Washington Board of Mental Health Counselors-Attorneys, Lawyers and Legal Counsel
|Licensing Board||Washington State Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Social Workers Advisory Committee|
|Telephone No.||(360) 236-4700|
Investigating Agency for Board of Professional Counselors
|Agency||State Department of Health
|Telephone No.||(360) 236-4700
The Washington State Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Social Workers Advisory Committee regulates the practice of mental health in the state of Washington, including mental health counselors, licensed professional counselors, and associated licensed counselors. All complaints, investigations and legal negotiations for this board are usually handled by investigators, attorneys and staff members of the State Department of Health located at the address above or a field office.
Our attorneys routinely represent professionals in the mental health fields. This includes full advice and assistance during the investigation, including obtaining and filing statements and other evidence that may be necessary, hearing preparation, and hearing representation as further discussed below.
Remember these important points before hiring anyone for representation on a Washington mental health complaint:
Often individuals who hold themselves out to be counselors or professionals with expertise in mental health matters will advertise that they can assist you in complaints and investigations. But if the case becomes complicated or a hearing is required, they rapidly abandon you. Don’t get caught in such a fix.
Be reluctant to submit a written statement signed by yourself during the initial investigation. Such statements can and will be used against you to prove the case against you, if you have a hearing. In some states, such as Florida, you cannot be required to make such statements; the Fifth Amendment protects you in such a situation. However, other states require a signed statement from you. Be sure you know.
Be cautious about selecting an informal hearing instead of a formal hearing. If you select an informal hearing, this means you are not contesting the charges against you, you are admitting them (or admitting you are guilty), and the hearing will only allow you to address the amount of punishment you receive.
Be very careful about accepting a Settlement Agreement (“SA”), Consent Order (“CO”), or Stipulated Consent Order (“SCO”), as it means you are pleading guilty and will have discipline on your license for the rest of your life.
If you have malpractice insurance, it probably contains professional license defense coverage that will pay for your legal defense expenses in the case. Don’t waste a valuable benefit you have paid for. Retain an attorney who accepts your insurance at the very first notice of a complaint.
Make sure you request a formal hearing if you intend to introduce any evidence or testimony to prove that you’re not guilty. However, if you are going before the Board of Mental Health Counselors because of a complaint, you are almost always either doing it as an informal hearing (in which you have admitted the charges) or as part of a Settlement Agreement/Consent Order in which you have agreed to accept discipline on your license. In the event of a formal hearing before the board, you should have legal representation. In either case, you are going to have discipline on your license for the rest of your life. Make sure you know for sure what the procedures are in this state so that you do not inadvertently give up your rights.
Our attorneys are licensed only in Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, and Virginia, but we are authorized to represent you in these matters in many of the other states listed above under the state’s multi-jurisdictional practice rules for attorneys; we may apply for special admission privileges under the state’s pro hac vice rules or have to take other such actions to represent you, but we routinely do this.
To contact an attorney with The Health Law Firm for a consultation or representation, click here.
The provision of this information does not constitute the practice of law in this state/jurisdiction nor the advertisement of the practice of law in this state/jurisdiction. This is not the provision of legal advice. Legal advice must be specific to the facts of each individual case. Hiring an attorney is an important decision that should not be made based on advertising alone. Ask for additional information on the qualifications of any attorney before hiring them. Our attorneys only practice in those states and jurisdictions in which they are licensed to practice law or legally permitted to practice law. An attorney-client relationship can only be formed with our attorneys through the payment of a retainer fee and a retainer agreement signed by all parties.