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Substitute Senate Bill No. 903

Public Act No. 17-94

AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS FOR PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 20-195aa of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

As used in [sections 20-195aa] this section and sections 20-195bb to 20-195ee, inclusive:

(1) "Licensed professional counselor" or "professional counselor" means a person who has been licensed as a professional counselor pursuant to this chapter;

(2) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Public Health;

(3) "Department" means the Department of Public Health;

(4) "Professional counseling" means the application, by persons trained in counseling, of established principles of psycho-social development and behavioral science to the evaluation, assessment, analysis, diagnosis and treatment of emotional, behavioral or interpersonal dysfunction or difficulties that interfere with mental health and human development. "Professional counseling" includes, but is not limited to, individual, group, marriage and family counseling, functional assessments for persons adjusting to a disability, appraisal, crisis intervention and consultation with individuals or groups; [.]

(5) "Under professional supervision" means the practice of professional counseling under the supervision of a licensed professional counselor, a physician licensed pursuant to chapter 370, who is certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, an advanced practice registered nurse licensed pursuant to chapter 378, who is certified as a psychiatric and mental health clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a psychologist licensed pursuant to chapter 383, a marital and family therapist licensed pursuant to chapter 383a or a licensed clinical social worker licensed pursuant to chapter 383b;

(6) "Direct professional supervision" means face-to-face consultation between one supervisor, who is a professional described in subdivision (5) of this section, and one person receiving supervision that consists of not less than a monthly review with a written evaluation and assessment by the supervisor of such person's practice of professional counseling; and

(7) "Related mental health field" means social work, marriage and family therapy or psychology.

Sec. 2. Section 20-195cc of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) The Commissioner of Public Health shall grant a license as a professional counselor to any applicant who furnishes evidence satisfactory to the commissioner that such applicant has met the requirements of section 20-195dd, as amended by this act. The commissioner shall develop and provide application forms. The application fee shall be three hundred fifteen dollars.

(b) Licenses issued under this section may be renewed annually pursuant to section 19a-88. The fee for such renewal shall be one hundred ninety-five dollars. Each licensed professional counselor applying for license renewal shall furnish evidence satisfactory to the commissioner of having participated in continuing education programs. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to (1) define basic requirements for continuing education programs [, which] that shall include (A) not less than one contact hour of training or education each registration period on the topic of cultural competency, [and,] (B) on and after January 1, 2016, not less than two contact hours of training or education during the first renewal period in which continuing education is required and not less than once every six years thereafter on the topic of mental health conditions common to veterans and family members of veterans, including [(A)] (i) determining whether a patient is a veteran or family member of a veteran, [(B)] (ii) screening for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, risk of suicide, depression and grief, and [(C)] (iii) suicide prevention training, and (C) on and after January 1, 2018, not less than three contact hours of training or education each registration period on the topic of professional ethics, (2) delineate qualifying programs, (3) establish a system of control and reporting, and (4) provide for a waiver of the continuing education requirement for good cause.

Sec. 3. Section 20-195dd of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) (1) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, an applicant for a license as a professional counselor shall, prior to January 1, 2019, submit evidence satisfactory to the [Commissioner of Public Health] commissioner of having: [(1)] (A) Completed sixty graduate semester hours in or related to the discipline of counseling at a regionally accredited institution of higher education, [which] that included coursework in each of the following areas: [(A)] (i) Human growth and development, [(B)] (ii) social and cultural foundations, [(C)] (iii) counseling theories and techniques or helping relationships, [(D)] (iv) group dynamics, [(E)] (v) processing and counseling, [(F)] (vi) career and lifestyle development, [(G)] (vii) appraisals or tests and measurements for individuals and groups, [(H)] (viii) research and evaluation, and [(I)] (ix) professional orientation to counseling; [(2)] (B) earned, from a regionally accredited institution of higher education a master's or doctoral degree in social work, marriage and family therapy, counseling, psychology or a related mental health field; [(3)] (C) acquired three thousand hours of postgraduate-degree-supervised experience in the practice of professional counseling, performed over a period of not less than one year, that included a minimum of one hundred hours of direct supervision by [(A)] (i) a physician licensed pursuant to chapter 370 who has obtained certification in psychiatry from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, [(B)] (ii) a psychologist licensed pursuant to chapter 383, [(C)] (iii) an advanced practice registered nurse licensed pursuant to chapter 378 and certified as a clinical specialist in adult psychiatric and mental health nursing with the American Nurses Credentialing Center, [(D)] (iv) a marital and family therapist licensed pursuant to chapter 383a, [(E)] (v) a clinical social worker licensed pursuant to chapter 383b, [(F)] (vi) a professional counselor licensed, or prior to October 1, 1998, eligible for licensure, pursuant to section 20-195cc, or [(G)] (vii) a physician certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, psychologist, advanced practice registered nurse certified as a clinical specialist in adult psychiatric and mental health nursing with the American Nurses Credentialing Center, marital and family therapist, clinical social worker or professional counselor licensed or certified as such or as a person entitled to perform similar services, under a different designation, in another state or jurisdiction whose requirements for practicing in such capacity are substantially similar to or higher than those of this state; and [(4)] (D) passed an examination prescribed by the commissioner. Any such applicant who, on or before July 1, 2017, is a matriculating student in good standing in a graduate degree program at a regionally accredited institution of higher education in one of the fields required under subparagraph (B) of this subdivision on or before July 1, 2017, but who cannot reasonably complete the requirements set forth in this subdivision prior to January 1, 2019, as determined by the commissioner, may apply for a license under this subdivision on and after January 1, 2019.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, an applicant for a license as a professional counselor shall, on and after January 1, 2019, submit evidence satisfactory to the commissioner of having: (A) (i) Earned a graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling as part of a program of higher learning accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, or a successor organization, or (ii) (I) completed at least sixty graduate semester hours in counseling or a related mental health field at a regionally accredited institution of higher education that included coursework in each of the following areas: Human growth and development; social and cultural foundations; counseling theories; counseling techniques; group counseling; career counseling; appraisals or tests and measurements to individuals and groups; research and evaluation; professional orientation to mental health counseling; addiction and substance abuse counseling; trauma and crisis counseling; and diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders, (II) earned from a regionally accredited institution of higher education a graduate degree in counseling or a related mental health field, (III) completed a one-hundred-hour practicum in counseling taught by a faculty member licensed or certified as a professional counselor or its equivalent in another state, and (IV) completed a six-hundred-hour clinical mental health counseling internship taught by a faculty member licensed or certified as a professional counselor or its equivalent in another state; (B) acquired three thousand hours of postgraduate experience under professional supervision, including a minimum of one hundred hours of direct professional supervision, in the practice of professional counseling, performed over a period of not less than two years; and (C) passed an examination prescribed by the commissioner.

(b) An applicant for licensure by endorsement shall present evidence satisfactory to the commissioner that the applicant is licensed or certified as a professional counselor, or as a person entitled to perform similar services under a different designation, in another state or jurisdiction whose requirements for practicing in such capacity are substantially similar to or higher than those of this state and that there are no disciplinary actions or unresolved complaints pending.

(c) An applicant who is [currently] licensed or certified as a professional counselor or its equivalent in another state, territory or commonwealth of the United States may substitute three years of licensed or certified work experience in the practice of professional counseling in lieu of the requirements of [subdivision (3)] subparagraph (C) of subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section, or subparagraph (B) of subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section, as applicable, provided the commissioner finds that such experience is equal to or greater than the requirements of this state.

Approved June 30, 2017