Since the qualifications for each of the psychotherapy professions is largely consistent across state lines, it makes sense for the professions to do what they can to make it easier to take your license from one state to another. In recent months, there have been a handful of advances in license portability. Here’s where each of the professions stands today.
ACA moves its 2017 conference out of Tennessee
Following its unsuccessful opposition to Tennessee’s HB1840, which allows counselors to discriminate against clients based on personal belief, the American Counseling Association announced today it is moving its 2017 ACA Conference away from Nashville, where it had been scheduled, and to a different state.
Updated: The ACA should move its 2017 conference out of Tennessee
Updated May 10, 2016: They’re moving the conference. A written statement from President Thelma Duffey is here, and a video from CEO Richard Yep further explaining the decision is here.
Updated April 29, 2016: The ACA has released a statement on HB1840 and asking for patience as their leadership weighs its options for the 2017 conference. The full statement is available here.
Updated April 28, 2016: Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed the “religious freedom” bill allowing counselors to freely discriminate, and directly contradicting the ACA Code of Ethics. The ACA should move the conference. My original post, published April 21 under the headline “What should the ACA do about its 2017 conference?” follows. -bc
The American Counseling Association has been vocal in its opposition to pending legislation in Tennessee that would allow counselors to turn clients away based on any personal belief, even if the refusal to treat is discriminatory in nature. They have said that the bill directly contradicts the ACA Code of Ethics and must be vetoed by the Governor.
If the bill passes, however, it puts the ACA in a quandary: Their 2017 conference — for which registration is currently open — is scheduled to be held in Nashville.
How this year’s religious freedom bills would impact therapists
Several states are considering religious freedom bills that would directly impact therapist training and licensure, and clients’ ability to access appropriate mental health care.
As has been the trend for several years now, these bills — also commonly referred to as “conscience clause” legislation — are being framed as protection of the rights of religious people to act in accordance with their moral or religious beliefs, free from government interference. The bills tend to be broadly written, though there have been at least a few instances of bills being written specifically to apply to mental health (including one this year — see discussion of Tennessee below).
What Indiana’s religious freedom law means for therapists
Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law by Governor Mike Pence last week, has raised a great deal of controversy. In the psychotherapy community, the law could have an immediate impact in the form of professional events and conferences moving out of the state. In the longer term, the bill is likely to impact training and practice by making it harder for universities and licensing boards to discipline discriminatory behavior.