The counseling profession’s long-standing goal of achieving recognition in all 50 states is a major step closer to completion. In the final hours of its legislative session, the California legislature approved a bill establishing licensure of professional clinical counselors in the state. California is the only state yet to establish formal recognition of professional counselors.
The California Assembly approved SB 788 by a strong 70-5 vote on September 8th, followed two days later by a 25-1 vote in the California Senate. The bill now goes to Governor Schwarzenegger for his consideration. The governor has until October 11th to either sign the legislation into law or issue a veto. ACA encourages its members in California to contact the Governor to urge him to sign the counselor licensure legislation into law. For more information, visit the website of the California Coalition for Counselor Licensure (CCCL) at http://www.caccl.org.
Approval of SB 788 is a hard-fought victory for CCCL and for the counseling profession. SB 788 would establish the title of "licensed professional clinical counselor," defining the practice of counseling to include "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." CCCL had to incorporate several amendments to the licensure bill in order to remove opposition from other professional organizations. For example, the legislation states that "professional clinical counseling" does not include the "assessment or treatment of couples or families" unless the counselor has completed specific education and training in this area.
ACA has long supported the licensure effort, and applauds California’s counselors for this accomplishment.