Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Move Forward Logo


Move Forward Counseling Advocacy

Move Forward Counseling is partnering with Legislators, organizations, and businesses across PA to advocate for the passing of legislation that will help mental health professionals meet the demand for high-quality therapy for Pennsylvanians.  Access to, and education on, mental health support is critical to ending the stigma and helping people connect with professional care.

Tiered Licensure for LPCs

Update from March 28, 2024

In an amazing win for the Counseling profession, Governor Josh Shapiro signed HB 1564 into law on March 28th, 2024. The Pennsylvania legislature came together for this landmark decision in as a direct response to the ever-growing need for qualified mental health professionals in the commonwealth. Master-level clinicians can soon apply to be a Licensed Professional Counseling Associate (LPCA) through the Pennsylvania State Licensing Board!

What We Know So Far

The PA State Licensing Board (PALS) is working on the details. The application for the LPCA so far requires a Master level clinicians to fill out an application, a $75 application fee, Child Abuse CE, Criminal history Check, Databank Report, Educational Transcripts, Letter of Good Standing (LOGS), Resume of Supervisor(s), and a Supervision Plan. We anticipate the board to start accepting applications within the next few months.

View or download the application or go to the state licensing board website

  1. At the top hit the link that says “application checklist”.
  2. Under Board select “Social Workers, Marriage and Family Counselors, and Professional Counselors”.
  3. Under Licensing type select “Associate Professional Counselor”.


For more information, please contact the PA State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors at (717) 783-1389.

Update from February 5, 2024

HB 1564 was amended and voted out of the Senate Professional Licensure Committee yesterday, with Senator Aument (and all others except for one) voting yes!  See more about HB 1564.

Update from Pennsylvania Counseling Association (PCA) Government Relations Committee (December 2023)

“The PCA held a Town Hall on Wednesday, December 6, 2023.  The PCA is working with Highmark and the legislature to achieve a short-term solution to the incident-to-billing issue. As of December 12th, Highmark has not communicated regarding an agreement to honor a safe harbor executive action.  Thus, the PA Administration has not issued the safe harbor. We realize this may be disappointing; however, we will continue to wait for Highmark to agree to a solution. Please trust our PCA leadership continues to work diligently on this issue. 

We hope it’s comforting (and exciting) to hear that the long-term solution to the incident-to-billing issue of being granted a licensed associate professional counselor license is closer than ever to becoming a reality. This week, the House’s Professional Licensure committee unanimously voted the bill (HB 1564) out of committee and onto the House floor. The Senate’s Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee will hopefully do the same when they vote on their bill version (SB1019). The fact that we have made tiered licensure happen so quickly (within a month!) is unprecedented – we’re so proud of this work!

Please encourage your circles to use the advocacy letter template here to write your elected legislators and ask for their support of the bill during their respective chamber’s vote.

Locate your elected legislators here.   Thanks for your continued support of PCA and the Government Relations Committee!”

-Madeleine (Maddie) Stevens (she/her) Ph.D., LPC (PA), LPCC (OH), NCC

Interstate Counseling Compact

The Counseling Compact


  • PA’s Interstate Counseling Compact law (which would allow us to join the Compact) is being held up at the federal level due to the interpretation of federal law regarding FBI background checks in occupational licensing compacts. Read on for more information.
  • CURRENTLY IN PA: PA Rep. Jen O’Mara’s office needs co-sponsors for her Legislative Package to Join the National Counseling Compact & Changes to Behavioral Specialists (former HB2852). PA Sen. Lisa Boscola is also seeking co-sponsors for similar legislation, which is outlined in her co-sponsor memo, “Authorizing PA to Join the National Counseling Compact,” which would reintroduce SB1348 from the 2021-22 legislative session. Sen. Judith Schwank is currently her co-prime sponsor.
  • THE SHARE ACT: Recently, two members of the House of Representatives at the federal level (i.e., Congress) introduced an amendment to the law that provides for FBI background checks in professional licensing. The amendment is called the “SHARE Act,” its passage will clarify the law and increase accessibility for licensure compacts to be implemented in all states. Pennsylvania is one of the states negatively impacted by the FBI background checks issue, which means all occupational licensure compacts in our state cannot operate, even if they were signed into law (such as the nursing compact and the physical therapy compact).
  • WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PA? Our contacts in the legislature have shared that no additional compacts will move through the PA General Assembly until the background checks issue is resolved — even the recently introduced Social Work compact. Thus, the Interstate Counseling Compact was introduced, but there will likely be no movement on that bill until the SHARE Act passes. Please read the attached brief on the SHARE Act, developed by the Council for State Governments (the organization coordinating the Interstate Counseling Compact).
  • WHAT’S NEXT? All advocacy activities should be directed at the Federal level, specifically in the House’s and Senate’s education committees. I encourage you to reach out to your federal legislators from your state and district who serve on those committees and ask that they support the SHARE Act so it can make its way to the full Congress floor for voting. Also, consider reaching out to Dr. Lynn Linde, ACA’s chief of professional practice, at to urge ACA to provide a letter of support for the SHARE Act and to develop advocacy initiatives for ACA members to engage in.


View the SHARE Act Policy Brief.

What is the Counseling Compact?

The Counseling Compact is an interstate compact, or a contract among states, allowing professional counselors licensed and residing in a compact member state to practice in other compact member states without needing multiple licenses.

Please pass this on and share it with your colleagues and friends. Could you ask for their support?

August 2023 marks one year since the launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, the nationwide number established to help people in a mental health, substance use, or suicide crisis. In just one year, nearly 5 million people have reached out to 988 for support.

988 is already impacting our communities and saving lives, but more work must be done to ensure everyone can get the help they need in a crisis. Congressmen Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) have reintroduced bipartisan legislation to ensure our communities have the resources necessary to implement 988 fully. Please take 30 seconds to urge your member of Congress to support this vital legislation today!

The 988 Implementation Act (H.R. 4851) would:

  • Fund local 988 call centers to ensure 24/7 access for anyone who needs help
  • Support the expansion of mobile crisis teams to help communities provide an in-person mental health crisis response instead of relying on law enforcement to respond
  • Expand awareness of 988 through awareness campaigns
  • Provide funding to build crisis centers, making sure people have a safe place to go in a crisis
  • Fund services for underserved populations to make sure people receive equitable, quality care that is inclusive
  • Ensure people have access to crisis care by requiring that all health insurance plans cover crisis services and support crisis workforce development

The 988 Implementation Act is critical legislation that will help us fully realize the potential of 988 to be the life-saving resource that people in crisis need.

But we need your voice to make it a reality. Reach out to your member of Congress today and ask that they cosponsor this vital piece of legislation.

House Bill 874: Support for Loan Forgiveness - Session of 2023

HB 874 provides for Commonwealth support for a Mental Health and Intellectual Disability Staff Member Loan Forgiveness Program and an Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor Loan Forgiveness Program;  and imposes duties on the PA Higher Education Assistance Agency.

Please urge your members of Congress to support this vital legislation today!

The following Legislators introduced HB 874:

  • Dillon
  • Tartaglione
  • Kane
  • Fontana
  • Schwank
  • Costa
  • Brewster
  • Comitta

The Bill was referred to Education on August 16, 2023.

View or download HB 874.

pennsylvania counseling association logo

Pennsylvania Counseling Association

The Pennsylvania Counseling Association (PCA) represents and advocates for all professionals and professionals in training at the regional, state, and national level as one of the largest state branches of the American Counseling Association with over 500 members, eight divisions, and three regional chapters.

Dr. Madeleine Stevens

Dr. Madeleine Stevens

Dr. Madeleine Stevens is the PCA Government Relations Committee (GRC) Chair and is now she focuses on the importance of legislative advocacy to strengthen the services that PA Counselors provide, with a call for PA Counselors to join the PCA.  Write to Dr. Stevens or visit the PCA website to learn more and how to join.

“The Interstate Counseling Compact will enhance PA counselors’ licensure portability while also increasing access to care for clients.  The PA Counseling Association supports legislation that promotes a strong, unified counseling profession, and we’re eager for PA counselors to join us!

Dr. Madeleine (Maddie) Stevens (she/her), Ph.D., LPC (Ohio), NCC, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Counselor Education and School Psychology, Duquesne University

Matthew Nice

Dr. Matthew Nice

Dr. Matthew Nice is the President of the Pennsylvania Counseling Association. Write to Dr. Nice or visit the PCA to learn more about how to join PCA.

“The Pennsylvania Counseling Association supports the Interstate Counseling Compact, which ensures reciprocity across state lines for practicing counselors across Pennsylvania. Please join us on these initiatives!”

Matthew L Nice (he/him), Ph.D, LPC, NCC, ACS, President- Pennsylvania Counseling Association, Assistant Professor- Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Monthly Newsletter

To get our monthly newsletter with current openings and new office information sign up here.