Cross Your Fingers

I remember when I was in grad school, we had a discussion regarding what options art therapists had in different states. It was then that I learned that art therapists could not become licensed in the state of California unless they qualified to sit for the exams required to obtain an MFT (Marriage and Family Therapy license) or LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker).

Life brought me to Northern California, and when it did, it became more and more obvious that my career would be stunted because I am ineligible for a state recognized license. When I was searching for a job there were lots I was qualified for, except that I wasn’t an MFT or LCSW. I would have to go back to school for another Master’s degree…or perhaps this even would be the impetus for me to continue my studies even further and get a Psy D (Doctor of Psychology).

But wait. The creation of an LPC license (Licensed Professional Counsellor), which is available in all other 49 states except California, and what most art therapists are licensed as by each state (in addition to the national license of ATR-BC, registered art therapist-board certified), is something that art therapists in California have been working towards for the past several years (if not decades). And yes, these things can take forever…and it seems like it has, but we’re now closer than ever to having a bill pass in the Senate that would give rise to the LPC license in California. The bill may even pass within the next few weeks (if the Senate doesn’t close early for the year), and if this happens, the Governor could sign the bill by the end of September, and the bill would come into effect as early as Jan 1, 2009.

This is incredibly exciting for me, since, as I said before, without a state license I have much less opportunity.

2 Replies to “Cross Your Fingers”

  1. Hi Elizabeth- I am a Californian too and very far from ANY certification at this point, but I am excited to hear this news. Where can I find updates on this issue? I don’t even have my Bachelor’s yet, but Art Therapy is such an exciting field! I am a little surprised at how excited I am to persue this career. I’m very happy to have found your blog!

  2. Hi Bettsi,

    Art therapy is an exciting career choice, with lots of opportunity to contribute to the collective knowledge through research. The NorCATA (Northern California Art Therapy Association) website offers updates, although I dont think they’ve updated their website too recently on the issue. Here’s a direct link:

    If anything happens in relation to art therapy and the law in california, they’d be a good resource. Also, if you decide to go to grad school for art therapy in Cali and the LPC hasnt passed (which it should by then…), just be sure to pick a school where you can get licensed as a MFT (marriage and family therapist). Schools that offer this will advertise that fact somewhere on their website.

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