Law, rules and regulations, not guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this guideline may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations, some citations of which are listed at the end of this guideline.
Guideline 3: Advertising and Specialty Credentials
In New York State you may only refer to yourself as "licensed" if you are licensed and registered to practice with the State Education Department as a licensed mental health counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed creative arts therapist, or licensed psychoanalyst.
A licensed and registered mental health practitioner may achieve certification by a national organization in the practice of the profession or a specialty within the profession, such as a "Board-Certified Music Therapist", "Art Therapist-Registered", "National Certified Counselor", or "Approved Supervisor in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy". In order to use a specialty title in the name of a professional corporation or in an advertisement, you would be required to substantiate that you have met the requirements necessary to use the title, including appropriate education, training, or experience. If you could not document such specialty you may be denied the use of such title in the name of a professional corporation registered by the Education Department or face a charge of unprofessional conduct for advertising that is misleading or not in the public interest.
Advanced Education or Specialty Training
If you have received a graduate degree or have completed specialized training, you may refer to that degree or qualification in your advertising or signature. However, you may not imply that the degree or training alone qualifies you as a licensed professional under the Education Law.
Licensees, other than an allopathic (M.D.) or osteopathic (O.D.) physician who use the title "Doctor" must indicate the profession in which you hold a doctorate when offering to provide professional services.
Providing Services That Do Not Require a License
As a licensed mental health practitioner, you may provide services that do not require a license, such as "coaching". However, if you use your professional title or license to suggest that you are more qualified than an unlicensed person providing similar services, you could face charges of unprofessional conduct for advertising that is not in the public interest.
Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:
- Education Law, section 6503 - practice of a profession
- Education Law, section 6509(9) - definitions of professional misconduct
- Education Law, section 8410(1) - practice by other licensed professionals
- Regents Rule 29.1(b)(12)(I)(a) - unprofessional conduct
- Regents Rule 29.1 (b)(12)(I)(d) and (f) - unprofessional conduct
- Regents Rule 29.2(a)(4) - unprofessional conduct for health professions
- Regents Rules, part 29.15 - special provisions for the professions of creative arts therapy, marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, and psychoanalysis