Open Letter to the Honorable Alice Forgy Kerr
Honorable Alice Forgy Kerr:
702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 203
Frankfort KY 40601
Thank you for your service to our Commonwealth, especially to helping our most vulnerable citizens, our children, youth , and senior citizens. As a KY citizen and voter, I appreciate your hard work in the General Assembly.
I am Chair of the KY Board of Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCC), a board established after the late Rep. Kenny Rapier in l996 Session sponsored and passed the Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) law whose oversight would come from our Board. Our licensees’ are called LPCs. You and your fellow legislators who represent Bardstown/Nelson County (Senator Jimmy Higdon, Rep. David Floyd) may remember our professional counseling law as one of the late Rep. Kenny Rapier’s signature bills.
I am also University of Cumberlands’ Dean of the School of Counseling. In both positions, my primary responsibility is to help ensure the public receives mental health counseling from qualified, credentialed providers. Kentucky has mental health counseling programs at University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Murray, Western, Eastern, Northern, Lindsey Wilson and my University.
Thank you for referencing our LPCC law in your Senate Bill 61’s Section 1 (4) (g) and Section 15, (1)(E). However, we are concerned about SB 61’s Section 9, (2). We definitely believe there will be mix-ups between your LCPC and our LPCC. As written, that section sounds like our LPCCs would not be allowed. We know that’s not your intention, but we’ve had ongoing reactions from constituencies who think that’s what the section says. We have over 2,000 LPCs, so we both know it’s important to prevent unintentional misunderstandings. The current Fee-Based Pastoral Counselor board is a very small board with only a handful of certificate holders. We do not want the desire of the very few to trump the current practice of thousands of our licensees.
I am available to talk with you, and hope you will contact me. We need to collaborate, so that LPCC’s do not become confused with pastoral licensure. That will definitely happen if term LCPC is used. This term is commonly used throughout the country for professional counselors and not pastoral counselors. We’ve been issuing those 2,000 LPCC’s for nearly 20 years, so we have much investment in LPCC term usage. You may call me at 606-515-7528 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Best wishes for a fruitful 2014 session.
Martin Cortez Wesley Ph.D., LPCC, MAC, LCAC
Professor and Dean of the School of Counseling
University of the Cumberlands
6170 College Station Drive Williamsburg, KY 40769
Chair of the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors