News & Updates

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  • 06 Dec 2007 8:00 PM | Tim Livingston (Administrator)
    WaProCA Code-of-Ethics - Click Here to read WaProCAs Code of Ethics.
    Adobe PDF Reader is required.  Click Here to download the Adobe Reader.
  • 17 Jul 2007 8:58 PM | Tim Livingston (Administrator)
    DOH Work Group - Summer 2007 - At the end of the 2007 legislative session we had succeeded in stopping a bill that would have put thousands of private practice counselors out of business and would have eliminated protection for clients.  Now we have a chance to work together with the Department of Health, the Legislature, the Governor, and our colleagues to create legislation that will succeed in improving the Registered Counselor credential and maintain protection for clients.

    Next Step is the Department of Health (DOH) work group. At the end of the 2007 legislative session $147,000 was put in the DOH budget

    "to convene a work group to develop recommendations regarding the need to regulate those individuals currently registered with the Department as counselors. The Department will submit the recommendations of the work group to the Legislature and Governor by November 15, 2007.  Based on the recommendations of the work group, DOH will draft credential guideline for all registered counselors by January 1, 2008."

    Washington Professional Counselors Association has submitted our requests and concerns to the DOH in detail.  These include:
    • making sure the upcoming work group has members who actually know something about private practice RC's (not just what they read in the papers) and who want to create practical new standards relevant to our profession.
    • a new survey that is designed to yield real information about who RC's are and what we do and not define us according to what we are not - not licensed, not planning to be licensed, etc.
    • increased public participation - we want a more open process where members of the public, especially RC's, can contribute meaningfully to the work group.
    • no recommendations from the work group based on hearsay and assumptions - this time these ideas have to be backed up by accurate data on RC's.  (WaProCA has put in a public information request to the DOH for information on RC's who have violations - we have gotten very little so far.)
    • an emphasis on what the DOH can do to educate the public regarding counseling services. Our view is that so far the DOH has done almost nothing in this regard in the past 20 years.

    Washington Professional Counselors Association has been officially invited to the work group, and in fact we are now seen by the DOH, the Legislature, and the Governor's office as a legitimate voice for private practice Registered Counselors in Washington State.  This is a big step forward.

    What is somewhat discouraging is that much of the rest of the work group is being put together in the same way as last year by inviting every organization of licensed mental health providers to have representation.  This means that every group that is in competition with private practice RC's for market share gets to sit on this group.  This can make the group too large to be effective and almost guarantees that the number of members who have a real expertise regarding RC's and a real concern for creating a workable solution will be in the minority.  Next time there is a revision of the code regarding any of the licensed mental health professions, we definitely want to Registered Counselors sitting on the work group!

    What you can do:

    • Attend the work group meetings: July 13, August 9, August 23, September 6. Meetings will be 9 am to 4 pm in the Olympia/Tumwater area. Check the DOH website or this website for exact location when it is announced.
    • Submit comments to the DOH
    • Keep in touch with your legislators about your concerns
    • Stay informed - be positive and proactive
    • Join the registered counselor listserv <http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=registered-counselors&A=1&>
  • 12 Jul 2007 8:56 PM | Tim Livingston (Administrator)

    New Registered Counselor Survey.  Most of the new budget for the DOH work group will be spent on a new survey of RC's.  Last year's survey was a huge disappointment to private practice RC's. The questions were all geared toward licensure.  By the end of filling out the survey, I and hundreds of other private practice RC's who responded had succeeded only in letting the DOH know what we are not - i.e. not licensed, not planning to be licensed, not working in an agency, not in in a legally binding supervision agreement, etc.  The survey revealed nothing about our education and training, what populations we serve, or the nature of our practice.

    This year WaProCA members have submitted a new set of questions to the DOH and are lobbying strongly for their use in the new survey.  We want a survey that results in real information about our practice, our training, our clientele. It remains to be seen how many of our suggestions will end up on the actual survey, but we're way ahead of last year when private practice RC's were simply invisible.

    What you can do:

    • If you are selected for the survey (it will be a telephone interview this time), give it your full time and attention.
    • If you don't like the survey slant, contact the DOH (and cc your legislators) and give them feedback on the process.
    • If you are not surveyed by the end of July, contact the DOH and ask how you can be part of the process of helping them find out more information about private practice RC's.
    • Take the WaProCA survey. The more RC's who respond to our survey, the more accurate information we will have to contribute to the DOH work group.
  • 10 Jul 2007 8:54 PM | Tim Livingston (Administrator)
    Meeting with your legislators.  The interim period between legislative sessions is the ideal time to contact your representatives and senator and talk with them about the Registered Counselor issue. We succeeded in stopping bad legislation this past session because we showed up and spoke with our legislators about our own experience. Our presence really contradicted the image of RC's in the press and disproved what lobbyists for the licensed mental health groups were saying about us. There really isn't anything as important as personal contact with your legislators. Ideally we would have a group of RC's in every district meeting with their legislators.  Most important is meeting with House Health and Wellness Committee members and House and Senate leadership.

    What you can do:
    • Call your legislators' district offices (Find your legislator at <http://www.leg.wa.gov>) and make an appointment to meet with them.  Your legislators really need to meet you in person and hear your side of the story.
    • Feel a little shy about calling legislators on your own? E-mail WaProCA for support <info@waproca.org>Those of us who have experience lobbying would be glad to go to a meeting with you (yes all the way over in Spokane or down in Vancouver - anywhere in Washington state!).
    • Contact your legislators even if you can't attend a meeting.  If you are not able to go to a meeting, the interim is a good time to write thoughtful letters to legislators - they may have the time to actually read them.  Phone calls are possible too. Last April, one WaProCA member got his senator on the phone for half an hour and turned him around!
  • 08 Jul 2007 8:51 PM | Tim Livingston (Administrator)
    Strength in numbers - help build recognition for your profession.  Joining WaProCA is the best and lowest cost insurance you can buy to protect your right to practice. Legislators want to know that we have a strong membership, that we really do represent private practice RC's.  Building WaProCA gives us credibility and power to act.   If you think about the cost of going back to school and training to do different work just because your modality isn't licensed in Washington state, the $95 membership fee is a fraction of a penny by comparison! We are working as hard as we can to protect all of us and protect our clients, and we can't continue to do that without you. Many of you have already joined WaProCA - thank you!

    We are beginning to send outreach letters to RC's in small groups as we can afford to.
      As more memberships come in, we will be able to mail out to more RC's.  We can only afford to do a little at a time as our only source of funding so far is membership.  We also still have to pay our lobbyist what we owe her from last session, and we will need her services again next session.

    What you can do:
    • If you haven't already become a member of WaProCA, please join us.
    • Reach out to other RC's you know and encourage them to join.
    • We especially want and need to expand our membership in the following areas: Spokane, Ellensburg, Puyallup, Tacoma, Fort Lewis, Steilacoom, Milton, Summit, Fife, Lakewood, University Place, Kent, SeaTac, DesMoines, Vancouver, Kitsap County and the Olympic Peninsula, and the Capitol Hill, Wallingford, and Madison Park areas of Seattle.
    • Connect with your colleagues. Do you belong to any professional organizations?  Could you make an announcement at a meeting or post a notice on a listserv?
    • Everything you do helps! You don't need to do a lot - if you can reach even one more person beside yourself and help them to take action, it will support and strengthen all our efforts.
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