Scope of Competence: School Girl Low Self

By Asya Mourraille on February 20, 2018

Yesterday we explored the topic of scope of competence, including a free practice question. Today we have the answer and a discussion of the rationale for you. Did you get it right?



A therapist in private practice has received a referral of a middle school girl. According to a referral source, the youngster is struggling with low self-esteem, social anxiety and low academic performance. The therapist feels comfortable working with children since she has worked with both elementary and high school kids for several years. The therapist has no experience, however, working with middle school population. In deciding to take this client on, the therapist can increase her scope of competence by doing which of the following:

  1. Obtaining supervision from a supervisor who is highly competent in working with middle school population
  2. Attending a workshop that is focused on tips and strategies of working with middle school population
  3. Familiarizing herself with literature that discusses the specifics of working with middle school population
  4. Securing ongoing consultation from a colleague who is experienced in working with middle school population.

Answer: The correct answer is D.

  • Ethically, the best way to increase this therapist’s scope of competence would be via ongoing consultation (D). This way, the therapist can have continuing support with the case and have any questions answered as the work with this girl progresses.
  • Reading literature (C) is a good way to increase competence and very well might be done in addition to receiving consultation.
  • So is attending a workshop (B). On their own, however, these methods are not enough to make sure that the client is receiving proper care.
  • As licensed therapists we receive consultation, but not supervision, so answer (A) would not be something we go towards.

Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of the topic and how you would apply it in a clinical setting? Or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Or have you already passed the exam and need to complete your continuing education requirements? Our structured, straightforward approach will provide you with exactly what you need!



Commenter Name
August 31, 2018

If (A) did not say "supervision," and instead said "consultation from the supervisor who is highly competent in this area, would (A) be a better answer than (D)? I initially chose (A), thinking I am consulting with a supervisor who is highly competent, rather than (just) a colleague who has experience.

Commenter Name
August 31, 2018

Also, in addition to my question above, how can we infer the therapist is licensed, and therefore, wouldn't be receiving supervision, but would only receive consultation? Feels like the rationale for not picking A is tricky.

Commenter Name
September 15, 2018

Right, how do we know if the therapist is fully licensed? I guess in the question is said "private practice"... but honestly a LCSWA can have a practice as well.... it was a tricky question.

Commenter Name
December 25, 2018

I also chose A, because it seems more likely that I would go to a supervisor rather than a colleague. Than I realized the word ongoing, which supervision is not commonly ongoing!

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