What's an LCPC?

LCPC page updated 09-05-2021 by Lucrezia Mangione, LPC, LCPC, NCC, BC-TMH, DCEP

I'm glad you asked.  LCPC stands for Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. In Maryland, licensed counselors are all considered LCPCs. In Connecticut, licensed counselors are all considered LPCs. LPC stands for Licensed Professional Counselor.  Different states have slightly different labels for the same thing, a trained professional counselor licensed by the state.

Licensed Counselors by any other name

There are even more acronyms that refer to a licensed counselor. LMHC stands for Licensed Mental Health Counselor. LCMHC means Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor.  The list goes on.  See the chart below.

A Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor or LCPC is also referred to as 

  • counselor
  • professional counselor
  • psychotherapist
  • counseling psychotherapist
  • therapist
LCPC

Safety is why licensure happens

Each State has slightly different criteria for granting licenses to people.  And a State may have a different label for their mental health professionals. Whatever label is used, the word “licensed” is the first word.

In the United States, in order to be licensed, you need to be approved by a State Board of Professionals.  They are a group of people who work for the State government. State Boards check the backgrounds of individuals who seek licenses to practice counseling (called licensure). State Boards verify that an applicant seeking a license:

  • has an actual masters-level education (or higher)
  • has accumulated a certain number of clinical hours of live-training (i.e. CT, MD & VA is 3,000 hours)
  • follow a code of ethical conduct
  • follow a certain standard of how to practice

In short, the job of a State Board is to protect the health and safety of its State’s residents. 

LCPC applicant supplies proof

In general, State’s require proof that a person has training. An applicant must:

  1. have completed a master’s level educational program in counseling psychology, mental health counseling, addictions counseling or another related counseling specialty;
  2. have the required number of clinical hours of practicing what they learned (in other words, they have to have experience);
  3. they follow standards of practice;
  4. they follow an ethical conduct of behavior and cultural sensitivity that respects people of all cultures, faiths and identities.

In most States, like Maryland, the State Board also requires all licensed mental health providers to be fingerprinted. This is done so that full background checks from both the State and the F.B.I. can occur.  If you’d like to learn more about Maryland’s Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, click here.

Board Certified & National Certification

The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) is a non-profit organization. They are responsible for the national exams that all professional counselors have to take. All U.S. States require these exams before a license is issued. The NBCC also performs other functions like:

  • Board Certification for licensed counselors who voluntarily submit to further requirements;
  • Clinical supervision training for licensed counselors who want to provide supervision to recent counseling graduates. Recent grads are called LGPCs or Licensed Professional Graduate Counselors in Maryland and Virginia.  In Connecticut they are called LPCAs or Licensed Professional Counselor Associates.

Free Phone Consult

It's important to work with a counselor who's a good fit for you. I offer a free 10-minute call to explore the best steps forward.  Schedule a call.

Emergency Numbers

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call:

  • 911
  • 240-777-4000: Crisis Hotline, Montgomery County, MD
  • 800-422-0009: Maryland state-wide Crisis Hotline
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline website

More counselors by other names

A sister profession to professional counseling is social work. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW, LSW) is also referred to as a counselor, psychotherapist, and therapist. Of course, they are known also as social workers.

This profession is very similar to professional counseling and regulated by State Boards, too. The licensure and oversight process for social workers is just as rigorous as the process for professional counselors.

When a counselor is not a counselor

Not all counselors are licensed. There are some counselors who advertise that they are family counselors or individual counselors or more, but they are not licensed. Obviously, this can be misleading and potentially unsafe.

For your safety, confirm a counselor is licensed.  It’s really easy. To find out, do a search on the term "license verification in the State of ___"  Direct links for license and licensee lookups for CT, MD & VA are below:

Sources:

  • Maryland Department of Mental Health
  • Maryland Board of Professional Counselors (BOPC)
  • Maryland BOPC Counselor Verification
  • Virginia Board of Counseling
  • Virginia Department of Public Health License Lookup
  • Connecticut Department of Public Health
  • Connecticut Department of Public Health License Lookup
  • American Counseling Association Code of Ethics

I hope this general information page has been helpful.  Did you see errors? Think something should be added? Are you curious about more info related to this topic? Send an email.


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Lucrezia Mangione is the Clinical Director of Mind Body Well Therapy, Pllc. She is a board certified licensed professional counselor, board certified telemental health provider, neurofeedback trainer, counselor supervisor, educator, and nurse wellness education consultant. View her profile.

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Holistic Therapy for Mind, Body, Spirit Healing serving Connecticut CT: Naugatuck Valley, Southbury, Middlebury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Woodbury, Seymour, Ansonia, Derby, Shelton, New Haven County & Litchfield County; Northern Virginia NoVa: Fairfax and Loudoun County areas & Maryland: Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, Rockville, MoCo & Frederick County areas.

Lucrezia Mangione, LPC, LCPC, NCC, BC-TMH. Clinical Director at Mind Body Well Therapy, Pllc.  Licensed by the CT Dept. of Public Health, VA Board of Professional Counselors & MD Board of Professional Counselors & Therapists, Board Certified as a Counselor by the National Board for Certified Counselors, Board Certified as a TeleMental Health Provider by the Center for Credentialing Excellence & EEG Neurofeedback Trainer trained at the Institute for Applied Neuroscience.



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