1231L.01I                                                                                                                                                  D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk



To repeal sections 337.500 and 337.510, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections relating to professional counselors.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

            Section A. Sections 337.500 and 337.510, RSMo, are repealed and two new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 337.500 and 337.510, to read as follows:

            337.500. As used in sections 337.500 to 337.540, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the following words and phrases mean:

            (1) "Committee or board", the committee for professional counselors;

            (2) "Department", the Missouri department of insurance, financial institutions and professional registration;

            (3) "Director", the director of the division of professional registration;

            (4) "Division", the division of professional registration;

            (5) "Licensed professional counselor", any person who offers to render professional counseling services to individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, corporations, government agencies or the general public for a fee, monetary or otherwise, implying that the person is trained, experienced, and licensed in counseling, and who holds a current, valid license to practice counseling;

            (6) "Practice of professional counseling", rendering, offering to render, or supervising those who render to individuals, couples, groups, organizations, institutions, corporations, schools, government agencies, or the general public any counseling service involving the application of counseling procedures, and the principles and methods thereof, to assist in achieving more effective intrapersonal or interpersonal, marital, decisional, social, educational, vocational, developmental, or rehabilitative adjustments;

            (7) "Professional counseling", includes, but is not limited to:

            (a) The use of verbal or nonverbal counseling or both techniques, methods, or procedures based on principles for assessing, understanding, or influencing behavior (such as principles of learning, conditioning, perception, motivation, thinking, emotions, or social systems);

            (b) Appraisal or assessment, which means selecting, administering, scoring, or interpreting instruments designed to assess a person's or group's aptitudes, intelligence, attitudes, abilities, achievement, interests, and personal characteristics;

            (c) Diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and amelioration of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders;

            (d) The use of referral or placement techniques or both which serve to further the goals of counseling;

            [(d)] (e) Therapeutic vocational or personal or both rehabilitation in relation to coping with or adapting to physical disability, emotional disability, or intellectual disability or any combination of the three;

            [(e)] (f) Designing, conducting, and interpreting research;

            [(f)] (g) The use of group methods or techniques to promote the goals of counseling;

            [(g)] (h) The use of informational and community resources for career, personal, or social development;

            [(h)] (i) Consultation on any item in paragraphs (a) through [(g)] (h) above; and

            [(i)] (j) No provision of sections 337.500 to 337.540, or of chapter 354 or 375, RSMo, shall be construed to mandate benefits or third-party reimbursement for services of professional counselors in the policies or contracts of any insurance company, health services corporation or other third-party payer;

            (8) "Provisional licensed professional counselor", any person who is a graduate of an acceptable educational institution, as defined by division rules, with at least a master's degree with a major in counseling, or its equivalent, and meets all requirements of a licensed professional counselor, other than the supervised counseling experience prescribed by subdivision [(1) of] (2) of subsection 1 of section 337.510, and who is supervised by a person who is qualified for the practice of professional counseling.

            337.510. 1. Each applicant for licensure as a professional counselor shall furnish evidence to the committee that the applicant is at least eighteen years of age, is of good moral character, is a United States citizen or is legally present in the United States; and

            (1) The applicant has completed a course of study as defined by the board rule leading to a master's, specialist's, or doctoral degree with a major in counseling; and

            (2) The applicant has completed acceptable supervised counseling as defined by board rule. If the applicant has a master's degree with a major in counseling as defined by board rule, the applicant shall complete at least two years of acceptable supervised counseling experience subsequent to the receipt of the master's degree. The composition and number of hours comprising the acceptable supervised counseling experience shall be defined by board rule. An applicant may substitute thirty semester hours of post master's graduate study for one of the two required years of acceptable supervised counseling experience if such hours are clearly related to counseling;

            (3) After August 28, 2007, each applicant shall have completed a minimum of three hours of graduate level coursework in diagnostic systems either in the curriculum leading to a degree or as post master's graduate level course work;

            (4) Upon examination, the applicant is possessed of requisite knowledge of the profession, including techniques and applications, research and its interpretation, and professional affairs and ethics;

            (5) (a) Any person rendering a diagnosis shall have acceptable education or training in the diagnosis of persons with mental and emotional disorders. The composition of acceptable education or training shall be defined by committee rule from among the following areas:

            a. Successful completion of a national clinical mental health examination or similar statistically valid examination;

            b. Continuing education;

            c. Evidence of equivalent training and experience attested to by a licensee, supervisor, or person trained in assessment and diagnosis;

            d. Graduate course work; and

            e. Other education and training deemed sufficient by the committee.

            (b) A person under supervision for licensure or the person providing such supervision shall provide documentation to the committee attesting to supervision of diagnosis. The committee shall have the authority to review the documentation to determine compliance with this subdivision.

            (c) A licensed professional counselor rendering a diagnosis shall, upon request of the committee, provide proof of acceptable education or training. Rendering a diagnosis after the committee has notified the licensee that the licensee lacks sufficient education or training to render a diagnosis shall raise a rebuttable presumption of lack of competence in a disciplinary proceeding.

            2. Any person who previously held a valid unrevoked, unsuspended license as a professional counselor in this state and who held a valid license as a professional counselor in another state at the time of application to the committee shall be granted a license to engage in professional counseling in this state upon application to the committee accompanied by the appropriate fee as established by the committee pursuant to section 337.507.

            3. Any person holding a current license, certificate of registration, or permit from another state or territory of the United States to practice as a professional counselor who is at least eighteen years of age, is of good moral character, and is a United States citizen or is legally present in the United States may be granted a license without examination to engage in the practice of professional counseling in this state upon the application to the board, payment of the required fee as established by the board, and satisfying one of the following requirements:

            (1) Approval by the American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB) or its successor organization according to the eligibility criteria established by AASCB. The successor organization shall be defined by board rule; or

            (2) In good standing and currently certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors or its successor organization and has completed acceptable supervised counseling experience as defined by board rule. The successor organization shall be defined by board rule; or

            (3) Determination by the board that the requirements of the other state or territory are substantially the same as Missouri and certified by the applicant's current licensing entity that the applicant has a current license. The applicant shall also consent to examination of any disciplinary history.

            4. The committee shall issue a license to each person who files an application and fee and who furnishes evidence satisfactory to the committee that the applicant has complied with the provisions of this act and has taken and passed a written, open-book examination on Missouri laws and regulations governing the practice of professional counseling as defined in section 337.500. The division shall issue a provisional professional counselor license to any applicant who meets all requirements of this section, but who has not completed the required acceptable supervised counseling experience and such applicant may reapply for licensure as a professional counselor upon completion of such acceptable supervised counseling experience.

            5. All persons licensed to practice professional counseling in this state shall pay on or before the license renewal date a renewal license fee and shall furnish to the committee satisfactory evidence of the completion of the requisite number of hours of continuing education as required by rule, which shall be no more than forty hours biennially. The continuing education requirements may be waived by the committee upon presentation to the committee of satisfactory evidence of the illness of the licensee or for other good cause.