General Info & Requirements
Information about licensees regulated by the Board, and where to find services.
What is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)?
§4980.02. PRACTICE OF MARRIAGE, FAMILY, AND CHILD COUNSELING; APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLES AND METHODS
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 §4980.37, 4980.40, and 4980.41.
What is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)?
§4996.9. CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK AND PSYCHOTHERAPY DEFINED
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)?
§4999.20. SCOPE OF PRACTICE; TREATMENT OF COUPLES OR FAMILIES
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.
LPCC: Assessment and Treatment of Couples or Families
- The scope of practice for LPCCs does not include the assessment or treatment of couples or families unless the LPCC meets specific qualifications mandated by California law.
- LPCCs who wish to assess and treat couples or families are required to obtain Board confirmation of qualifications, and provide a copy of that confirmation to the following:
- Couple or family clients prior to commencement of treatment
- The types of supervisees listed below, prior to commencement of supervision:
- A Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee or Intern
- An LPCC or Associate PCC who is gaining the supervised experience necessary to treat couples or families
- More information is provided in the following documents:
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.
How to Find Services
Consumers in California searching for mental health services may refer to the following organizations for assistance:
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) enacts sweeping changes in how the healthcare professions handle the administrative details of their practices, and contains a broad and stringent framework, for the privacy and confidentiality of personally identifiable health information. This Federal statute was enacted as Public Law 104-191. Further information regarding this act can be found at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website.
The Administrative Simplification provisions of HIPAA (Title II of the Act) require HHS to establish national standards for electronic health care transactions, and national identifiers for providers, health plans, and employers. Covered entities must comply with the technical standards and data sets adopted by HHS. HIPAA also addresses the security and privacy of health data, and establishes stringent procedures, which covered persons and entities must follow, in obtaining and disclosing personally identifiable health information.
Licensing boards do not administer the provisions of HIPAA. Therefore, the Board cannot licensees with guidance, regarding HIPAA compliance. Licensees with HIPAA questions should seek answers through the following resources:
- HHS's website provides a great deal of information, including frequently asked questions.
- Another good source of information is the HIPAA website maintained by the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
- HHS's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) implements the HIPAA privacy regulations. Guidance about the privacy requirements may be found on OCR's website at www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa.
- Under law, “telehealth” is the mode of delivering health care via information and communication technologies, including, but not limited to, telephone and/or internet
- Licensees may deliver health care, under their scope of practice, via telehealth, under certain conditions
- Licensees are responsible for understanding all applicable laws, to deliver health care via telehealth
- Failure to comply with any provisions regarding telehealth may be subject to disciplinary action by the Board
- Comprehensive Requirements and Applicable Laws
Clients in California
This section applies to clients who are physically located in California.
- Individuals providing psychotherapy or counseling, either in person, via telephone, or via internet, must be licensed in California.
Clients Outside of California
This section applies to clients who are physically located out-of-state.
- California licensees or registrants who wish to engage in telehealth with a client located in another jurisdiction need to check with that jurisdiction to determine its laws related to telehealth, and if licensure in that jurisdiction is required. Several states currently consider a client located in their state to be under their jurisdiction. Therefore, a practitioner needs to comply with that jurisdiction’s laws in order to avoid any potential violations of those laws.
Inform and Consent
Prior to the delivery of health care via telehealth, the provider initiating the use of telehealth shall:
- Inform the patient about the use of telehealth; AND
- Obtain, and document, verbal or written consent from the patient for this use
- All laws regarding the confidentiality of health care information and a patient's right to their medical information shall apply to telehealth interactions.
- Additional Info
California Consumers are advised to be cautious when seeking counseling or psychotherapy via telehealth, by understanding the following:
- Always verify the license!
- Individuals providing counseling or psychotherapy must be licensed in the State of California
- Licensees must disclose to the consumer, their license type and number, prior to commencement of services
- Fees being charged for services, as well as how and to whom the fee will be paid
- Methods used by the licensee, to ensure confidential communication
- Risks and benefits of counseling and psychotherapy via telehealth
Californians aged 65 and over are one of the fastest growing populations in the state. The World Health Organization reports that nearly one in four adults aged 60 and over lives with a mental health condition.
You and your loved ones deserve to live long, healthy, happy lives. Mental health conditions, including depression (the most common condition diagnosed in older adults), are not a normal part of growing older. Such conditions are often undiagnosed and untreated.
We all know that it's important to see a physician on a regular basis to maintain good health. However, many people are not aware of the overall health benefits of addressing mental health. Mental health and physical health do have an impact on each other, so addressing both is important.
Seeing a mental health professional, finding a support group and learning more about mental health conditions can help greatly.
Below is a list designed to help you learn about mental health issues and conditions, find resources in your area, and more.
- Help Finding Care
- Mental Health America: Finding Help
- California Department of Health Care Services, Mental Health Services Division
- 2-1-1 Human Service Locator Resource
- SAMHSA Mental Health Services Locator
- National Alliance on Mental Illness – Search for Your Local Chapter
- Department of Health and Human Services: Administration on Aging Eldercare Locator
- Information About Seniors and Mental Health
- "Good Mental Health is Ageless"
- Self- Empowerment: Choosing a Mental Health Professional in California
- National Institute of Mental Health – Older Adults and Depression
- Mental Health America: Preventing Suicide in Older Adults
- Geriatric Mental Health Foundation: Substance Abuse and Misuse Among Older Adults