Can NBCC revoke or otherwise take disciplinary action against your practice license? What exactly is the difference between an NCC credential and your state LPC practice license?
What is Certification through NBCC?
NBCC or the National Board For Certified Counselors is a national professional association. The core of their mission is to connect high quality counselors with the public and advocate for mental healthcare as a vital service.
Therapists who become credentialed as NCCs or National Certified Counselors commit to NBCCs mission including abiding by their code of ethics and meeting NBCC continuing education requirements.
Other Mental Health Professional Association Credentials
Many other professional associations monitor credentials they issue to mental health professionals. Examples include Registered Play Therapist (RPT), Board Certified Telemental Health Provider (BC-TMH), Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS, CEDS-S). There are many other mental health professional credentials and they have their own unique codes of ethics for counselors.
State professional associations have similar missions. Examples include The Licensed Professional Counselors Association (LPCA) of Georgia and the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association (FMHCA)
Powers of Professional Associations
Neither national or state professional associations have powers to regulate state practice licenses.
They have powers to issue, regulate and revoke their credentials.
When you seek a counseling credential you demonstrate an additional professional commitment to that practice specialty.
In essence you are maintaining:
‘I want to become an expert in treating eating disorders by obtaining specialized training and making this part of my professional identity. I have committed to treating Eating Disorders and want to inform the public I am well trained and experienced to help them or their family members.’
The same applies to other credentials.
What can occur with your NCC credential that would impact your LPC license and your permission to practice Professional Counseling in your state?
What specific actions might NBCC implement and might they require of you to reinstate the credential?
First, what are the powers of your state counseling licensing board. Continue reading.
What Is My State Counseling Licensing Board's Mission?
State boards are empowered and mandated by state law to protect the public.
They issue licensees, but they do not represent the mental health profession. They are not advocates for counselors.
They are charged by law with protecting it’s citizens from harmful practitioners.
They also have their own codes of ethics that are legally enforceable under state law.
Your ability to retain a counseling license is directly related to your responsibility to the state you are licensed.
Your state board can take a form of action called a “cease and desist order” against you if the credential implies or suggests it is a license. Or uses the word “license”. Especially if you have not been issued *any* state license. There are other disciplinary options available to state boards. Boards usually restrict terms to “certifications” or “registered/registrations”.
BIG difference, right?
Why Might Your State Board Take Action Against Your License Because NBCC took Action?
Primarily, because when we apply for or renew our counseling licenses we are also required to disclose disciplinary action taken by any associations that issue other credentials we hold.
Again, associations don’t issue or regulate practice licenses–they regulate only the credential they issue and administer.
However, when we disclose to state licensing boards they may ask you to provide a copy of the disciplinary action. They may not. Your counseling board can make determinations simply upon your self-report.
In both cases, they have powers to act upon your disclosure. Your state board can initiate it’s own investigation and determine conditions of your practice.
How Might NBCC Discipline You for An NBCC Ethics Violation?
Supervision of Your Practice
Most often, the board will require you to obtain on-going supervision over your counseling work. Commonly, for a period of 12 months. You identify a supervisor. NBCC decides whether to approve that supervisor.
Monthly Supervision Reports
You must supply NBCC with records of supervision. Information required includes supervisee’s full name, supervisor’s full name, date and duration of session, address supervision is delivered, and whether the NCC is receiving the supervision face-to face or virtual. In addition the credential holder is required to provide detailed reports. The following is a sample case of a first session:
“Discussed circumstances leading to the disciplinary action.”
Observations and Evaluations
“Supervisee admits and acknowledges they are addicted to alcohol. In addition, supervisee acknowledges a boundary crossing occurred when they met a client for a drink at a restaurant.”
“Supervisee not participating in alcohol treatment. Supervisor referred to state-approved alcohol and drug evaluator. F/u at next session.”
Goals for Next Session
“Follow recommendations of the alcohol and drug evaluator. Coordinate treatment planning based upon evaluator’s report.”
Hold only the credentials you need.
The more credentials you hold, the more responsibility you also hold. It follows that it is wise to hold only the credentials you need.
It is important to note however that your state licensing board code of ethics prevails when there is conflict with your professional association code of ethics.