News & Updates

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  • 01 Feb 2010 8:00 AM | Tim Livingston (Administrator)

    The Dept. of Health has posted sample questions for the Certified Counselor examination.  CLICK HERE to see the sample questions.

    Soon, you will be able to sign-up for our next Certified Counselor Exam Prep Course.  Watch the Recent News updates on our homepage for more information.


  • 22 Jul 2009 9:30 AM | Tim Livingston (Administrator)

    In our recent communication, with the Washington State Dept. of Health, here is what we have learned about the process for becoming certified:

    • The rules (WACs) have been signed by Secretary Selecky, though have not yet been posted online.
    • The DOH has posted information about the test for certified counselors and certified advisers, including how long the test will be and the resources necessary to study for the test.  (We are surprised and pleased to see that the DOH is this far along in the process!)   -click the link above to learn more.
    • Listing the DSM-IV as a reference for the test is specifically for learning the GAF - you will only be responsible for the information in the DSM-IV that specifically relates to the GAF itself, and how to use it. It may be wise to access this information online, or through a library before you make a huge investment in a book that is 90% outside our scope of practice. All the rest of the resources listed for the test are free and available online.
    • The plan is to administer the test through a company that has 8 testing sites throughout Washington. This will give greater flexibility and keep travel distances short. Applicants will be able to take the test as many times as necessary, however, there may be a restriction on how quickly you can retake the test - if you did not pass it the first time.
    • The application form for CC and CA is already available, and you can go ahead and apply now. If you think you are ready, you can also go ahead and take the test at the earliest opportunity in your area.
    • The department expects private and non-profit sectors to respond to the need for courses, to help counselors prepare to take the test. DOH will be willing to provide a list of these courses and course providers once they have been identified and that information has been given to the department. WaProCA is currently reviewing course materials and coordinated efforts for providing training in the required areas. If you have expertise in this area, please let us know!  Email to:
    • If your registration expires before you become certified, you can renew your registration until June 30, 2010. All registrations will expire on June 30, 2010. The renewal fee will not be pro-rated, so you will be charged the full year's renewal fee even if you renew only a month before the end of June. Obviously this makes it very practical to become certified before your current credential expires, if at all possible.


    Please check our News section frequently for updates!


  • 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 <>.  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.


    (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.

  • 06 Feb 2008 8:04 PM | Tim Livingston (Administrator)

    Now is the time for you to contact your legislators regarding the new bill on counselor regulation:

    What's happening in the House:

    The House Health Care Wellness Committee on February 4 passed out of committee an amended version of HB 2674 with a do pass recommendation. This amended version of the bill undoes all the work of the Department of Health (DOH) Registered Counselor Work Group by completely eliminating the future credential of Certified Counselor. It makes some provision for currently registered counselors to continue in practice, but leaves a very narrow scope and a requirement for supervision instead of consultation. There are assurances from Rep. Green and Rep. Hinkle that they will work to improve the problems of scope and supervision, but the conclusion of the committee is that they want the future of mental health care to be only licensed care. (See below - the story in the Senate is better.)

    1. First step is to call your own representatives. If you don't know who your representatives are, you can find them at <>
      • Tell them that HB 2674 as amended in the Health Care & Wellness Committee does not preserve existing counseling services, and
      • with the elimination of the registered counselor credential in 2010 severely limits future access to care.
      • Ask them to oppose substitute HB 2674 and only support an amended version if it provides a viable scope of practice for the new Certified Counselor credential now and in the future.
      • It must continue the Certified Counselor credential into the future.
      • As in the original version of the bill, there should be a consultation requirement for experienced counselors and a supervision requirement for new counselors coming into this profession.
    2. Next step is e-mail your representatives with the same message. It really helps to do both.  Once you know your representative's first and last name, the e-mail address is easy.  It goes like this with you substituting their actual name for where we've written "lastname" and "firstname" - <>.
    3. We need to reach every representative - can you call and/or e-mail more? You want to avoid the hotline and call the number that will reach them directly.  Here's the link gives you a list of ALL the representatives in the House <>.  Once you are on this page, click the district link to the right of their name.  That will take you to a page that lists both representatives and the senator from that district.  Click on the name of the representative(s), and that will take you to a page that gives you their direct line.
    4. Thank you! Let us know who you called.  E-mail us at <>, and let us know who you've called/written and what response you've gotten.

    What's happening in the Senate:
    Just like last year, our biggest supporters are in the Senate.  Senators on both sides of the aisle seem to understand the value of the services provided by Registered Counselors and that would be provided in the future by the new credential of Certified Counselors.  Amendments are being proposed in the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee that would strengthen SB 6456 in our favor.  These amendments will not be proposed and the bill passed out of committee until February 6 or 7 at the latest.  We will try to post an update, but in the meantime please use the information below to track the bill on your own.  You can also join our "newsgroup" - just click in the upper right of the WaProCA home page

    In 2007 Registered Counselors in private practice joined together, formed an organization, Washington Professional Counselors Association (WaProCA).  WaProCA put a stop to a bill that would have done away with the Registered Counselor credential and not allowed a way forward for those of us who have been RC's in private practice.  It was unacceptable to us and to many legislators to put thousands of counselors out of work - counselors who had been practicing ethically and legally for years.  It was even more unacceptable to eliminate services for Washington citizens at a time when our need for counseling is increasing.

    Over the interim WaProCA members served on the Department of Health (DOH) Registered Counselor Work Group.  The Work Group's became the basis for drafting legislation that is currently being considered in both the House (HB 2674) and Senate (SB 6456).  This legislation is "executive request" legislation, meaning it is requested by the Governor, and it is a key part of her health care reform package.  In a Democratically controlled legislature passage of this bill is assured because the number one priority this year is supporting the Governor for reelection.  In this environment we can expect it will be even more difficult to  have our needs and concerns heard and considered.

    How to track the bills in progress in the House and Senate:
    In a very short legislative session (it will be done March 10), everything moves extremely fast.  We have not written new updates before this point because immediately after we write something, it becomes outdated.  We recommend tracking the progress of both the bills on the legislative website
    <>.  Click on bill search and enter the number of the bill under search by number.  If you locate one of the bills, its companion bill will be cited as well.

    To track what is happening in the committees, click on the link for "Legislative Committees" over on the left hand side and then go to either the Health Care & Wellness Committee in the House or switch over to the Health and Long-Term Care Committee in the Senate.

  • 23 Dec 2007 8:02 PM | Tim Livingston (Administrator)
    Supporting Contributions - All Supporting Contributions are greatly appreciated, as we continue to build and grow the professional organization that is working to support your right to practice as a professional in the State of Washington. Click on the DONATIONS link to the left to contribute.
  • 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 <>
  • 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 <>) 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 <>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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