I’ve just earned my MA and am about to receive my LPC here in Illinois. I have a part-time counseling job lined up but I won’t be getting enough hours of contact time to be able to qualify for the LCPC in the minimum time. (I’m almost 60, so time is important to me). A psychologist colleague suggested that I ask a friend to expand their single therapist practice by hiring me so that I might be able to earn more supervised hours.
It just so happens that my wife is an LCSW with a 30+ year career and a full practice. Would there be any ethical or legal issue with her hiring me as an associate IF I am supervised by someone else? Would she have to do anything other than keep accurate financial records, issue me paychecks and give me a 1099 at the end of the year? She is a sole practitioner, not an LLC or an S corp. Thanks for whatever advice you might be able to give.
Intern-level Counselor (name redacted)
Hi Intern-level Counselor,
This is an interesting question. Let me try to answer it.
Would there be any ethical or legal issue with her hiring me as an associate IF I am supervised by someone else?
I don’t believe so, but check with your state licensure board to make sure the arrangement (the site, etc) meets their standards for recieving pre-licensed hours. Some states have very specific rules–like a supervisor might need to be present on site when you’re seeing clients. Other states require a supervisor to be certified as such (while others just have a stated time that a supervisor needs to be licensed).
Can your wife be your clinical supervisor?
I know you didn’t ask this, but this too might be okay. I’d get it approved by your board of licensure but they might actually approve it. Crazier things have happened.
Would she have to do anything other than keep accurate financial records, issue me paychecks and give me a 1099 at the end of the year?
As your wife we would also need to provide you love and support, but I suppose that’s off the clock. 🙂 I imagine she would have to meet whatever requirements are set forth by your state. She might not need to pay you, actually, if you’re volunteering your time as an intern in exchange for supervision. Again, double check to see if she needs to file some paperwork to become an approved supervisor. What else…she will probably need to get professional liability insurance for you. I can’t overstate this–check with your licensure board, and maybe even your accountant as issues apply to employment law and compensation.
She is a sole practitioner, not an LLC or an S corp.
I think that will be okay, but that’s definitely an accountant question. If she does need to become an LLC, it’s often not that hard of a transition. An S Corp is probably overkill.
Thanks for whatever advice you might be able to give.
You got it! As a lowly therapist, I have no authority to speak on legal, ethical, or tax related issues. My response is for entertainment purposes only. 😉 All joking aside, good luck and godspeed getting those clinical hours and good supervision. It’s a difficult step on the long road to licensure. Be well!