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Tennessee Bill Authorizing Therapists to Decline to Provide Services (SB 1556)

This law was last updated on Jan 9, 2017




SB 1556




Jan 11, 2016


Primary Sponsors: 1
Co-sponsors: 3
Total Sponsors: 4


Conscience and Refusal Clauses, LGBTQ, Religious Freedom

Full Bill Text

SB 1556 would provide immunity from liability for counselors and therapists who refuse to counsel a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with “sincerely held principles” of the counselor or therapist.

Counselors or therapists refusing to provide counseling or therapy under this bill would be required to coordinate a referral of the client to another counselor or therapist who will provide the service.

The bill specifies that a therapist or counselor will be not be disciplined for a violation of A.11.b of the 2014 American Counseling Association Code of Ethics, or any similar or successor provision, unless the individual seeking or undergoing counseling was in imminent danger of harming themselves or others.

An amendment made to the bill makes it applicable to conflicts with “sincerely held principles” of the counselor or therapist instead of “sincerely held religious beliefs” of the counselor or therapist.

Related Legislation

Companion bill to HB 1840.

Similar to HB 566 and SB 397, which were failed bills seeking to provide immunity to psychology students who refused to counsel or serve clients.