· U.S. Citizenship - Non-Citizens may be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy.
· English language proficiency (written and spoken)
· Physical standards - Position requires light lifting & carrying (under 15 pounds), straight pulling, pushing, 1-2 hours of walking & standing. Ability for rapid mental and muscular coordination simultaneously. All applicants must meet the physical standards for the position. A physical examination prior to employment may be required.
· Licensure: Persons hired or reassigned to LPMHC positions in the GS-101 series in VHA must hold a full, current, and unrestricted license to independently practice mental health counseling, which includes diagnosis and treatment.
· Education: Master's degree in mental health 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; and Marriage and Family Therapy. A doctoral degree in mental health counseling may not be substituted for the master's degree in mental health counseling.
· Experience: Knowledge of Current LPMHC Practices. To be creditable, the experience must have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and abilities associated with current mental health counseling practice. Experience satisfying this requirement must be active professional practice at the post-master's degree level, which can be paid/non-paid employment as a professional mental health counselor. Quality of Experience. Experience is only creditable if it is post-master's degree experience as a mental health counselor directly related to the position to be filled. Qualifying experience must also be at a level comparable to LPMHC experience at the next lower grade level. For all assignments above the full performance level, the higher level duties must consist of significant scope, administrative independence, complexity (difficulty) and range of variety as described in this standard at the specified grade level and be performed by the incumbent at least 25% of the time.
Grade Determinations. In addition to the basic requirements for employment, the following criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates.
GS-9 Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor (Entry Level) : LPMHCs with less than one year of post-master's degree experience or for LPMHCs who are graduates, not yet licensed at the independent practice level AND must demonstrate the following Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs):
1. Ability to engage in information gathering, problem identification, diagnosis, treatment planning, implementation, 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 practices.
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. Knowledge and understanding of existing relevant statutes, case laws, ethical codes, and regulations affecting professional practice of counseling.
8. Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with people from varied backgrounds.
GS-11 - This is the full performance level for LPMHCs. At this level they are licensed to independently practice professional counseling and to provide mental health services within the knowledge, theory, and training foundations of professional counseling. They may be assigned to any mental health VHA area, consulting with peers and supervisors as appropriate. LPMHCs may be involved in program evaluation and/or research activities.
In addition to the basic requirements, candidates must have at least 1 year of post-master's degree mental health counseling experience; OR In addition to the basic requirements, a doctoral degree in mental health counseling, or a related field may be substituted for the required 1 year of professional mental health counseling experience (transcripts are required) AND demonstrate the KSAs for the GS-9 above and 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 students 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.
5. Ability to establish goals/treatment through a collaborative process with the patient utilizing advanced counseling skills, including evidenced-based practices and screening/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 deliver psycho-education groups that include life skills, family support, and community integration.
IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE MAY NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE.
Preferred Qualifications: A Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor with at least two (2) years experience providing addiction/mental health therapy.
References: VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G43, LICENSED PROFESSIONAL MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR QUALIFICATION STANDARD, dated September 28, 2010. VA Handbook 5005 at http://www.va.gov/ohrm/joblistings/VAQualStds.doc (also available in the local Human Resources Office).