Emergency Temporary License and Disaster Preparedness


The Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council is fully aware of the devastation and loss that disasters such as hurricanes, floods, fires, and pandemics can bring to Texas and its citizens.  As a result, the following information is being provided to expedite the response by out-of-state behavioral health providers when responding to a disaster in Texas, as well as assist licensees with preparing for the next disaster.


Emergency Temporary License for Practice Within a Declared Disaster Area

In the event the Governor declares a disaster and issues a proclamation suspending regulatory statutes and rules which would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the declared disaster, any out-of-state marriage and family therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychological associate, specialist in school psychology, or social worker that would like to help with the disaster recovery efforts may apply for an Emergency Temporary License pursuant to 22 TAC 882.70.  A copy of the application is available for download by clicking here.  There is no fee associated with applying for or renewing this license.

Currently, the governor has suspended those regulatory statutes and rules necessary for the Council to issue an Emergency Temporary License to the following types of out-of-state providers:

  • Psychologists;
  • Psychological Associates; and
  • Specialists in School Psychology.

Out-of-state providers not included in this list are not eligible for an Emergency Temporary License, but may still be eligible to practice in accordance with the provision below.

Limited Unlicensed Practice Authorized During a Declared Disaster

An out-of-state marriage and family therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychological associate, specialist in school psychology, or social worker may practice in Texas for the purpose of rendering aid in response to a declared disaster, provided the individual holds a current license or certification in good standing in his or her home state.  See Section 418.171 of the Government Code.  Good standing means there is not current disciplinary action on your out-of-state license(s).

Therefore, any out-of-state marriage and family therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychological associate, specialist in school psychology, or social worker with a license or certification in good standing is not required to hold a Texas license (including an Emergency Temporary License) in order to practice as part of a disaster relief effort in any of those counties identified in the Governor’s disaster declaration.  It should be noted however, that this limited authority to practice during a declared disaster terminates upon the lifting or expiration of the Governor’s disaster declaration.


To assist individuals who are practicing with an Emergency Temporary License or under the authority granted by Section 418.171 of the Government Code with determining whether a disaster declaration is still in effect, the Council offers the following information.

Declared Disaster Area(s) Affected Original Issuance Date Expiration Date
Hurricane Harvey Only those counties listed in the proclamation 8/23/2017 12/6/2020
COVID-19 Statewide 3/13/2020 12/6/2020

While the Council will make every reasonable effort to update and maintain the accuracy of the information in this chart, you are encouraged to review the governor’s proclamations webpage for the most current information on disaster declarations.


Volunteer Registration and Disaster Preparedness

Licensees wishing to volunteer with the recovery efforts in any disaster may contact the Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry, The American Red Cross, or their national, state or local associations to inquire about volunteer opportunities.

The Council would also encourage all of its licensees to explore registering with the Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry, the Medical Reserve Corps, or the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals.  Advance registration and preparation will not only reduce the administrative burden of verifying volunteers’ identity and credentials during a disaster, but more importantly, it will help ensure your professional skills are brought to bear on those affected by the disaster as quickly as possible.