LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS – A Guide For Consumers
Setting the standard for experienced and qualified Mental Health Professionals
Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners
8631 Summa Ave. Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Tel: 225- 765- 2515 Fax: 225- 765- 2514
Who are Licensed Professional Counselors?
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) provide psychotherapeutic services to treat you and your families with life crises, mental disorders and related mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, stress, grief, behavior problems, etc. LPCs are regulated by the LPC Board of Examiners, a state board whose members are appointed by the Louisiana Governor to carry out the general oversight of professional counselors in Louisiana. LPCs provide counseling services in accordance with state law and the board’s rules. This includes following the code of ethics that the board has established for the counseling profession. This brochure is intended to inform you of the ethical conduct that you may expect from your professional counselor. Your LPC has been trained to provide counseling services. They are to assist you through a therapeutic relationship, using a combination of mental health and human development principles and techniques, including the use of psychotherapy, to achieve your mental, emotional, physical, social, educational, spiritual, or career- related development and adjustment. An LPC may prevent, assess, valuate, and treat mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders and distresses that interfere with mental health. You may have occasion to ask questions that require legal, medical, or other specialized knowledge. If so, you should ask your attorney or primary care physician or ask your counselor for a referral to a specialist in your area of concern. Any concerns or complaints about a counselor should first be discussed between you and your counselor. If a satisfactory resolution has not been reached you may file a complaint with the board at the address or phone number provided on the front of this brochure. An LPC is required to be truthful when advertising counseling services to the public. You should receive accurate information regarding your counselor’s training and credentials, as well as the scope of what may be accomplished in counseling. You may visit the Board’s web page at www.lpcboard.org and view a roster of counselors to determine if a counselor is currently licensed.
Counseling is for you and your family
Counseling for you and your family will focus on enhancing your personal growth and your ability to cope with life’s problems. You may expect to be treated with dignity in a professional manner. When you invest yourself in the counseling process, you can experience the satisfaction of working successfully at some of the most important issues in your life. The guidelines established by the Board are aimed at promoting a positive counseling experience. You must make your own decisions regarding such things as deciding to marry, divorce, separate, reconcile, and how to set up custody and visitation with your counselor’s assistance in helping you understand the consequences of these decisions. You must also inform your counselor at any time there is a change in circumstances concerning your general physical health and any medical treatments and / or medications that may have an impact on your therapy. If you are dissatisfied with your relationship with your counselor or wish to see another counselor, you need to clearly terminate your counseling relationship before being seen by another counselor. Counseling, by its very nature, often deals with the most private aspects of your life. It is your counselor’s responsibility to ensure an atmosphere of safety for you, free from any kind of exploitation. The Board does not tolerate sexual misconduct by professional counselors. An LPC is prohibited from engaging in sexual contact, sexual exploitation, or therapeutic deception with a client or a former client.
Are my records kept confidential?
Licensed counselors will keep everything you discuss confidential, with a few exceptions. All clients will give signed permission before any information can be shared with anyone about any aspect of your counseling. If you are asked to give permission to share any information about you or your family, you will have an opportunity to specify who should receive information from your file, what information they are allowed to receive, the purpose for which they may use the information, and the period of time during which you are granting permission. Be sure to read carefully any “Release of Information” or “Consent” form you sign. If you have questions about the form, ask. The common situations requiring a release of information include certain inquiries from insurance companies, a new counselor wanting to use records from a previous counselor to provide continuing care, and collaboration with another agency or professional in your treatment such as your primary care physician, attorney, or psychiatrist. Sometimes, certain situations override your confidentiality. For example, if you are involved in a court case, the judge can order your file to be turned over to the court. If you make statements that a child or an elderly or disabled person has been abused or neglected, your counselor is required by law to report that information to the appropriate authorities. If you make statements that indicate you intend serious and imminent harm to yourself or others, your counselor may report that information to medical personnel or law enforcement. There are other similar situations that your counselor should discuss with you before or during your initial session. Parents have a right to receive progress reports on their child’s counseling. However, personal information shared by a child during an individual session will be kept confidential unless it involves imminent danger to the child or someone else. Children and adolescents will not confide in a counselor if they believe that personal information will be revealed to their parents.
What may I expect at my first counseling session?
At the first session you can expect to receive a copy of the “professional disclosure statement”, which is on file at the Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners office. This document is presented to inform you of the counselor’s highest relevant academic degree, any specialty training and certifications, the number of years of counseling experience, the types of clients served, and the length of sessions (usually 50 minute individual/ family sessions and 90 minute group sessions). It should also include all fees for service, method of payment accepted, information concerning billing practices, confidentiality, and how and where to file a complaint with the Board. The Professional Disclosure Statement is signed by you and your therapist and a copy should be available upon your request. Your counselor should create a comfortable climate with warmth, caring, and confidentiality so that you feel safe enough to develop a trusting therapeutic relationship. It is not uncommon for some psychological and behavior patterns to have been reinforced for a number of years. You might be asked to work both in and out of your counseling sessions completing homework and assignments to improve life skills. Other persons may be involved in the counseling process (for example, a team approach in the counseling office or the involvement of a local minister).
A Final Word Concerning Your Counseling Experience
A counseling relationship will be strictly professional in nature. Your counselor is not allowed to invite you into a business venture, ask you for personal favors, develop a friendship with you, or a romantic relationship. These relationships are called dual relationships and are unethical. If you seek counseling with a personal friend, or someone with whom you already had a business or other type of relationship, the LPC will refer you to another mental health professional. Your LPC may not engage in any working or personal relationship with you without informing you that future counseling will no longer be a possibility. Visit the board’s website for more information about licensed professional counselors. From this site, you may view or print the state laws and board rules that govern the provision of counseling services in Louisiana. Much of the success of your counseling experience depends on you. You are most likely to reap benefits from counseling if you are motivated, honest, and willing to work at self- improvement and self- awareness .
You have rights as a client. You have rights as a client. You have rights as a client. You have rights as a client. You have the right to expect prompt, professional and courteous service. You have the right to be served without discrimination as to sex, race, creed, color, religion, or national origin. You have the right to have the nature of the recommended treatment and any specific risks of such treatment carefully explained to you. You have the right to assist in your treatment plan, which should be tailored to meet your specific needs. You have the right to be told if your counselor cannot provide the services that you need. You have the right to refuse treatment or request a change in your treatment plan. You have the right to privacy. You have the right to privacy. Your case will not be discussed by the staff in front of visitors case will not be discussed by the staff in front of visitors case will not be discussed by the staff in front of visitors case will not be discussed by the staff in front of visitors or other clients.
This brochure was designed by Bonnie K. Coats and distributed by The Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners. This brochure may be reproduced for distribution.