On October 13, 2016, I made the trek to Gardner, NC to speak to the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors on behalf of NCCA and professional counselors. After waiting for a closed hearing to finish, I spoke with the Board about a partnership between the Board and NCCA. I expressed my belief that a partnership between our state branch of the American Counseling Association and the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors would be beneficial for both. NCCA is called to advocate for counselors and the Board is the granter of licenses in the state, a tremendous responsibility. The partnership is essential for the betterment of our profession. The Board agreed. The Board seemed excited about a partnership with NCCA. I relayed to the Board the frustration of counselors in the licensing process and asked what counselors can do to help with the process. The Board sympathized with the frustration of the profession. What I was told by the Board is for counselors to ensure their paperwork is in order, and that we not wait until close to June to renew. They reported for the year our licenses are ready for renewal, we can start renewing in January. The Board stated the first months of the year, January, February, and March, are the slowest time for them.
A component of this partnership is to keep communication open between NCCA and NCBLPC. Therefore, the NCBLPC will be at the 2017 NCCA conference in Durham. They are offering two sessions: one session is for counselor educators to review the process of initial licensees’ application, review the current education requirements for licensees for the purpose of promoting discussion about education trends related to licensure. There will also be time to exchange ideas and feedback with representatives from NCBLPC. The second session is for questions and answers regarding the Licensed Professional Counselor law and administrative code, including the three-tier licensure, continuing education, and supervision requirements. I encourage members to use these two sessions to advocate for our professional. This time is to express concern, frustration, gratitude, and to listen. Listen to the process and offer suggestions for where it can be bettered.
I truly believe if our profession is to grow and mature, we need to partner with NCBLPC. We, as counselors in the field, need to discuss with the Board obstacles we face, frustrations we feel, and offer solutions, not solely criticisms. The task of NCBLPC is not an easy one, to regulate license and ensure those in the counseling field are remaining ethical, and competent. Together, NCCA and NCBLPC, we can work towards the common goal of furthering the counselor profession through communication, advocacy, and accountability.
See you in Durham!
2016-2017 NCCA President