Indiana law defines six types of counseling practices — marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, addiction counseling, clinical addiction counseling, social work, and clinical social work. For the most part, no one may engage in any of those practices without a license issued by the Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board. However, the statute permits unlicensed individuals who have a degree in social work to engage in that practice under certain limited circumstances and subject to certain conditions.
The statute also provides that communications between a counselor and a client are privileged in the same way that communications between a physician and a patient are privileged. In Rogers v. State decided earlier this week by the Indiana Court of Appeals, an unlicensed social worker asserted the counselor-client privilege, refusing to answer certain questions in a deposition by Rogers’s attorney. Rogers asked the court to order the social worker to answer the questions, and the court denied the motion. Rogers then filed an interlocutory appeal.
The issue before the Court of Appeals dealt with Indiana Code § 23‑23.6‑6‑1: