Urgent Action Needed!

James Blundo MMHCA Executive Director

Napoleon Harrington MMHCA President

MMHCA Public Policy Committee

Acuitas LLC, the MMHCA Retained Lobbyist



The Department of Licensing and Regulation (LARA) is moving forward with a proposed Scope of Practice Rules change which will put us out of practice, even though our legislative House Bill 4325 is moving along through the tedious legislative process that would update our bill, resolving the LARA issues. 

The Rules change could be in effect as early as November resulting in your inability to be reimbursed by insurance companies and other restrictions.

Please read the Acuitas article which spells out specific threats to our profession.

A hearing will be held on these proposed Rules on October 4, 2019 at 9 am at the G. Mennen Williams Building Auditorium, 525 W. Ottawa Street, Lansing, MI 48893.


IF IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU TO BE PRESENT, PLEASE SEND WRITTEN TESTIMONY. Written comments must be submitted by 5:00 pm on October 4th to the following email:   Tell them how this will hurt your clients, and the financial crises this will cause you.


Please join MMHCA, donate to the lobbying effort.

Go to our mobile friendly website to donate and join.

You can connect with me directly at:

Fast Moving LPC Rule Changes Severely Limit Counselors’ Scope and Violate Ethical Standards

Article by MMHCA Retained Lobbyist

Andrea M Cascarilla, Legislative Director

Acuitas LLC

Michigan’s Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) should take notice of the proposed LPC rules changes formally submitted by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) this summer as they have significant consequences and threaten the livelihood of all counselors in the state.

To be clear, some of the rule changes are not contentious and make necessary and appropriate updates.  Others, however, are a cause for serious concern to not only those in the counseling profession, but the general public as well.

Despite the unanimous objections of the Board of Counseling Rules Committee, LARA is recommending the repeal of virtually all the rules that define an LPC’s scope of practice under R338.1751.  These are rules that have been recognized as part of our scope since they were first promulgated after the passage of our Licensed Professional Counselor statute in 1988.  Instead the department insists these definitions should apply only to the educational preparation of counselors and not to counseling practice.

Included in this repeal is the practice of “counseling techniques” and the related ability to “diagnose and identify the problem”.  Without these and numerous other definitions, the counseling scope of practice is severely limited.  Restricting scope in this way will most certainly reduce the availability of mental health professionals in Michigan and at a time when there is growing demand for these services.

These changes in scope would also put Michigan’s LPCs in violation of the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics (E.5.a. Proper Diagnosis), which requires the proper diagnosis of a client’s mental disorder before treatment, and could subject them to permanent expulsion from the profession. Additionally, insurance companies will likely stop reimbursing for the services of LPCs due to the significant limits on scope these rule changes would impose.

LARA is also pursuing the repeal of the rules identifying the requirements for providing counseling supervision (R338.1757), one of which is specific training in supervision.  This training is a national standard for professional counseling.

Again, if this rule is rescinded, counselors who provide supervision without training would be practicing in violation of the ACA’s Code of Ethics (F.2.a Supervisor Preparation).  Furthermore, LPCs who received their supervision in Michigan may not be eligible for licensure in other states because their supervisor would not be qualified in the state to which the counselor is moving.

With LARA’s recently filed Regulatory Impact Statement, the clock is quickly ticking on the repeal of these rules and the detrimental impacts they will have on the counseling profession.  In fact, the required public hearing on the proposed rules has just been scheduled for October 4.  After this public hearing, the rules can be certified and a report submitted to the Joint Committee on Legislative Rules (JCAR).

JCAR, a legislative body, has just 15 session days to review the rules.  Their only course of action if they object is to introduce legislation within another 15 days to repeal them.  Given session is generally scheduled every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, it may only take five weeks before this 15-sessionday deadline is met.  After that point, the LARA Director could adopt the rules and have them become effective immediately upon filing.  All said and done these proposed rule changes could be in effect as early as November of this year!

Michigan LPCs should not only actively oppose these rule changes at the forthcoming public hearing, but also immediately urge the legislature to instead pass HB 4325, introduced by Rep. Aaron Miller (RSturgis), which would negate the need for LARA’s rule changes altogether.

Counselors are encouraged to contact MMHCA with any questions they may have regarding the proposed rules repeal or MMHCA’s legislative efforts.

Sign Up Now for Next MMHCA-Sponsored Supervisor Training


Why The Mentoring Institute’s Supervision Training Program is the Best Choice

While you might find other supervision training programs that cost less, none is a better value than The Mentoring Institute’s Supervision Training Program.  When you consider all the extras included in this program, you will find the cost actually less that of other programs.  Designed exclusively for Michigan LPCs who want to supervise LLPCs in Michigan, this program offers benefits not found in any other program.  Here are ten reasons that you should select The Mentoring Institute’s Program:

  1. Dr. Donald Amidon and Dr. Sara Sue Schaeffer are Michigan LPCs and are highly experienced supervisors.  Dr. Schaeffer is one of the main authors of Michigan’s Counselor Licensure Law.  She worked for 14 years to insure its passage.  As first Chair of the Michigan Board of Counseling, she holds the first counselor license issued in the State of Michigan, and oversaw the process for writing the first Rules which still govern the implementation of the law.  She is the expert on Michigan Counselor Licensing Law.  You can count on the information presented being accurate, in-depth, reliable and up-to-date.
  2. A copy of Counselor Licensure and Scope of Practice in Michigan: Historical Perspectives and Current Practice (authored by Dr. Schaeffer and Dr. Irene Ametrano, Program Chair of EMU’s Counseling Program and past Vice-Chair of the Michigan Board of Counseling) is included exclusively in this program.
  3. Other materials you will receive only in this program include a training DVD entitled Supervision: A Vision for Your Future.
  4. This program meets Michigan Board of Counseling requirements for supervisor training, and also counts toward training requirements for the Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) credential.
  5. 40 NBCC-approved clock hours are awarded for this program.
  6. All graduates of The Mentoring Institute’s Supervisor Training Program receive support in establishing their supervision practice as well as the right to use the respected title Mentoring Institute Trained Supervisor (MITS).
  7.   A free internet listing to help potential supervisees find you.  All MITSs who so choose will be listed with contact information and a link to their web site on the Mentoring Institute’s web site.
  8. Free on-going lifetime consultation with trainers (a $120 per hour value).
  9. One year free membership in the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association (MMHCA)so that you have the latest information on issues and developments in the counseling profession.  This information is critical for effective supervisors. (A $100 value.)
  10. This program is designed to more easily accommodate your busy schedule and budget with home study modules, Saturday training days, breakfast and lunch included for all training days, and most can attend without incurring the extra expense of overnight lodging.


August 19, 2019 to September 20, 2019:  Registration.


September 24, 2019 to November 15, 2019: Complete two Home Study Modules

November 23, 2019: First Training Day

January 25, 2020: Second Training Day

LOCATION OF TRAINING DAYS:               1534 Woodland Dr., Portage, MI 49024

COST:  $999 if paying by check.  Add a $30 processing fee if paying by credit card.

Payment plans offered to those who need them. Contact us for details.

To Register:






If you have questions: or 269-327-6030

Job Opportunity for LPC in Ionia, Michigan

A position for an MA, MSW or LPC has just been posted. This position is inside the Richard Handlon Correctional Facility (Michigan Dept of Corrections), working with mentally ill adult male prisoners in Ionia. The posting will be up until September 6,2019.  Interested candidates can email L. Cieply, Ph.D., LP, CAADC, MTU RTP1 Unit Chief for additional information or tours.

Click here for more information.

New Perspective Counseling Looking for Two Contractual Part Time Therapists

Clinical Therapist – LMSW, LPC, Ph.D –Part-Time

Then New Perspective Counseling has a great opportunity for you. We are looking for 2 contractual part time therapists to provide outpatient mental health to individuals with anxiety, depression and PTSD. The office is conveniently located in Highland, Michigan.

Benefits for you

  • Competitive compensation.
  • Pick your own hours, work as many or as few hours as you like.
  • Steady flow of referrals, to build caseload
  • We provide the billing, marketing and administrative support so you can focus on the therapy.
  • Warm and welcoming environment for you and your clients.

Ideal candidate

The ideal candidate will be a skilled clinician, professional yet down to earth and capable of engaging clients in the therapeutic process.

  • Fully licensed MSW, LPC or PhD Psychologist.
  • Three or more years experience.
  • Enjoys working with individuals and couples.
  • EMDR trained a plus but not required
  • Insurance credentialing a plus but not required

Learn more and apply

If you are a licensed psychotherapist looking to make a difference while enjoying a supportive workplace and the benefits of private practice I hope you will consider joining New Perspective Counseling. To start the process submit your resume to .

Report: Hundreds of thousands of substance abuse, mental health patients go untreated in Michigan

Highest percentage of untreated for mental illness are uninsured; for substance use, percentages are higher for privately insured Strategies to improve treatment include recruiting more providers, expanding school access Report prepared by Altarum Institute and funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund
This map shows the number of untreated individuals with mental illness and substance use disorder and the percent of those who are untreated.

More than 650,000 people in Michigan with a mental illness and over 500,000 with a substance use disorder fail to receive any treatment for their conditions, according to a new study by Altarum, an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit health care consulting institute.

Altarum found that the highest percentage of people who go untreated for mental illness are the uninsured (65 percent) and Medicaid enrollees (49 percent). But for a substance use disorder, the percentages are higher for the privately insured (87 percent) and Medicare Advantage enrollees (80 percent).

“Substance use disorders and mental illness have been on the rise in the United States and Michigan and policymakers are looking for practical solutions. This research characterizes the unmet need and provides insight into strategies likely to be effective in closing the gap in behavioral health care,” Emily Ehrlich, director of Altarum’s Center for Behavioral Health, said in a statement.

The study was commissioned and funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, a foundation set up when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan converted into a nonprofit mutual insurer in 2013.

Altarum officials said the purpose of the study is to better understand the current state of access in order to address gaps in care amid rising rates of behavioral health-related conditions in Michigan and across the United States, especially among young adults.

“This report provides a critical baseline for understanding and improving behavioral health care access in Michigan,” Health Fund Program Director Becky Cienki said in a statement. “We now have a clearer picture of the gaps and barriers to treatment, and we’ll use the insights and recommendations from this study to guide the Health Fund’s grantmaking strategy.”

Following are some key findings:

  • 46 percent of people with anxiety disorders, 53 percent of people with depressive episodes, and 85 percent of people with alcohol use disorders are not treated for their conditions.
  • A shortage of psychiatrists and other behavioral health providers limits access to services. The shortage is especially acute in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula and parts of the Upper Peninsula.
  • Michigan has 11 child and adolescent psychiatrists per 100,000 people, far short of the recommended ratio of 47 to 100,000.
  • Central Michigan has the largest share of untreated individuals with a mental illness (41 percent) and West Central Michigan the largest share of untreated individuals with a substance use disorder (83 percent).

The study also includes analysis of data from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which shows that cost of care, lack of transportation and public awareness and perceptions about behavioral health care are also barriers to access.

Recommendations include:

  • increasing retention of behavioral health providers in Michigan
  • removing restrictions on the scope of practice to fully leverage all members of the health care team
  • using lay providers such as peer support specialists
  • using telemedicine to reach people in rural areas those unable to travel
  • expanding access to services in schools
  • integrating primary care and behavioral health care delivery.

Altarum plans a webinar Aug. 8 to present the findings of this study and to answer questions. Click here to register.

Master’s Level Mental health position for Residential Treatment Program (RTP) team in Ionia, MI

The RTP is an Adult Foster Care-type program within the prison facility, serving adult male prisoners with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness. The posting can be found at:

Please post to your listserv and/or forward to students, etc., you feel may be interested in the opportunity. This is a perfect opportunity for a recent graduate trying to accumulate experience! I can be reached at my email address below to answer candidate questions about working within the prison or more about the program.

L. Cieply, Ph.D., LP, CAADC, MTU RTP1 Unit Chief

1728 W. Bluewater Hwy, Ionia, MI 48846

Tel (616) 527-3100, ext. 527-3445

Bipartisan Mental Health Access Improvement Act Reintroduced in Congress

Bipartisan Mental Health Access Improvement Act Reintroduced in Congress

On January 31st, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 286) was re-introduced by Senator Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI), that will allow mental health counselors to bill Medicare for treating older adults with mental health conditions. AMHCA was instrumental in accelerating the early introduction of S. 286 in the new Congressional session. Please see a press release below about the announcement on the re-introduction of the Mental Health Access Improvement Act. Rep. Thompson (CA-05) and Rep. Katko (NY-24) also announced they have reintroduced the bipartisan Mental Health Access Improvement Act in the House.

We encourage you to contact two Senators and your Congressional Member in the House of Representatives, to express your support for the Mental Health Access Improvement Act. Please mention Senate Bill 286 and House Bill 945 in your communications. Click below for more information and sample communications to use when writing or speaking to your members of Congress.

New York and Michigan Fight to Protect Scope of Practice

NBCC’s Government & Legislative Affairs Department is working with agencies and officials in New York and Michigan as they strive to protect and clarify their scopes of practice for counselors.

The NBCC team is offering assistance to amend and strengthen state licensure laws in areas such as a counselor’s scope of practice (SOP). SOP defines the services a counselor is lawfully able to perform in each state. The ability to assess, diagnose, and treat mental health issues is essential to providing core mental health services, and some states are still working to ensure this language is explicitly stated in legislation regarding the practice of counseling.

Since 2015, Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) from New York have been ineligible for employment by the Veterans Administration because the word “diagnosis” is not specifically included in the state’s SOP. New York LMHCs will be further impacted in 2022 when an exemption enabling counselors to diagnose in state agencies expires, closing the door on future counselor hires in state agencies such as the Office of Mental Health, Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, and Office of Children and Family Services.

LMHCs employed in these agencies prior to the exemption’s end will be allowed to remain employed and diagnose. New counselor hires, however, will need statutory diagnostic authority. This restriction will limit the types of jobs open to counselors in state agencies until the New York Mental Health Counselors Association (NYMHCA) and others are able to pass legislation giving LMHCs diagnostic authority.

During the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, NBCC worked with New York on legislation to add diagnostic authority to the LMHC SOP, and also increase clinical training requirements so they mirror those of Licensed Clinical Social Workers. Unfortunately, this legislation did not pass due to opposition from the New York chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

For the 2019 legislative session, NYMHCA and other state leaders are seeking a new Senate sponsor to reintroduce legislation that will allow LMHCs in New York to diagnose.

To aid in this effort, NBCC recently signed on to a “Memorandum of Support” with other national and state organizations to demonstrate full support of this initiative. In early April, Mary Alice Olsan, Director of NBCC’s Government & Legislative Affairs Department, and Jolie Long, NBCC’s Director of State Affairs, traveled to Albany to attend the NYMHCA Counselor Educator Meeting.

“Connecting with over 70 New York counselor educators and other state leaders and organizations furthered our understanding of how we can work together to make diagnostic authority a reality for New York counselors,” Long says.

NBCC is also tracking the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association’s (MMHCA) efforts to protect its 30-year-old license and modernize the law that governs Michigan counselors. MMHCA is working to clarify training standards and codify into law existing diagnosis rules through House Bill 4325.

MMHCA’s main concern is that without legislation, their SOP is vulnerable to outside influences. This important legislation will clarify the licensure laws and enable counselors to continue providing valuable mental health services in the state.

NBCC actively seeks to promote the counseling profession and support counselors through state legislative and regulatory efforts. By working in conjunction with organizations such as NYMHCA and MMHCA, NBCC can bolster the profession and solidify the importance of counselors in the mental health arena.

NBCC’s Government & Legislative Affairs Department encourages all board certified counselors in New York and Michigan to join in these efforts by engaging with legislators and educating them about the vital services counselors provide.