What is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)?

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs) are masters-level clinicians providing counseling/psychotherapy services in the State of California. They provide counseling services for a host of cognitive, mental, and emotional issues and help clients achieve personal growth, adjust to psychosocial and environmental problems, and recover from disabilities and crises. LPCCs may work independently in private practice or may work within a variety of mental health agencies amongst a team of other clinicians. LPCCs work with individuals (children, adolescents, and adults) and may also work with couples and families as long as the proper training has been obtained.


What does it take to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor?

In the State of California, an individual who wants to pursue the Professional Clinical Counseling career must complete numerous steps, including:

1. Complete a Bachelors Degree in Psychology or a related field (approximately 4 years of school).
2. Complete a Masters Degree in Psychology, including a practicum experience to begin gaining clinical experience with clients as a trainee under the supervision of a licensed clinician (approximately 2 additional years of school).
3. Register as a Professional Clinical Counselor Intern (PCCI) with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and complete a minimum of 3,000 hours conducting psychotherapy with clients under the supervision of a licensed clinician over the course of a minimum of 2 years.
4. Pass the California Law & Ethics exam.
5. Pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam.


What is the difference between an intern (PCCI) and a licensed professional (LPCC)?

A Professional Clinical Counselor Intern (PCCI) has officially completed school but is in the process of conducting 3,000 hours of psychotherapy with clients under the supervision of a licensed clinician. Supervision does not mean that the licensed clinician watches the therapy sessions directly, but rather that the intern has the licensed professional to consult with on a regular basis regarding the treatment of his or her clients. A licensed professional has completed these 3,000 hours and has passed the two required licensing exams, and no longer requires supervision by anybody else and can operate in private practice independently.