Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met.
- United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy.
- Education. Hold a master’s or doctoral degree in: Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling; Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling; or a related field, from a program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Examples of related mental health counseling fields include, but are not limited to Addiction Counseling; Community Counseling; Gerontology Counseling; Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling. CACREP defines the date when graduates are considered to have graduated from a CACREP accredited program. Additional information may be obtained from http://www.cacrep.org/directory/. NOTE: Traditional Rehabilitation counseling programs that are accredited by CACREP do not meet the LPMHC qualification standards as Traditional Rehabilitation counseling differs from Clinical Rehabilitation counseling.
- Licensure. Persons hired or reassigned to LPMHC positions in the GS-0101 series in VHA must hold a full, current, and unrestricted license to independently practice as a Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, which includes diagnosis and treatment. NOTE: It is VHA policy that a LPMHC who does not yet have a license that allows independent practice must be supervised by a licensed independent practitioner of the same discipline who is a VA staff member and who has access to the electronic health record.
- Exception. VHA may waive the licensure requirement for persons who are otherwise qualified, pending completion of state prerequisites for licensure. This exception only applies up to the full performance level. For grade levels at or above the full performance level, the candidate must be licensed.
- The appointing official may waive the requirement of licensure for a period not to exceed 3 years for a LPMHC that provides care under the clinical supervision of a licensed LPMHC who is at or above the full performance level. This exception only applies at the entry level (GS-9). For grade levels at or above the full performance level, the candidate must be licensed. The Human Resources Office will provide the unlicensed LPMHC in writing the requirement to obtain licensure, the date by which the license must be acquired, and the consequences for not becoming licensed by the deadline. The written notice must be provided prior to the entrance on duty date.
English Language Proficiency. LPMHCs must be proficient in spoken and written English
Preferred Experience: Independently licensed.
Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, GS-9 (Entry Level)
Experience, Education, and Licensure. The GS-9 grade level is the entry grade level for LPMHCs with less than one year of experience(post-master’s degree) or for LPMHCs at the master’s or doctoral level) who are graduates not yet licensed at the independent practice level. Unlicensed LPMHCs at the GS-9 grade level have completed the required education listed in paragraph 3.b., and are working toward completion of prerequisites for licensure. In addition, the candidates must demonstrate the KSAs in subparagraph (c) below.
Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the basic requirements, the candidates must demonstrate all of the KSAs below:
1. Ability to engage in intake and assessment, problem identification, diagnosis, treatment planning and implementation, continuum of care, evaluation and follow-up.
2. Knowledge of current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders in formulation of treatment goals and application of appropriate clinical interventions using professional counseling
3. Basic knowledge of professional counseling practice with emphasis on human development principles through cognitive, affective, behavioral or systemic interventions, and strategies that address high risk behaviors, wellness, personal growth, and career development across the life span.
4. Ability to use a wide variety of individual, group, or family counseling interventions; demonstrates sensitivity to diversity and possesses multicultural counseling skills.
5. Ability to serve on an interdisciplinary team with focus on the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and relational functioning of individuals, groups and families and on the counseling approaches, strategies, and techniques that will best help patients function effectively.
6. Basic skill in the use of computer software applications for drafting documents, data management, maintaining accurate, timely and thorough clinical documentation and delivery of services, such as Telehealth.
7. Ability to learn and utilize software programs in use by VHA.
8. Knowledge and understanding of existing relevant statutes, case laws, ethical codes, and regulations affecting professional practice of counseling.
9. Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with people from varied backgrounds.
Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, GS-11 (Full Performance Level)
Experience, Education, and Licensure. In addition to the basic requirements, candidates must have at least one year of post-master’s or post- doctoral degree mental health counseling experience (VA or non-VA experience) and must be licensed to practice at the independent practice level and demonstrate the KSAs in subparagraph (c) below. LPMHCs may provide clinical supervision over the clinical practice of an unlicensed LPMHC or LPMHC trainee. Some state licenses do not license an individual to provide clinical supervision to trainees or unlicensed LPMHCs. Please refer to specific state licensing laws regarding the requirements for providing clinical supervision.
Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to meeting the KSAs for the GS-9 grade level, the candidate must demonstrate all of the KSAs below:
1. Ability to make professional evaluations, decisions, and recommendation for treatment planning and implementation.
2. Advanced knowledge and mastery of the fundamentals of the counseling process which includes defining patient/family problems and maintaining an effective counseling relationship.
3. Ability to provide subject matter consultation to colleagues and trainees on the counseling process within various specialty areas, build on the foundation of competence through regular meetings and discussions to explain assignments, review progress of cases and confer about the counseling perspectives and orientation.
4. Ability to provide complex crisis intervention and stabilization to patients who are in psychological distress. Requires independent judgment and skill.
5. Ability to establish goals/treatment through a collaborative process with the patient utilizing advanced counseling skills, including evidenced- based practices, screening, and psychosocial assessment.
6. Ability to use a wide variety of individual, group, or familial counseling interventions; demonstrates sensitivity to diversity and possesses multicultural counseling skills.
7. Ability to fully utilize the current DSM in making diagnoses and formulation of treatment goals and application of appropriate clinical intervention using professional counseling practices.
8. Ability to develop and facilitate psychotherapy and psycho- education groups that include life skills, family support, and community integration. This may include evidence based psychotherapy.
References: VA HANDBOOK 5005/106 PART II APPENDIX G43
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