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Licensed Professional Counselors

Licensed professional counselors provide mental health care to those who need it. Counselors are qualified to provide services in a variety of nonprofit and government organizations. In most states throughout the United States, licensed professional counselor (LPC) certification is given the privilege to work in private practice. Only a few states have a two-tier program where only counselors on the top tier can practice privately.

The need for counseling services is significant because millions of people are affected by substance abuse issues or mental health every year. An estimate shows that less than half the population receives the care they need. Licensed professional counselors often choose a specialty based on experience and training, based on a specific aspect of the field, such as suicide prevention or substance abuse.


Where Do Licensed Professional Counselors Provide Services?

Licensed professional counselors serve a tremendous amount of people. According to an estimate of how many people need mental health care at some point, about a quarter of the population. Professional counselors can work in any nonprofit or government organization authorized to provide mental health care. The settings for services include:

  • Facilities Authorized to Provide Psychotherapeutic Services
  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Senior Citizen Agencies
  • Nursing Homes
  • Private or Public Schools
  • Community Centers
  • Veteran’s Organizations
  • Group Home Agencies
  • Prisons


What Services Do Licensed Professional Counselors Provide?

Licensed professional counselors work with those who require therapeutic assistance to move on in their lives because they have become impossible or difficult to keep up with and manage effectively. The difficulties counselors help with include:

  • Financial Concerns
  • Elder or Child Abuse
  • Psychiatric or physical illness
  • Substance Abuse
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Domestic Violence

When treating clients for any of these difficulties, they will provide services that most likely involve:

How Do Counselors Diagnose and Treat Patients?
Counselors go through training to diagnose and treat various psychiatric, addictive, and psychological disorders. They analyze and treat disorders that commonly result in elder abuse, child abuse, eating disorders, domestic issues, or substance abuse. The treatment options counselors often use are:

  • Group or Interpersonal Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy


Educational Instruction
Professional counselors are frequently involved in programs that strive for the goal of preventing self-injurious or abusive behavior.
The services can be provided either in group or individual sessions. Group therapy may include:

  • Recovering Addicts
  • Couples
  • Adolescents
  • Families
  • Senior Citizens
  • Psychiatric Patients


What Requirements Are Needed to Earn a Certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor?

Anyone who wants to become a licensed professional counselor in the United States must have a state-level license. Some of the requirements vary depending on the state, such as the number of hours of clinical experience are required to get a license. All 50 states require:

  • Adherence to ethical standards spelled out in the state’s licensing examination
  • Master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or a related field
  • Successful completion of the state licensing exam
  • Academic course work in specifically designed subjects
  • Supervised clinical experience

There are several different licensing exams a student can take to become a counselor. Some states require the National Counselor Exam to earn their certification (NCE) and license. Another option for the counseling exam is the National Certified Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE.) Some individual states could require passing extra exams for counselors to get their state licenses.