I love teaching. I love the sharing of knowledge and challenges between the students and me. One of my strongest values which underlies all that I do is to promote a positive image for the profession and help new social workers develop professionally. Teaching social work courses is my newest way of doing that.

Classroom discussions are marvelous and sometimes challenging when a student raises a question I have never considered before. You have to be on your toes. But, I don’t have to have all of the answers. Thank goodness! I am willing to read about the question and come back with my thoughts at a later time.

While I don’t regret my current teaching situation, it was hard to anticipate the work that I would have to do. I have 77 students. Each of them are unique individuals with their strengths and weaknesses. And, each of them have assignments. . . assignments that I gave them and now I have to grade. I am learning more about each of them by seeing how they write.

I am also learning more about me as I initially struggled to be consistent in my feedback. This weekend I discovered that I am just grading the Draft of an MSE each of them submitted last week. Many times I didn’t know which student did which paper. I think that is a good thing. Because I had developed my focus and skills in just looking at what was correct and adequately reported or missing and/or inadequately addressed. So that was a trial over which I have some mastery.

The tribulations come with the measures of knowledge that each of my 77 students have to do and I have to grade. Draft Mental Status Exam, diagnosing 16 cases (2 per week for 6 weeks – which was by syllabus supposed to be 2 cases each of 8 weeks), Mid-Term Exam (starting tomorrow), and Final MSE followed by Final Exam.

“What was I thinking? !” Well, to be fair, neither I nor the school knew how many students I would end up having in the 4 sections. The school needed 2 more sections taught, it was summertime, I like teaching, so here I am.

It means a lot to me to see the student’s development over the past 5 weeks. Together we have all come a long way. I admit, too, I really like it when the students seem to like me. And, I do so very much like my students. They are going to be wonderful additions to social work. Their dedication to learning is surely going to be generalized to their future practice. I am so very grateful to be a part of their paths to the social work profession.

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Really! There is no legal acronym for registered interns use.  I swear it is true.

Last month I wrote about the increasing use of an illegal acronym by registered interns which I had noticed in a group on LinkedIn.  Within two days of that article being published in a variety of settings I received a call from a gentleman who was recently disciplined by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapists and Mental Health Counselors (hereafter, Board).  He is required to retake the 8-hour Laws and Rules course and pay fines, attorney fees and more.  What was his offense?  He failed to appropriately identify himself on business cards as a “registered mental health counselor intern” rather he used that acronym I wrote about R.H.M.C.I. (aka RMHCI).

Okay, I wasn’t but I am gonna say it, “I told you so.”  He is not the first nor last registered intern who is in the process or going to be disciplined for this violation.  I will go on to say that the complaint included additional violations which I discuss at another time.

What distressed me most about this call was the defensiveness and blaming that the individual manifested while we were talking.  In my 24 years of practice here in Florida more than 15 of those have involved providing continuing education to a number of Board disciplined individuals.  Everyone has a story, an explanation, justification or something to say about how their situation was exaggerated, taken out of context or someone just took things too far.  They rarely tell the whole situation (e.g., this fellow had two additional more serious counts in the Administrative Complaint to which he didn’t refer at all).  This is so far from the values of integrity and honesty that are at the core of our clinical practices.  I get it, it is difficult, painful even, to be honest with ourselves and take responsibility for our actions.  But, if we expect our clients to do so with us why can’t we take the high road when our actions are determined to violate a law (or two or three)?

Another person emailed me a couple of days later to say that registered interns that she met at a networking event were distributing business cards without their proper designation spelled out.  She said that when she corrected them “they looked at me like I was crazy, they were in denial and disbelief”.  She further reported that one of them had “just had their cards made and was going to use them anyway!!!”

Last week at a qualified supervision course I was provided one of the participants reported seeing many registered interns listed on the Psychology Today website with the dreaded acronym proudly emblazoned on their profiles in a direct violation of the law.  Okay, she didn’t say that last part.  I was being dramatic.  But, this next isn’t sarcasm: Colleagues, peers, and supervisors please keep correcting registered interns about this matter and if they won’t desist, report them to the Board…otherwise you will be in violation of the law, too.

(c) 2014 Dr. C. L. Waltz (contact Dr. Waltz for permission to use this material)

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There is no such thing as RCSWI, RMHCI, RMFTI !

April 28, 2014

There is no legal acronym for Registered Interns under F. S. 491 in the State of Florida. Registered Interns must spell out their registration status as noted in our Rules Chapter 64B4 – 5.005(j) Failure of a registered intern to use the words “registered intern” on all promotional materials, including cards, brochures, stationery, advertisements, and […]

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President Obama Signs the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014

April 3, 2014

On April 1, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014. This new law prevents a scheduled payment reduction for physicians and other practitioners who treat Medicare patients from taking effect on April 1, 2014. This new law maintains the 0.5 percent update for such services that applied from January 1, 2014 through March […]

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New CE Requirement for Renewal Laws & Rules course – deadline March 15, 2019

April 2, 2014

I just learned that the correct deadline date for the Renewal Laws & Rules course we licensed mental health professionals are required to take is March 15. 2019.  I apologize for any inconvenience this error may have caused my training participants. New CE Requirement for Licensure Renewals Within the 30 required renewal CE’s, you must […]

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MHCounselor National Exam Debate – Retake the exam? Really?

December 24, 2013

I heard in one of my workshops recently that there is talk online that Florida LMHCs will be required to re-take (or take) the national NCMHCE exam.  After the workshop, I began to inquire about the rumor. I learned of no requirement from the State of Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family […]

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Legal Self Defense for Mental Health Practitioners

October 11, 2013

Legal Self Defense for Mental Health Practitioners Robert Henley Woody, PhD, JD Published by Springer in 2012 ISBN: 978-0-8261-9565-4 eBook ISBN: 978-0-8261-9565-1 This book has been a great resource for me and my continuing education program attendees.  So, I thought that I would share a review and description of its key features for all of you […]

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Locked In

August 16, 2013

Since the 1980s when financial support for community mental health was drastically cut and eventually eliminated our communities and our seriously mentally ill have been literally  “left out in the cold” or locked in.  Back when we lived in another state where winters were cold the most likely intervention that my husband had to use […]

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Do we HAVE to use the DSM-5?

June 12, 2013

This is a follow-up to my previous blog post by a participant in our online LinkedIn group (Mental Health and Clinical Social Work Forum).  The following questions were posed: “I am wondering what you suggest for those of us who bill insurance companies. Won’t they require the new dx codes?” (Crystal M)  “Won’t they accept […]

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Should Social Workers use the new DSM-5?

June 9, 2013

http://www.socialworkhelper.com/2013/06/07/should-social-workers-use-dsm-5/ Dr. Allen Frances*, author of the book Saving Normal  has written again about the new DSM.  This brief article references the largest group of professional users of the DSM (social workers constitute 50% of all users) and speaks to many controversies surrounding the development of the new manual.  This is a quick little article […]

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