The meaning of LPC is Licensed Professional Counselor.
LCPC stands for Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.
Counselors and psychotherapists are licensed and registered differently from country to country.
A counselor’s registrations will depend on their qualifications, the laws in each country, state and region, whether the profession itself is government regulated, industry regulated or not regulated at all.
What is a Licensed Professional Counselor?
This a title of a counselor who has been granted a license to practice in a particular country, state or region. When you hear the term LPC, this is referring to a Licensed Professional Counselor. The term is more commonly used in the United States.
There are associations in many countries that support counselors and the growing counseling industry. These bodies are often involved in granting a counselor the LPC, LCPC or Registered Counsellor titles.
Let’s have a look a the state of the counseling industry from country to country at present (2022) –
Counseling Industry Regulation in the US
To a degree, the counseling profession in America is both government and industry regulated.
The counseling profession is regulated through the state boards, who adhere to enacted legislation for the counseling profession.
Counselors must also comply with federal laws that deal with confidentiality, technology, etc. (such as HIPAA, HITECH, No Surprises Act, etc.). The professional field of counseling has oversight with ethical issues and requirements that counselors must follow with organizations such as American Counseling Association or with state ethics, depending on the organization.
There are educational requirements through CACREP, that future counselors and educators must adhere to and there are other organizations such as AMHCA, NBCC, NAADAC, State Counseling Organizations and Associations, International Registry of Counselor Education Programs, just to name a few. Therefore, the answer does not present as one versus the other: it is both.
Governments (at the state level) regulate the counseling profession by having each individual state define the scope of practice, and set forth regulations for applying, maintaining, and renewing licenses. States dictate laws and regulations for counseling. They can also have their own respective Codes of Ethics.
Professional Counseling Organizations regulate the profession by creating a Code of Ethics. Oftentimes, counseling organizations/associations/commissions will be specialty specific. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certificate (CRCC) creates the Code of Ethics for this specialty and issues a certification and thereby regulates who practices (and how) within this specialty.
Educational constituents such as the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredits masters and doctoral-level degree programs in counseling and specialties (optional for academic institutions).
Academic institutions may choose to have a counseling degree program not accredited by CACREP. The regulation of the counseling profession in the US is complex and dynamic and involves a number of constituents and stakeholders.
The CACREP accredited program is optional, but a small number of states do adhere to the standards and have that requirement for licensure. Please see these web resources for additional information:-
Counselling Industry in the UK
There are currently no laws to state who can practice as a counsellor or psychotherapist in the UK.
The Government has established the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSAHSC) –https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/, as the National Accrediting Body for Health Professionals UK-wide who are not currently regulated by statute.
It is also important to note that in theory without any laws being in place anybody can practice.
There are a number of counselling bodies in the United Kingdom. These are the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and the National Counselling Society (NCS).
Counselling Industry in Canada
In Canada there are two major national counselling associations, Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA).
The Current State of the Counselling Industry in Canada
Barrier #1 – Consistency & Recognition
Different use of professional titles for the practice of psychotherapy depending on province.
- This greatly impacts access to service as not all titles are recognized and covered amongst insurance providers.
- The use of the titles Counselling Therapist and Psychotherapist are the same profession with the same qualifications. The title depends on if the province is regulated or unregulated for the practice of psychotherapy.
- Not all provinces in Canada are regulated.
- CCPA offers a designation that sets a high national standard to become a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) for practitioners in unregulated provinces.
- Many unregulated provinces recognize CCCs in absence of a provincially regulated title.
How are counsellors licensed or registered in Canada
Regulation is a provincial responsibility in Canada.
Despite the use of “psychotherapist” vs “counselling therapist” professional titles by province, these professions share:
- comparable scopes of practice
- standards for professional preparation
- continuing education requirements
- code of ethics and standards of practice
- ethics complaints procedures
o In unregulated provinces/territories, professional designations such as CCPA’s Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) demonstrate qualifications and adherence to a code of ethics and standards of practice.
For all and more information; please visit: https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/profession-and-regulation/
Hope for the future
o Not all titles are recognized by insurance providers.
o This leads to a decreased number of service providers available to provide psychotherapy services.
o Canadian’s need for mental health services has increased tremendously since the pandemic.
o Now common that private and public counselling services have extensive waitlists.
o By adding coverage for Counselling Therapist and Psychotherapists under mental health services to base plans, this will increase access to care AND decrease the amount of wait time for Canadians to access the care they need.
More Information:· https://www.parallelwellness.ca/mental-health-professionals/
o Under “Counsellor” Section:
§ In British Columbia, masters-level… (this paragraph is helpful)· https://www.firstsession.com/resources/types-of-therapists-psychotherapist-licensing-education-canada
o Breakdown of Psychotherapist Licensing and education in Ontario-British Columbia-Alberta
Counselling Industry in Australia
Currently the Australian counselling industry is self regulated. There are currently 2 main bodies in Australia – Australian Counselling Association (ACA) and Psychotherapist and Counsellors Federation of Australia (PACFA). Both of these associations register their counsellors according to their qualifications and experience, and encourage ongoing supervision and professional development.
The ACA and PACFA support and promote the Australian counselling industry moving forward and being recognised under the Medicare Benefits Scheme similar to that of psychologists in Australia where the industry is regulated by the government body AHPRA.
The industry itself has moved in leaps and bounds over the past 20 years. Many Australian universities now offer degrees and masters courses in counselling and most Level 4 and Clinical Counsellors are just as qualified and experienced (if not more) than their peers working in the sister fields of psychology and social work to work within the mental health industry.
The Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (ARCAP) is the independent national register of qualified Registered Counsellors and Psychotherapists. It was founded and is administered by the ACA and PACFA.
Collectively ARCAP represents about 15,000 specialist counsellors and psychotherapists, which is estimated to be nearly 90% of the profession in Australia. Through ARCAP, the bodies advocate for the Australian Government Department of Health to address urgent gaps in the Australian mental health workforce.
Further information on LCP
As you can see, the registration and licensing of counselors varies greatly in each country as does the current state of the industry itself.
If you are a counselor or a counseling student, it would be well worth researching the counseling bodies in your country. From there, sign up to their newsletter to stay up to date with industry changes and developments and consider becoming a member when you receive your qualifications.
This information was correct at time of publishing in 2023. If you have updated information or would like to include your country, please send us an email.
Vision would like to thank all of the contributors to this article, including representatives from the American Counseling Association, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the Australian Counselling Association, and the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.