ALERT: Effective January 1, 2018, the titles for Marriage and Family Therapist Interns, and Professional Clinical Counselor Interns will change. More Information

What is a LMFT, LCSW, LPCC and LEP?

The following are definitions from the Business and Professions Code (BPC) regarding the scope and practice of licensees regulated by the Board of Behavioral Sciences.

What is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)?


For the purposes of this chapter, the practice of marriage and family therapy shall mean that service performed with individuals, couples, or groups wherein interpersonal relationships are examined for the purpose of achieving more adequate, satisfying, and productive marriage and family adjustments. This practice includes relationship and premarriage counseling.

The application of marriage and family therapy principles and methods includes, but is not limited to, the use of applied psychotherapeutic techniques, to enable individuals to mature and grow within marriage and the family, the provision of explanations and interpretations of the psychosexual and psychosocial aspects of relationships, and the use, application, and integration of the coursework and training required by Sections 4980.37, 4980.40, and 4980.41.

What is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)?


The practice of clinical social work is defined as a service in which a special knowledge of social resources, human capabilities, and the part that unconscious motivation plays in determining behavior, is directed at helping people to achieve more adequate, satisfying, and productive social adjustments. The application of social work principles and methods includes, but is not restricted to, counseling and using applied psychotherapy of a nonmedical nature with individuals, families, or groups; providing information and referral services; providing or arranging for the provision of social services; explaining or interpreting the psychosocial aspects in the situations of individuals, families, or groups; helping communities to organize, to provide, or to improve social or health services; or doing research related to social work.

Psychotherapy, within the meaning of this chapter, is the use of psychosocial methods within a professional relationship, to assist the person or persons to achieve a better psychosocial adaptation, to acquire greater human realization of psychosocial potential and adaptation, to modify internal and external conditions which affect individuals, groups, or communities in respect to behavior, emotions, and thinking, in respect to their intrapersonal and interpersonal processes.

What is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)?


The scope of practice for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs) is set forth in California Business and Professions Code section 4999.20 and Title 16, California Code of Regulations, Section 1820.5, both of which are available in the Board’s Statutes and Regulations handbook.

Section 4999.20. (a):
(1) "Professional clinical counseling" means the application of counseling interventions and psychotherapeutic techniques to identify and remediate cognitive, mental, and emotional issues, including personal growth, adjustment to disability, crisis intervention, and psychosocial and environmental problems, and the use, application, and integration of the coursework and training required by Sections 4999.32 and 4999.33. "Professional clinical counseling" includes conducting assessments for the purpose of establishing counseling goals and objectives to empower individuals to deal adequately with life situations, reduce stress, experience growth, change behavior, and make well-informed, rational decisions.

(2) "Professional clinical counseling" is focused exclusively on the application of counseling interventions and psychotherapeutic techniques for the purposes of improving mental health, and is not intended to capture other, nonclinical forms of counseling for the purposes of licensure. For purposes of this paragraph, "nonclinical" means nonmental health.

Additional Information on LPCC Scope of Practice, and Treatment of Couples or Families

What is a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP)?

Section 4989.14: Scope of Practice

The practice of educational psychology is the performance of any of the following professional functions pertaining to academic learning processes or the education system or both:

(a) Educational evaluation.
(b) Diagnosis of psychological disorders related to academic learning processes.
(c) Administration of diagnostic tests related to academic learning processes including tests of academic ability, learning patterns, achievement, motivation, and personality factors.
(d) Interpretation of diagnostic tests related to academic learning processes including tests of academic ability, learning patterns, achievement, motivation, and personality factors.
(e) Providing psychological counseling for individuals, groups, and families.
(f) Consultation with other educators and parents on issues of social development and behavioral and academic difficulties.
(g) Conducting psychoeducational assessments for the purposes of identifying special needs.
(h) Developing treatment programs and strategies to address problems of adjustment.
(i) Coordinating intervention strategies for management of individual crises.