Trauma therapists in New York are essentially licensed practitioners of mental health counseling or licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) who specialize in assisting people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders. This specialization is done during the course of the master’s program, focussing on patients who suffer severe physical, mental and emotional repercussions of having undergone a traumatic experience.
With regard to requirements, trauma therapists need to meet a few additional criteria to gain their license and to be registered with the State Education Department.
Licensure and Registration for New York Trauma Therapists
In New York State, license and registration are two very different things. There is a set of eligibility criteria that you will have to satisfy to get your license as a trauma therapist. They are as follows:
- A master’s degree in counseling psychology, clinical social work or higher.
- A minimum of 3,000 hours of experience under supervision after completion of the master’s degree.
- During the course of this guided counseling, you must show specific experience working with clients who are suffering from PTSD. They can be victims of abuse, war, crime or any other form of violence.
- Clear the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) or the one conducted by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) depending on your degree.
- Submit your completed application to the Office of Professions.
With these steps, you can become a licensed trauma therapist which is valid for the rest of your life. Only in cases of malpractice, your license can be suspended or annulled.
In addition to gaining your license, you ought to register yourself with the Board every three years after you have received your license. This provision is made in order for you to stay updated in your field of work. This falls under the purview of continuing education (CE), as established under the guidance of IACET (International Association for Continuing Education & Training) and the ANSI (American National Standards Institute). The aim of this program is to maintain professional standards and to keep the practitioners updated with all the developments in the discipline.
Registration and CEU Requirements
The New York State usually gives a registration period of three years to its practicing therapists and LCSWs to update their registration with the Board (for mental health practitioners or social work). You must complete the mandated 36 hours of acceptable formal CE hours during each three-year registration period.
Sometimes, the registration period granted by the Board can be less than three years. In such a case, the calculation of CE hours is done on a prorated basis. You have to complete one hour of continuing education for each month in your registration period. For instance, let us say the Board has registered you for a period of 25 months as opposed to the usual 3 years. In such a case, you must complete 25 hours of CE (within that 25-month duration) to continue practicing in New York.
CEU in New York for Trauma Therapists
An hour of continuing education in New York is defined as a minimum of 50 minutes of contact hour offered by registered organizations like Core Wellness. We offer live sessions and interactive webinars, both of which count as contact hours as per the requirement.
The state has no say in the pace at which you complete the required CE hours. The only limitation imposed by law is the duration of the registration period. You have the flexibility to make arrangements for your CE coursework without affecting your practice. But remember, there might be a scenario where you might end up crossing the minimum requirement needed. In such a case, the additional credits cannot be transferred to the next registration period.
Typically, you earn your CE credits by attending the contact hours provided by registered organizations. You choose subjects that will contribute to your practice in general and not your personal gains. As a trauma therapist, you can choose to hone your skills in assessment, recent trends in PTSD management, patient communication, professional ethics and so on.
You can also earn CE hours by a few other accepted ways. Structuring and teaching a new course in a Department-approved institution, publishing an article on the trauma therapy in a peer-reviewed journal or as part of a book can count for CE hours. Please read the Board’s guidelines on how many hours can be gained from these tasks or write to them for verification or approval.
The Board also allows one-third of your CE hours to be contributed by self-study courses. That means you can have up to 12 self-study hours (for a 36-hour CEU requirement). We, at Core Wellness LLC, offer both contact programs and self-study modules that are approved by the Department. This, however, is not a compulsory requirement. You can have all 36 hours as contact hours.
Once all of this is done, you can submit the Renewal Registration Form along with the certificate of completion (of CE hours). Remember, you are not allowed by law to practice your profession without being registered in the Office of Professions.