Louisiana’s TeleTherapy Rule

 Louisiana's LPC Board of Examiners has enacted their Teletherapy Guidelines for Licensees, which requires telemental health training prior to licensees providing teletherapy.  The new regulation is clear, helpful, and reasonable to comply with. 

The Rule:

Louisiana's teletherapy rule is already in effect for licensed professional counselors and licensed marriage and family therapist. Professional counselors and marriage and family therapists in Louisiana must cease providing teletherapy unless they have met the requirements of this new rule. The rule requires that clinicians either receive a 45-hour graduate-level course in teletherapy or a 9-hour continuing education program in teletherapy. After meeting this initial requirement clinicians are required to receive three hours of continuing education in teletherapy every renewal.

When clinicians have met these requirements they are to update their declaration of practice statement and notify the board. The training is required to be in a synchronous manner. This means that the training needs to be either a live on-site training or a live interactive webinar. Online self-study programs do not meet the requirements. Please refer to the full rule to ensure that the training you are receiving is covering the required topics in order to meet the rule. The rule also outlines other requirements for providing teletherapy.

The licensing board defines teletherapy as the following, “Teletherapy is defined as a method of delivering mental health counseling, psychotherapy, and marriage and family therapy services as prescribed by R.S. 37:1101 and R.S. 37:1116 using interactive technology-assisted media to facilitate prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, emotional, behavioral, relational, and addiction disorders to individuals, groups, organizations, or the general public that enables a licensee and a client(s) separated by distance to interact via synchronous video and audio transmission.” Clinicians are not allowed to provide teletherapy through asynchronous means. An example of this would be teletherapy through secure messaging.

What Do Clinicians Need To Do?

If you are wanting to provide professional counseling for marriage and family therapist services remotely to clients either through video or phone sessions you will need to first complete 9 hours of continuing education training in teletherapy. The training has to either be a live on-site or live interactive webinar training. Then you are to submit an updated declaration of practice statement along with your certificate of completion to your licensing board.

If you have already met the initial requirements to be privileged in the specialty area of teletherapy, you must then accrue three clock hours of continuing education in teletherapy each renewal period.

Telehealth Certification Institute, LLC offers a Telemental Health Training Certificate (THTC) Program that matches the needs listed in the Louisiana TeleTherapy Rule for accredited training in teletherapy. We provide both live-on-site training and live-online webinar training. Both satisfy the requirement for training to be synchronous (real-time).

Teletherapy in Supervision:

Supervisees can receive 25% of their supervision hours through Telesupervion, which the licensing board defines as “a method delivering clinical mental health and marriage and family therapy supervision as prescribed by R.S 37:1101 and R.S. 37:1116 using technology-assisted media that enables a supervisor and a supervisee separated by distance to interact via synchronous video and audio transmissions.”

The board also states, “The supervisor shall use technology-assisted media(s) that is in compliance with HIPAA and HiTECH standards.”

We provide training in our TeleSupervision course that is particular to supervisors who wish to provide supervision through technology-assisted media.

The Impact Of Training:

I was invited to present a full-day pre-conference course on Teletherapy and a breakout session on TeleSupervision both at Louisiana Counseling Association’s 2017 and 2019 annual conferences.

100% (24 participants) of those who submitted a course evaluation by the end of the day of the course stated that the program enhanced their professional expertise and that they would recommend this program to other professionals.

I have found the rules requiring clinicians to receive training in teletherapy to be very beneficial. This is because it is very difficult for clinicians to assess their own competency in teletherapy until they have been exposed to what all those competencies are and what is involved. Across the board in our training, clinicians are greatly surprised at how much they learn and the impact their training has on their practice.

Resources:

Chapter 5 § 505. Teletherapy Guidelines for Licensees (Formerly Diagnosing for Serious Mental Illnesses)
https://www.lpcboard.org/rules#505

Training that satisfies the new regulation and also provides you with our THTC certificate is combining both our TeleMental Health Law and Ethics and TeleMental Health Clinical Skills courses. https://telementalhealthtraining.com/thtc-certificate-courses/product/listing

LCP Board FAQ’s on Teletherapy: https://www.lpcboard.org/page/frequently-asked-questions#TELETHERAPY

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