As you consider entering therapy, it is helpful to know what distinguishes licensed clinicians from those who do not hold a professional license or certification. It is also important to be informed about what rights and responsibilities you have.
While there are some differences from state to state, graduates of accredited mental health education programs generally receive further professional training through supervision of their clinical practice for 1-2 years after graduation. With the endorsement of their licensed clinical supervisor, they are then eligible to sit for state licensure exams. These exams assess clinicians' knowledge of multiple aspects of the mental health field.
Once clinicians are licensed, they are required to complete a specified number of continuing education hours and to uphold their professional code of ethics and conduct. Many clinicians choose to continue peer supervision of clinical work as a means of continued learning and to help ensure the quality of their care.
Helpful Information -
Some things you can expect from a licensed clinician:
- Clear explanation of your rights and responsibilities
- Clear information regarding fees and specific costs to you for services
- Compliance with their professional code of ethics
- Referrals to other professionals and support programs as indicated by your needs
- Disclosure of training and experience related to your presenting concerns
- Disclosure of any biases that have implications for your care
What are my rights and responsibilities?
An important element of any medical, mental health, and/or substance abuse service is knowledge of your rights and responsibilities. These rights and responsibilities encourage informed consumer participation in care. For example, disclosure statements such as those noted above are often made in response to specific inquiry. In addition, it is important that you provide your health care practitioner with information needed to assess your condition and needs and also that you raise questions and concerns as they arise.
Your medical history and current medical condition are examples of information needed for thorough assessment and treatment planning. Once your treatment plan is established and agreed upon, you have a responsibility to follow the recommendations and work with your therapist if changes are needed. Knowing and acting in accordance with your rights and responsibilities helps to ensure safe, high quality care. Below are examples of rights and responsibilities. Talk with your health care provider for more information.
You have the right to:
- Be treated with personal dignity and respect
- Personal privacy and confidentiality of information
- Reasonable access to care regardless of: race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, or disability
- Participate in an informed way in the decision-making process regarding treatment planning
- Discuss with your provider(s) the treatment options for your condition regardless of cost or benefit coverage
- Have family participate in treatment planning
- Be informed of your rights in language you understand
- Voice complaints or appeals about your managed care company or care provider
You have the responsibility to:
- Give your provider and managed care company information needed in order to receive care
- Follow your agreed upon treatment plan
- Participate, to the degree possible, in understanding your behavioral health concerns and developing with your health care practitioner mutually agreed upon treatment goals