The current mental health statutes in Colorado do not adequately regulate the practice of psychotherapy. Currently, there are no experience or educational requirements for an individual to receive an endorsement by the State to be a Registered Psychotherapist. This means that an individual with no formal education or training can hold themselves out to the public as a psychotherapist.
Colorado is currently the only state in the entire nation to have such a designation. As other states begin to regulate mental health more closely, Colorado continues to support a level of endorsement that does nothing to protect consumers.
Formerly, the state called Registered Psychotherapists "Non-licensed Counselors" which is a more accurate description (although they are not necessarily counselors either). Unfortunately, lobbyists and outspoken individuals petitioned the state to change the name to "Registered Psychotherapists." This designation creates confusion to the public. Many assume it is parallel to a Registered Nurse -- a designation that requires formal, accredited education and licensure. A Registered Psychotherapist is not a licensed individual -- it only indicates that an individual has submitted notice to the State that they are practicing psychotherapy, without meeting any required standards. In addition, a designation that does not require any education whatsoever is not found in any other health-related field in Colorado. Indeed, we would not allow an individual who simply had an interest in internal medicine to practice so long as he or she referred to themself as a "Registered Physician".
Colorado presently does not serve its citizens by having the Registered Psychotherapist designation. By having this, the State indicates that it does not take mental health seriously. It presents a false endorsement of the individual practicing psychotherapy without training or a license. Colorado is seriously out of step with the rising standards of mental health licensure being adopted in other states.
Our present laws need to be amended such that there is clarity for the consumer. This petition requests that the State abandon its use of the term "Registered Psychotherapist" and replace it with the term "Non-licensed Psychotherapist". Please, demonstrate to the Nation that Colorado takes mental health seriously. Reform our statutes for consumer protection and safety.