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Becoming a Mental Health Counselor in 65 hours?!

This is the most common question we are asked when people hear about The Lay Counselor Academy. In fact, just this week the Modesto Bee ran a front page article on the Academy; in it, they quoted someone that said “you can’t be a therapist with 65 hours of training”.  I called this person and told her, we agree!

Here are 3 reasons a 65-hour course works:

Sometimes natural, sometimes learned from experience and usually some of both.  Part of what we do initially is name those skills for participants, so they can see clearly the evidenced-based counseling strategies they are already doing! We then help participants develop and amplify these skills and learn additional approaches and helping techniques.  For those that go on to do mental health counseling after graduating from the LCA, they meet regularly with licensed clinicians to continually to enhance their knowledge, increase their confidence and grow in effectiveness.   The LCA is not the beginning of learning, or the end!

We do not believe everyone, or just anyone, can do this work well.  It takes enormous skill, self-awareness, humility, and a commitment to doing our own personal growth and healing.   The people who come to the LCA are typically handpicked by their organizations.  We share some selection considerations with organizations to help, although often leaders already know who these folks are!

While we do cover Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-informed techniques, Motivational Interviewing approaches, we spend most of the 65 hours studying and practicing the foundational of all effective counseling: development and maintenance of the therapeutic alliance.  Hundreds of research studies have shown that the strength of the patient therapist (client-counselor) bond is the most powerful predictor of how helpful counseling will be.   If you’d like to see a full list the standard practices we focus on and the evidence-based behind them, click here!

We practice, practice and practice some more with what we call ‘Ways of Being’ and  ‘Home Stance’ strategies, to gain increasing proficiency with the therapeutic alliance.  Through empathic connection, these core practices create space for client insight, self-reflection, activation, unburdening, reframing and change.  These practices also help us avoid anti-growth missteps, like fixing, scolding, judging, advising, managing, pushing, convincing, dismissing, check-boxing, labeling ….all common and easy to fall in to, for all of us!  This is why we practice 😉

Think your organization might be interested?   Email Alli@emorrisonconsulting.com or respond to this email if you’d like to meet with us to learn more!

Oh, also!  We were selected as a 2023 Steinberg Institute Champion! A big shout out to our LCA3 cohort, who is in this short video- you all rock!

Even though I don’t know every person who is reading this, I KNOW you are awesome and if you do hugs, I’m sending a virtual one to you!

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Elizabeth Morrison

Elizabeth brings years of experience helping a wide array of healthcare entities advance toward their goals and strengthen the human connection in care delivery.

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