(Last Revised April 15, 2020)
Yes. The practice of counseling may be provided in North Carolina by clinical mental health counselors licensed by this Board or by those exempt from licensure in North Carolina (i.e. school counselor certified by the State Board of Education, qualified counselor interns, who are providing services that constitute a part of the supervised course of study, etc. Please see North Carolina General Statute § 90-332.1 “Exemptions from licensure” for more specifics.) through electronic means such as telehealth. Please find the Board’s Distance Counseling Policy, “Provision of Services via Electronic, Distance Professional Counseling Services, and Supervision,” here. Also, please refer to the US DHHS Statement on telehealth and HIPPA compliance during COVID-19 public health emergency, here.
The Introduction to Section H, entitled "Distance Counseling, Technology, and Social Media" states that:
Counselors understand that the profession of counseling may no longer be limited to in-person, face-to-face interactions. Counselors actively attempt to understand the evolving nature of the profession with regard to distance counseling, technology, and social media and how such resources may be used to better serve their clients. Counselors strive to become knowledgeable about these resources. Counselors understand the additional concerns related to the use of distance counseling, technology, and social media and make every attempt to protect confidentiality and meet any legal and ethical requirements for the use of such resources. (2014 ACA Code of Ethics, p. 17 )
Please refer to the entire Section H of the ACA Code of Ethics here.
The Board considers the practice of counseling to occur both where the counseling who is providing clinical mental health services is located and where the individual (patient/client) who is receiving the services is located. Therefore, if you are licensed in North Carolina (or exempt from licensure), you can practice clinical mental health counseling through electronic means to someone located in another state; however, you would need to first contact the state licensing board in the state where your client is located to determine if licensure is required to provide counseling services through telehealth to someone located in that state. According to the Board’s Distance Counseling Policy, “if an individual licensed in North Carolina renders services electronically to an out-of-state client, it is the responsibility of the counselor to ensure that the counselor is complying with the laws and rules in the other state."
If you are licensed to practice counseling in North Carolina, you can provide counseling services to someone located in North Carolina; however, you would need to contact the state where you reside to determine if licensure is required to provide counseling services from the state where you reside into another state such as North Carolina.
Pursuant to North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order No. 130, Section 3, effective April 8, 2020, which will remain in effect until June 7, 2020, unless rescinded or replaced, the Board has voted to temporary waive the licensure requirements for clinical mental health counselors who are licensed in another state, territory, or the District of Columbia to provide counseling services within North Carolina. Any counselor licensed in another state, territory, or the District of Columbia who intends to provide counseling services (either through telehealth or in person) to someone located in North Carolina must notify the North Carolina Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors at LCMHCinfo@ncblcmhc.org of their intent to provide counseling services to someone located in North Carolina, must identify their license number and the state(s) in which the counselor is licensed, and provide their contact information. This notification must be done either prior to or, in case of an emergency, as soon as practicable, but no later than 2 business days, after providing counseling services to someone located in North Carolina. Again, the licensure waiver is temporary and is effective only until June 7, 2020, unless Executive Order No. 130 is rescinded or replaced. The Executive Order No. 130 is available here.
In the Administrative Rule 21 NCAC 53 .0212, "Face-to-face" clinical supervision means supervision that is live, interactive, and visual. Video supervision is permitted as long as the session is synchronous and involves verbal and visual interaction during the supervision. All supervision, whether live or audio and video recordings, shall be done in a confidential manner in accordance with the ACA Code of Ethics and the Board’s Administrative Rule. The Board also refers you to the Board’s Distance Counseling Policy, “Provision of Services via Electronic, Distance Professional Counseling Services, and Supervision,” available here.
Please note that the following requirements must be met when engaging in a supervised practice as defined at the Board’s Administrative Rule 21 NCAC 53 .0208. A Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate must comply with the Board’s Administrative Rule 21 NCAC 53.0702 before and while engaging in supervised practice. A Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor must comply with the requirements of the Board’s Administrative Rule 21 NCAC 53.0801 prior to and while engaging in supervised practice.
The Board encourages you to explore the following devices which may be utilized for such purposes: transcription, 3-way conversation with a supervisor, or other HIPPA compliant digital platforms offering confidential services.
The Board has extended the deadline for licensees to complete required continuing education by 30 September 2020. However, the Board strongly recommends that the licensees begin the renewal process as soon as they can. If you plan to take online continuing education, please make sure it complies with the Board’s requirements under Rule 21 NCAC 53 .0603. If you are unable to meet the requirements, the Board refers you to Rule 21 NCAC 53 .0604. We recognize that a lot of plans for live continuing education opportunities have been changed or canceled. If you are looking for quality online continuing education opportunities, you may search NBCC’s Approved Continuing Education Provider directory.
The Board is aware of the closures and delays. The Board will be meeting virtually and periodically to assess the developing situation and review the applications we receive. (For the next 90 days the Board will not be meeting face-to-face. The Board will continue to assess the situation in case the date needs to be adjusted.) It is the Board’s desire to assist all applicants and process applications as efficiently as possible. The Board is committed to processing completed applications during this time. Please continue to upload the appropriate documentation for your application on the Board’s website as you receive it.
The Board is aware that testing cannot proceed as planned. The Board will be meeting periodically to assess the developing situation. It is the Board desire to assist all applicants and process applications as efficiently as possible. Please continue to upload the appropriate documentation for your application on the Board’s website as you receive it.
As it relates to the actual testing, Pearson VUE has made an effort to prioritize the safety of its staff and testing candidates and has recently announced that they will be suspending test delivery at all U.S.- and Canada-based Pearson VUE testing centers until April 16. The Board encourages you to continue to study and prepare so when your exam is rescheduled, you can succeed on the exam. The Board refers you to Pearson VUE website for additional information, available here.
In an effort to prioritize the safety of staff and testing candidates, Pearson VUE recently announced that they will be suspending test delivery at all U.S.- and Canada-based Pearson VUE testing centers effective immediately until April 16. The Board encourages you to continue to study and prepare so you can succeed on the exams once the testing centers reopen. The Board refers you to Pearson VUE website for additional information, available here.
NBCC's Professional Resources Department has compiled helpful information for those of you that are working through transitioning into an online learning environment.
Disclaimer: All information provided by the North Carolina Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors (hereafter “the Board”) on this web site is made available to provide immediate access for the convenience of interested persons. While the Board believes the information to be reliable, human or mechanical error remains a possibility, as does delay in the posting or updating of information. Therefore, the Board makes no guarantee as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, currency, or for any errors or omissions, or for the use or results obtained from the use of this information. All access to and use of this web site is governed by the Disclaimers as set forth by the Board.
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