2008 Washington State Legislature passes bill

10 Apr 2008 9:06 PM | Tim Livingston (Administrator)
Washington Professional Counselors Association is very happy to announce that the 2008 Washington State Legislature passed a good workable bill on counselor regulation.

The bill was signed into law by the Governor on Tuesday, March 25.  You can read the final version of 2SHB 2674 on the legislative website at <http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2674>.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page and under "Bill Documents" click on "Bill as passed legislature" to download a pdf version of the bill.  We will post more detailed information soon, and in the meantime here is a list of the most important features for currently registered private practice counselors.

  • Counselors who have been registered for 5 or more years without any unresolved actionable complaints will be able to take classes in ethics, risk assessment and referral and WA State law regarding counselors and then pass a test on these subjects in order to become Certified Counselors.  Once certified, they will be required to have a written consultation agreement with a licensed mental health professional and fulfill requirements for continuing education.
  • Counselors who do not fall in the first category and who want to become Certified Counselors will need to have a bachelor's degree in a counseling related field, take the same courses and pass the same test as the above category, and have a supervision agreement with a DOH qualified supervisor.  They will also need to fulfill continuing education requirements.
  • Certified Counselors will have a clearly defined scope of practice:
    1. They do not diagnose and treat the mentally ill and are therefore not reimbursable through insurance.
    2. They may counsel and guide a client in adjusting to life situations, developing new skills, and making desired changes as long as the client scores 61 and above on the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) Scale.
    3. They must refer clients to licensed medical or mental health professionals for treatment of problems that fall at 60 or below on the GAF Scale, but can continue working with the client as part of their treatment plan, or
    4. They can continue to work with a client who states in writing that they do not want licensed medical or mental health treatment as long as the client does not have a GAF score lower than 50.

KateMilesMiriamGov72dpi.jpg

(left to right) WaProCA members, Kate Abbott, Richard Miles, and Miriam Dyak with Governor Gregoire at the signing of House Bill 2674 on Counselor Regulation.

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