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General Laws

Section 164. Except as otherwise provided in sections one hundred and sixty-three to one hundred and seventy-two, inclusive, commencing March first, nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, no individual who is not licensed or exempted from licensure under said sections shall advertise the performance of or use a title or description of:

(1) licensed mental health counselor, advisor or consultant;

(2) licensed marital or marriage and family therapist, advisor or consultant;

(3) licensed rehabilitation counselor, specialist, advisor or consultant; or

(4) licensed educational psychologist, specialist, advisor or consultant.

No individual who is not licensed or exempted from licensure shall engage in practice as a licensed mental health professional. This does not prevent individuals not eligible to apply for licensure from advertising and practicing as counselors or therapists, provided that such individuals do not advertise or otherwise hold themselves out to the public to be licensed allied mental health professionals.

The following individuals shall be exempt from the requirements of this section:

(1) a licensed psychologist, a licensed social worker, a licensed occupational therapist, or a licensed physician or registered nurse.

(2) an employee or other agent of a recognized academic institution or alcohol or drug education or awareness program, employee assistance program, or of a federal, state, county or local government institution, program agency, or facility, or a school committee, school district, school board or board of regents while performing those duties constituting employment by such an institution, program, agency or facility; provided, however, that such individuals are performing those activities solely within the agency or under the jurisdiction of such agency; and, provided further, that a license granted under section one hundred and sixty-five need not be a requirement for qualification for civil service examinations nor shall it be a requirement for employment in any state, county or municipal agency.

(3) an employee of an organization which is nonprofit or licensed by the commonwealth, and which is determined by the board to provide adequate supervision while performing those duties constituting employment by such an agency; provided, however, that such individuals are performing those activities solely within the agency or under the jurisdiction of the organization.

(4) a student in the discipline of an allied mental health and human services profession or an intern or trainee in an allied mental health and human services profession receiving qualified supervision approved by the board, and whose training status is designated by such titles as “mental health intern”, “family therapy intern”, or a person who is issued a temporary permit by the board to engage in the activities for which licensure is required.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent qualified members of other professions including Christian Science practitioners, registered nurses, physicians, attorneys, or members of the clergy from doing the work of an allied mental health and human services professional consistent with the accepted standards of their respective professions; provided, however, that no such person shall use a title stating or implying that they are a licensed allied mental health and human services professional.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent members of peer group or self-help groups from performing peer counseling or self-help activities which may be, wholly or in part, included as a defined professional service in section one hundred and sixty-three; provided, however, that no members of peer group or self-help groups shall use a title stating or implying that they are a licensed allied mental health or human services professional.

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