The State Senate unanimously voted for House Bill 4325, which allows licensed professional counselors to continue to diagnose and use psychotherapy techniques, last Thursday. The bill now moves to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk, where supporters expect it to be signed into law.
This legislation addresses a proposal by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs that would have overhauled education and licensure requirements for licensed professional counselors and restricted the ability to diagnose and use psychotherapy techniques within their scope of practice. The proposal garnered widespread scrutiny throughout the mental health community, as advocates said that the regulation changes would put thousands of licensed professional counselors out of work and threaten accessibility of mental health care services across the state.
“I witnessed firsthand the closing of mental health facilities in the early nineties. Some communities will not ever recover.” - State Senator Marshall Bullock
State Senator Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit) was one of the senators who voted for the bill. He himself once worked as a counselor.
“As a former counselor who has over 30 years of experience in the field, I understand the importance of providing vital mental health services to clients. I witnessed firsthand the closing of mental health facilities in the early nineties,” Bullock said in a statement. “Some communities will not ever recover from decisions that were made.”
Community Pressure Ensured Passage
Governor Whitmer supports the legislation.
“Licensed professional counselors play an integral role in the mental health services system in Michigan. The Administration would support legislation to broaden LPCs’ scope of practice,” Whitmer’s Press Secretary Tiffany Brown said in a statement.
A statewide campaign by lawmakers and counselors to amplify attention surrounding the licensing change helped fast track the bill through the legislature.
The legislation “trumps the rule changes coming out of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, ensuring that Licensed Professional Counselors can continue to treat and support their clients,” Bullock added. “It was awesome watching the LPCs mobilize and petition their government in a massive effort to protect their clients’ welfare. We heard their voices loud and clear, which is why we unanimously supported the bill in both the Senate and the House.”