State Board of Registered Psychotherapists: News


New 2019 Legislation

On May 31, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed HB19-1129 Prohibit Conversion Therapy for a Minor. The new law goes into effect on August 2,2019, and prohibits a licensed physician specializing in psychiatry or a licensed, certified, or registered mental health care provider from engaging in conversion therapy with a patient under 18 years of age. Any licensee who engages in these practices is subject to disciplinary action by the appropriate mental health licensing board or the Colorado Medical Board, respectively.

On May 6, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed SB 19-201 Open Discussions About Adverse Health Care Incidents. This new law creates the "Colorado Candor Act” and establishes a process for the communication between a patient and a healthcare provider or health facility after an adverse health care incident. Under the new law, if an adverse health care incident occurs, a health care provider involved with the incident, either individually or jointly with the facility involved, may request that the patient enter into an open discussion concerning the incident. The request must include certain components listed in the law. 

If an offer of compensation is made, the new law requires certain processes for payment and financial resolution to be followed. If a health care provider or health facility determines that no offer of compensation is warranted, the health care provider or health facility shall orally communicate that decision with the patient.

A health care provider or facility may provide de-identified information about an adverse health care incident to any patient safety centered nonprofit organization.


 ABA Requirements Defined

Q: Are Behavioral Therapist required to register with DORA as a psychotherapist to engage in applied behavior analysis?

A: Applied Behavior Analysis and Psychotherapy:  The practice of applied behavior analysis (ABA) differs from the practice of psychotherapy. The Association of Professional Behavior Analysts defines ABA as “the design, implementation, and evaluation of instructional and environmental modifications to produce socially significant improvements in human behavior. The practice of ABA includes the empirical identification of functional relations between behavior and environmental factors, known as functional assessment and analysis. ABA interventions are based on scientific research and direct and indirect observation and measurement of behavior and environment. They utilize contextual factors, motivating operations, antecedent stimuli, positive reinforcement, and other procedures to help individuals develop new behaviors, increase or decrease existing behaviors, and emit behaviors under specific environmental conditions.”

ABA practitioners (e.g., those certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board) are not required to register as a Psychotherapist pursuant to section 12-43-702.5, C.R.S. unless they engage in the practice of psychotherapy as defined in section 12-43-201(9), C.R.S. in addition to their ABA work.


Sunset Review Underway

The Colorado Office of Policy, Research and Regulatory Reform is conducting a sunset review of the Registered Psychotherapists.  Analysis in a sunset review is performed to determine whether the regulatory program is necessary and should be continued, modified or eliminated. This review will produce a report with recommendations to the Colorado General Assembly and result in subsequent legislation based on the recommendations in the report. Your input is an important component of a successful sunset review. If you would like to submit comments online, please visit COPRRR's website.  


Mandatory Reporting Reminder

Did you know you are a mandatory reporter? Under Colorado law, more than 40 professions are required to report suspected child abuse and elder abuse. These professions include many regulated through the Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) at DORA, such as:

  • Physicians (including physician assistants and physicians in training);
  • Podiatrists;
  • Dentists and dental hygienists;
  • Chiropractors;
  • Nurses (including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners);
  • Nursing home administrators;
  • Occupational therapists;
  • Optometrists;
  • Physical therapists;
  • Pharmacists;
  • Veterinarians;
  • Mental health professionals (including psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, registered psychotherapists and all candidates for licensure);

Online trainings help mandatory reporters recognize and report abuse, neglect and exploitation. Licensees of the regulatory boards at DPO may accrue credit towards continuing education and continuing competency requirements for completing the trainings (should they exist for their profession).  

Section 19-3-304, C.R.S. outlines the persons required by law to report child abuse and/or neglect. To assist mandatory reporters, a training is available on the Colorado Department of Human Services website at http://coloradocwts.com/mandated-reporter-training.

Section 18-6.5-108, C.R.S outlines the persons required by law to report abuse and exploitation of at-risk elders and at-risk adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Further information and an online training can be found on the Colorado Department of Human Services website at http://www.coloradoaps.com/about-mandatory-reporting-update.html.  

If you have further questions regarding these requirements, please contact the Colorado Department of Human Services.

For questions regarding mandatory child abuse reporting, please contact the Office of Children, Youth, and Families’ Child Welfare Training System at 800-390-9619 or support@coloradocwts.com.

For questions regarding mandatory reporting of at-risk elders and at-risk adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, please contact the Office of Community Access and Independence’s Division of Aging and Adult Services at cdhs_aps_questions@state.co.us.


New Toolkit Available from Colorado Crisis Services

Colorado Crisis Services is Colorado’s first statewide resource for mental health, substance use or emotional crisis help, information and referrals. It was formed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services, to strengthen Colorado’s mental health system by providing greater access to mental health services, and ensuring Coloradans get the right services in the right locations at the right time. A new toolkit is available to help the many organizations and mental health professionals that work with Colorado Crisis Services. The toolkit provides links to branding graphics and consistent messaging for public information related to Colorado Crisis Services.


HB17-1011 - Statute of Limitation Discipline Mental Health Professional

On March 16, 2017, Governor John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 17-1011 Statute of Limitation Discipline Mental Health Professional. The bill went into effect July 1, 2017. Currently, mental health professionals are required to maintain client records for a period of seven years from the date of termination of services. This new state law requires mental health professionals to notify former clients that records may not be maintained after seven years. This notice must be provided to the client in writing no later than 180 days after the end of the client's treatment. The notice may be included with the disclosures provided during the initial client contact or sent to the client's last known address.

In addition, any complaint filed with the Division of Professions and Occupations in the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) against a mental health professional alleging a maintenance of records violation must be made within seven years after the former client discovered or reasonably should have discovered the violation. The applicable board in the Division of Professions and Occupations must either take disciplinary action on the complaint or dismiss the complaint within two years.

We hope this clarifies this new requirement pertaining to client records. If you have any questions, please send them to dora_mentalhealthboard@state.co.us.


Peer Assistance Services, Inc.

The Colorado Mental Health Boards have been authorized to contract with Peer Assistance Services, Inc. for the Mental Health Professional Peer Health Assistance Program. This program is available to all licensed/certified/registered Colorado mental health professionals who have physical, emotional, or psychological conditions. Program services include practice and treatment monitoring, identification and evaluation of conditions, counseling and support for treatment, and prevention education. These program services are funded for Colorado mental health professionals through a portion of licensing fees. For more information visit Peer Assistance Services website.