Mental Health Practitioners

Application documents received prior to the date noted below are currently in the initial stage of processing. The timeframe for the review and evaluation of these materials varies. Applications with education from outside the U.S. usually require a lengthier review process. All applicants should allow an additional 6-8 weeks for review after this date before submitting a Contact Us Form to request a status update, as contacting us earlier will delay processing. We cannot provide the status of a licensure application by phone. We thank you for your patience and cooperation.

Profession Currently Initiating the Process for Items Received
Creative Arts Therapists 5/31/2022
Marriage and Family Therapists 5/24/2022
Mental Health Counselors 6/3/2022
Psychoanalysts 6/3/2022

Advisory Notice: For the latest information on COVID-19 issues impacting the licensed professions, including professional exam updates, please visit OP’s COVID-19 website.

Mandatory Continuing Education Requirements for Mental Health Practitioners

After January 1, 2017, in order to register and practice the profession, each mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, creative arts therapist, and psychoanalyst, licensed under the Education Law, must complete 36 hours of continuing education (CE) from a Department approved provider during each three-year registration period. Frequently asked questions about the specific CE requirement for each mental health practitioner profession may be found on the web page for that profession. These profession-specific web pages include applications for individuals and organizations that wish to offer CE courses to licensed mental health counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed creative arts therapists and licensed psychoanalysts.

The law exempts from the triennial continuing education requirement those licensees who are inactive (not practicing the profession or using the restricted title) and newly licensed practitioners in their first registration period after licensure. In addition, the CE requirement is phased in, so that licensees, who must complete CE, can satisfy this requirement by completing a pro-rated number of hours, based on the number of months between January 1, 2017 and the starting date of the licensees’ next registration period. Licensees should review the FAQs to learn more about the CE requirement for the specific mental health practitioner profession they are licensed in.

A prospective provider of CE must submit to the Department an application, with the required $900 fee, that demonstrates that it meets the profession-specific requirements in the section 8412 of the Education Law and the Commissioner’s Regulations for the specific profession. Both a separate application and $900 fee must be submitted by an individual or organization for each specific profession in which the applicant wishes to become a Department-approved CE provider. The State Board Office will review prospective provider applications in the order received, so that licensees can complete their required pro-rated hours of CE starting on January 1, 2017.

A licensee seeking to register for a period starting after January 1, 2017, who is not exempt from the requirement as noted above, may only meet the requirement by completing CE activities from Department-approved providers or other allowed education activities after January 1, 2017. If your next registration period starts after January 1, 2017, you should not submit the registration application and fee until you have met the CE requirement after January 1, 2017, to avoid a hold on your registration application.

Licensees and prospective providers should review the FAQs and profession-specific requirements for each of the four mental health practitioner professions established under Article 163 of the Education Law. You can access the web pages by using the left-hand navigation bar on these pages.

Mental Health Practitioners include Creative Arts Therapists, Marriage and Family Therapists, Mental Health Counselors, and Psychoanalysts.

Creative arts therapists are trained in psychotherapy and in specific arts disciplines, which may include dance/movement therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, poetry therapy and art therapy. They have training in areas that include clinical practice and human development as well as the use of the creative arts to provide appropriate services, and multicultural and artistic traditions.


Elizabeth Gonzalez-Dolginko, finishing her 2nd 5 year term on the State Board for Mental Health Practitioners, and Robert Irwin Wolf, a tenured professor for 37 years in the graduate art therapy program at the College of New Rochelle, discuss the use of creative arts therapy at a New York City alternative special education school in the 1970s. Creative Arts Therapists are one of four professions licensed by the Department with the assistance of the State Board for Mental Health Practitioners.

Read more about the profession of Creative Arts Therapy.

Practitioners, called marriage and family therapists, are trained in individual psychotherapy and family systems to assess and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, and address an array of relationship issues within the context of marital/couple, family and various relational systems.

Read more about the profession of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Practitioners, called mental health counselors, are trained in counseling and psychotherapy to treat individuals with mental and emotional disorders and other behavioral challenges. Mental health counselors address mental health, human relationship, education and career concerns within ethical, developmental, preventive and treatment contexts. Mental health counselors demonstrate a concern for the short-term and long-term well-being of individuals, couples, families, groups and organizations.

Read more about the profession of Mental Health Counseling.

Practitioners, called psychoanalysts, may use verbal and non-verbal communications to uncover the unconscious blocks that may be affecting the individual’s behavior and personality. Psychoanalysts treat a range of conditions including anxiety, depression and phobias.

Read more about the profession of Psychoanalysis.

Last Updated: June 28, 2022