What is an LCMHC

"Allow your passion to become your purpose, and it will one day become your profession." - Gabrielle Bernstein


What is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC)? An LCMHC is a licensure credential established to protect the public and create standards for professionals serving in the mental health profession. "Professional counselors are required by law in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to be licensed in order to legally practice as a professional counselor." These laws set requirements in the areas of education, examination, and experience. Moreover, each state has established a Licensure Board responsible for issuing licenses, handling consumer and ethical complaints regarding counselors' practice, and issuing and enforcing such regulations as are necessary in overseeing the profession. 

LCMHC is only one of the several different licensure titles used within the United States to identify professionally licensed counselors. Some include Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor of Mental Health (LPCC), Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC), Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP). "Obtaining an Associate License (titles vary by state) is often required for applicants who have met the education and exam requirements, but have not yet met the supervised experience requirement." Examples include Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC), Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA), Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor, Counselor-in-Training, and Clinical Resident. Also, it is important to note that licensure of professional counselors is distinct and separate from the licensure or certification of school counselors and substance abuse counselors.

"Counselor licensure laws can be divided into the categories of practice acts and title acts. Title acts refer to those licensure laws that restrict the use of a specific title to only those individuals meeting education, training, and examination standards. Under title acts, individuals may engage in the practice of counseling without being licensed, but may not use the title of licensed professional counselor (or related titles specified in the law). Practice acts refer to those licensure laws that prohibit the practice of professional counseling without obtaining licensure. Consequently, practice acts are considered to be more strongly protective of consumers than are title acts. Almost all states have adopted practice acts for licensure of professional counselors." 

The information provided above is sourced from the American Counseling Association and can be more thoroughly examined on the ACA webpage.