Jump directly to the Content

Pastor, Church & LawMember access only

by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

State Regulation of Psychologists and Counselors

§ 4.10
Key point 4-10. Every state strictly regulates the practice of both psychology and counseling. However, pastoral counseling within a church to members of the congregation does not constitute the unauthorized practice of either psychology or counseling. Clergy who establish counseling ministries outside of this limited context may be liable for the unauthorized practice of either psychology or counseling.

One of the principal functions of most ministers is acting as a counselor. Many ministers spend several hours each week in counseling sessions with church members and others. Some ministers have left the pastoral ministry to open full-time counseling ministries independent of their church. Some churches employ associate ministers with special training specifically in counseling. Do state laws regulating the practice of psychology or counseling apply in any of these situations?

All fifty states ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Table of Contents

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations." Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.