Ask Billie

“Billie” Klayman,

How Do You See Yourself on Your Journey to Licensure?

Valerie “Billie” Klayman, M.A., LMFT
Co-Written with Diana Pash, M.A., LMFT

I want to give a shout out to my friend and colleague, Diana Pash. As I was writing this piece I felt I needed another set of eyes from a licensed therapist. Diana and I have always followed the BBS’ tenets. First, if you need help, consult, consult, consult. Second, always document in your progress notes all consultations and interventions that you provided to your client(s).

In my experience people often become discouraged about the licensing journey specific to the exams. Having to take the exam multiple times or hearing about another pre-licensed therapist and how they didn’t pass either the Law and Ethics exam or the final exam for licensure can make staying the course difficult. Feelings can also come up around hearing that your friends and colleagues have passed the test(s).

My experience in my own journey was to remember, that this is their journey not mine. Preparation is critical to passing these exams. Get familiar with your style of taking tests, and figure out what works best for you. Perhaps you will rely on books, classes, online prep materials, or a combination of a few of these options. If you feel you have struggled with test taking, then it’s time to create a different meaning to that experience. Maybe a study group, Facebook support group, or studying with another therapist may be a way to reduce your anxiety.

The most important piece of wisdom I can share is, do not rush and be patient with the process. The sense of urgency you feel related to the topic of exams is look at the consciousness you might be creating. The answers are there for you to choose on the exam. You do not have to re-invent the wheel. The most important point to remember is what is the BBS’ consciousness?

The BBS is most concerned with the health and well being of the patient. What safety nets are in place for the therapist to access in order to serve their patient in the most reasonable way available? Understanding the rationale for the correct answer to each question is the most important part of how to take these tests. What are you learning when taking the practice exams? Do you find yourself feeling resistant, resentful, bitter, or angry about the process? Please take time to examine your process. The BBS and legislation by California’s government has determined what legal and ethical standards will help you maintain the highest standards.

Now, in the event you don’t pass the test, try not to let that experience contaminate your next attempt to pass. Maybe you weren’t ready and that’s okay. Also not passing, though painful, can be a good thing. It reinforces all your education, training, and clinical skills and this is immediately useful to your work. Not passing the test does not have to be a defining moment, it is a moment in time. You are not alone as these exams towards licensure are difficult.

Please let me know if there are other topics you would like to have addressed. You can email me at;


Valerie “Billie” Klayman, M.A., LMFT, an integrative Meaning Centered Therapist, became a supervisor at Antioch University Counseling Center in 2014. Billie initiated a partnership between AUCC and the Culver City Senior Center offering pro-bono therapy and group therapy to members of CCSC. December 2016, Culver City hired Billie to help residents of the community at the Culver City Senior Center. She’s presented on Substance Abuse and Addiction. Billie can be reached at 

Diana M. Pash, MA, LMFT is a Solution-Focused therapist in private practice in Culver City, CA, specializing in LGBTQ affirmative therapy, couples counseling, anxiety treatment, and addiction/recovery counseling. She earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Los Angeles. She can be reached at