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How do I know you're qualified?

A brief overview of the qualifications and requirements to be a licensed professional counselor in the state of Missouri.

counseling education, counseling training, columbia missouri, 65203, 65201

LPC: Licensed Professional Counselor (aka 'therapist')
PLPC: Provisionally Licensed Professional Counselor (aka 'therapist' in supervision)
CIT: Counselor-In-Training
CMHC: Clinical Mental Health Counselor (aka 'therapist')
NCC: Nationally Certified Counselor

This is usually not people's favorite section, but is absolutely worth mentioning, given that it does, in fact, require specific training to do counseling. Additionally, you might want to know what your counselor had to have gone through in order to self-proclaim that they are, in fact, a counselor/therapist. 


  • a conferred master's degree in counseling or a closely related field (i.e. social work).
  • post-master's supervision: once your counselor has attained their master's degree, then they have to go through an additional two years and 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, during which counselors are required to see clients, keep case notes, and meet weekly with their own supervisor, to ensure that they're doing a stand up job
  • each counselor licensed in the state of Missouri (yes, to make it more complicated, licensing requirements vary from state to state) has to take and pass the National Counselor Exam, or NCE

Counselors cannot be fully licensed until all of the above requirements are met. 

A little fun factoid that not many people know - only folks with the training mentioned above are allowed to call themselves "therapists." Yes, you read that right. Any time you hear somebody refer to themselves as a psychotherapist, therapist, or clinical mental health therapist, they've all gone through the process outlined above. So if you're searching around, trying to get a feel for who you want to work with, make sure that they've got one of the above initials behind their name. This is the way that you know your counselor has gone through the process of attaining full licensure.

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