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Scope of Practice

For The LPCC License

The scope of practice for LPCCs is often misunderstood, as it is a lesser-known license in California. However, the similarities between LPCCs and MFTs are more significant than the differences. As shown in the above Venn diagram, both licenses provide counseling and therapy to individuals, couples, and families. The only limitation for LPCCs in California is that they cannot provide certain types of assessments. For more information, please see the Board of Behavioral Sciences' Statues and Regulations Professional Business Code below.

Business and Professions Code 4999.20

“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.

“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.

“Counseling interventions and psychotherapeutic techniques” means the application of cognitive, affective, verbal or nonverbal, systemic or holistic counseling strategies that include principles of 128 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.

“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.

Scope Limitations

Limitations from Business and Professions Code 4999.20

“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. 

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.

“Professional clinical counseling” does not include the provision of clinical social work services.

LAW AB-462: Updated Scope of Practice for LPCCs

As of January 1, 2022, LPCCs are no longer required to complete additional coursework in order to treat couples and families. 

AB-462 effectively removes barriers, including additional coursework and specialized hours required to treat children/couples as an associate in order to be qualified to treat these populations when licensed. 

AB-462 has gone into effect retroactively, meaning that clinicians at all different professional levels are now able to treat these populations, even if previously they did not have the required prerequisites. 

Please read the BBS official FAQ on the implementation of AB-462.

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