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AB-462 Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Act. (2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/08/2021 09:00 PM
AB462:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 462


Introduced by Assembly Member Carrillo

February 08, 2021


An act to amend Sections 4999.20 and 4999.46 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to healing arts.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 462, as introduced, Carrillo. Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Act.
Existing law, the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Act, prohibits, except as provided, a person from practicing or advertising the performance of professional clinical counseling services without a license. The act defines “professional clinical counseling” to exclude the assessment or treatment of couples or families unless the professional clinical counselor has completed specified training and education requirements. The act requires supervised experience that is obtained for the purpose of qualifying for licensure to be related to the practice of professional clinical counseling and comply with specified requirements, including by requiring at least 150 hours of clinical experience in a hospital or community mental health setting, as defined. A violation of the act is punishable as a misdemeanor.
This bill would delete the provision excluding the assessment or treatment of couples or families without meeting specified training and education requirements from the definition of “professional clinical counseling.” The bill would also eliminate the licensure requirement of completing at least 150 hours of clinical experience in a hospital or community mental health setting. By widening the scope of activity subject to licensure as a professional clinical counselor, this bill would expand the scope of a crime and would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 4999.20 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:

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.

(3)“Professional clinical counseling” does not include the assessment or treatment of couples or families unless the professional clinical counselor has completed all of the following training and education:

(A)One of the following:

(i)Six semester units or nine quarter units specifically focused on the theory and application of marriage and family therapy.

(ii)A named specialization or emphasis area on the qualifying degree in marriage and family therapy; marital and family therapy; marriage, family, and child counseling; or couple and family therapy.

(B)No less than 500 hours of documented supervised experience working directly with couples, families, or children.

(C)A minimum of six hours of continuing education specific to marriage and family therapy, completed in each license renewal cycle.

(4)

(3) “Professional clinical counseling” does not include the provision of clinical social work services.
(b) “Counseling interventions and psychotherapeutic techniques” means the application of cognitive, affective, verbal or nonverbal, systemic or holistic counseling strategies that include principles of development, wellness, and maladjustment that reflect a pluralistic society. These interventions and techniques are specifically implemented in the context of a professional clinical counseling relationship and use a variety of counseling theories and approaches.
(c) “Assessment” means selecting, administering, scoring, and interpreting tests, instruments, and other tools and methods designed to measure an individual’s attitudes, abilities, aptitudes, achievements, interests, personal characteristics, disabilities, and mental, emotional, and behavioral concerns and development and the use of methods and techniques for understanding human behavior in relation to coping with, adapting to, or ameliorating changing life situations, as part of the counseling process. “Assessment” shall not include the use of projective techniques in the assessment of personality, individually administered intelligence tests, neuropsychological testing, or utilization of a battery of three or more tests to determine the presence of psychosis, dementia, amnesia, cognitive impairment, or criminal behavior.
(d) Professional clinical counselors shall refer clients to other licensed health care professionals when they identify issues beyond their own scope of education, training, and experience.

SEC. 2.

 Section 4999.46 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:

4999.46.
 (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), all applicants shall have an active associate registration with the board in order to gain postdegree hours of supervised experience.
(b) (1) Preregistered postdegree hours of experience shall be credited toward licensure if all of the following apply:
(A) The registration applicant applies for the associate registration and the board receives the application within 90 days of the granting of the qualifying master’s degree or doctoral degree.
(B) For applicants completing graduate study on or after January 1, 2020, the experience is obtained at a workplace that, prior to the registration applicant gaining supervised experience hours, requires completed Live Scan fingerprinting. The applicant shall provide the board with a copy of that completed State of California “Request for Live Scan Service” form with their application for licensure.
(C) The board subsequently grants the associate registration.
(2) The applicant shall not be employed or volunteer in a private practice until they have been issued an associate registration by the board.
(c) Supervised experience that is obtained for the purposes of qualifying for licensure shall be related to the practice of professional clinical counseling and comply with the following:
(1) A minimum of 3,000 postdegree hours performed over a period of not less than two years (104 weeks).
(2) Not more than 40 hours in any seven consecutive days.
(3) Not less than 1,750 hours of direct clinical counseling with individuals, groups, couples, or families using a variety of psychotherapeutic techniques and recognized counseling interventions.

(4)Not less than 150 hours of clinical experience in a hospital or community mental health setting, as defined in Section 4999.12.

(5)

(4) A maximum of 1,250 hours of nonclinical practice, consisting of direct supervisor contact, administering and evaluating psychological tests, writing clinical reports, writing progress or process notes, client centered advocacy, and workshops, seminars, training sessions, or conferences directly related to professional clinical counseling that have been approved by the applicant’s supervisor.

(6)

(5) A maximum of 1,200 hours gained under the supervision of a licensed educational psychologist providing educationally related mental health services that are consistent with the scope of practice of an educational psychologist, as specified in Section 4989.14.
(d) An individual who submits an application for licensure between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2020, may alternatively qualify under the experience requirements of this section that were in place on January 1, 2015.
(e) Experience hours shall not have been gained more than six years prior to the date the application for licensure was received by the board.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.