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 8: Maintaining Professional Competence
Although the Education Law does not require that you meet continuing education requirements to renew your license as a mental health practitioner, you should assess and renew your competence throughout your career through self-evaluation, education, and consultation.
You can expand your knowledge and skills during your career through continuing education and training. While maintaining professional competence is important for all professionals, many specialty credentials have specific continuing education requirements. You should document all of the activities and education you undertake so you can verify your expertise and training.
If you are a recent graduate and a new licensee in the practice of the mental health professions your education and training may not have prepared you to provide all the services that could be offered by a licensed mental health professional in New York State. Before you include new or advanced professional services in your profession, particularly one that was not included in your professional education (e.g., biofeedback or hypnosis), it may be necessary for you to enroll in and successfully complete a program of study in a recognized institution and/or with recognized authorities to ensure competency in that service.
Even if you complete training in a professional specialty or service, you must maintain your registration to practice your profession in New York State. A national credential or voluntary registration by a professional organization cannot substitute for licensure. Similarly, you must be clear in advertising and other communications as to the mental health profession in which you are registered to practice in New York State, particularly when the credential or designation is not restricted to an individual licensed in the same profession as you. For instance, designation in biofeedback may be available to individuals licensed in the professions of mental health counseling, licensed clinical social work, psychology, physical therapy, or medicine but each licensee could only provide services in his or her personal competence that are allowed within the practice of the licensee's profession. You must use your professional title when providing professional services, not a general title such as "psychotherapist," "art therapist," or "hypnotist."
Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:
- Education Law, section 6509(2) - incompetence and negligence
- Education Law, section 6509(9) - unprofessional conduct
- Education Law, section 8402(2) - practice of mental health counseling
- Education Law, section 8403(2) - practice of marriage and family therapy
- Education Law, section 8404(2) - practice of creative arts therapy
- Education Law, section 8405(2) - practice of psychoanalysis
- Regents Rules, part 29.1(b)(9) - practicing beyond competency
- Regents Rules, part 29.15 - special provisions for the professions of creative arts therapy, marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling and psychoanalysis