Under current law, mental health counselor and mental health counselor associate applicants must complete 1,000 hours in a counseling setting through a clinical practicum, internship or field experience to receive a license. At least 100 of the 1,000 hours must include face-to-face supervision.
Head’s bill, however, would require them to complete only 700 hours in a counseling setting through a clinical practicum, internship or field experience, and only 66 of the 700 hours would require face-to-face supervision. Plus, up to 50 percent of the supervised hours may be virtual supervision.
Head said the idea for this bill was a result of the work of the Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health for Children, which he co-chairs. The Commission on Improving the Status of the Child also endorsed the bill.
“Current state law asks far too much of those seeking a license to work with families,” Head said. “After working with the Task Force, which includes experts in mental health fields, we came up with an appropriate number of hours necessary to obtain a license. If passed, this would allow clinicians to get to work sooner and help the families in our state who are in need of counseling.”
Cathleen Graham, executive director of the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy, who chaired the Task Force’s effort to study the issue, echoed Head’s remarks.
“This legislation would put Indiana in line with 30 other states in allowing graduates of accredited Master in Counseling programs to go to work more quickly to help children and families,” Graham said. “We are currently losing some Master in Counseling program graduates to surrounding states because of our current internship and supervision requirements. Under Sen. Head’s bill, these graduates would continue to be required to pass the same licensing test as is currently in effect, and they would be supervised in their post-graduate employment by qualified supervisors.”
The Indiana General Assembly reconvenes Jan. 3 for the 2018 legislative session.