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Licensed Professional Counselor ("LPC") is a licensure for mental health professionals. The exact title varies by state. Licensed Professional Counselors are one of the six types of licensed mental health professionals who provide psychotherapy in the United States. No controlled study has ever found a difference in effectiveness between therapists of different education levels or licensure. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mental Health Professionals Who Provide Psychotherapy:


Psychologists generally hold a doctoral degree in psychology. In addition to their training in counseling and psychotherapy, psychologists have extensive training in psychological testing, assessment, and research. Licensed Psychologist have a doctoral degree, at least one year of supervised post graduate experience, and have passed a national exam. (A few states used to license masters level psychologists, and in these states a Licensed Psychologist might only hold a masters degree.)

Social Workers

Clinical social workers are specialized social workers who are qualified to provide psychotherapy. Licensed Clinical Social Workers have a masters degree in social work, at least two years of supervised post-graduate experience, and have passed a national exam.

Professional Counselors

Licensed Professional counselors have a master's degree in counseling or a related educational field, at least a year and a half of supervised post-graduate experience, and have passed a national exam.

Marriage and Family Therapists

Marriage and Family Therapists hold a masters or doctoral degree in counseling psychology or a related field. In addition to their education, MFTs obtain 3000 hours of supervised clinical experience prior to passing two licensing exams. Licensing requirements for MFTs vary somewhat by state. MFTs provide psychotherapy and specialize in interpersonal and relationship issues.

Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurse Practioners specialize in the treatment of mental health disorders with medication. They are qualified to provide psychotherapy as well, but rarely do so. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Requirements for Professional Counselors[]

LPC licensure is recognized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.[1], and the requirements vary from state to state. Included below is a summary of requirements found in the state of Texas LPC board as an example.[2]

(1) A master's degree or doctoral degree in counseling or a related field.
(2) Academic course work in each of the following areas: normal human growth and development; abnormal human behavior; appraisal or assessment techniques; counseling theories; counseling methods or techniques (individual and group); research; lifestyle and career development; social, cultural and family issues; and professional orientation.
(3) As part of the graduate program, a supervised practicum experience that is primarily counseling in nature. The practicum should be at least 300 clock-hours with at least 100 clock-hours of direct client contact. Academic credit for the practicum must appear on the applicant's transcript.
(4) After completion of the graduate degree and before application, an applicant must take and pass the National Counselor Exam and the Texas Jurisprudence Exam. After receiving a temporary LPC license from the board, the applicant may begin the supervised post-graduate counseling experience (internship). 3000 clock-hours with at least 1,500 being direct client contact of internship under the supervision of a board-approved supervisor is required. The 3000 clock-hours may not be completed in a time period of less than 18 months.

Clock hours and contact hours with clients needed to obtain licensure vary by state. For example, the state of Kansas requires a total of 340 contact hours to be completed in the course of study, while the state of Missouri does not have a requirement at all.

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