February 8, 2023 

As the counseling compact continues to expand, more and more art therapists are going to be impacted both as licensed counselors and as art therapists seeking licensure in states where a unique art therapy license doesn’t yet exist. It’s important that art therapists understand what the compact is, how it impacts them, what it represents in terms of the advancement of the counseling profession, and what we can take away with us for the future advancement of art therapy.  

The interstate compact is an agreement between states to honor counseling licenses issued by the other states who have signed on to the compact. Once implemented in its entirety, it will provide what amounts to license portability across the country for licensed counselors. In order to achieve this, each state must pass legislation recognizing the licenses of the other states which become signatories of the interstate compact. This legislation is often preceded or accompanied by additional legislation which amends the licensing requirements in the state, normally focused around supervised hours, educational requirements, or other specific changes which bring the license more in line with the other licenses around the country. As a result, art therapists are running into problems with educational backgrounds: the updated licensing legislation  generally requires a CACREP accreditation of an academic program rather than giving licensing boards a substantial amount of flexibility to decide which  educational programs pass muster for the license. This, in combination with a number of changes being made to CACREP accreditation requirements, is creating pressure on new art therapists who would otherwise be seeking licensure under counseling titles.

Helpfully, Chi Sigma Iota, the counseling honors society, hosted an informative panel discussion on the impact of the interstate compact on counselors and the counseling profession, giving us valuable insight into their perspective when pursuing these legislative changes.