Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor

Department Of Veterans Affairs Butler , PA 16001

Posted 3 weeks ago

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The position is located in the Behavioral Health Clinic (BHC). The BHC provides ambulatory care services to substance abusing and emotionally ill male and female Veterans and their significant others. In addition to substance abuse, a significant number of these patients have concurrent psychiatric disorders, personality disorders, medical conditions, and multiple psychosocial stressors.Thus, the biopsychosocial status of many of the BHC patients is severely compromised.

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Because of the complex array of psychological, medical, and social symptoms presented by BHC patients, the assessment and treatment decisions made by the Behavioral Health Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor are likely to have serious short-and long-term effects on patients, significant others, and treatment milieu. Like other professional level clinical staff assigned to the BHC, patients are assigned to the Behavioral Health Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor without prior screening by other BHC staff. Therefore, the Behavioral Health Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor must have the knowledge and skills to make independent decisions regarding the assessment, treatment, and case management of the diagnostically diverse BHC patient population. As a member of the interdisciplinary BHC team, the Behavioral Health Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor must form and maintain effective working relationships with staff from the Behavioral Health Clinic, Medical, Nursing, Social Work, Rehabilitation, Chaplain, and Dietetic Services in order to provide patients with an integrated and comprehensive treatment program.

The duties and responsibilities below include but are not limited to the following:

The incumbent independently conducts intake screenings and evaluations of Veterans and their significant others. When assessing Veterans for admission to the BHC, the incumbent uses the established biopsychosocial admissions criteria to determine the appropriateness of Veterans referred to the BHC for service in the different treatment components. After admission, performs a comprehensive intake assessment that satisfies Joint Commission (JC)standards and provides clinically meaningful information related to the specific cognitive -social learning treatment approach used in the BHC. While the patient is in treatment, the Behavioral Health Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor continues to reassess and monitor the status of problematic behaviors; routinely evaluates the impact that therapeutic interventions have on patient problems; assesses patients' progress toward meeting treatment goals and objectives; determines the need for additional assessment of specific problem areas; conducts and documents a discharge assessment that summarizes the extent to which each problem is resolved and the extent to which additional treatment is needed; and schedules and monitors specimen collection for assessment of substance abuse.

The Behavioral Health Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor provides individual, group, and family psychotherapy, as well as crisis intervention. When providing treatment, incumbent relies on own clinical judgment to address patient problems in a fashion that is consistent with the knowledge and skills of other professional staff with Master's level training. Conducts short, medium, long-term in-depth counseling and facilitates both open-ended, process groups; and time-limited, closed, structured groups for patients with substance abuse problems, mental health problems, or co-morbid conditions. The Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor may also facilitate group counseling and conduct assessments for the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC). Provides crisis intervention and stabilization to patients and significant others. Crisis intervention requires the incumbent to function with a high degree of independent judgment in responding appropriately and quickly to unique needs/ dangers in crisis situations. The incumbent develops and, as needed, revises treatment plans. He/she will keep abreast of new treatment techniques and evidence based practices. Finally, the Behavioral Health Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor documents patients' responses to treatment in a manner that facilitates the use of this information by other members of the interdisciplinary team.

The case management responsibilities of the Behavioral Health Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor do not differ from other BHC staff (i.e., Psychologist, Social Worker, or Nurse). If a patient is engaged in therapy with the counselor, he or she will be designated as the Mental Health Treatment Coordinator (MHTC). The role of the MHTC is to coordinate treatment activities to ensure that each patient is provided with an individualized, integrated, biopsychosocial approach to case management.

Work Schedule: 8AM-4:30PM Monday-Friday

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required

Travel Required

Occasional travel

  • You may be expected to travel for this position.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


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0101 Social Science

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  • Requirements



Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job

  • Designated and/or random drug testing may be required

  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959

  • You may be required to serve a probationary period

  • Subject to a background/security investigation

  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English

  • Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process


Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met.

Basic Requirements

  • The basic requirements for employment as a LPMHC are prescribed by statute in 38 U.S.C. 7402(b)(11). To qualify for appointment as a LPMHC all applicants must:
  • Citizenship. Be a citizen of the United States. (Non-citizens may be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Chapter 3, Section A, paragraph 3.g.).

  • English Language Proficiency. LPMHCs must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with VA Handbook 5005, Part II, chapter 3, section A,

paragraph 3.j.

  • 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 of related mental health counseling fields include, but are not limited to Addiction Counseling; Community Counseling; Gerontology Counseling; Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling. CACREP defines the date when graduates are considered to have graduated from a CACREP accredited program. Additional information may be obtained from NOTE: Traditional Rehabilitation counseling programs that are accredited by CACREP do not meet the LPMHC qualification standards as Traditional Rehabilitation counseling differs from Clinical Rehabilitation counseling.

  • Licensure. Persons hired or reassigned to LPMHC positions in the GS-0101 series in VHA must hold a full, current, and unrestricted license to independently practice as a Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, which includes diagnosis and treatment. NOTE: It is VHA policy that a LPMHC who does not yet have a license that allows independent practice must be supervised by a licensed independent practitioner of the same discipline who is a VA staff member and who has access to the electronic health record.

Preferred Experience: None indicated

Grade Determinations:

Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, 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. In addition, the candidates must demonstrate the KSAs

Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, 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.

Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to meeting the KSAs for the GS-9 grade level, the candidate must demonstrate all of 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 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.

4.Ability to provide complex crisis intervention and stabilization to patients who are in psychological distress. Requires independent judgment and skill.

5.Ability to establish goals/treatment through a collaborative process with the patient utilizing advanced counseling skills, including evidenced- based practices, screening, and psychosocial 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 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

The full performance level of this vacancy is GS11. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS09 to GS11.

Physical Requirements:See VA Directive and Handbook 5019.


IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.

Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit:

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Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor

Department Of Veterans Affairs