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Life Lines                                                      Spring 2017

Licensure Bill Will Clarify Law
Representative Jim Tedder, who represents part of Oakland County in the Michigan House of Representatives and is Vice Chair of the Health Policy Committee, is about to introduce a counselor licensure bill that will update our current licensure law.  The bill will not change the law but will address aspects of the current law that need clarification. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) requested that MMHCA seek changes in the Counselor Licensure Law (Part 181 of the Public Health Code) to clarify the practice of counseling and insure that the language in this part (the statute) reflects the actual scope of practice and training of LPCs/LLPCs and is consistent with the wording in the Administrative Rules. Dr. Sara Sue Schaeffer and Dr. Irene Mass Ametrano, MMHCA Public Policy Co-Chairs, have been working with Noah Smith (Capitol Services) and Jim Blundo, MMHCA Executive Director, to draft a bill that will address this request.
The bill will clarify the scope of practice, which defines the activities that LPCs/LLPCs can legally do. Although the scope of practice for LPCs/LLPCs has always included activities such as diagnosis and assessment, questions are often raised about whether these activities are in the scope. The current statute contains two broad terms, "clinical counseling methods, principles or procedures" and "counseling techniques."  Both of these terms include, but are not limited to, "diagnosis" and "psychotherapy," which can be found in the Administrative Rules and serve to define the terms used in the statute. These activities have been recognized as being part of the scope of practice of counseling since the Rules were first promulgated after the passage of the law in 1988. They have been approved several times by the Legislature as well as by the Office of the Attorney General. The proposed bill brings terms such as diagnosis and psychotherapy into the statute, thus clarifying that they are in the LPC/LLPC scope of practice.
The bill reflects a model scope of practice for professional counselors that was endorsed by the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB) as part of their efforts to move toward national licensure portability for professional counselors.
As requested by LARA, the proposed bill also reflects requirements for the supervision of LLPCs and for CACREP-required course content areas that are currently found in the Administrative Rules. These requirements, which are not new, will simply be moved into the statute. 
Once the bill is introduced, hearings will be held.  We will need people to speak with their state representatives to help them understand the bill and the reasons MMHCA is seeking these updates.  It will be important to convey that this bill
does not reflect changes in what LPCs/LLPCs have been doing since 1989.  Instead the goal is to clarify what we've been doing so that the public and other professionals have a better understanding of our practice.

Executive Director Report
Out of My Mind

We want you to join us as an excellent addition to your professional career. We have built the best and most powerful Association in Michigan for LLPC/LPC's and Allied Health Professionals.
Breaking News:
Please read Dr. Irene Ametrano's article (above) which explains our action plan to strengthen our license for portability plus more!
  • Read about our success on behalf of the counseling program at Western Michigan University. See the MMHCA Position Paper on Testing, and the NBFE Statement to Support LPC Testing 2016 documents on the Members Only Page on our website. Use these documents to support your effort to support reimbursement for Class C testing approval. See the thank you note from WMU Faculty member below in the blue box of this newsletter. 
  • We now offer Social Work CEU's as well as continuing to offer NBCC CEU's.
  • Our new workshop on Billing and Coding will be offered in several locations across Michigan.
  • We continue to have great support for our Human Trafficking Workshop. See our mobile friendly website for dates and locations and to register.
  • The next Networking Breakfast featuring Blue Cross Consultants will be at Rams Horn in Saint Clair Shores at 9 mile and Jefferson.
    Sign up for our Networking at Night Events.
Like us on Facebook!
Remember you can join or renew your membership and sign up for all above events at: www.mmhca.org
James Blundo, LPC, CCMHC, NCC
MMHCA Executive Director
April 28 Networking at Night in Grand Blanc
May 5 Human Trafficking Workshop at Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing
May 19 Human Trafficking Workshop at Baker College of Clinton Twp
June 2 Networking & Breakfast in St. Clair Shores
June 23 Human Trafficking Workshop at Park Place Hotel in Traverse City
New Michigan Law Requires Training In Human Trafficking!

Upcoming Human Trafficking Workshops
May 5, 2017 at Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing
May 19, 2017 at Baker College of Clinton Township
June 23, 2017 at Park Place Hotel in Traverse City
More Information and Online Registration on www.mmhca.org.
1)    MMHCA and Allied Health Members: $100.00                
2)    Non-Members: $150.00
3)    Group Rates: $125.00 contact RDavisLPC@gmail.com  for details
4)    Students: $75.00
"MMHCA has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider,
ACEP No. 2064. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.
MMHCA is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs."
This course is approved by the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative.
Course approval #121216-07 - If you wish to report a problem with this training please contact
rmingus@nasw-michigan.org or call 517-487-1548 x17.

Human Trafficking Information
There has been much confusion regarding the required training standards by the new Michigan Law regarding Human Trafficking.
It is difficult to determine what you are obligated to take to meet the state requirements.  If your only goal is to meet the minimum standards, then our training is probably not for you.
MMHCA decided to offer the best workshop available based on the laws outlined. We created the best possible training available. Here is how we did it.
Dr. Jeremy Norwood who is on the faculty at Spring Arbor University was approached to develop the workshop. He used the stated language from the bill and developed an outline. We then looked at his extensive knowledge of the topic and decided to have him produce a powerful workshop based on his knowledge and experiences.
Go to our website for more information regarding Dr. Norwood and what you will learn in the workshop.
In addition to his extensive work in this arena, every year he takes a group of students to Asia to study Human Trafficking. Dr. Norwood is presently in Cambodia with a group of students studying the sociological impact and its connection to US trafficking.
Those that have taken the workshop describe it as powerful and intense. They walk away with a greater understanding of the major impact and possible strategies for intervention.
Please consider our offering. It will change your life for the better. In addition, it qualifies for 6 hours of CEU's and a certificate to prove your participation.
We encourage health professionals and graduate students to use our workshops for the best quality training in Michigan.

Dear Mr. Blundo:
Our curriculum proposals were approved today by the College Curriculum Committee! Your letter/documents assisted us in advocating for our program. In fact, your documentation helped dispute several "alternative facts"/myths presented by the Counseling Psychology Faculty concerning counselors using Level C Assessments.

There is a chance that the Counseling Psychology Faculty may appeal the College's decision. However, there has never been an appeal of a College Education Curriculum Committee decision from a group of faculty or a program within a department.

Thanks so much for your help!
Western Michigan University Counseling Department Faculty
Did you miss it? The  2016 Sara Sue Schaeffer annual award was presented to Irene Mass Ametrano, EdD, LPC, ACS in Ann Arbor last November in appreciation for all of her work for MMHCA as the Public Policy Co-Chair.


Free Suicide Assessment, Intervention and Postvention For Counselors Training, sponsored by Chi Sigma Iota, will be held at Western Michigan University on April 21, 2017.  Click here for more information.

Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association
Are You a Lab Rat?
There are numerous articles written about how to free our brains from Social Media. One writer from the Wall Street Journal suggests that when we constantly check FaceBook or Instagram we are like a rat habitually pressing a lever hoping for a treat. My son just got accepted to WMU Psychology Department's Graduate school. I noticed one of the research experiences listed on his curriculum vitae was that of a Laboratory Rat Trainer. Perhaps that could be included as one of the roles we as professional counselors play as we work with clients. We will need to start asking how much time they spend on social media since recording video footage is not practical. Did you know that Americans aged 35 to 49 spend nearly seven hours a week on social media? Should we implement operant conditioning procedures? I suppose like with any addiction (is it an addiction?) we shall need to teach skills for managing social media as a part of everyday living. And as long as you are spending time on Facebook, you might as well like our Page! Search for Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association. 

Newsletter by:
Cindy S. Goldman, MEd, LPC, NCC
MMHCA Member at Large