Professional Counselor Section Position Statements

Is There a Code of Ethics for Licensed Professional Counselors?

While Wisconsin laws governing professional counselors do not have a formal code of ethics for Licensed Professional Counselors, there is a code of conduct which can be found in Wis. Admin. Code MPSW 20.02.

Revised: December 18, 2013


Can Anyone Call Him or Herself a Counselor and Practice Counseling in the State of Wisconsin?

The use of the title and practice of professional counseling are protected in the state of Wisconsin. No person may use the title or otherwise represent him or herself to the public as a licensed professional counselor unless licensed as a LPC or LPC in training as set forth in Wis. Stat. § 457.04(6).
No person may engage in the practice of professional counseling as defined in Wis. Stat. § 457.01(6) unless licensed as a LPC or LPC in training. See Wis. Stat. § 457.04(6).
Other exceptions to the use of the term “counselor” can be found in Wis. Stat. § 457.02.

Revised: December 18, 2013


What is Professional Counseling?

The definition of professional counseling in Wisconsin can be found in Wis. Stat. § 457.01(6).

Revised: December 18, 2013


How Does Someone Become a Professional Counselor?

Please see Wis. Stat. § 457.12 and § 457.13 which contain the requirements for obtaining a “Professional counselor license” and a “Professional counselor training license.” Additional information can also be found on this website at Professional Counselor – Licenses/Permits/Registrations. For information regarding Provider Status (necessary in order to bill insurance companies for your service with clients) you will need to contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Revised: December 18, 2013


Are LPCs Required to Carry Malpractice Insurance?

Licensed Professional Counselors, Clinical Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists are required to have professional liability insurance. These requirements are outlined in Wis. Stat. § 457.24 and Wis. Admin. Code § MPSW 1.10. Exceptions exist for work performed by licensees who are employed in their licensed capacity as employees of federal, state or local governmental agencies.

Revised: December 18, 2013


What Reporting Obligations do I Have?

  1. If you have reasonable cause to suspect that a child you have seen in the course of your professional duties has been abused or neglected, or if you have reasonable cause to suspect that a child seen by you in the course of your professional duties has been threatened with abuse or neglect and that abuse or neglect of the child will occur, you shall report such knowledge to the appropriate authorities. See Wis. Stat. § 48.981 for further details.
  2. If you have reasonable cause to suspect that a client you have seen in the course of your professional duties is a victim of sexual contact by a therapist, you must ask the client if s/he wants you to report such contact. See Wis. Stat. § 940.22 for further details.
  3. Any organization or individual that employs a professional counselor must report to the examining board any adverse or disciplinary action, relating to the practice of professional counseling that terminates, suspends or restricts the professional counselor’s employment or contract. See Wis. Stat. § 457.25 for further details.

Revised: December 18, 2013


Can Licensees Treat AODA Clients?

Wis. Stat. § 457.02(5m) disallows licensees from treating alcohol or substance dependency or abuse as a specialty unless the individual is a certified substance abuse counselor, clinical supervisor, or prevention specialist under Wis. Stat. § 440.88, or if such individual meets the requirements set forth under Wis. Admin. Code § PSW 1.09 (Alcohol and Drug Counseling).

Revised: December 18, 2013


Are Licensed Counselors From Other States Able to Provide Distance Counseling to Clients in Wisconsin?

The practice protections provided in Wis. Stat. § 455 and § 457 require Wisconsin licensure for those providing services in Wisconsin (including telephonically). Therefore, unless a therapist or counselor holds a Wisconsin license, they would be unable to practice in the state.

Revised: December 18, 2013


What do all Those Initials Behind the Counselor's Name Mean?

In Wisconsin, the following designations are used to represent the type of licensure an individual may hold under the MPSW Joint Board:

  • LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor)
  • LPCIT (Licensed Professional Counselor In Training)
  • LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist)
  • LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
  • CISW (Certified Independent Social Worker)
  • CSW (Certified Social Worker)
  • CAPSW (Certified Advanced Practice Social Worker)
  • SWTC (Social Worker Training Certificate)

In addition to the Wisconsin licensing designations, many licensees may also have other certifications, credentials, and membership affiliations.

Revised: December 18, 2013