Code Section

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 2. HEALING ARTS [500 - 4999.129]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 399. )

CHAPTER 16. Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors [4999.10 - 4999.129]

  ( Chapter 16 added by Stats. 2009, Ch. 619, Sec. 3. )

ARTICLE 3. Licensure [4999.30 - 4999.64]
  ( Article 3 added by Stats. 2009, Ch. 619, Sec. 3. )


(a) This section shall apply to applicants for licensure or registration who begin graduate study before August 1, 2012, and complete that study on or before December 31, 2018. Those applicants may alternatively qualify under paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 4999.33.

(b) To qualify for licensure or registration, applicants shall possess a master’s or doctoral degree that is counseling or psychotherapy in content and that meets the requirements of this section, obtained from an accredited or approved institution, as defined in Section 4999.12. For purposes of this subdivision, a degree is “counseling or psychotherapy in content” if it contains the supervised practicum or field study experience described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) and, except as provided in subdivision (d), the coursework in the core content areas listed in subparagraphs (A) to (I), inclusive, of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c).

(c) The degree described in subdivision (b) shall contain not less than 48 graduate semester or 72 graduate quarter units of instruction, which shall, except as provided in subdivision (d), include all of the following:

(1) The equivalent of at least three semester units or four and one-half quarter units of graduate study in each of the following core content areas:

(A) Counseling and psychotherapeutic theories and techniques, including the counseling process in a multicultural society, an orientation to wellness and prevention, counseling theories to assist in selection of appropriate counseling interventions, models of counseling consistent with current professional research and practice, development of a personal model of counseling, and multidisciplinary responses to crises, emergencies, and disasters.

(B) Human growth and development across the lifespan, including normal and abnormal behavior and an understanding of developmental crises, disability, psychopathology, and situational and environmental factors that affect both normal and abnormal behavior.

(C) Career development theories and techniques, including career development decisionmaking models and interrelationships among and between work, family, and other life roles and factors, including the role of multicultural issues in career development.

(D) Group counseling theories and techniques, including principles of group dynamics, group process components, developmental stage theories, therapeutic factors of group work, group leadership styles and approaches, pertinent research and literature, group counseling methods, and evaluation of effectiveness.

(E) Assessment, appraisal, and testing of individuals, including basic concepts of standardized and nonstandardized testing and other assessment techniques, norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessment, statistical concepts, social and cultural factors related to assessment and evaluation of individuals and groups, and ethical strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment instruments and techniques in counseling.

(F) Multicultural counseling theories and techniques, including counselors’ roles in developing cultural self-awareness, identity development, promoting cultural social justice, individual and community strategies for working with and advocating for diverse populations, and counselors’ roles in eliminating biases and prejudices, and processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination.

(G) Principles of the diagnostic process, including differential diagnosis, and the use of current diagnostic tools, such as the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the impact of co-occurring substance use disorders or medical psychological disorders, established diagnostic criteria for mental or emotional disorders, and the treatment modalities and placement criteria within the continuum of care.

(H) Research and evaluation, including studies that provide an understanding of research methods, statistical analysis, the use of research to inform evidence-based practice, the importance of research in advancing the profession of counseling, and statistical methods used in conducting research, needs assessment, and program evaluation.

(I) Professional orientation, ethics, and law in counseling, including professional ethical standards and legal considerations, licensing law and process, regulatory laws that delineate the profession’s scope of practice, counselor-client privilege, confidentiality, the client dangerous to self or others, treatment of minors with or without parental consent, relationship between practitioner’s sense of self and human values, functions and relationships with other human service providers, strategies for collaboration, and advocacy processes needed to address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients.

(2) In addition to the course requirements described in paragraph (1), a minimum of 12 semester units or 18 quarter units of advanced coursework to develop knowledge of specific treatment issues, special populations, application of counseling constructs, assessment and treatment planning, clinical interventions, therapeutic relationships, psychopathology, or other clinical topics.

(3) Not less than six semester units or nine quarter units of supervised practicum or field study experience that involves direct client contact in a clinical setting that provides a range of professional clinical counseling experience, including the following:

(A) Applied psychotherapeutic techniques.

(B) Assessment.

(C) Diagnosis.

(D) Prognosis.

(E) Treatment.

(F) Issues of development, adjustment, and maladjustment.

(G) Health and wellness promotion.

(H) Other recognized counseling interventions.

(I) A minimum of 150 hours of face-to-face supervised clinical experience counseling individuals, families, or groups.

(d) (1) (A) An applicant whose degree is deficient in no more than two of the required areas of study listed in subparagraphs (A) to (I), inclusive, of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) may satisfy those deficiencies by successfully completing post-master’s or postdoctoral degree coursework at an accredited or approved institution, as defined in Section 4999.12.

(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), no applicant shall be deficient in the required areas of study specified in subparagraphs (E) or (G) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c).

(2) Coursework taken to meet deficiencies in the required areas of study listed in subparagraphs (A) to (I), inclusive, of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) shall be the equivalent of three semester units or four and one-half quarter units of study.

(3) The board shall make the final determination as to whether a degree meets all requirements, including, but not limited to, course requirements, regardless of accreditation.

(e) In addition to the degree described in this section, or as part of that degree, an applicant shall complete the following coursework or training prior to registration as an associate:

(1) A minimum of 15 contact hours of instruction in alcoholism and other chemical substance abuse dependency, as specified by regulation.

(2) A minimum of 10 contact hours of training or coursework in human sexuality as specified in Section 25, and any regulations promulgated thereunder.

(3) A two semester unit or three quarter unit survey course in psychopharmacology.

(4) A minimum of 15 contact hours of instruction in spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection, and intervention strategies, including knowledge of community resources, cultural factors, and same gender abuse dynamics.

(5) A minimum of seven contact hours of training or coursework in child abuse assessment and reporting as specified in Section 28 and any regulations adopted thereunder.

(6) A minimum of 18 contact hours of instruction in California law and professional ethics for professional clinical counselors that includes, but is not limited to, instruction in advertising, scope of practice, scope of competence, treatment of minors, confidentiality, dangerous clients, psychotherapist-client privilege, recordkeeping, client access to records, dual relationships, child abuse, elder and dependent adult abuse, online therapy, insurance reimbursement, civil liability, disciplinary actions and unprofessional conduct, ethics complaints and ethical standards, termination of therapy, standards of care, relevant family law, therapist disclosures to clients, and state and federal laws related to confidentiality of patient health information. When coursework in a master’s or doctoral degree program is acquired to satisfy this requirement, it shall be considered as part of the 48 semester unit or 72 quarter unit requirement in subdivision (c).

(7) A minimum of 10 contact hours of instruction in aging and long-term care, which may include, but is not limited to, the biological, social, and psychological aspects of aging. On and after January 1, 2012, this coursework shall include instruction on the assessment and reporting of, as well as treatment related to, elder and dependent adult abuse and neglect.

(8) A minimum of 15 contact hours of instruction in crisis or trauma counseling, including multidisciplinary responses to crises, emergencies, or disasters, and brief, intermediate, and long-term approaches.

(f) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2019, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute that is enacted before January 1, 2019, deletes or extends that date.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 573, Sec. 16. (SB 800) Effective January 1, 2018. Repealed as of January 1, 2019, by its own provisions.)