California Passes Legislation for Counselor Licensure

The push for greater licensure measures and controls across the country has been given diligent effort in recent months and years, a movement toward encouraging the integrity of the mental health professionals and creating a national standard for identifying effective, positive training and professional support. As reported by the California Coalition for Counselor Licensure this week, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed SB 788, a measure that will require all counselors operating within the state to obtain regulated licensure before working with clients.

The move is being celebrated by many in the state and across the country who had expressed concern over California’s lack of the license requirement, which has already been implemented in each of the 49 other states in the union. Organizations such as the CACCL have taken on major efforts to lobby for the signing of the legislation, and some groups have aimed to inform the public about the potential dangers of continuing to allow the nonregulated practices being run statewide to continue. The successful campaigns have culminated in the governor’s approval, and implementation dates and schedules are being made available.

Through requiring all counselors to go through proper training, orientation, and practice measures in order to receive a license prior to beginning work, advocates of SB 788 note, California and its residents ensure that the potential for greater healing and compassionate, competent work will significantly rise, while the risk of client harm through the application of unprofessional or otherwise inappropriate methodologies and ideas stands to be greatly reduced. With the establishment of universal standards and a state-regulated program to ensure that such standards are met, the counseling profession—as well as the mental health profession at large—is sure to experience an increase in quality as well as success.

© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

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  • Woody


    October 13th, 2009 at 3:05 PM

    This is great news and is sure to protect the people at large from falling prey to quacks out there.

  • Pang


    October 13th, 2009 at 3:08 PM

    This was something that was required to have been implemented long ago. Nevertheless, better late than never…. Even with much enforcement, there are a lot of people out there who have not been through proper training and were yet practicing counseling. This enforcement will hopefully put n end to all such cases and ensure quality health care for all in need.

  • Irwin


    October 14th, 2009 at 2:39 AM

    California needed this ruling long ago. Anyway, it is good that it has been implemented now, and hopefully the law is applied well from the grass-roots levels… re-enforcement agencies need to make sure that there are no illegal counsellors out there, as this might put people’s health at stake.

  • Taylor


    October 14th, 2009 at 9:58 AM

    Duh! I am shocked that licensing requirements were not already in place.

  • Waugh


    October 15th, 2009 at 2:17 AM

    A welcome move indeed…although not too many people didn’t know that such laws did not exist in a state like California, it should now be an eye-opener to them and also awaken them to the fact that they might be taken for a ride from anybody out there, not just in the field of counseling, but in anything in general…

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