The incumbent is assigned to Behavioral Health Services at the Altoona, Pennsylvania VA Medical Center and surrounding VA locations. Services include clinical assessment and diagnosis using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and the American Society of Addiction Medicine criteria and providing treatment including Individual, group or family psychotherapy, psychoeducation, crisis intervention, advocacy, and coordination of linkages to other VA or community service providers/agencies as needed. Basic Requirements: United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy. Education: Hold a master's or doctoral degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling; or a related field, from a program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Examples: Addiction Counseling; Community Counseling; Gerontology Counseling; Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling; and Marriage and Family Therapy. Licensure: Persons hired or reassigned to LPMHC positions in the GS-0101 series at the GS-11 grade in VHA must hold a full, current, and unrestricted license to independently practice mental health counseling, which includes diagnosis and treatment. You may be hired at a lower grade, GS-09, without holding a full, current, and unrestricted license. English Language Proficiency: Social workers must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with VA Handbook 5005, Part II, chapter 3, section A, paragraph 3j. Grade Determinations: GS-9 (Entry Level) Experience, Education, and Licensure - The GS-9 grade level is the entry grade level for LPMHCs with less than one year of experience(post-master's degree) or for LPMHCs at the master's or doctoral level) who are graduates not yet licensed at the independent practice level. Unlicensed LPMHCs at the GS-9 grade level have completed the required education listed in paragraph 3.b., and are working toward completion of prerequisites for licensure. Assignments. Individuals assigned as GS-9 LPMHCs are considered to be at the entry level and are closely supervised, including co-signatures where required, as they are not functioning at the full performance level. They are typically assigned to VHA areas that do not require specialized knowledge or experience. Since they are not practicing at an independent level, they should not be assigned to areas where independent practice is required, such as in a CBOC, unless there is a licensed LPMHC in the area who can provide supervision for practice. Under supervision, LPMHCs at this level provide professional mental health counseling services. Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: Ability to engage in intake and assessment, problem identification, diagnosis, treatment planning and implementation, continuum of care, evaluation and follow-up. 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. 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. Ability to use a wide variety of individual, group, or family counseling interventions; demonstrates sensitivity to diversity and possesses multicultural counseling skills. 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. 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. Ability to learn and utilize software programs in use by VHA. Knowledge and understanding of existing relevant statutes, case laws, ethical codes, and regulations affecting professional practice of counseling. Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with people from varied backgrounds. GS-11 (Full Performance Level) Experience, Education, and Licensure - In addition to the basic requirements, candidates must have at least one year of post-master's or post- doctoral degree mental health counseling experience (VA or non-VA experience) and must be licensed to practice at the independent practice level and demonstrate the KSAs in subparagraph (c) below. LPMHCs may provide clinical supervision over the clinical practice of an unlicensed LPMHC or LPMHC trainee. Some state licenses do not license an individual to provide clinical supervision to trainees or unlicensed LPMHCs. Please refer to specific state licensing laws regarding the requirements for providing clinical supervision. Assignments. This is the full performance grade 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. LPMHCs may be assigned to any VHA area, consulting with peers and supervisors as appropriate. LPMHCs may be involved in program evaluation and/or research activities. Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: Ability to make professional evaluations, decisions, and recommendation for treatment planning and implementation. Advanced knowledge and mastery of the fundamentals of the counseling process which includes defining patient/family problems and maintaining an effective counseling relationship. Ability to provide subject matter consultation to colleagues and trainees 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. Ability to provide complex crisis intervention and stabilization to patients who are in psychological distress. Requires independent judgment and skill. Ability to establish goals/treatment through a collaborative process with the patient utilizing advanced counseling skills, including evidenced- based practices, screening, and psychosocial assessment. Ability to use a wide variety of individual, group, or familial counseling interventions; demonstrates sensitivity to diversity and possesses multicultural counseling skills. 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. Ability to develop and facilitate psychotherapy and psycho- education groups that include life skills, family support, and community integration. This may include evidence based psychotherapy. References: VA Handbook 5005/106, Part II, Appendix G43 dated April 3, 2018. The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-11. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-9 to GS-11. Physical Requirements: The work requires sitting, bending, stooping and walking consistent with the delivery of services in the office, hospital and community. The position may entail lifting of no more than 25 pounds on an occasional basis. Whenever possible, carts and dollies will be utilized as an alternative to lifting. ["The incumbent completes thorough psychosocial assessments and includes pertinent information in all the required areas of functioning in order to determine appropriate diagnoses and other treatment-related conclusions. Ensures that clinical assessments are found to be appropriate to the referral question and conclusions are found to be reasonably substantiated by interviews, observations, historical data, collateral data (i.e. from outsides sources such as other treatment providers, family members, etc.) and other data when indicated. The incumbent provides a DSM diagnosis to determine the psychosocial functioning and needs of Veterans and/or their families. Must be able to utilize this assessment in facilitating the Veteran's maximum use of treatment for attainment of the highest level of independence that is possible and practicable. The incumbent provides emergency/crisis interventions that are provided to Veterans in an effort to stabilize. Engages in rapid assessments and develops crisis management plans. The incumbent ensures the interventions are appropriate to the level of need and would involve a range of services including facilitation of transfer of care to the appropriate level based on Veteran need as well as referral to other VA resources or community agencies. The incumbent provides psychotherapy as individual, group &/or family interventions when clinically indicated/appropriate and when of therapeutic benefit to the recipients. Willing to be successfully trained and implement Evidenced Based Psychotherapies and ensures the interventions are empirically supported and/or are theoretically appropriate. The incumbent provides consultation to other treatment team and staff members regarding psychosocial needs of Veterans and/or their families and the impact of the identified psychosocial problems on the Veteran's health care planning, compliance with treatment, and discharge planning. The incumbent documents direct Veteran care at a minimum of 80% of the time allotted to direct care in the clinician's weekly profile. This includes individual therapy, groups, family therapy, couples therapy, and direct clinical phone calls with the Veteran. Establishes and maintains effective therapeutic relationships with Veterans and/or their families. The incumbent works independently with Veterans and their families who are experiencing a wide range of complicated medical, psychiatric, emotional, behavioral, and psychosocial problems. Possesses a thorough knowledge in use of medical and mental health diagnoses, disabilities, and treatment procedures, including acute, chronic and traumatic illnesses, common medications and their effects/side effects, and medical terminology. The incumbent facilitates discharge planning through collaboration with Veterans and their families as well as interdisciplinary treatment team members to ensure that appropriate discharge plans are executed in a timely manner. Provides consultation and education to Veterans and their families regarding community resources, VA benefits and specialty programs, and advance directives. This includes the incumbent's knowledge of the process for accessing and/or coordinating community-based services, including information and referral for additional services from other VA programs, other government programs, and community programs. The incumbent maintains knowledge of Veteran's benefits and services, community resources, and process for making appropriate referrals to community and other governmental programs or agencies. The incumbent will be able to appropriately utilize principles of human growth and development over the life span and will be able to assist Veterans in coping with the loss and grief experiences from disability and terminal illness. Adheres to VA regulations regarding documentation and completion of encounters. The incumbent possesses and demonstrates ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing with people from varied backgrounds. May be responsible for a tour of duty that includes early morning, evenings and/or weekends and participation in the On-Call rotation schedule to accommodate Veteran care needs during weekends, holidays, evenings and nights. The incumbent supervises the practice of mental health/human service students, or other appropriate students, or less experienced staff as appropriate. The incumbent regularly and effectively participates in multidisciplinary team meetings as required by the supervisor. May perform other tasks/duties as assigned. Driver's License is Preferred. Work Schedule: Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Compressed/Flexible: Not Available Telework: Not Available Virtual: This is not a virtual position. Functional Statement #: Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor/PD000000 Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized Financial Disclosure Report: Not required"]
Providing Health Care for Veterans: The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,255 health care facilities, including 170 medical centers and 1,074 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year.