Advisory Notice: Continuing Education on Appropriate Boundaries

A New York State licensed social worker or mental health practitioner who is required to complete continuing education must complete 3 hours of acceptable course work in appropriate professional boundaries in each 3-year registration period, starting April 1, 2023.

The New York State Board of Regents approved regulations on October 4, 2022, that requires social workers and mental health practitioners licensed and registered under Articles 153, 154, or 163 of the Education Law, to complete 3 hours of acceptable continuing education on issues related to maintaining appropriate professional boundaries between licensees and patients. The coursework must be taken from a provider approved by the Department and counts toward the 36 hours of continuing education required in each 36-month registration period.

The regulations apply to each psychologist, licensed master social worker, licensed clinical social worker, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, creative arts therapist, and psychoanalyst licensed and registered for registration periods starting on or after April 1, 2023. Licensees with a registration period commencing before April 1, 2023, do not have to complete coursework in appropriate boundaries until their next registration period. A licensee does not need to submit continuing education certificates to the State Board unless audited by the Board or applying for delayed registration.

Education Law ยง7607(2) requires each psychologist to complete 36 hours of acceptable learning activities, a minimum of three hours of which shall be in coursework in the area of professional ethics, including the laws, rules, and regulations for practice in New York. Coursework on appropriate boundaries that references New York laws, rules, and regulations related to unprofessional conduct may be counted toward the ethics requirement in statute. Conversely, coursework in ethics that addresses appropriate boundaries would meet that provision.

Note: To address this new provision, the Office of Global and Lifelong Learning is offering, Maintaining Appropriate Professional Boundaries: Exploring The Ethical Obligations of Mental Health Professionals as a self-study.