In my practice, I often come across mental healthcare providers who seem unaware of the Virginia Board of Psychology’s Guidance Document on the Use of Assessment Titles and Signatures.
Guidance document 125-8, adopted on October 30, 2018, notes that conducting client evaluations or assessments pertaining to diagnosis and psychosocial or mental health functioning is within the scope of practice of several licensed mental health professionals. It points out that Virginia has not defined what types of assessments may be done by which specific mental health professionals, and that each profession is regulated by its own regulatory body with its own approach. The Board noted that with shared or overlapping services, there can be confusion for the public about a licensee’s work and governing board.
The Board of Psychology provided recommendations for licensees of its Board as a best practice guideline to minimize public confusion and clearly communicate what Board governs the provider’s practice. The guideline included the following recommendations:
- Use of an unambiguous work product heading;
- Labeling work product with language parallel with and specific to the practitioner’s license;
- Use of unambiguous examiner title; and
- Use of a title in a signature block or self-designation on a work product document that clearly conveys the examiner’s professional identity and field(s) of licensure.
The Board noted that listing the examiner’s license number was optional and provided a table of suggested signature titles and report headings. It also noted that when an employer or work context required use of a particular label that differs from the guidelines, psychologists should clarify the identity to the client at the outset of the evaluation and make it explicit within the report and signature block.
It would be prudent for practitioners licensed by the Virginia Board of Psychology to be familiar with the Board’s Guidance document and follow the suggested best practices.