First let me say Happy New Year to all of you! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break and that 2018 will be a great year for everyone. It’s fun to look back and see how far we’ve come in a brief year.

Although I spent much of New Year’s Eve recovering from whatever sickness has been going around, there was still plenty to celebrate. I wrote previously on the Texas State Board’s proposal to allow Licensed Psychological Associates to practice independently, provided they fulfill additional requirements, and the impact that decision may have on mental health.

Well in mid-December the new rule was officially adopted! It goes into effect January 5, which means that I am now able to offer full neuro-psychological testing without the need for supervision. For me personally and professionally this is a huge development. I thoroughly enjoy testing, but now I have the ability to do it without the constraints of finding a supervisor.

Before jumping into this new venture, however, there are a few key take-aways from the new rules that are important to note.

LPAs vs. Fully-licensed Psychologists

Licensed Psychological Associates are master’s-level practitioners. The State Board is very clear that LPAs are to inform their clients of the differences between LPAs and fully-licensed psychologists, particularly the level of training they receive.

All the information regarding this important distinction can be found here.

Without going into too much detail, the biggest difference is the amount of hours of training each is required to have in order to become licensed.

  • LPAs typically have 60 hours of graduate course-work in Psychology and 500 hours of supervised practice.
  • Fully-licensed Psychologists have 110-125 hours of graduate coursework in Psychology and 2,000 hours of supervised practice in the form of a formal internship.

Clearly there is a big difference in the level of training. Personally, I received 120 hours of graduate coursework in Educational Psychology as part of my doctoral program. And at this point I’ve had close to 1,000 hours of supervised practice as an LPA. So I do feel confident in my training and ability to provide certain psychological services.

Areas of Competency

As with fully-licensed psychologists, the new rules for LPAs allow for independent practice in areas of competency only. That means that if a practitioner does not have proper training in certain areas of psychology, he or she cannot offer those services.

Just about all of my training and experience has to do with testing, so I will only offer those services. I simply do not have the experience to offer counseling, nor would I feel comfortable doing so. However, I have conducted numerous evaluations since 2012 and provided diagnoses in many of those instances. I have received training in evaluation from some of the most respected psychologists in Austin and Round Rock, and I feel this is an area of strength for me.

Logistically I will begin offering this service in early January. I have seen firsthand how frustrating it can be for families to find a psychologist who can administer the assessments in a timely manner. I hope that offering testing as part of EdPsyched will alleviate some of this logjam.

The more common diagnoses for students include:  ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, processing speed, and social/emotional difficulties.  If you have a child who needs an assessment please do not hesitate to contact me. I’m starting to book now and hope that 2018 will be a fruitful year for my new endeavor!

Happy 2018!