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?
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