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Professional FAQs

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Download tips and information here.

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Visit the Professionals Page in the program area web pages.

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This profession/occupation does not have Continuing Education requirements.

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You can find the information on the Continuing Competency page in the program area.

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Visit the program's Professionals Page.

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Q: Where can I find out about the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB)?

A: There's now a guide to the data banks created just for health care practitioners. For an overview of the kind of data collected, the steps for submitting a self-query, and more useful information, download the brochure, or visit the data banks' website at www.npdb-hipdb.hrsa.gov.

Q: Is teletherapy permitted in Colorado?

A: See the related policies on the appropriate Mental Health Program website, which strongly recommend that first contact with the client and any initial evaluations are made face-to-face for teletherapy.  Links for each of  the mental health "Laws, Rules and Policies" pages are provided below:


Q: Do you need a license to practice hypnotherapy?


A: If you practice hypnotherapy, you must be licensed or listed in the State Database of the Board of Registered Psychotherapists.

Q: Are licensed or registered psychotherapists required to have malpractice insurance?

A: There is no requirement for malpractice insurance as a provider of psychotherapy services under the Colorado Mental Health Statute. However, as a practical matter, malpractice insurance is strongly advised for any psychotherapist engaged in private practice.

Q: What is the State Database of the Board of Registered Psychotherapists?

A: Pursuant to §12-43-702.5, C.R.S., any registered psychotherapist is required to record their name, current address, educational qualifications, disclosure statements, therapeutic orientation or methodology, or both, and years of experience in each specialty area with the State Board of Registered Psychotherapists for inclusion in the State Database. Beginning July 1, 2011, additional mandatory disclosure requirements are also in place.

Q: If listed on the Mental Health State Database, am I eligible to take the NCE Examination?

A: No. Being listed in the Mental Health State Database does not qualify the registered person to take any mental health examination with the exception of the Jurisprudence Examination.

Q: Do volunteers for a teen crisis line need to be listed in the State Database of the Board of Registered Psychotherapists?

A: If the volunteers are providing referral and/or informational services to callers, they are not required to be listed in the State Database. A person whose primary practice is psychotherapy or who holds him or herself out to the public as being able to practice psychotherapy for compensation is required to be listed in the State Database.

Q: Is clinical supervision of licensed clinical social workers, marriage and family therapis, professional counselors or registered psychotherapists required under the Colorado Mental Health Statute?

A: Supervision is not required for registered or licensed psychotherapists in Colorado.

Q: Can a third party, someone other than a client, file a grievance against a mental health professional?


A:
Yes, anyone can file a grievance against any mental health professional regulated by the Colorado Mental Health Statute provided that it is filed in good faith.

Q: If a licensed or registered psychotherapist is providing services in multiple states, who has jurisdiction over them?

A:
Any state(s) that licenses or certifies the psychotherapist.

Q: How can I file a complaint against a mental health facility?

A:
Contact the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health.

Q: Can a licensee or registered psychotherapist release the name of a client to a collection agency without the client's permission, if the client has not paid for or is in arrears for services provided?

A:
Yes. However, it is considered good practice to inform the client at the outset of therapy that use of a collection service is practiced by the therapist and the name, current address, and phone number of the client may be provided to the collection agency if the client does not pay for psychotherapy services. This is frequently included in the disclosure statement provided to clients at the beginning of therapy.

Q: Are fees or fee disputes for psychotherapy services regulated by the State of Colorado?

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No. Fees or any fee disputes between consumers and providers of psychotherapy services are not within the jurisdiction of the Mental Health Boards.

Q: Is the mandatory disclosure statement required for clients who are court ordered for therapy?

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No. Mandatory disclosure is not required for a person seeking therapy pursuant to a court order.

Q: If a client refuses to sign the disclosure statement, is the therapist required to discontinue or terminate therapy until the statement is signed?

A:
No. The therapist should note on the disclosure statement where the signature appears that the client refused to sign and indicate the date the disclosure statement was provided to the client.

Q: A 15-year-old client living with her boyfriend seeks the services of a psychotherapist because she is alleging that her boyfriend raped her. She does not want her parents to know. Is the therapist required to obtain parental permission prior to treating the client?

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No. The client is considered emancipated because she does not reside with her parents or guardian, and may consent to mental health care (§19-1-103(45), C.R.S.).

Q: If parents have joint/shared custody of their child who is a minor, is a licensed or registered psychotherapist required to have both parents give consent to treat?

A:
Often, only one parent is required to give consent for treatment, although in many cases it is considered best practice to involve both parents and to request court documents prior to the first visit for confirmation of parental decision making authority.

Q: A therapist providing couples therapy is asked by one spouse to testify in a contested divorce dispute. Is the therapist required to obtain permission from the other spouse prior to releasing information or agreeing to testify?

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Yes. Permission to disclose confidential information about the other spouse is required.

Q: An attorney, by court, serves a psychotherapist with a subpoena duces tecum to appear at a deposition and bring records of a client suing a manufacturing firm she is representing. Is the therapist required to release such records to the attorney?

A:
No. The therapist cannot release records to the attorney without a release from the client. A subpoena duces tecum is an order to appear in court or at a deposition and bring documents or records to that proceeding. It does not constitute permission to release confidential information. You may need to get a protective order from the court.

Q: What constitutes mandatory reporting?

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If you have reasonable belief that a prohibited activity occurred and reporting would not violate client confidentiality, you are required to report to the appropriate licensing Board.

Q: Are psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, addiction counselors or registered psychotherapists required to report child abuse?

A: Yes, mental health professionals are specifically cited under the Colorado Children's Code (please refer to Title 19 of the Colorado Revised Statutes) to report child abuse; they are also required to report child abuse under the Colorado Mental Health Statute as it is considered a generally accepted standard of these professions to report child abuse.

Q: Is it permissible to accept gifts from clients?

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This depends on the type of gift, its monetary value, and any expectations by the client associated with the gift. If there is any perceived adverse risk to the client-therapist relationship, it is advisable not to accept the gift.

Q: Are special advocates or parenting coordinators exempt from Board jurisdiction under the Colorado Mental Health Statute?

A:
SB 11-187 removed the exemption previously provided in §12-43-215, C.R.S. which applied to mental health professionals acting within the scope of a court appointment to undertake custodial evaluations in domestic relations causes in the courts of this state or mental health professionals acting within the scope of a court appointment to undertake domestic and child abuse evaluations for purposes of legal proceedings within this state, effective July 1, 2011.

Q: What are rules and regulations regarding the release of records? What does a facility do with records when they close?

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Please refer to the record-keeping rule for your profession, or for more information contact an attorney.


Q: How long are therapists required to keep client records?


A: Each Board has established its own rule with regards to record-keeping. Please refer to the appropriate Board rule for your profession:


Q: Do licensees or registered psychotherapists have a duty to report unprofessional conduct by another licensed or registered psychotherapist?

A: Yes, unless making such a report would violate a client's confidentiality (i.e. disclosing information about the client of the reporting therapist without consent of the client is prohibited).

Q: As a licensed or registered psychotherapist, am I required to disclose prior disciplinary actions against me to my clients?


A: Under the Michael Skolnik Transparency Act of 2010, reporting requirements were extended to mental health professionals who apply to renew a license, certification or registration, on or after July 1, 2011. If you have questions specific to the requirements in the Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act, please visit their website at www.dora.colorado.gov/professions/hppp.

Q: What are the generally accepted ethical standards of practice? Where can I find them documented for my profession?

A: Contact your local professional association found on our "Other Links" tab of the mental health homepages.


Q: Are registered psychotherapists allowed to perform general or technical psychometric testing, scoring, or interpretation of test results?

A:
Yes, provided that they meet the minimum standards for testing under §12-43-228, C.R.S. and are competent in the use of those tests.

Q: Is "marriage and family counseling" a protected term reserved only for licensed marriage and family therapists?

A:
No. "Marriage and Family Therapist" and "LMFT" are the only protected terms for licensed marriage and family therapists in Colorado.

Q: Can certified domestic violence counselors or certified addiction counselors, or registered psychotherapists invoke a 72-hour hold and treat order?


A: Yes, provided they have achieved the appropriate level of certification to practice independently.

Q: Can a licensed mental health provider who uses a sliding scale bill insured clients at a higher rate for psychotherapy services than they do for uninsured clients?

A:
No.

Q: Are licensed or registered psychotherapists required to treat clients regardless of their ability to pay?

A: No.

Q: When do applicants/therapists need to be listed in the State Database of the Board of Registered Psychotherapists?

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Pursuant to § 12-43-702.5, C.R.S., applicants not currently licensed or certified as a mental health provider in Colorado must list themselves as a registered psychotherapist in the State Database. This includes applicants/therapists who are complying with their two year experience and supervision.

Q: Legislative changes effective July 1, 2011, revised the content of the mandatory disclosure form. What are those changes and where can I find a sample of the disclosure form?

A: Revisions to the mandatory disclosure form can be reviewed in SB 11-187. A sample of the form and checklist are available on the "Professionals/Licensing Services" tabs for each of the mental health boards.

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Q: Am I required to report the inquiry to my insurance company?

A: Maybe.  Please contact your insurance agency and/or review the terms of your contract.

Q: Do I need a lawyer?

A: We cannot advise on this: it is up to each individual.

Q: What if I have never had an inquiry filed against me before?

A: All inquiries are reviewed and processed accordingly.

Q: Do I need a release of information from the complainant to respond to the inquiry?  How much confindential information can I disclose in my response?


A: No.  Confidentiality does not apply when responding to a complaint or grievance.

Q: Does it matter if a third party initiated the inquiry?


A:
No.

Q: Why must I limit my response to 10 pages or less? What does "unbound" mean?


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It is the Boards position that 10 pages or less is sufficient to respond to the specifics of an inquiry. When preparing your response, please do not use paper clips, staples, or any binding material because the response must be copied for Board members and staff.

Q: If a parent without child custody files a complaint against me, what level of confidentiality should I maintain in my response? Will the parent see my response, even if it violates confidentially and could be detrimental for therapy purposes?

A:
You may request your response not be forwarded to the parent filing the inquiry.
 

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Q: What does it take to become a Certified or Licensed Addiction Counselor?

A: The two basic components to the requirements are:

  • Division of Behavioral Health (DBH - formerly ADAD, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division) approved training and education
  • Appropriately supervised work/field experience.  The amount of training and field experience necessary to become a CAC I, CAC II, CAC III or LAC depends on the application level of certification or licensure.  Please visit the Professionals page for more detailed information and to access the applications for certification or licensure.


Q: Where do I find the Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules?

A: The specific rules for certification and licensure can be found on the State Board of Addiction Counselor Examiners Laws, Rules and Policies page.

Q: What are the CAC I requirements?

A: See the Department of Human Services (CDHS) Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Standards, 14.300 on the Laws, Rules and Policies page.
Please see the application for additional processing requirements.

Q: What are the CAC II requirements?

See the Department of Human Services (CDHS) Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Standards, 14.400 on the Laws, Rules and Policies page.
Please see the application for additional processing requirements.

Q: What are the CAC III requirements?

A: See the Department of Human Services (CDHS) Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Standards, 14.500 on the Laws, Rules and Policies page.
Please see the application for additional processing requirements.

Q: What are the Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) requirements?


A: See the Department of Human Services (CDHS) Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Standards, 14.600 on the Laws, Rules and Policies page.
Please see the application for additional processing requirements.

Q: What qualifies as work experience hours for certification?

A:
See the Department of Human Services (CDHS) Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Standards, 14.210 on the Laws, Rules and Policies page.

Work experience is defined as paid or unpaid, clinically supervised, alcohol and drug specific counseling and related activities. This experience does not have to be from a DBH licensed program, but the nature of your work experience must fit the description of addiction counselor duties and you must receive the required number of hours per month of direct clinical supervision. In cases where your position was not specifically in an addiction treatment setting, yet a significant percentage of your work dealt with substance abuse issues, that percentage of your hour may count towards the work requirement, providing it meets the above criteria.

Q: What if I am not working full time, how many supervision hours do I need per month?

A: See the Department of Human Services (CDHS) Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Standards, 14.300, 14.400 and 14.500 on the Laws, Rules and Policies page.
Supervision hours may be prorated according to the number of hours worked, but may not be less than one hour per month.

Examples:

  • A counselor-in-training needs 3 hours of supervision per month for full time work or a 40-hour week.
  • The same person would need 1.5 hours per month for a 20-hour work week.
  • The same person would need 1 hour per month for a 13-hour work week.
  • The same person would need 1 hour per month for a 3-hour work week.


Q: Can work hours from another state count towards your CAC hours?

A: Yes, if those hours are documented on the DORA Work Verification Form and the hours were supervised by someone with a credential that is equivalent of a CACIII or LAC.

Q: How do I document my work experience hours and the hours of supervision that have been provided to me by a qualified supervisor?


A: See the Department of Human Services (CDHS) Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Standards, 14.210 on the Laws, Rules and Policies page.

Also see the Work Verification Form Instruction provided in the application packet for either a CAC or LAC, which is on the Professionals/Licensing Services page.

Q: When applicants first apply, must they apply for CAC I, even if they know they meet the requirements for a CAC II?

A: No. Applicants may apply for whatever level they are eligible for.

Q: How do I receive a certification packet?

A: You can obtain your application packet by navigating to the Professionals/Licensing Services page.

Q: How do I sign up for required or elective CAC trainings?

A: See the list of training facilities on the Professionals/Licensing Services page.

Q: Are college courses acceptable in lieu of DBH approved class requirements?

A:
Yes, but only for some DBH required classes.  See the Education Equivalency Worksheet on the Professionals/Licensing Services tab for Addiction Counselors.

Q: Do you provide a pre-evaluation of college course requirements so that I know what courses will be accepted for CAC certification or licensing?


A: No pre-approval will be conducted by DORA.  The evaluation will be done when the application and fee is received at DORA.  See the information concerning education equivalency of non-DBH approved courses or classess by going to the Professionals/Licensing Services page.

Q: Where can I find an approved CAC supervisor?

A: You may find a supervisor in the phone book, or contact any DBH-approved treatment program.  The Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) does not keep an approved supervisor list.  If you are unable to find a supervisor, please contact the Clinic Training Coordinator at DBH at (303) 866-7480.

Q: I just paid for my certification and now I have to pay a renewal fee. Why?

A:
Your application fee for certification is separate from the renewal fee of that certification. Fees cannot be commingled or pro-rated under Colorado law. The application fee is a one-time fee paid at the time of application for a license or certificate or upgrade to a new level of certification. All licensees, certifications and registrations expire on August 31st of odd-numbered years. However, new applicants who are issued a license within 120 days of the upcoming renewal expiration date will be issued a license with the subsequent expiration date.

Q: Do I need to complete the Jurisprudence Exam with every application?

A:
The general rule is that each time you submit an application to DORA, you must take and pass the most current Jurisprudence exam. However, if you have previously taken and passed the exam, AND you have your certification, you do not need to provide a Jurisprudence exam with your upgrade application PROVIDED that the current version of the exam is the same version you took and passed previously. Please See the bottom of the exam itself to find the version numbers and check with the most current version posted on the DORA website.

Q: How many times can I take the Jurisprudence Examination?

A: The Jurisprudence Examination may be taken as often as you need for a passing score. The Examination is designed to test your knowledge about routine and complex practice scenarios. Each question has one correct answer. It is "open-book" to encourage the development of personal resources to address practice questions. The purpose of the exam is to acquaint the applicant with the law that regulates the practice of psychotherapy in Colorado and encourage ethical practice.
Visit the Professionals/Licensing Services page for more information about Jurisprudence.

Q: What resources do I need to complete the Jurisprudence Examination?

A: The current Colorado Mental Health Statute, the Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Standards, the NAADAC Code of Ethics, and standards of practice as set forth in a free publication from SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, TAP 21). The CAC I required class in ethics includes jurisprudence and is a good overview of information needed for successfully taking the exam.

You may obtain a copy of the Mental Health Statue and Rules and Regulations here.  Additinal resources may be available throught the professional associations.  Please see the Other Links page to navigate to those associations. 

You may also wish to review books such as "Confronting Malpractice by Austin, et. al., "Documenting Psychotherapy" by Moline, et. al., or any general reference on legal and ethical principles in psychotherapy.

This list of resources is provided for your convenience only. The list does not imply Board endorsement or approval.

Q: What is NAADAC and SACC?

A: NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, is the largest membership organization serving addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals, who specialize in addiction prevention, treatment, recovery support and education. For more information, please visit their website: www.naadac.org.

SACC is The Society of Addiction Counselors of Colorado, an affiliate of NAADAC. SACC is an association of concerned professionals seeking to improve the quality of substance abuse and other addiction treatment services through education, training, and advocacy in Colorado. When you join NAADAC in Colorado you automatically become a member of SACC. For more information, please visit their website: www.caap.us/

Q: What are the NAADAC NCAC II and MAC exams?

A: The NCAC II and MAC are two of NAADAC’s national exams. The NCAC II exam is offered to those individuals who hold a Bachelors degree and the MAC exam is offered to those individuals who hold a Masters degree.

Q: How do applicants apply to take the NAADAC NCACI, NCAC II or MAC exam?

A:
Call the Society of Addiction Counselors of Colorado (SACC) representative at (303) 763-7198 to receive an application and information concerning the NCAC II and MAC or go to their website at www.caap.us/ and click on National Testing Information.

Q: Is national certification automatically gained when taking and passing the NAADAC NCACI, NCAC II or MAC exams?

A:
No, you can take the exam only, or take the exam and request credentialing. The fees are different for these two actions. For questions regarding national certification call NAADAC at (800) 548-0497 or visit their website at www.naadac.org.

Q: I let my CAC lapse, now what do I need to do to reinstate it?

A: See Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Standards 14.800 on the Laws, Rules and Policies page.  You can download an application for reinstatement here.

Q. Do I need special training to facilitate DUI groups?

A: There is no formal certification program to facilitate DUI Level I Education and DUI Level II Education and Therapy groups. However, you must have a CAC II or above to facilitate these groups. If the agency where you work uses either the Driving With Care (DWC) curriculum or the Impaired Driver Education Program (IDEP) curriculum you must take the specialized training for these two curriculums. Agencies may use a curriculum they have designed provided it has been approved by DBH. If this is the case, it is expected that you will receive on-the-job training in delivering that curriculum. For further information, please see Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) website.

Q: How do counselors become approved domestic violence providers?

A: Call the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board at (303) 239-4528, or visit their website at www.cdpsweb.state.co.us/odvsom.

Q: What are Elective classes?

A: See Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Standards 14.500 (F)6& 14.600.(F)4 on our Laws, Rules and Policies page.
Elective classes are defined as “DBH approved training related to clinical issues” and shall be met through: DBH approved training, or official transcripts of courses in applied human service disciplines obtained from accredited institutions of higher education equivalent to an DBH approved elective training.
 

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