On October 13, 2016, I made the trek to Gardner, NC to speak to the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors (NCBLPC) on behalf of NCCA and professional counselors. After waiting for a closed hearing to finish, I spoke with the Board about the goals for NCCA. We are called to advocate for counselors and the Board is the granter of licenses in the state, two tremendous responsibilities. I took the open session opportunity to speak with the Board about concerns I have as a professional in the field. I relayed to the Board the frustration of counselors in the licensing process and asked what counselors can do to help with the process. I also expressed frustration related to the inability to hire counselors when they must wait on license and approved supervisor before they can practice. 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 explained the first months of the year, January, February, and March, are the slowest time for them. As many counselors across the state know, the Board as a new website, with a portal for licensees to check on status, an online renewal process, and a complaint section including sanctions from the Board. This is the Board’s attempt to stay current, and offer easier ways for counselors to apply and renew licenses. Despite some issues with the website over the last week, the Board continues to work diligently to get all information current.
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 strongly encourage members to use these two sessions to advocate for our profession. This time is to express concern, frustration, gratitude, and to listen. Listen to the process and offer suggestions for where it can be bettered. 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. Through communication between professional counselors in the field and the Board, perhaps more changes can happen.
See you in Durham!
Angela Brooks-Livingston, MA, NCC, LPC, LCAS
2016-2017 NCCA President