Published February 28th, 2021
Nearly one year into the pandemic and we’ve all become quite comfortable with the idea of tele-therapy. While some therapists still prefer the couch, many find the accessibility of online therapy helpful in reaching more clients and speaking with them more consistently. Yet, with the ease of seeing clients online, there are certain impassable logistics – namely, how to make sure your license is valid across state lines, especially if you (or your clients!) end up relocating.
That's why PSYPACT, a governing body that enables psychologists to practice online and in-person across state lines, comes as a great option for providers in participating states. Read on to learn more about what PSYPACT is, who can and how to join it, and and what considerations to keep in mind.
What is PSYPACT?
PSYPACT is short for The Psychological Interjurisdictional Compact. PSYPACT works with state policies to allow psychologists to practice across state borders. Generally, therapists have to be very careful about see clients only in the state(s) within which they have a license. When PSYPACT becomes part of their state’s policy, psychologists can serve clients in other participating states, which opens up their potential to see prospective new clients across state lines.
The PSYPACT Commission regulates PSYPACT practice and writes the bylaws, rules, regulations, and policies. Only in a state with PSYPACT policy and with the proper registration can a psychologists have the ability to see clients in other states through telepsychology and temporarily in-person.
Who can join PSYPACT?
As of now, only psychologists can utilize PSYPACT to provide therapy across state lines – and only psychologists located in the participating states, listed below.
Which states are part of PSYPACT?
Currently, the following states participate in PSYPACT:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
This means that therapists registered with PSYPACT can practice in any of the above states if they have a license in one of them.
There are several states pending PSYPACT induction, including:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
How do I join PSYPACT?
PSYPACT has different application processes for teletherapy sessions and temporary face-to-face sessions:
- Teletherapy: For teletherapy, therapists licensed in PSYPACT states must apply for the PSYPACT Commission’s Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology. Involved in this application is obtaining an E.Passport Certificate from ASPPB.
- Temporary in-person: For temporary in-person or face-to-face sessions, therapists licensed in PSYPACT states must apply for the PSYPACT Commission’s Temporary Authorization to Practice. Involved in this application is obtaining an Interjurisdictional Practice Certificate from ASPPB.
To find these applications and certificates, follow these steps:
- Create an account in ASPPB’s credentials management system, PSY PRO.
- Fill out all the personal information they ask for, such as address and profession.
- Under "Select an Activity," you’ll find "Practice Telepsychology under PSYPACT" or "Practice Temporarily under PSYPACT." Here you’ll be able to start your application and pay the associated fees.
- Following the instructions found on PSY PRO and guidance from the ASPPB, you’ll be able to submit the application for review.
- Once the ASPPB accepts your application, you’ll be able to start practicing therapy across state lines!
How much does it cost to join PSYPACT?
Teletherapy: $440 upfront, plus a $100 annual renewal fee.
- PSYPACT Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology: $40 application fee
- ASPPB EPassport: $400 application fee, $100 annual renewal fee
Temporary in-person: $240 total cost.
- PSYPACT Temporary Authorization to Practice: $40 application fee
- Interjurisdictional Practice Certificate: $200 application fee
What are the benefits of PSYPACT?
The greatest benefit of PSYPACT is the ability to practice in multiple states without having to apply for separate licenses or temporary permits. This is true during COVID-19 when most practices are remote-only, but also after the pandemic, for therapists who wish to continue seeing out-of-state clients. Practicing with PSYPACT’s protection can also make billing or insurance processes easier.
In addition, PSYPACT allows you to reach a greater pool of prospective clients. By marketing to different geographic areas, you may find more clients interested in your services – especially if you have a niche speciality or if your local market is saturated with therapists. You may also find clients in usually hard-to-access locations like rural communities, offering them greater options in receiving mental health treatment.
The ability to practice in other jurisdictions is also beneficial if you travel often or plan to visit other states; even if you’re out of your home state, you’ll still be able to run your practice remotely and see clients.
With more and more states enacting PSYPACT policies, the interstate network is growing, making it a popular and well-utilized way of providing therapy across state lines.
Are there any downsides to joining PSYPACT?
As with any policy, there are also downsides to joining PSYPACT. The application is quite extensive, including a request for official transcripts. The initial costs are high, though many of the fees are one-time fees to get you set up.
There’s also always the chance that policy could change — if your state (or any of the other participating states) decides to do away with PSYPACT policy, you may need to terminate with your non-local clients.
PSYPACT was created to provide psychologists a chance to practice in multiple states without having to apply for a new license in each state. By making a streamlined process, laid out in great detail on their website, therapists have the opportunity to grow their business and help those in communities other than their own.