HB 4325 clarifies that counselors can continue to diagnose and offer psychotherapy
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed HB 4325 into law—effectively protecting the scope of practice for licensed professional counselors and ensuring they retain the ability to diagnose patients and use psychotherapy techniques.
“This new law will ensure that more than 150,000 Michiganders can still access critical mental health care,” stated Whitmer. “And it will protect 10,000 professional counselors from losing the ability to practice as they currently do. We must continue to work hard to ensure every Michigander has access to critical mental health care, and this is a step in the right direction.”
The bill signing comes after several weeks of a huge grassroots effort mobilized among concerned counselors and mental health organizations, including the American Counseling Association, to protest the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ proposed changes to redefine the work counselors are lawfully permitted to perform. While a decision from LARA is still forthcoming, today’s bill signing eclipses any rule changes that would have been established by the Board.
In an effort to expand and clarify the scope of practice for professional counselors in Michigan, HB 4325 adds the term "clinical counseling principles, methods or procedure" to the scope of practice language. Other changes that the bill addresses include: requiring licensed counselors to seek continuing education courses. It also would allow people who have graduated with Master's or doctoral degrees to become counselors at 18 years old. Currently, the age requirement to practice is 21.
“This important legislation safeguards the ability of at least 10,000 of Michigan’s LPCs to provide critical counseling services to the state’s families, seniors, veterans, and children during this time in our nation when the mental health crisis is on the rise, “ said Richard Yep, CEO of the American Counseling Association. “We applaud Governor Whitmer for standing with the LPCs in Michigan and the approximate 150,000 citizens they serve each year.”