Newsletter Article | Jan 29, 2018

ACA Takes Action Against State-Based Legislation Threatening Licensure for Counselors

Bills that would eliminate or reduce licensure for counselors are becoming more common in state legislatures. The Arizona House of Representatives is considering a bill that would eliminate the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners and the licensure process for counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and addiction counselors. Last year, Iowa considered a bill to abolish the entire licensure process for almost all licensed professions, and Ohio introduced a bill to consolidate the licensure boards so counselors would not be guaranteed a representative on their own board. Neither bill was successful. However, other states are also leaning toward board consolidations. Even the Federal Trade Commission, which has no direct role in state licensure decisions, is recommending that too many professions are have licensure requirements across the country. 

The American Counseling Association continues to advocate for licensure and against legislation that would diminish its role for counselors, as it did in Iowa and Ohio. ACA knows the importance of education, experience, and accountability in the licensure process for counselors and for their clients. Licensure is also vital when counselors work with the VA, TRICARE, Medicaid, and insurers. 

Most recently, ACA and the Arizona Counseling Association (AzCA) have been working together to fight the bill in the Arizona legislature and preserve the licensure process that benefits both counselors and people who seek counseling. 

The bill, HB 2406, is pending in the Arizona House Health Committee. 

“We know the education and training counselors must have in order to become licensed is invaluable for those who come to us for help,” says Art Terrazas, Director of Government Affairs for ACA. “The licensure process ensures accountability and is good for our profession, and more importantly, good for consumers.”

ACA took action to ask that all Arizona members and all of AzCA’s members send a message (below) about the importance of counseling licensure to their representatives in the Arizona House. Our latest information is that this bill is unlikely to pass out of the Health Committee, but we will continue to monitor the status throughout the winter and spring. 

ACA is committed to working with members in any state where the licensure board is proposed to be eliminated or consolidated.  

 

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5 Comments

  1. 5 Dr. Fred J. Hansen 30 Jan
    This is so sad; the purpose of licensure is to provide an assurance to the public that the person to whom they are entrusting their mental health is not a charlatan.  Bad enough we already have “Coaches” counseling with people with no mental health training, now we will just eliminate the entire profession?  Word to legislature, managed care insurance companies will not work with unlicensed counselors, so unless you simply want to drive the practice of professional counseling out of the state, might want to rethink this bill.
  2. 4 John Seniff 30 Jan
    Training and education is highly important. Just being a coach or claiming knowledge is not good.
  3. 3 Donna Rose 08 Feb
    Holy cow!!!! Are you joking? This would be a complete disaster for mental health care consumers, one of the most vulnerable populations! What a ridiculous, horrible, idea. Wow.
  4. 2 L. Panepento 08 Feb
    It is my professional opinion we are splinters as a profession in a time of need for Counselors who are trained professionally though maybe at various different levels during these presenting difficult times.  Not only are many competent professional counselors not working due to red tape licensing (portability for example) but we have a world of hurting people and we have the skills to make the difference though we maybe at various professional levels.  

    Instead of banning out Professionally Trained Counselors it is my professional opinion something needs to be done to support a more effective national licensing process that makes Professional Counselors able to get licensed easier vs state-to-state portability hoops to jump landing nowhere.  

    I am in favor of the bill FCC as well as well as the AZ House of Representatives came to the legislation table with.  We as professionals did not spend a couple/few years and thousands of dollars to be sitting on the bench.

    We need to show some "internal professional honor" for the profession by taking care of our own profession.  Taking care of our own Professional Counselors or Mental Health Counselors, becoming chameleon would look similar as to how MSW's take care of their own profession with five levels for licensing as follows: CMSW, ACSW, LMSW, LCSW, LCSW-R.  No one professionally trained is left out.  They can keep increasing their certifications up the ladder and still be able to practice at a capacity for what their certification or license allows them to.   We're living in a rapidly changing world of hurting people and we are walking around fragmented, hurting our own and broken instead of unified one level to the next level upward. 
  5. 1 Randi Herman-Roggeman 19 Feb
    Licensure is imperative to ensure that our community members experiencing mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues and conditions receive appropriate services from a qualified professional. 

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