State Board of Unlicensed Psychotherapists: News

Notice: Applications for reinstatement for Unlicensed Psychotherapists will no longer be accepted after December 31, 2022

On August 19, 2022, the Colorado State Board of Unlicensed Psychotherapists passed Board policy 20-1 Reinstatement of Expired Registration. 

Pursuant to section 12-20-202, C.R.S., a registrant who has not timely renewed and wishes to resume practice or engage in activity requiring a registration must file an application to reinstate the registration. After December 31, 2022, the Board will no longer accept reinstatement applications for Unlicensed Psychotherapists.

If your license as an Unlicensed Psychotherapist has expired and you would like to reinstate prior to December 31, 2022:

  • Visit the Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) website
  • Submit payment of the required application fee via credit card. All fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • Upload name change documentation, if applicable.
  • Detail practice as a psychotherapist  since your Colorado registration expired.
  • Answer general and criminal history screening questions and upload supporting documentation.
  • Complete the Healthcare Professions Profile, including uploading supporting documentation.

If your registration expired more than 2 years ago:

  • Upload a signed and dated passing results report of the current jurisprudence exam.

A complete reinstatement application checklist is available on the DPO website

If you have practiced or engaged in activity requiring a registration on an expired license and your registration has been expired for 60 days or more, board staff will automatically initiate a complaint for unlicensed practice.


Emotional Support Animal Recommendations Require Bonafide Provider-Patient Relationship

A bona fide provider-patient relationship should exist between a licensed healthcare professional and an individual seeking an emotional support animal (ESA) for therapeutic benefit prior to the issuance of a recommendation letter in Colorado. This bonafide provider-patient relationship is defined in the mental health, medical and nursing practice acts. 

Healthcare professionals must first establish whether a disability exists and if found, determine whether there is sufficient information for a recommendation for an ESA to provide a therapeutic benefit for that disability. In order to make such determinations, licensees must be both sufficiently familiar with the patient and the patient’s disability; and legally and professionally qualified to make this determination.

Nursing and mental health law (Section 12-255-133(3)(a) and 12-245-229(3)(a) Colorado Revised Statutes) further clarifies  that “a licensee shall not make a determination … unless the licensee has met with the patient in person.” Registered nurses are permitted to issue ESA recommendations but must be under the direct supervision of a licensed physician. 

Physicians shouldn’t make a determination unless having “met with the person or by telemedicine,” according to 12-240-144(3)(a), C.R.S.

Healthcare practitioners under the purview of Division of Professions and Occupations must follow all applicable laws for those seeking an assistance animal.

An ESA is an animal that provides a therapeutic benefit, such as emotional support, comfort, or companionship, to a person with a mental health or psychiatric disability. An ESA is not considered a Service Animal and ESA users don’t receive the same accommodations as service dog users.

 ESAs don’t perform specific tasks related to the person’s disability, instead, it is the presence of the animal that relieves the symptoms associated with the serious mental health condition. This condition is documented by a properly formatted prescription letter.


HB22-1299 License Registration Fee Relief for Mental Health Professionals


Mental/Behavioral Health Parity Information


Revised Rules Effective June 14, 2021

Revised rules for the State Board of Unlicensed Psychotherapists went into effect on June 14, 2021. The revisions to Rule 1.6 implemented Colorado House Bill 19-1129; and revisions to Rule 1.16 and Appendix A, corrected language in the rule that conflicted with portions of section 12-30-115, C.R.S., in Colorado Senate Bill 20-102 (Concerning required disclosures to patients regarding formal actions based on sexual misconduct).

To view the details of this rulemaking project and track all rule changes, see Tracking Number 2021-00171. The Board encourages all licensees and stakeholders to read the revised and published Rules 1.6, 1.16, and Appendix A. Please direct any questions to dora_mentalhealthboard@state.co.us.  



New Rules Effective December 15, 2020

The new and revised rules for the State Board of Unlicensed Psychotherapists went into effect in December 15, 2020, to implement Colorado House Bill 20-1206, House Bill 20-1326, and Senate Bill 20-102. These Bills concern the following:

  • Colorado House Bill 20-1206: The continuation of the regulation of mental health professionals, and in connection therewith, implementing recommendations contained in the 2019 sunset report by the Department of Regulatory Agencies;
  • Colorado House Bill 20-1326: Expansion of an individual's ability to practice an occupation in Colorado through creation of an occupational credential portability program; and
  • Colorado Senate Bill 20-102: Required disclosure to patients regarding formal actions based on sexual misconduct.

To view the details of this rulemaking project and track all rule revisions, follow Tracking Number 2020-00735. The Board encourages all licensees and stakeholders to read the final, published New and Revised Rules. Please direct any questions to dora_mentalhealthboard@state.co.us.


HB20-1206, Concerning the Continuation of Regulation of Mental Health Professionals

The Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO), within the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), has been provided the authority by the Colorado State Legislature to create the Mental Health Disciplinary Record Work Group. The Work Group will examine the state’s rules and policies with regard to the retention and use of certain kinds of disciplinary records as it relates to licensing of mental health professionals in the state. The Work Group, created by House Bill 20-1206, will meet throughout the Fall and Winter of 2020, and will make recommendations to the Governor, the Executive Director of DORA and the health committees in the House and Senate about any potential changes the Work Group identifies. 



New Law Affects Registered Psychotherapists

Recent legislative changes will affect the registered psychotherapist profession. HB20-1206 Sunset Mental Health Professionals includes a provision that changes the title “registered psychotherapist” to “unlicensed psychotherapist” for all current psychotherapists on the registry, and discontinues the registration of any new psychotherapists. In addition, the new law states that any person practicing psychotherapy must be registered before the effective date of this new provision. The new law will go into effect immediately upon Governor Polis’ signature.

Please be advised the Division of Professions and Occupations will no longer accept any new applications for registered psychotherapists after the bill goes into effect, and only those already on the registry can lawfully practice psychotherapy in Colorado.

HB20-1206 FAQ

If you have questions, please send them to dora_dpo@state.co.us.


New Disclosure Required

On May 14, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 19-1174 Out of Network Healthcare Services. The bill includes provisions for how health insurance carriers will reimburse providers (doctors, hospitals and other health care providers) for out-of-network emergency and non-emergency care. The new law went into effect on January 1, 2020, and also requires healthcare providers to develop and provide consumer disclosures about the potential effects of receiving emergency or non-emergency services from an out-of-network provider, and the possibility of “surprise  billing.” As part of the implementation of House Bill 19-1174 Out-of-network Surprise Billing, the Division of Professions and Occupations is providing a sample disclosure form. Please feel free to use your own form if you prefer.


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 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 unless they engage in the practice of psychotherapy as defined in section statute. in addition to their ABA work.