License Requirements

Licensed Clinical Social Worker "R" Psychotherapy Privilege

Introduction | Definition of Terms | Exclusions to Coverage Authorized by the Psychotherapy Privilege | General Requirements | Fees | Requirements for the Privilege | Plan for Experience | Requirements for Supervisors: Psychiatrists, Psychologists And Social Workers | Informed Consent | Setting

Introduction

What follows is information and the application forms for the psychotherapy privilege available to Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) licensed in New York State. This information is based on applicable law and regulation and Department administrative policy and reflects the many inquiries received by the Office of the Professions regarding this credential. The format is designed to provide convenient and practical answers to the typical questions posed by applicants, their supervisors, employers, and consumers of social work psychotherapy services.

New York State Insurance Law authorizes a privilege to the LCSW license. This privilege requires the LCSW license and three years of supervised experience in psychotherapy obtained after receiving the LCSW. A separate application and fee are required for this privilege.

Definition of Terms

Licensed Clinical Social Worker: The practice of clinical social work encompasses the scope of practice of licensed master social work and, in addition, includes the diagnosis of mental, emotional, behavioral, addictive and developmental disorders and disabilities and of the psychosocial aspects of illness, injury, disability and impairment undertaken within a psychosocial framework; administration and interpretation of tests and measures of psychosocial functioning; development and implementation of appropriate assessment-based treatment plans; and the provision of crisis oriented psychotherapy and brief, short-term and long-term psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic treatment to individuals, couples, families and groups, habilitation, psychoanalysis and behavior therapy; all undertaken for the purpose of preventing, assessing, treating, ameliorating and resolving psychosocial dysfunction with the goal of maintaining and enhancing the mental, emotional, behavioral and social functioning and well-being of individuals, couples, families, small groups, organizations, communities and society.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis in the context of licensed clinical social work practice is the process of distinguishing, beyond general social work assessment, between similar mental, emotional, behavioral, developmental and addictive disorders, impairments and disabilities within a psychosocial framework on the basis of their similar and unique characteristics consistent with accepted classification systems.

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy in the content of licensed clinical social work practice is the use of verbal methods in interpersonal relationships with the intent of assisting a person or persons to modify attitudes and behavior which are intellectually, socially, or emotionally maladaptive.

Assessment-based treatment plans: Development of assessment-based treatment plans in the context of licensed clinical social work practice refers to the development of an integrated plan of prioritized interventions, that is based on the diagnosis and psychosocial assessment of the client, to address mental, emotional, behavioral, developmental and addictive disorders, impairments and disabilities, reactions to illnesses, injuries, disabilities and impairments, and social problems.

LCSW Reimbursement: An LCSW is recognized in New York State as a reimbursable psychotherapist. The insurance law has been called "make available legislation," because an insurance company is required to provide reimbursement for social work services only at the request of the insured group (which is usually represented by a labor union). The LCSW's clients may receive reimbursement for mental health services under the regulation and limitations of the insurance law. Information on LCSWs is available here, listed by the name of the Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Psychotherapy "R" Privilege: An LCSW who fulfills the requirements of the insurance law for supervised experience providing psychotherapy, is recognized in New York State as a reimbursable psychotherapist. The "R" privilege requires insurance carriers to provide reimbursement for psychotherapy services whenever a health insurance contract includes reimbursement of qualified psychologists and psychiatrists. The "R" statute has been called "mandatory legislation." This designation is added to one's license number (e.g., LCSW R123456) and the practitioner's clients must receive reimbursement for mental health services under the regulation and limitations of the insurance law. Information on LCSWs who have the "R" privilege is available here, listed by name of Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Exclusions to Coverage Authorized by the Psychotherapy Privilege

Licensed Clinical Social Workers in New York State who have received the psychotherapy privilege are recognized providers of psychotherapy services under New York State Insurance Law, Sections 3221 and 4303 External Link Icon, EXCEPT under the following conditions:

  1. The benefits are provided under an individual contract with an insurance company, not a group health plan.
  2. The insurance plan is part of a managed care organization ( HMO, IPA, PPO, etc.), which may not recognize social workers.
  3. The employer is self-insured, which means the employer has funded the benefit program rather than hiring an insurance company to take that financial risk. (Note: Some employers hire the insurance company only to administer the fund and are still regarded as self-insured.)
  4. The contract between the employer and the insurance company was delivered out-of-state. Regardless of where the insurance company is located, when it negotiates a contract to cover the employees of any employer whose home office is not in New York State, the contract is delivered to that employer at the out-of-state address. Even if some employees work within New York State at a branch office or company plant, the Insurance Law of New York State has no jurisdiction.

All inquiries regarding the above conditions should be verified with the insurance company or employer. Further clarification cannot be provided by the State Board for Social Work. Complaints should be directed to the Consumer Services Bureau of the New York State Insurance Department at 1-800-342-3736.

General Requirements

To secure a licensed clinical social worker psychotherapy "R" privilege in New York State you must:

  • be a licensed and currently registered New York State licensed clinical social worker;
  • meet professional work experience for the privilege; and
  • file an application for the privilege and the other forms indicated, along with the appropriate fee, to the Office of the Professions at the address specified on each form.

Note: It is your responsibility to follow up with anyone you have asked to send us material.

The specific requirements for the licensed clinical social worker psychotherapy "R" privilege are contained in Sections 3221(1)(4)(a) and (d) External Link Icon and Section 4303 (i) and (n) External Link Icon of New York's Insurance Law and Part 74.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.

Fees

The fee for the licensed clinical social worker psychotherapy "R" privilege is $100.

Fees are subject to change. The fee due is the one in law when your application is received (unless fees are increased retroactively). You will be billed for the difference if fees have been increased.

  • Do not send cash.
  • Make your personal check or money order payable to the New York State Education Department. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
  • Mail your application and fee to:

    NYS Education Department
    Office of the Professions
    P.O. Box 22063
    Albany, NY 12201.

Note: Payment submitted from outside the United States should be made by check or draft on a United States bank and in United States currency; payments submitted in any other form will not be accepted and will be returned.

Requirements for the Privilege

To qualify for the licensed clinical social worker psychotherapy "R" privilege, you must be a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in New York State.

The experience requirements for the privilege were amended to require that such experience be obtained after licensure as an LCSW. However, an individual who started the experience for the privilege prior to January 1, 2011 may submit experience that was completed prior to licensure. That experience must be after the experience that qualified you for licensure as an LCSW, in the determination of the State Board, and meet all other requirements for acceptable, supervised experience.

You must have 36 months of full-time (or the part-time equivalent) supervised experience in psychotherapy after licensure as an LCSW, under the supervision of an LCSW with the “R” privilege, licensed psychologist or licensed physician who is competent in psychology. The qualifications for the supervisor are listed in Appendix A.

Before you start the experience, you must submit an Application for Licensed Clinical Social Worker Psychotherapy “R” Privilege (Form 1SWR) along with the $100 application fee to the Office of the Professions at the address at the end of the form.

You and your supervisor must submit documentation using Form 4SWPR and the Psychotherapy Log that verifies the experience which meets the following conditions:

  1. Only the practice of psychotherapy, as defined in the Education Law, is acceptable for the privilege.
  2. The post-LCSW experience must be at least 36 subsequent calendar months of psychotherapy experience. You may not submit less than 400 client contact hours of psychotherapy in any 12-month period.
  3. A total of 36 months and 2,400 hours of direct client contact after you are licensed as an LCSW is required. Every subsequent month and client contact hour may be counted.
  4. The 36 months may not be shortened. Part-time experience will increase the time to complete the required hours.
  5. A client contact hour is at least 45 minutes of psychotherapy with individuals, families or groups; sessions may be combined.
  6. The supervised experience must be in a setting defined as acceptable to the Department in law and regulation.
  7. All experience must be supervised by an LCSW with the “R” privilege, licensed psychologist, or physician who is competent in psychiatry as defined below;
  8. Supervision for the licensed clinical social worker psychotherapy "R" privilege application must consist of individual or group consultation at least two hours per month which may be provided in-person, or by telephone, video conference or internet, or enrollment in a program in psychotherapy in an institution of higher education or a psychotherapy institute chartered by the Board of Regents.

Note: Effective June 29, 2010, peer supervision is not allowed.

Plan for Experience

Before starting the experience for the “R” privilege, you must submit for review and approval by the State Board for Social Work, a Plan for Supervised Experience (Form 6) that will meet the requirements of this paragraph. The plan for supervision shall specify:

  1. individual or group consultation of no less than two hours per month; or
  2. enrollment in a program authorized to provide psychotherapy offered by an institution of higher education or by a psychotherapy institute chartered by the Board of Regents.

The individual or group supervision must be provided by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the “R” privilege, a licensed psychologist or a licensed physician who has a qualification in psychiatry, in the determination of the State Board. The experience must be completed in an authorized setting, as defined in the Education Law and Part 74.5 of the Commissioners’ Regulations. You can access more information about qualified supervisors in the Appendix A.

A Plan for Supervised Experience (Form 6) must be submitted by the supervisor for review and approval by the State Board. Your Form 6 will not be reviewed unless you have already submitted an Application for Licensed Clinical Social Worker Psychotherapy “R” Privilege (Form 1SWPR) and $100 fee.

Requirements for Supervisors: Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Social Workers

Supervision of applicants for the licensed clinical social worker psychotherapy "R" privilege must be provided by either a:

  1. Physician who, while supervising the applicant, was licensed by the state in which supervision occurred and had appropriate training and experience in psychiatry as determined by the Department, such as board certification or a psychiatric residency; or
  2. Psychologist who, while supervising the applicant, was licensed as a psychologist in the state where supervision occurred and was qualified in psychotherapy as determined by the Department or is a graduate of an American Psychological Association approved program in psychology or an equivalent program as determined by the Department; or
  3. A New York State LCSW with the “R” privilege or the equivalent who was licensed and registered while supervising the applicant, as determined by the Department.

The Department will review the qualifications of a prospective supervisor who submits a completed Approval of Qualifications to Supervise Psychotherapy (Form 4Q) with the Application for Licensed Clinical Social Worker Psychotherapy “R” Privilege (Form 1SWPR). Approval of the supervisor’s qualifications does not guarantee approval of the applicant’s experience which must be completed in accordance with Part 74.5 of the Commissioner’s Regulations.

Informed Consent

It is the responsibility of the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) to inform the client that the LCSW is supervised in the practice of psychotherapy. The client should understand that the LCSW is sharing with a qualified supervisor information about the diagnosis and treatment of each client and that the supervisor provides the LCSW with oversight and guidance in diagnosing and treating clients. The client should be provided with contact information for the supervisor to share any concerns or questions about the applicant's practice.

If an LCSW is employed in an agency or other setting and on-site supervision is not available, it is the responsibility of the LCSW, employer and supervisor to make arrangements for supervision. In addition to informed consent for the client, the arrangements should include access by the supervisor to client information and records to ensure appropriate supervision of the LCSW seeking the psychotherapy privilege. The supervisor must be employed by the agency, not the LCSW.

Setting

All experience that is completed in New York State must be in a setting that is legally authorized to provide psychotherapy and clinical social work services. An acceptable setting is defined as:

  • A practice owned or operated by the applicant;
  • A sole proprietorship owned by a licensee who provides services that are within the scope of his or her profession and services that are within the scope of psychotherapy;
  • A professional partnership owned by licensees who provide services that include psychotherapy;
  • A professional service corporation, registered limited liability partnership or professional service limited liability corporation that is owned by a licensed clinical social worker with the “R” privilege, licensed psychologist or licensed physician who is competent in psychiatry;
  • A hospital or clinic authorized under Article 28 of the Public Health Law and authorized to provide health services, including clinical social work;
  • A program or facility authorized under the Mental Hygiene law to provide appropriate health services, including clinical social work;
  • A program or facility authorized under federal law, such as the Veterans’ Administration, to provide health services including clinical social work;
  • A public elementary, middle or high school authorized by the Education Department to provide school social work services as defined in Part 80-2.3 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, including clinical social work;
  • An entity defined as exempt from the licensing requirements under New York Law*.

In New York State, a general business corporation or not-for-profit corporation may not provide professional services or employ licensed professionals unless authorized under law. The certificate of incorporation should clarify the purpose of the entity and whether licensed professionals may be employed to provide services that are restricted under Title VIII of the Education Law.

It is your responsibility to practice only under a qualified supervisor and in an authorized setting. You should review the supervisor qualifications and acceptable experience with an employer before you accept a position practicing clinical social work.

*Note: Section 9 of chapter 420 of the laws of 2002, as subsequently amended provides: “Nothing in this act shall prohibit or limit the activities or services on the part of any person in the employ of a program or service operated, regulated, funded, or approved by the department of mental hygiene, the office of children and family services, department of correctional services, state office for the aging, department of health, or a local governmental unit as that term is defined in article 41 of the mental hygiene law or a social services district as defined under section 61 of the social services law, provided, however, this section shall not authorize the use of any title authorized pursuant to article 154 of the education law, except as otherwise provided by such articles, except that this section shall be deemed repealed on July 1, 2016.”


Application Forms

Instructions for completing and submitting the forms required for licensure appear below. You may also need to submit additional information (for example, examination scores). Please refer to the license requirements link on the left for complete information regarding all requirements you must meet.

Note: All forms are in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To view or print these documents, you will need to have the free Adobe Reader External Link Icon installed on your computer. Download times and print quality will depend on your connection speed and printer.

Please type or print all information and sign all forms in black or blue ink. Original signatures are required on all forms.

Complete Application Packet
All forms and instructions in a single PDF file - Licensed Clinical Social Worker "R" Privilege Application Packet ( PDF 127 KB)

Individual Application Forms

Form 1SWPR - Application for Licensed Clinical Social Worker Psychotherapy "R" Privilege ( PDF 17 KB)
All applicants for the licensed clinical social worker psychotherapy "R" privilege must complete this form and submit it with the $100 application fee directly to the Office of the Professions at the address at the end of Form 1SWPR. Make checks payable to the New York State Education Department. Note: Your cancelled check is your receipt.

You must answer all questions and provide all information requested unless otherwise indicated. Failure to complete all required parts of the application will delay its review. Original signatures are required, therefore, we cannot accept faxes or copies. Your signature on Form 1SWPR must be notarized by a Notary Public.

Appendix A - Requirements for Supervised Experience for Licensed Clinical Social Worker Psychotherapy "R" Privilege - (PDF PDF 11KB)
Send this document to the licensed professional(s) who supervised your experience or will supervise your practice along with the form you are asking them to complete.
 
Form 4SWPR - Certification of Experience for Licensed Clinical Social Worker Psychotherapy "R" Privilege ( PDF 23 KB)
This form must be submitted directly by your supervisor after you have completed the supervised experience. If you have completed the experience and your supervisor is not available, you must provide the supervisor's qualifications and your experience may be verified by a licensed colleague. The Office of the Professions will not accept this form if submitted by the applicant.

  • Section I: Complete this section of the form before sending the entire form and a copy of Appendix A to your supervisor to complete section II. Note: Only experience in psychotherapy is acceptable for the privilege. Be sure to sign and date item 7.
  • Section II: The supervisor verifying your psychotherapy experience must complete this section and provide information about his/her qualifications. The supervisor, or if the supervisor is not available a licensed colleague, must complete and sign the attestation, have their signature notarized by a Notary Public, and return the form directly to the Office of the Professions at the address at the end of the form. A copy of the supervisor's license or registration should be attached to the form.

Psychotherapy Log: Use the psychotherapy log to document your hours of practice and supervision. This log must be completed by you and your supervisor and retained by the supervisor, who is responsible for documenting your supervised experience for the privilege. If requested by the State Board for Social Work, the supervisor must submit the log for review.

A separate Form 4SWPR must be submitted for each supervised experience you list on the Application for Licensed Clinical Social Worker Psychotherapy "R" Privilege Experience Record (Form 1SWPR).

Please photocopy the form as needed but all forms submitted to the Department must bear original signatures.

Form 4Q-SWPR - Approval of Qualifications to Supervise Psychotherapy (if applicable PDF 20 KB)
This form must be submitted directly by your supervisor. The Office of the Professions will not accept this form if submitted by the applicant.

This form may be submitted if your supervisor has not already been approved by the State Education Department to supervise the provision of psychotherapy services by an LCSW. Approval of the supervisor does not guarantee approval of the applicant's experience which must be completed in accordance with the requirements in the Commissioner's Regulations.

  • Section I: Complete this section before giving the entire form and a copy of Appendix A to your prospective supervisor.
  • Section II: Your supervisor must complete this section, sign the attestation, have the signature notarized by a Notary Public, and return both pages of this form directly to the Office of the Professions at the address at the end of the form.

Please photocopy the form as needed but all forms submitted must bear original signatures and be notarized by a Notary Public.

Form 6SWPR - Plan for Post-LCSW Supervised Experience (PDF 22 KB)
This form must be submitted directly by your supervisor. The Office of the Professions will not accept this form if submitted by the applicant.

  • Section I: Complete this section before giving the entire form and a copy of Appendix A to your prospective supervisor.
  • Section II: Your supervisor must complete this section, sign the attestation, have the signature notarized by a Notary Public, and return both pages of this form directly to the Office of the Professions at the address at the end of the form.
 
Address/Name Change Form - Optional (PDF 22 KB )
You are required to notify us within 30 days of any name or address changes. Please read the instructions and complete the appropriate sections of this form.
Last Updated: April 9, 2014