Posted previously here about the bill proposed to go to the PA legislature that will change the Licensed Professional Counselor credential from a title act to a practice act. This would further restrict non-licensed counselors from “styling” themselves as a licensed counselor, from offering the services of a counselor. Already one cannot call themselves a professional counselor or similar titles. But these changes would eliminate many from practicing. This bill (see here for bill with highlighted changes. Go to page 10 to see most pertinent changes and list of exempted individuals) is being voted on by the committee on 1/27.
Note that the exempted parties include “pastoral counselors”. In PA they are not defined. However, in other states they are defined and licensed. Thus, who will determine who is a pastoral counselor and what to do with the overlap between the two? In other states, a pastoral counselor must be ordained and trained in pastoral counseling. Also, psychologists supervising unlicensed people with counseling degrees may be exempted but there is still fuzziness in the law.
It all comes down to the definition of “styling.” See this quote from page 10:
Only individuals who have received licenses as licensed professional counselors under this act may style themselves as licensed professional counselors and use the letters “L.P.C.” in connection with their names. It shall be unlawful for an individual to style oneself as a licensed professional counselor, advertise or offer to engage in the practice of professional counselor counseling or use any words or symbols indicating or tending to indicate that the individual is a licensed professional counselor without holding a license in good standing under this act.
Section 3. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 16.4 Unlicensed practice prohibited.
No person shall engage in the practice of as a licensed social work worker, licensed clinical social work worker, licensed marriage and family therapy therapist or licensed professional counseling counselor in this Commonwealth unless the person holds a valid license to do so as provided in this act. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the following persons:
If you are in PA and one of these representatives (scroll down for the list) are from your district, you may wish to register you opinion on the matter.