Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Counseling
Regulations Governing the Practice of Professional Counseling [18 VAC 115 ‑ 20]
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5/8/24  9:41 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Change is needed.

As someone who is going through their second LPC residency, I believe change is needed again. When I started my first post-graduate job at a Virginia CSB in 02/2007, most LPC's were not open to providing supervision and were selective in what jobs qualified for supervision. If you wanted residency supervision, you had to pay for it. There were Residents in Counseling who could not afford LPC supervision at that time. So, they gained experience but were unable to count the hours without supervision. I have at least 9 years of post-graduate experience at this time. 6.5 of those years do not count towards my current residency because they were either completed prior to 2012 or I did not have a supervisor for licensure. During the past decade, we have overcome the limited availability of licensed supervisors by requiring direct supervisors to be licensed. Now that there are supervisors available, the way in which face-to-face hours are counted has drastically changed. 

The reason change is still needed is that overall residency hours may have been reduced from 4000 hours to 3400; however, face-to-face hours are still 2000. It was never about how many total hours were needed. The main hurdle is the 2000 face-to-face hours needed. The Virginia Board of Counseling distinguishes between direct services and face-to-face services, which limits the amount of hours that are allowed to be counted toward the 2000. For comparison purposes, here are requirements for licensure by state: 

Alabama: 3,000 hours of supervised experience in professional counseling with board approved supervision. 

Alaska: 2 years or 3,000 hours of post-master's supervised experience in professional counseling, including 1,000 hours of direct client contact and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision.

Arizona:  2 years/3,200 hours of full-time post-master's supervised work experience in psychotherapy, including assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. 100 hours of clinical supervision and 1,600 hours of direct client contact are required. 

Arkansas: 3 years or 3,000 hours of post- Master's supervised counseling experience (1 year = 1,000 hours). 

Colorado:  2 years/2,000 hours of post- Master's practice in applied psychotherapy under board approved supervision. 100 hours of supervision are required, 70 of which must be individual supervision. 

Connecticut:  1 year/3,000 hours of post- Master's supervised experience in professional counseling. A minimum of 100 hours of direct supervision by an appropriately licensed individual is required. 

District of Columbia:  2 years/3,500 hours of post- Master's supervised professional counseling experience. 200 hours of supervision must be under an LPC (100 hours must be immediate supervision). 

Idaho:  1,000 hours of supervised experience in counseling, with 400 hours of direct client contact and a minimum of 1 hour face-to-face supervision for every 20 hours of experience. Supervised practicum and/or internship taken at the graduate level may be utilized. 

Louisiana: 2 years/3,000 hours of post-Master's supervised experience in professional mental health counseling under the clinical supervision of a board approved supervisor, to be completed in no more than 7 years. Hours to include:  1,900 - 2,900 hours of direct client contact in individual or group counseling. A maximum of 1,000 hours additional client contact, counseling related activities or education at the graduate level in the field of mental health. A minimum of 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. Only 50 hours may be group supervision. 500 hours of supervised experience may be gained for each 30-graduate semester hours beyond Master's degree, but must have no less than 2,000 hours of supervised. 

Pennsylvania: 3 years/3,600 hours of supervised clinical experience after completing 48 graduate-level credits (or 72 quarter hours). 

South Carolina: 2 years/1,500 hours of full-time post-Master's supervised clinical experience in the practice of professional counseling. The 1,500 hours must be direct counseling with individuals, couples, families, or groups. A minimum of 150 hours of the 1,500 hours must be clinical supervision provided by a board approved LPC supervisor (100 hours must be individual supervision).

Texas: 3 years/3,000 hours of post- master's supervised experience, including 1,500 hours of direct client contact.

When you ask yourself why there are not enough LPC's to meet the increased demands of placed on the Virginia mental health system, please realize that the requirements in face-to-face hours limits a majority of RIC's from being licensed in 3 years.

The Board of Counseling states that residency hours must be completed within four years. There are no current provisions about the time period in which COVID was a major health concern. COVID limited face-to-face contact and reduced the amount of services provided to clients. I will say that my first year of residency during COVID resulted in less than 100 face-to-face hours and I work in a program that operates 24/7 regardless of weather, pandemic, etc. 

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