimize or dismiss people’s concerns and feelings, I am worried that some reactions may be more harmful than helpful. After sharing what was presented at the meeting, I will discuss strategies for moving from a place of feeling like a victim to feeling empowered.

The Office of Professional Examination Services (OPES) shared with the board how they develop their exams and addressed concerns regarding the significant drop in the pass rate in the first two quarters of 2017. While the pass rate in the last two quarters of 2016 was in the low 70% range, it dropped to around the low 50% range in the first two quarters this year. Several people, including me, voiced concerns about the exam, including the drop in scores and complaints we’ve heard about awkward wording and time constraints. OPES and the board listened to the feedback while affirming their belief in the integrity of the exam, acknowledging that drops like this can happen. They are paying close attention to these numbers and noted that data for the current quarter shows the pass rate is continuing to rise. Pass rates in this cycle are expected to be more on par with scores prior to the previous two quarters. While this exam will continue to be administered in California, OPES and Board members heard the concerns that were voice and stated that the conversation is not over.

When I coach people, a key goal of mine is to shift thinking away from feeling like a victim of this test to feeling strong and in control. Feeling empowered will naturally contribute to greater levels of confidence, lower levels of anxiety, and oftentimes greater cognitive functioning as you prepare for and take the exam. So, let’s talk about some strategies to move from victimization to empowerment:

1. Join a professional association and become an active participant (CAMFT, NASW, CALPCC). These agencies exist to advocate for their members and the profession as a whole. Representatives of these agencies will frequently present to the board, advocate for the positions of their members, and help advance their members’ concerns. If you are not a member already, consider joining today!

2. Attend board meetings (or write letters). The most direct way to address concerns and push for change is to communicate directly with the people in charge. When the board convenes, they usually provide an opportunity for the public to participate and ask questions. At the meeting on Friday, several people spoke up about the exam and their concerns. This is exactly how the ESL accommodation came about. Your voice matters, so make sure you are heard!

3. Help with the occupational analysis. Every 3-7 years, the board conducts an occupational analysis—and we are due for one this year. OPES develops and sends surveys to clinicians to understand trends in the field. The results of this survey are used to develop the examination outline. The most recent survey was conducted in 2012 and the response rate was a meager 10-15%. This is a fairly small sample size. If more therapists complete this survey, the examination outline will likely provide a better reflection of trends in our profession. While this survey is conducted for licensed MFTs and not interns (associates), even as interns you can encourage colleagues to complete the survey.

4. Help with exam development. Exam questions are developed by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The BBS is frequently recruiting individuals to participate in developing exam questions. You do not have to be licensed for long to do this and if you are not yet licensed, you can again encourage colleagues you respect and trust to participate in the process. Imagine how much better it would feel to have people you know and trust be involved in this process.

5. Focus on your studies and uplifting activities/people. When Amanda Rowan created TDC, she wanted to ensure our program was strengths-based. TDC is designed to help you build your knowledge, clinical skills, and become more confident test-takers without feeling overwhelmed. Pay attention to how you are being affected by your studies—are you studying the right amount, or too much? Do you have a healthy balance between your studies and other aspects of your life? Who do you talk with about your exam prep and how to do you feel after talking with them? Is your supervisor aware you are preparing for the exam and helping you do so? Are you on social media and if so how do you feel after reading different threads? Would stepping away from the collective anxiety on social media be healthier for you for a time? Over the next few days, ask yourself these questions. If you find that your actions are helping lift you up and feel more confident, awesome, keep doing them! If you find certain activities are causing you to feel anxious or angry, pause and consider focusing your attention elsewhere.

These exams are hard, but they are doable. Although you do have to work hard, you do not have to suffer. We have worked with thousands of successful test-takers and are here to support you! If you are struggling, please reach out to your coach. We are here to help you PASS WITH CONFIDENCE!

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep

Answer and Rationale for MFT Question on Duty to Warn

Posted by Robin Gluck

August 26, 2017 at 11:59 AM

On Friday we posted the following question on our Tarasoff duty, and today we have the answer and rationale for you!

A 24-year-old woman is mandated to therapy by her probation officer for anger management. The therapist has been meeting with the client for 4 months and is nearing termination. Over the course of treatment, the woman slowly opened up to the therapist about her life, including her past involvement with gang violence and drug use. In session, she shares that her boyfriend has been very possessive and threatened to hurt a guy he thought she was flirting with. She confesses that he has a gun, has been in jail for assault in the past, and already researched where the man lives. What actions should the therapist take to address the legal and ethical issues presented in this situation?

a. Inform police of the threat and attempt to contact the intended victim.

b. Encourage client to report the boyfriend’s plan to the police and develop a safety plan.

c. Inform client that we must share this information with her probation officer since she is mandated to treatment and could be an accessory to a crime.

d. Inform client she must report the boyfriend’s plan to the police and assess client’s personal safety.

In this question we are provided with information that is alarming.  There is a clear risk of danger presented by the boyfriend: he has a history of violence, has a weapon, and found where the potential victim resides. And yet, our duty to protect is not triggered. In fact, we cannot notify the police or potential victim without breaching confidentiality.  Let’s look at the answer.

Answer:

The best answer to this question is B.  Answer A would be correct if the client was the potential perpetrator of violence (in fact, this is exactly what we do when our duty to protect is triggered under Tarasoff).  Answer C is incorrect as well since we are not required to report this information to the client’s probation officer and it is outside our scope of practice to determine whether this would constitute accessory to a crime.  Answer D is very similar to B, but rather than encouraging the client to make a report, it has the therapist forcing the client’s hand. Therapists cannot force clients to make reports; it is ultimately the client's decision.  Answer B best addresses how we would handle this situation both legally and ethically. Legally, we would maintain confidentiality. Ethically, we would encourage the client to report the danger to police, but would not force them to do so. Additionally, we would safety plan with the client to manage their personal safety around this situation.

In moments like these it's also a good idea to seek legal consultation to ensure you know what your legal obligations are. If you have a supervisor, this would be a situation you would want to consult with them on as well.

Which answer did you choose?  Does the rationale fit with your understanding of Tarasoff and how you would work in the clinical setting? Or did you learn something new with this scenario?  If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep HERE and more about our MFT licensing exam prep HERE. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE.

We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep