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Can an LPCC practice privately? Reader Question # 2

Posted Jan 10 2013 5:00am

So now LPCC’s are licensed – where can they work?

In California an LPCC can practice privately if – and only if, they are licensed here in California. So far the only people who meet this requirement are those who already had another license (LMFT or LCSW) here in California and who took the Gap exam to qualify for the LPCC license also. People who were licensed as a Professional counselor in another states and moved here are beginning to qualify to take exams and become California licensed LPCC’s.

LPCC’s have a special role in working in career counseling, mediation and a few other areas that are somewhat different from other mental health professions. LPCC’s should not treat children, families or couples unless they have had additional training in those areas similar to the training LMFT’s receive.

Interns of any license (MFT interns, ASW and PCC interns) are not allowed to have their own practice and must work under another licensed person. In a for profit practice the intern can only work for a limited period (6 years) while gathering supervised hours and testing. Interns and associates who work in governmental settings or other “exempt”
settings may be able to work longer than the 6 year period their first intern number is good for.

Because of quality concerns I expect most employers to limit the time interns who work for them have to get licensed and still work seeing clients.

Some people are attempting to get around this licensing requirement by calling themselves Life Coaches, a profession that to the best of my knowledge is currently not licensed or regulated. If the clients issue relate to anything that may be caused by a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder then the client should be seen by a licensed mental health professional. Coaches should restrict their practice to clients who do not have a mental illness but want help in accomplishing more in life.

The more promotional material I read and view on-line from coaches the more nervous I am that they may be stepping outside their scope of competency as well as their scope of practice.

The laws may vary in other jurisdictions but the legal and ethical principles to stay within your scope of practice and scope of competency should be the same everywhere.    

Thanks for that question.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page . For information about my other writing work beyond this blog there is also a Facebook authors page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at

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