Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Final Text

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Unprofessional conduct - conversion therapy
Stage: Final
 
18VAC115-20-10 Definitions

A. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the meaning ascribed to them in § 54.1-3500 of the Code of Virginia:

"Board"

"Counseling"

"Professional counselor"

B. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Ancillary counseling services" means activities such as case management, recordkeeping, referral, and coordination of services.

"Applicant" means any individual who has submitted an official application and paid the application fee for licensure as a professional counselor.

"CACREP" means the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

"Candidate for licensure" means a person who has satisfactorily completed all educational and experience requirements for licensure and has been deemed eligible by the board to sit for its examinations.

"Clinical counseling services" means activities such as assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and treatment implementation.

"Competency area" means an area in which a person possesses knowledge and skill and the ability to apply them in the clinical setting.

"Conversion therapy" means any practice or treatment [ that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender. Conversion therapy does not include: 1. Counseling that provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition; or 2. Counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person's coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual-orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, as long as such counseling does not seek to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity in any direction as defined in § 54.1-2409.5 A of the Code of Virginia ].

"CORE" means Council on Rehabilitation Education.

"Exempt setting" means an agency or institution in which licensure is not required to engage in the practice of counseling according to the conditions set forth in § 54.1-3501 of the Code of Virginia.

"Face-to-face" means the in-person delivery of clinical counseling services for a client.

"Group supervision" means the process of clinical supervision of no more than six persons in a group setting provided by a qualified supervisor.

"Internship" means a formal academic course from a regionally accredited college or university in which supervised, practical experience is obtained in a clinical setting in the application of counseling principles, methods, and techniques.

"Jurisdiction" means a state, territory, district, province, or country that has granted a professional certificate or license to practice a profession, use a professional title, or hold oneself out as a practitioner of that profession.

"Nonexempt setting" means a setting that does not meet the conditions of exemption from the requirements of licensure to engage in the practice of counseling as set forth in § 54.1-3501 of the Code of Virginia.

"Regional accrediting agency" means one of the regional accreditation agencies recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education responsible for accrediting senior postsecondary institutions.

"Residency" means a postgraduate, supervised, clinical experience.

"Resident" means an individual who has a supervisory contract and has been issued a temporary license by the board to provide clinical services in professional counseling under supervision.

"Supervision" means the ongoing process performed by a supervisor who monitors the performance of the person supervised and provides regular, documented individual or group consultation, guidance, and instruction that is specific to the clinical counseling services being performed with respect to the clinical skills and competencies of the person supervised.

"Supervisory contract" means an agreement that outlines the expectations and responsibilities of the supervisor and resident in accordance with regulations of the board.

18VAC115-20-130 Standards of practice

A. The protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and the best interest of the public shall be the primary guide in determining the appropriate professional conduct of all persons whose activities are regulated by the board. Regardless of the delivery method, whether in person, by phone, or electronically, these standards shall apply to the practice of counseling.

B. Persons licensed or registered by the board shall:

1. Practice in a manner that is in the best interest of the public and does not endanger the public health, safety, or welfare;

2. Practice only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised experience, and appropriate professional experience and represent their education, training, and experience accurately to clients;

3. Stay abreast of new counseling information, concepts, applications, and practices that are necessary to providing appropriate, effective professional services;

4. Be able to justify all services rendered to clients as necessary and appropriate for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes;

5. Document the need for and steps taken to terminate a counseling relationship when it becomes clear that the client is not benefiting from the relationship. Document the assistance provided in making appropriate arrangements for the continuation of treatment for clients, when necessary, following termination of a counseling relationship;

6. Make appropriate arrangements for continuation of services, when necessary, during interruptions such as vacations, unavailability, relocation, illness, and disability;

7. Disclose to clients all experimental methods of treatment and inform clients of the risks and benefits of any such treatment. Ensure that the welfare of the clients is in no way compromised in any experimentation or research involving those clients;

8. Neither accept nor give commissions, rebates, or other forms of remuneration for referral of clients for professional services;

9. Inform clients of the purposes, goals, techniques, procedures, limitations, potential risks, and benefits of services to be performed; the limitations of confidentiality; and other pertinent information when counseling is initiated and throughout the counseling process as necessary. Provide clients with accurate information regarding the implications of diagnosis, the intended use of tests and reports, fees, and billing arrangements;

10. Select tests for use with clients that are valid, reliable, and appropriate and carefully interpret the performance of individuals not represented in standardized norms;

11. Determine whether a client is receiving services from another mental health service provider, and if so, refrain from providing services to the client without having an informed consent discussion with the client and having been granted communication privileges with the other professional;

12. Use only in connection with one's practice as a mental health professional those educational and professional degrees or titles that have been earned at a college or university accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or credentials granted by a national certifying agency, and that are counseling in nature; and

13. Advertise professional services fairly and accurately in a manner that is not false, misleading, or deceptive; and

14. Not engage in conversion therapy with any person younger than 18 years of age.

C. In regard to patient records, persons licensed by the board shall:

1. Maintain written or electronic clinical records for each client to include treatment dates and identifying information to substantiate diagnosis and treatment plan, client progress, and termination;

2. Maintain client records securely, inform all employees of the requirements of confidentiality, and provide for the destruction of records that are no longer useful in a manner that ensures client confidentiality;

3. Disclose or release records to others only with the client's expressed written consent or that of the client's legally authorized representative in accordance with § 32.1-127.1:03 of the Code of Virginia;

4. Ensure confidentiality in the usage of client records and clinical materials by obtaining informed consent from the client or the client's legally authorized representative before (i) videotaping, (ii) audio recording, (iii) permitting third party observation, or (iv) using identifiable client records and clinical materials in teaching, writing, or public presentations; and

5. Maintain client records for a minimum of five years or as otherwise required by law from the date of termination of the counseling relationship with the following exceptions:

a. At minimum, records of a minor child shall be maintained for five years after attaining the age of majority (18 years) or 10 years following termination, whichever comes later;

b. Records that are required by contractual obligation or federal law to be maintained for a longer period of time; or

c. Records that have been transferred to another mental health service provider or given to the client or his legally authorized representative.

D. In regard to dual relationships, persons licensed by the board shall:

1. Avoid dual relationships with clients that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of harm to clients. Examples of such relationships include, but are not limited to, familial, social, financial, business, bartering, or close personal relationships with clients. Counselors shall take appropriate professional precautions when a dual relationship cannot be avoided, such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs;

2. Not engage in any type of romantic relationships or sexual intimacies with clients or those included in a collateral relationship with the client and not counsel persons with whom they have had a romantic relationship or sexual intimacy. Counselors shall not engage in romantic relationships or sexual intimacies with former clients within a minimum of five years after terminating the counseling relationship. Counselors who engage in such relationship or intimacy after five years following termination shall have the responsibility to examine and document thoroughly that such relations do not have an exploitive nature, based on factors such as duration of counseling, amount of time since counseling, termination circumstances, client's personal history and mental status, or adverse impact on the client. A client's consent to, initiation of, or participation in sexual behavior or involvement with a counselor does not change the nature of the conduct nor lift the regulatory prohibition;

3. Not engage in any romantic relationship or sexual intimacy or establish a counseling or psychotherapeutic relationship with a supervisee or student. Counselors shall avoid any nonsexual dual relationship with a supervisee or student in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the supervisee or student or the potential for interference with the supervisor's professional judgment; and

4. Recognize conflicts of interest and inform all parties of the nature and directions of loyalties and responsibilities involved.

E. Persons licensed by this board shall report to the board known or suspected violations of the laws and regulations governing the practice of professional counseling.

F. Persons licensed by the board shall advise their clients of their right to report to the Department of Health Professions any information of which the licensee may become aware in his professional capacity indicating that there is a reasonable probability that a person licensed or certified as a mental health service provider, as defined in § 54.1-2400.1 of the Code of Virginia, may have engaged in unethical, fraudulent, or unprofessional conduct as defined by the pertinent licensing statutes and regulations.

18VAC115-30-10 Definitions

A. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the meaning ascribed to them in § 54.1-3500 of the Code of Virginia:

"Board"

"Certified substance abuse counselor"

"Certified substance abuse counseling assistant"

"Licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner"

"Practice of substance abuse treatment"

"Substance abuse" and "substance dependence"

"Substance abuse treatment"

B. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Applicant" means an individual who has submitted a completed application with documentation and the appropriate fees to be examined for certification as a substance abuse counselor or substance abuse counseling assistant.

"Candidate" means a person who has been approved to take the examinations for certification as a substance abuse counselor or substance abuse counseling assistant.

"Clinical supervision" means the ongoing process performed by a clinical supervisor who monitors the performance of the person supervised and provides regular, documented face-to-face consultation, guidance and education with respect to the clinical skills and competencies of the person supervised.

"Clinical supervisor" means one who provides case-related supervision, consultation, education and guidance for the applicant. The supervisor must be credentialed as defined in 18VAC115-30-60 C.

"Competency area" means an area in which a person possesses knowledge and skill and the ability to apply them in the clinical setting.

"Contact hour" means the amount of credit awarded for 60 minutes of participation in and successful completion of a continuing education program.

"Conversion therapy" means any practice or treatment [ that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender. Conversion therapy does not include: 1. Counseling that provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition; or 2. Counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person's coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual-orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, as long as such counseling does not seek to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity in any direction as defined in § 54.1-2409.5 A of the Code of Virginia ].

"Didactic" means teaching-learning methods that impart facts and information, usually in the form of one-way communication (includes directed readings and lectures).

"Group supervision" means the process of clinical supervision of no less than two nor more than six persons in a group setting provided by a clinical supervisor.

"NAADAC" means the Association of Addiction Professionals.

"NCC AP" means the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals, an affiliate of NAADAC.

"Regionally accredited" means accredited by one of the regional accreditation agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as responsible for accrediting senior postsecondary institutions.

"Substance abuse counseling" means applying a counseling process, treatment strategies and rehabilitative services to help an individual to:

1. Understand his substance use, abuse, or dependency; and

2. Change his drug-taking behavior so that it does not interfere with effective physical, psychological, social, or vocational functioning.

18VAC115-30-140 Standards of practice

A. The protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and the best interest of the public shall be the primary guide in determining the appropriate professional conduct of all persons whose activities are regulated by the board.

B. Persons certified by the board shall:

1. Practice in a manner that is in the best interest of the public and does not endanger the public health, safety, or welfare.

2. Be able to justify all services rendered to clients as necessary for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

3. Practice only within the competency area for which they are qualified by training or experience.

4. Report to the board known or suspected violations of the laws and regulations governing the practice of certified substance abuse counselors or certified substance abuse counseling assistants.

5. Neither accept nor give commissions, rebates, or other forms of remuneration for referral of clients for professional services. Make appropriate consultations and referrals based on the best interest of clients.

6. Stay abreast of new developments, concepts, and practices that are necessary to providing appropriate services.

7. Document the need for and steps taken to terminate a counseling relationship when it becomes clear that the client is not benefiting from the relationship. Document the assistance provided in making arrangements for the continuation of treatment for clients when necessary, following termination of a counseling relationship.

8. Not willfully or negligently breach the confidentiality between a practitioner and a client. A breach of confidentiality that is required or permitted by applicable law or beyond the control of the practitioner shall not be considered negligent or willful.

9. Not engage in conversion therapy with any person younger than 18 years of age.

C. In regard to client records, persons certified by the board shall:

1. Disclose counseling records to others only in accordance with applicable law.

2. Maintain client records securely, inform all employees of the requirements of confidentiality, and provide for the destruction of records that are no longer useful in a manner that ensures client confidentiality.

3. Ensure confidentiality in the usage of client records and clinical materials by obtaining informed consent from the client or the client's legally authorized representative before (i) videotaping, (ii) audio recording, (iii) permitting third-party observation, or (iv) using identifiable client records and clinical materials in teaching, writing, or public presentations.

4. Maintain timely, accurate, legible, and complete written or electronic records for each client, to include counseling dates and identifying information to substantiate the substance abuse counseling plan, client progress, and termination.

5. Maintain client records for a minimum of five years or as otherwise required by law from the date of termination of the counseling relationship with the following exceptions:

a. At minimum, records of a minor child shall be maintained for five years after attaining the age of majority (18 years);

b. Records that are required by contractual obligation or federal law to be maintained for a longer period of time; or

c. Records that have been transferred to another mental health service provider or given to the client or the client's legally authorized representative.

D. In regard to dual relationships, persons certified by the board shall:

1. Not engage in dual relationships with clients, former clients, supervisees, and supervisors that are harmful to the client's or supervisee's well-being or that would impair the substance abuse counselor's, substance abuse counseling assistant's, or supervisor's objectivity and professional judgment or increase the risk of client or supervisee exploitation. This prohibition includes such activities as counseling close friends, former sexual partners, employees, or relatives or engaging in business relationships with clients.

2. Not engage in sexual intimacies or romantic relationships with current clients or supervisees. For at least five years after cessation or termination of professional services, certified substance abuse counselors and certified substance abuse counseling assistants shall not engage in sexual intimacies or romantic relationships with a client or those included in collateral therapeutic services. Because sexual or romantic relationships are potentially exploitative, certified substance abuse counselors and certified substance abuse counseling assistants shall bear the burden of demonstrating that there has been no exploitation. A client's consent to, initiation of, or participation in sexual behavior or involvement with a certified substance abuse counselor or certified substance abuse counseling assistants does not change the nature of the conduct nor lift the regulatory prohibition.

3. Recognize conflicts of interest and inform all parties of obligations, responsibilities, and loyalties to third parties.

E. Upon learning of evidence that indicates a reasonable probability that another mental health provider is or may be guilty of a violation of standards of conduct as defined in statute or regulation, persons certified by the board shall advise their clients of their right to report such misconduct to the Department of Health Professions in accordance with § 54.1-2400.4 of the Code of Virginia.

18VAC115-50-10 Definitions

A. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the meaning ascribed to them in § 54.1-3500 of the Code of Virginia: (i) "board," (ii) "marriage and family therapy," (iii) "marriage and family therapist," and (iv) "practice of marriage and family therapy."

B. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Ancillary counseling services" means activities such as case management, recordkeeping, referral, and coordination of services.

"CACREP" means the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

"COAMFTE" means the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.

"Clinical marriage and family services" means activities such as assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning and treatment implementation for couples and families.

"Conversion therapy" means any practice or treatment [ that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender. Conversion therapy does not include: 1. Counseling that provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition; or 2. Counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person's coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual-orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, as long as such counseling does not seek to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity in any direction as defined in § 54.1-2409.5 A of the Code of Virginia ].

"Face-to-face" means the in-person delivery of clinical marriage and family services for a client.

"Internship" means a formal academic course from a regionally accredited university in which supervised practical experience is obtained in a clinical setting in the application of counseling principles, methods, and techniques.

"Regional accrediting agency" means one of the regional accreditation agencies recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as responsible for accrediting senior post-secondary institutions and training programs.

"Residency" means a postgraduate, supervised clinical experience.

"Resident" means an individual who has a supervisory contract and has been issued a temporary license by the board approval to provide clinical services in marriage and family therapy under supervision.

"Supervision" means an ongoing process performed by a supervisor who monitors the performance of the person supervised and provides regular, documented, individual or group consultation, guidance, and instruction with respect to the clinical skills and competencies of the person or persons being supervised.

"Supervisory contract" means an agreement that outlines the expectations and responsibilities of the supervisor and resident in accordance with regulations of the board.

18VAC115-50-110 Standards of practice

A. The protection of the public's health, safety, and welfare and the best interest of the public shall be the primary guide in determining the appropriate professional conduct of all persons whose activities are regulated by the board. Regardless of the delivery method, whether in person, by phone or electronically, these standards shall apply to the practice of marriage and family therapy.

B. Persons licensed or registered by the board shall:

1. Practice in a manner that is in the best interest of the public and does not endanger the public health, safety, or welfare;

2. Practice only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised experience, and appropriate professional experience and represent their education, training, and experience accurately to clients;

3. Stay abreast of new marriage and family therapy information, concepts, applications, and practices that are necessary to providing appropriate, effective professional services;

4. Be able to justify all services rendered to clients as necessary and appropriate for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes;

5. Document the need for and steps taken to terminate a counseling relationship when it becomes clear that the client is not benefiting from the relationship. Document the assistance provided in making appropriate arrangements for the continuation of treatment for clients, when necessary, following termination of a counseling relationship;

6. Make appropriate arrangements for continuation of services, when necessary, during interruptions such as vacations, unavailability, relocation, illness, and disability;

7. Disclose to clients all experimental methods of treatment and inform client of the risks and benefits of any such treatment. Ensure that the welfare of the client is not compromised in any experimentation or research involving those clients;

8. Neither accept nor give commissions, rebates or other forms of remuneration for referral of clients for professional services;

9. Inform clients of the purposes, goals, techniques, procedures, limitations, potential risks, and benefits of services to be performed; the limitations of confidentiality; and other pertinent information when counseling is initiated and throughout the counseling process as necessary. Provide clients with accurate information regarding the implications of diagnosis, the intended use of tests and reports, fees, and billing arrangements;

10. Select tests for use with clients that are valid, reliable, and appropriate and carefully interpret the performance of individuals not represented in standardized norms;

11. Determine whether a client is receiving services from another mental health service provider, and if so, refrain from providing services to the client without having an informed consent discussion with the client and having been granted communication privileges with the other professional;

12. Use only in connection with one's practice as a mental health professional those educational and professional degrees or titles that have been earned at a college or university accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or credentials granted by a national certifying agency, and that are counseling in nature; and

13. Advertise professional services fairly and accurately in a manner that is not false, misleading or deceptive; and

14. Not engage in conversion therapy with any person younger than 18 years of age.

C. In regard to patient records, persons licensed by the board shall:

1. Maintain written or electronic clinical records for each client to include treatment dates and identifying information to substantiate diagnosis and treatment plan, client progress, and termination;

2. Maintain client records securely, inform all employees of the requirements of confidentiality and provide for the destruction of records that are no longer useful in a manner that ensures client confidentiality;

3. Disclose or release client records to others only with clients' expressed written consent or that of their legally authorized representative in accordance with § 32.1-127.1:03 of the Code of Virginia;

4. Ensure confidentiality in the usage of client records and clinical materials by obtaining informed consent from clients or their legally authorized representative before (i) videotaping, (ii) audio recording, (iii) permitting third party observation, or (iv) using identifiable client records and clinical materials in teaching, writing, or public presentations; and

5. Maintain client records for a minimum of five years or as otherwise required by law from the date of termination of the counseling relationship with the following exceptions:

a. At minimum, records of a minor child shall be maintained for five years after attaining the age of majority (18 years) or 10 years following termination, whichever comes later;

b. Records that are required by contractual obligation or federal law to be maintained for a longer period of time; or

c. Records that have transferred to another mental health service provider or given to the client or his legally authorized representative.

D. In regard to dual relationships, persons licensed by the board shall:

1. Avoid dual relationships with clients that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of harm to clients. Examples of such relationships include, but are not limited to, familial, social, financial, business, bartering, or close personal relationships with clients. Marriage and family therapists shall take appropriate professional precautions when a dual relationship cannot be avoided, such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs;

2. Not engage in any type of romantic relationships or sexual intimacies with clients or those included in a collateral relationship with the client and also not counsel persons with whom they have had a sexual intimacy or romantic relationship. Marriage and family therapists shall not engage in romantic relationships or sexual intimacies with former clients within a minimum of five years after terminating the counseling relationship. Marriage and family therapists who engage in such relationship or intimacy after five years following termination shall have the responsibility to examine and document thoroughly that such relations do not have an exploitive nature, based on factors such as duration of counseling, amount of time since counseling, termination circumstances, client's personal history and mental status, or adverse impact on the client. A client's consent to, initiation of or participation in sexual behavior or involvement with a marriage and family therapist does not change the nature of the conduct nor lift the regulatory prohibition;

3. Not engage in any romantic relationships or sexual relationship or establish a counseling or psychotherapeutic relationship with a supervisee or student. Marriage and family therapists shall avoid any nonsexual dual relationship with a supervisee or student in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the supervisee or student or the potential for interference with the supervisor's professional judgment; and

4. Recognize conflicts of interest and inform all parties of the nature and directions of loyalties and responsibilities involved.

E. Persons licensed by this board shall report to the board known or suspected violations of the laws and regulations governing the practice of marriage and family therapy.

F. Persons licensed by the board shall advise their clients of their right to report to the Department of Health Professions any information of which the licensee may become aware in his professional capacity indicating that there is a reasonable probability that a person licensed or certified as a mental health service provider, as defined in § 54.1-2400.1 of the Code of Virginia, may have engaged in unethical, fraudulent or unprofessional conduct as defined by the pertinent licensing statutes and regulations.

18VAC115-60-10 Definitions

A. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the meaning ascribed to them in § 54.1-3500 of the Code of Virginia:

"Board"

"Licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner"

"Substance abuse"

"Substance abuse treatment"

B. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Ancillary services" means activities such as case management, recordkeeping, referral, and coordination of services.

"Applicant" means any individual who has submitted an official application and paid the application fee for licensure as a substance abuse treatment practitioner.

"CACREP" means the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

"Candidate for licensure" means a person who has satisfactorily completed all educational and experience requirements for licensure and has been deemed eligible by the board to sit for its examinations.

"Clinical substance abuse treatment services" means activities such as assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and treatment implementation.

"COAMFTE" means the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.

"Competency area" means an area in which a person possesses knowledge and skill and the ability to apply them in the clinical setting.

"Conversion therapy" means any practice or treatment [ that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender. Conversion therapy does not include: 1. Counseling that provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition; or 2. Counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person's coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual-orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, as long as such counseling does not seek to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity in any direction as defined in § 54.1-2409.5 A of the Code of Virginia ].

"Exempt setting" means an agency or institution in which licensure is not required to engage in the practice of substance abuse treatment according to the conditions set forth in § 54.1-3501 of the Code of Virginia.

"Face-to-face" means the in-person delivery of clinical substance abuse treatment services for a client.

"Group supervision" means the process of clinical supervision of no more than six persons in a group setting provided by a qualified supervisor.

"Internship" means a formal academic course from a regionally accredited university in which supervised, practical experience is obtained in a clinical setting in the application of counseling principles, methods and techniques.

"Jurisdiction" means a state, territory, district, province, or country which that has granted a professional certificate or license to practice a profession, use a professional title, or hold oneself out as a practitioner of that profession.

"Nonexempt setting" means a setting which that does not meet the conditions of exemption from the requirements of licensure to engage in the practice of substance abuse treatment as set forth in § 54.1-3501 of the Code of Virginia.

"Regional accrediting agency" means one of the regional accreditation agencies recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education responsible for accrediting senior postsecondary institutions.

"Residency" means a postgraduate, supervised, clinical experience.

"Resident" means an individual who has a supervisory contract and has been issued a temporary license by the board to provide clinical services in substance abuse treatment under supervision.

"Supervision" means the ongoing process performed by a supervisor who monitors the performance of the person supervised and provides regular, documented individual or group consultation, guidance, and instruction with respect to the clinical skills and competencies of the person supervised.

"Supervisory contract" means an agreement that outlines the expectations and responsibilities of the supervisor and resident in accordance with regulations of the board.

18VAC115-60-130 Standards of practice

A. The protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and the best interest of the public shall be the primary guide in determining the appropriate professional conduct of all persons whose activities are regulated by the board. Regardless of the delivery method, whether in person, by phone or electronically, these standards shall apply to the practice of substance abuse treatment.

B. Persons licensed or registered by the board shall:

1. Practice in a manner that is in the best interest of the public and does not endanger the public health, safety, or welfare;

2. Practice only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised experience and appropriate professional experience and represent their education, training and experience accurately to clients;

3. Stay abreast of new substance abuse treatment information, concepts, application, and practices that are necessary to providing appropriate, effective professional services;

4. Be able to justify all services rendered to clients as necessary and appropriate for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes;

5. Document the need for and steps taken to terminate a counseling relationship when it becomes clear that the client is not benefiting from the relationship. Document the assistance provided in making appropriate arrangements for the continuation of treatment for clients, when necessary, following termination of a counseling relationship;

6. Make appropriate arrangements for continuation of services, when necessary, during interruptions such as vacations, unavailability, relocation, illness, and disability;

7. Disclose to clients all experimental methods of treatment and inform clients of the risks and benefits of any such treatment. Ensure that the welfare of the clients is in no way compromised in any experimentation or research involving those clients;

8. Neither accept nor give commissions, rebates, or other forms of remuneration for referral of clients for professional services;

9. Inform clients of the purposes, goals, techniques, procedures, limitations, potential risks, and benefits of services to be performed; the limitations of confidentiality; and other pertinent information when counseling is initiated and throughout the counseling process as necessary. Provide clients with accurate information regarding the implications of diagnosis, the intended use of tests and reports, fees, and billing arrangements;

10. Select tests for use with clients that are valid, reliable, and appropriate and carefully interpret the performance of individuals not represented in standardized norms;

11. Determine whether a client is receiving services from another mental health service provider, and if so, refrain from providing services to the client without having an informed consent discussion with the client and having been granted communication privileges with the other professional;

12. Use only in connection with one's practice as a mental health professional those educational and professional degrees or titles that have been earned at a college or university accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or credentials granted by a national certifying agency, and that are counseling in nature; and

13. Advertise professional services fairly and accurately in a manner that is not false, misleading or deceptive; and

14. Not engage in conversion therapy with any person younger than 18 years of age.

C. In regard to patient records, persons licensed by the board shall:

1. Maintain written or electronic clinical records for each client to include treatment dates and identifying information to substantiate diagnosis and treatment plan, client progress, and termination;

2. Maintain client records securely, inform all employees of the requirements of confidentiality and provide for the destruction of records that are no longer useful in a manner that ensures client confidentiality;

3. Disclose or release records to others only with clients' expressed written consent or that of their legally authorized representative in accordance with § 32.1-127.1:03 of the Code of Virginia;

4. Maintain client records for a minimum of five years or as otherwise required by law from the date of termination of the substance abuse treatment relationship with the following exceptions:

a. At minimum, records of a minor child shall be maintained for five years after attaining the age of majority (18 years) or 10 years following termination, whichever comes later;

b. Records that are required by contractual obligation or federal law to be maintained for a longer period of time; or

c. Records that have been transferred to another mental health service provider or given to the client; and

5. Ensure confidentiality in the usage of client records and clinical materials by obtaining informed consent from clients or their legally authorized representative before (i) videotaping, (ii) audio recording, (iii) permitting third party observation, or (iv) using identifiable client records and clinical materials in teaching, writing or public presentations.

D. In regard to dual relationships, persons licensed by the board shall:

1. Avoid dual relationships with clients that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of harm to clients. Examples of such relationships include, but are not limited to, familial, social, financial, business, bartering, or close personal relationships with clients. Counselors shall take appropriate professional precautions when a dual relationship cannot be avoided, such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs;

2. Not engage in any type of romantic relationships or sexual intimacies with clients or those included in a collateral relationship with the client and not counsel persons with whom they have had a romantic relationship or sexual intimacy. Licensed substance abuse treatment practitioners shall not engage in romantic relationships or sexual intimacies with former clients within a minimum of five years after terminating the counseling relationship. Licensed substance abuse treatment practitioners who engage in such relationship or intimacy after five years following termination shall have the responsibility to examine and document thoroughly that such relations do not have an exploitive nature, based on factors such as duration of counseling, amount of time since counseling, termination circumstances, client's personal history and mental status, or adverse impact on the client. A client's consent to, initiation of or participation in sexual behavior or involvement with a licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner does not change the nature of the conduct nor lift the regulatory prohibition;

3. Not engage in any sexual intimacy or romantic relationship or establish a counseling or psychotherapeutic relationship with a supervisee or student. Licensed substance abuse treatment practitioners shall avoid any nonsexual dual relationship with a supervisee or student in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the supervisee or the potential for interference with the supervisor's professional judgment; and

4. Recognize conflicts of interest and inform all parties of the nature and directions of loyalties and responsibilities involved.

E. Persons licensed by this board shall report to the board known or suspected violations of the laws and regulations governing the practice of substance abuse treatment.

F. Persons licensed by the board shall advise their clients of their right to report to the Department of Health Professions any information of which the licensee may become aware in his professional capacity indicating that there is a reasonable probability that a person licensed or certified as a mental health service provider, as defined in § 54.1-2400.1 of the Code of Virginia, may have engaged in unethical, fraudulent or unprofessional conduct as defined by the pertinent licensing statutes and regulations.