Kentucky is set to become the sixth state to license pastoral counselors to help people with issues such as marital difficulties and depression.
A law allowing the licensing goes into effect Tuesday and is expected to cover about 30 pastors who also work as mental and behavioral health counselors across the state. They will be called Kentucky licensed pastoral counselors, and their work will be covered by insurance policies for those who desire faith-based mental health services.
The chairman of the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, Martin Cortez Wesley, says he worries the change could create some uncertainty around the term “LPC” – which could stand for Licensed Professional Counselor or Licensed Pastoral Counselor.
"It's a popular term throughout the country and our belief is that people will be confused by the term 'LPC' or 'KLPC' as they're trying to be known," he says.
But for Glenn. D. Williams, chair of the Kentucky Association of Pastoral Counselors, the new law would help increase the number of mental health providers in Kentucky and provide wage increases for them.
The legislation, Senate Bill 61, and more than 100 other new laws approved by state lawmakers and Gov. Steve Beshear take effect Tuesday.