Can California Psychologists Provide Therapy to Patients Out of State?

Temporary practice laws generally require that you have a license to practice psychology in another state. This information is provided to help describe the requirements for registering as a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern and being licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in California. Currently, there is no specific California law that states MFTs licensed in California cannot practice in another state. The Behavioral Science Board (BBS) has made recommendations to California consumers who choose to seek therapy or counseling online. Telehealth is an option for many, especially during the pandemic, but it is not allowed for licensed psychologists in California if their patients are across state lines.

The Inter-Jurisdictional Pact on Psychology (PSYPACT) is a multi-state licensing agreement that allows a psychologist licensed in a state that has joined PSYPACT to provide telepsychological services or temporary in-person services to patients in other PSYPACT states. When engaging in interstate practice, psychologists must comply with all laws and regulations relevant to both the psychologist's own state and the place where the patient is. People who provide psychotherapy or counseling to people in California must be licensed in California. There is no support for the well-being of people in California and residents of other states. Most states don't specifically require that care be initiated in person or that it be started in the same state where your psychologist is located.

As an MFT licensed in California, you can apply to become an MFT licensed in New York, but if you practice without first obtaining that license from New York, you could be charged with illegally practicing a profession that requires a license, a felony in the state of New York.

Heath Teruel
Heath Teruel

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