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I and a number of other attorneys who work with psychologists in California have noticed a significant trend. We have become aware of a significant number of Board of Psychology (BOP) denials of supervised professional experience (SPE).
These denials are significant enough in number and scope that it seemed appropriate to author this post to inform the training community of the issue. A large number of psychological assistants (and their supervisors) have been denied SPE hours. This post offers an explanation as to what has happened to many applicants in the hope that others who have yet to apply can avoid the problem that has befallen so many others.
First, an explanation:
Prior to the commencement of supervision a psych assistant and her/his supervisor must sign a supervision agreement detailing the clinical services to be offered and other important information. The BOP offers a supervision agreement form on its website that captures this information. Following the completion of supervised experience this form is turned in to the BOP, along with the other required documentation.
Here’s the problem that many are facing:
When applying for licensure some applicants and their supervisors have been unable to locate the form that was signed at the beginning of supervision. In some cases the form was signed over a year ago and cannot be located. To remedy this, many applicants have been re-downloading the supervision agreement form from the BOP’s website and filling it in with the same information that was previously filled in; they have tried to re-create the form. The problem with doing this is that the BOP has made minor changes to the form and is aware that the forms that many applicants are turning in are backdated. The BOP’s response in many cases has been to deny all hours from supervision agreement forms that are backdated. In some cases this has meant that over a year’s worth of supervised experience is lost.
What to do:
Every case is different, but it seems clear that you should NOT be backdating supervision agreement forms. Those who have done this often have very good reasons for having done so, but the BOP appears to perceive this as an act of dishonesty on the part of both supervisor and psych assistant (i.e., not as an attempt to recreate a lost form that was previously properly signed and completed). If you or your supervisor(s) have lost the supervision agreement forms, seek guidance from the BOP or from an attorney about what to do.
If you have been denied SPE hours by the BOP because of this issue you may have some options. The BOP may re-evaluate these denials on a case-by-case basis, and depending on individual facts and circumstances may choose to grant hours that had previously been denied.
This is also a good time to become active in state and local professional associations. CPA, for example, is aware of this issue and is doing its part to communicate with the BOP. CPA frequently coordinates activities with local associations, so if you aren’t a member of CPA please contact your local organization to get involved.
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