Call to Action Regarding Registered Psychotherapists

BOTTOM LINE - We need to mobilize psychologists and other stakeholders to take action to help us stop the registration of unlicensed psychotherapists. We need you to email your legislators and to SHOW UP for testimony at the Capitol on February 19th and for town halls in your area!! Please see below for details.


We need your help! As you may be aware, the Mental Health Practice Act (MHPA) is up for sunset this year before the state legislature. It was introduced just last week as HB20-1206. The first committee for the bill is scheduled for Wednesday, February 19th upon adjournment of floor work in the House Public Health and Human Services Committee. The best guess on the start time of the hearing is approximately 10:00.

This year we have the unique opportunity to eliminate Registered Psychotherapists from the Mental Health Practice Act. The licensed and certified mental health professionals are unified in requesting an amendment to HB 1206 to cease new registrants into the Registered Psychotherapists database. In order to get support from legislators, we need your help reaching out to your elected official to convey the importance of this amendment.

Below is a draft email you can use as an example. Please feel free to edit so your voice and perspective are reflected in the email. You can find out who your legislator is by putting your home or work address into this link - .

This link will also provide you with their email so you can reach out to your Senator or Representative. If you can let Julie Jacobs, [email protected], and Jeannie Vanderburg, [email protected] know if you reach out to your legislator and their responses that would be great. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jeannie or Julie if you have questions or need help putting together a correspondence.

In addition to emailing your legislators, it is vital that we have strong representation at the committee hearing on February 19th. In the past, the Registered Psychotherapists have been extremely effective in mobilizing their members and making theirs the loudest voices in the room – we need to counteract this in order to be effective.  If you are willing to testify in committee, we’d love to have you. Even if you have never done this before, we can help you understand the process and feel comfortable making your voice heard to your elected officials.  We need a strong showing because there is no questions that the RPs will come out in force.

There are also a number of town halls taking place this weekend, some of which are specific to mental health issues.  The RPs are mobilizing to attend those events, and we need representation there as well.  These events are taking place in Longmont and Denver on February 8th.  Details on those meetings are at the end of this email.  


Dear Representative/Senator XXX,

My name is XXX and I am a member of the Colorado Psychological Association/Colorado psychologist. My day job is XXX (insert a line about what you do professionally). I am writing to you today because your committee, the House Public Health and Human Services Committee, is considering HB 1206: Sunset of the Mental Health Practice Act on February 19th. I am writing to you because I support the Mental Health Practice Act’s continuation but also because I support an amendment coming forward to eliminate Registered Psychotherapists from the Mental Health Practice Act.

The Colorado Mental Health Practice Act (MHPA) regulates five licensed professionals: licensed psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, and licensed addiction counselors. The MHPA also regulates Registered Psychotherapists.  

Registered Psychotherapists have no baseline education, training, or supervision requirements and no code of ethics that is nationally accredited and based on evidence-based practices. The sole barrier to entry for those who call themselves Registered Psychotherapists is to pass the open book jurisprudence exam required by DORA. This exam tests only an individual’s knowledge of the statute, not their competencies as a practitioner. Registered Psychotherapists are also not able to bill Medicaid or private insurance, cannot work in community mental health centers or schools, and do not help offset the mental health professional shortage in the state. It is not appropriate to include Registered Psychotherapists within the Mental Health Practice Act.

I strongly support a forthcoming amendment to cease new registrants into the Registered Psychotherapists database and request that existing professionals who wish to practice psychotherapy in Colorado obtain credentials to do so as a licensed professional (i.e., an LCSW, LPC, LMFT, LAC or Licensed Psychologist). People who are currently claiming to practice psychotherapy as Registered Psychotherapists will be grandfathered in and permitted to continue to practice for a period of 5 years as Registered Psychotherapists, during which time they can choose to enter into a pathway for licensure as a mental health professional. This gives the opportunity to engage in necessary coursework, register as candidates, and engage in supervised clinical experience as required by the regulations of their chosen profession. Alternately, they can choose to continue providing services other than psychotherapy, such as coaching, spiritual ministry, wellness education, etc., and can pursue appropriate registration or licensure with the State to provide these services (if applicable).

 Colorado is one of only two states in the country that allow the practice of psychotherapy by unlicensed individuals referred to as Registered Psychotherapists. The other state that permits this, Vermont, is moving towards only allowing use of this designation by trainees who are in the process of completing supervised clinical training towards licensure, which is an appropriate use for such a status. However, because of the establishment of “candidate” status in Colorado in 2016 (HB16-1103), there is no need for this use of an unlicensed mental health provider status in our state.

 At a time when Colorado’s suicide rates are skyrocketing and the impacts of substance use disorders are permeating every corner of the state, it is of the utmost importance that we provide quality care to those seeking support. We have made great strides in recent years towards recognizing the importance of parity between physical and behavioral health care, and just as we would never allow individuals with no training or education to call themselves doctors or provide physical health care, we should not be allowing this standard of care for those with behavioral health concerns. Eliminating the category of Registered Psychotherapists in the Mental Health Practice Act is a step forward in providing parity in the care delivered to those experiencing behavioral health issues. 


Additional information regarding the town halls in Longmont and Denver on February 8th:

February 8  -  Longmont Town Hall on Mental Health Policy

When: Saturday, February 8, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM  Where: The Longmont Public Library - 409 4th Ave, Longmont, CO 80501     

Representative Singer who is running for Boulder County Commissioner will be holding a Town Hall in Longmont on Mental Health policy in Colorado. He is Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee considering the proposal to amend the DORA Sunset Review Report to eliminate RPs. He will be joined by Senator Mike Foote, Representative Sonya Jaquez Lewis (also on the Health and Human Service Committee), Anna Kim from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Phoebe Norton and Anne Hyink from Mental Health Partners, John Kellow from Supporting Action for Mental Health, and Officer Tash Petsas from the Longmont Police Department. They will be discussing the current mental health problems facing Colorado at the state and local levels, proposed legislation, and available resources.   


February 8  -  Denver MEGA Town Hall Meeting 

When: 10am-12pm   
Where: Valdez Elementary School, 2525 W 29th Ave, Denver, Colorado 80211 

Join Elected Officials: Senator Julie Gonzales SD34, Representative Alex Valdez HD5, Representative Serena Gonzales Gutierrez HD4,  Representative Susan Lontine HD1, and various Council Members.  

Thank you for anything you can do to support this effort, and please share this information as you see fit!