I always make my clients and those I supervise pay up front. I just feel if you’re putting your money on the table, you’re more inclined to do the work. Recently, a student handed me his folded bills and said “Professor, you must be rich off all of us. I can’t wait until I start private practice.” I believe in transparency, so I asked, “How many believe you get rich in this line of work?” and “What does being rich look like for you?”
I recall paying $150 per every three hours of supervision, and that was a friend of a friend discount. That stings when you’re a young professional and needing 120 hours of clinical supervision to even apply for the licensure exam. That’s $6,000. “Luckily” I only had to pay for 80 hours ($4,000) before I found free supervision with an employer. The application to obtain my associate licensure was $95, the cost of my five-year renewal process was $450, and the cost of three years of Continuing Education Credits required by the state was $2105.72. The cost of state exam, study material, and class was ($1,879). The cost of first official license was ($160). That’s a total of $8,689.72, not including the cost of priority postage, cost of gas, or time. I would confidently round that to $10,000 over a 5-year period (none of these funds ever were given back to the community). This amount was on top of my student loan, which I needed to take out my third year as scholarships only funded years one and two.
The student who started that conversation said, “Yeah, but those numbers are old.” I replied “Yes, and sadly it’s probably double for you all.” He ignored my comment and retorted “You’re doing great now. You’re a professor, you have been published, you run a successful practice, your a preferred clinical supervisor. You’re on the board _.”
I stood humbly as he rambled off my resume. Yes, I have since been blessed to be paid a very livable wage to teach, but only to university students. (All are not privileged to go to such a prestigious school. Hell, I got in the door by a academic scholarship). I vowed when I was able to provide supervision I would be “fair” to break down the classism. I host a bi-weekly supervision group at the library but give $10 from every client per session back so that kids can enjoy the local community center. I have also created a sliding scale. To get this service, one only needs to ask for it. One doesn’t need to show me their income statements; it’s just a private conversation between the two of us to see what is feasible. It is also my hope that I am planting the seed when it’s their time pay it forward. I ended my session by asking them all to think about why they were getting into this line of work.