Becoming a Counselor in Kentucky 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

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How to Become a Counselor in Kentucky

Counseling is a rewarding profession that allows you to make a positive impact on the lives of others. In Kentucky, also known as The Bluegrass State, there is a growing need for mental health professionals. If you’re considering a career in counseling, this article will guide you through becoming a licensed counselor in Kentucky. From educational requirements to licensure, we’ll cover everything you need to know to start Kentucky LLC and become a successful counselor in Kentucky.

At LLCBase, we understand that forming a business can be an overwhelming experience, so we are here to help you every step of the way. Whether you’re a recent graduate or an experienced professional looking for a change, becoming a counselor in Kentucky can be an excellent opportunity. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a counselor in Kentucky and making a difference in the lives of those around you.

What is a Counselor

A counselor is a mental health professional who works with clients to help them overcome personal, social, or psychological challenges. Counselors use various therapeutic techniques to help clients identify and work through issues, develop coping strategies, and improve their well-being. Some counselors specialize in specific areas, such as addiction, marriage and family therapy, or school counseling.

Why Become a Counselor in Kentucky

Pursuing a career as a counselor in Kentucky can be incredibly fulfilling as it offers the opportunity to impact people’s lives positively. Counseling is dedicated to helping individuals, families, and communities overcome challenges, enhance their well-being and resilience, and achieve their life goals. This profound mission provides a sense of purpose and satisfaction that is hard to find in other career paths. Moreover, the nature of the counseling work, which involves problem-solving, continual learning, and human connection, contributes to personally rewarding the profession.

The demand for mental health services in Kentucky is significantly growing, establishing a considerable need for skilled counselors. Increasing awareness and diminishing stigma related to mental health are fueling this demand. People are becoming more keen to seek help for their mental health issues, escalating the need for counseling services. Moreover, ongoing social issues, economic struggles, and stress and anxiety caused by unpredictable events like the pandemic further amplify the demand for mental health counseling. This robust demand for counselors provides job security and financial compensation to the profession.

Forming Kentucky LLC for your counseling practice adds to the advantages by providing maximum flexibility and greater control over your professional career. It allows you the autonomy to decide which clients to see when to schedule appointments, and the type of counseling services to provide. As an LLC, you could also offer services across various settings, including private practice, schools, hospitals, community organizations, retirement homes, rehabilitation centers, etc. This ability to work in different settings offers a varied and satisfying caseload, thereby enhancing the counseling experience. We compiled a list of the best LLC formation services in Kentucky to help you if you decide to start a business as a licensed counselor.

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5 Steps to Become a Counselor in Kentucky

Here are the essential steps to become a counselor in Kentucky.

Step 1: Pursue a Master’s Degree

To begin your journey as a counselor in Kentucky, you must obtain a master’s degree in counseling or a closely related field from an accredited institution. A comprehensive master’s degree program should cover essential topics like human development, counseling theories, assessment, ethics, and professional standards. Be sure to choose a program that meets the educational requirements set forth by your state’s licensing board to ensure your degree is recognized during licensure.

Step 2: Gain Valuable Hands-On Experience

Acquiring hands-on experience is an essential part of your counseling education journey. Most master’s degree programs in counseling require students to complete a set number of practicum or internship hours, providing them with valuable real-world experience under the guidance of seasoned professionals. This practical component is crucial in honing your skills and building your confidence as a counselor, ultimately setting the stage for a successful career.

Key aspects of practicum and internship experiences include:

1. Supervised Client Interaction: During your practicum and internship hours, you’ll have the opportunity to work directly with clients under the supervision of a licensed counselor or other mental health professionals. This experience allows you to apply the theories and techniques you’ve learned in your coursework to real-life situations while receiving valuable feedback and guidance from your supervisor.

2. Diverse Settings and Clientele: Practicum and internship placements can occur in various settings, such as schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, or community organizations. This exposure to different environments and client populations will help you gain a broader understanding of the counseling field and inform your career choices moving forward.

3. Multidisciplinary Collaboration: A practicum or internship experience often involves working alongside professionals from different disciplines, such as social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. This collaborative aspect will help you develop your communication and teamwork skills, essential for effective counseling practice.

4. Professional Networking: Your practicum and internship experiences will also allow you to connect with other mental health professionals. Networking can help you learn about job openings, gain insights into various counseling specializations, and establish valuable relationships that can support your career development.

5. Transitioning from Student to Professional: Completing your practicum and internship hours will bridge your academic training and your professional career as a counselor in Kentucky. These experiences will help you develop your professional identity, increase your confidence, and prepare you for the challenges and rewards of working as a licensed counselor.

Step 3: Acquire Counseling Licensure and Certification

After completing your master’s degree and accumulating hands-on experience, the next step to becoming a counselor is obtaining licensure and certification in your chosen counseling field. Since each state has unique requirements, it’s crucial to thoroughly research and adhere to the guidelines established by the Kentucky licensing board. The process of obtaining licensure and certification in Kentucky typically involves the following components:

1. Additional Clinical Supervision Hours: Many states, including Kentucky, require aspiring counselors to complete several supervised clinical hours beyond their practicum and internship experiences. These hours provide further opportunities to refine your counseling skills and gain experience working with clients in a professional setting.

2. Comprehensive Examination: To become a licensed counselor in Kentucky, you must pass a comprehensive examination that assesses your knowledge and skills in your chosen field. Depending on your state and counseling specialization, this may include exams such as the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).

3. Application Submission: Once you’ve fulfilled the educational, experiential, and examination requirements, you must apply for licensure and certification to the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. This application should include relevant documentation, such as proof of your completed degree, clinical supervision hours, and examination results.

4. Application Fees: Applying for licensure and certification typically involves paying a $125 – $250 to the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. Fees may vary depending on your chosen counseling specialization, and you should consult the licensing board’s website or contact them directly for accurate fee information.

5. Background Check: In some cases, the Kentucky licensing board may require you to undergo a background check to ensure you meet the ethical and legal standards necessary for practicing as a counselor in Kentucky.

Step 4: Choose the Ideal Counseling Career Path

Armed with your licensure and certification, you can choose a counseling career path that best aligns with your personal interests and professional goals. Counselors have the opportunity to work in a wide range of fields and settings, allowing you to tailor your career to suit your passions and expertise. Some popular options for counseling career paths in Kentucky include:

  • Mental Health Clinics: Working in mental health clinics allows you to provide counseling services to individuals, couples, and families facing various mental health challenges. These clinics offer multidisciplinary environments and often serve diverse client populations.
  • Schools: School counselors support students’ academic, social, and emotional well-being. Working in elementary, middle, or high schools, you can help students navigate their educational journey and address any personal challenges they may face.
  • Hospitals: In hospital settings, counselors often work with patients and their families to cope with the emotional and mental health aspects of illness, injury, or hospitalization. As a hospital counselor, you may collaborate with medical professionals to provide comprehensive care and support to patients.
  • Private Practices: Starting a business in Kentucky as a private practice allows you to work independently or with a group of other mental health professionals. This option offers flexibility in setting your schedule, selecting your clients, and choosing your focus areas.
  • Community Organizations: Counselors in community organizations provide mental health services to individuals, families, and groups within specific communities. These organizations often address unique local needs like substance abuse, homelessness, or domestic violence.
  • Specialized Counseling Areas: You may also choose to specialize in a specific area of counseling, such as addiction counseling, marriage, and family therapy, or trauma counseling. Specializing enables you to focus on the issues and populations that most interest you, enhancing your career satisfaction and growth potential.

Step 5: Advance Your Practice through Continued Learning

Continuing education is vital for staying up-to-date on the latest developments, research, and best practices in the counseling field. Many states, including Kentucky, require licensed counselors to complete a specific number of continuing education hours to maintain their licensure. Additionally, pursuing advanced certifications, attending conferences, and joining professional organizations can help you expand your knowledge, enhance your skills, and grow your professional network.

By following these steps and dedicating yourself to ongoing professional development, you’ll be well-positioned to launch a successful counseling career in Kentucky and impact the lives of those in need of your support and guidance.

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Timeline to Becoming a Counselor: What to Expect

Becoming a counselor involves several stages, including obtaining the necessary education, gaining practical experience, and acquiring licensure and certification. The time it takes to complete these steps can vary depending on individual circumstances, the chosen counseling specialization, and the requirements set forth by your state’s licensing board. Here’s a general overview of the timeline to becoming a counselor:

1. Bachelor’s Degree (4 years)

The first step in becoming a counselor is typically completing a bachelor’s degree, which takes approximately four years of full-time study. While some counseling programs may accept students with various undergraduate degrees, common fields of study include psychology, social work, or human services.

2. Master’s Degree (2-3 years)

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, aspiring counselors must pursue a master’s degree in counseling or a related field. This advanced degree usually takes two to three years of full-time study. Master’s programs cover essential topics such as human development, counseling theories, assessment, ethics, and professional standards.

3. Practicum and Internship Hours (1-2 years)

During your master’s degree program, you’ll be required to complete a certain number of practicum and internship hours under the supervision of experienced professionals. The duration of these hands-on experiences can vary widely depending on your chosen counseling specialization and state requirements, but they typically take one to two years to complete.

4. Additional Clinical Supervision Hours (1-3 years)

Upon completing your master’s degree and practicum/internship, some states may require additional supervised clinical hours before granting licensure or certification. The number of hours required and the time to complete them can vary significantly, depending on your state and counseling specialization, but this step may take an additional one to three years.

5. Licensure and Certification Process (a few months)

Once you’ve fulfilled the educational, experiential, and examination requirements, you must apply for licensure and certification in your counseling field. The application process can take a few months, including gathering documentation, taking exams, and obtaining a background check.

The time it takes to become a counselor can range from approximately 7 to 12 years, depending on individual factors, chosen counseling specialization, and state requirements. Researching and planning for the specific steps and timeline applicable to your personal journey is essential to ensure a smooth and successful path to becoming a counselor.

Advantages of Becoming a Counselor

Here are the perks of being a counselor in Kentucky that you shouldn’t miss!

1. Making a Positive Impact on the Lives of Others: One of the most rewarding aspects of becoming a counselor in Kentucky is the opportunity to help individuals, couples, families, and communities overcome a wide range of personal, emotional, and mental health challenges. You can make a lasting difference in the lives of those who seek your help through your guidance and support.

2. Job Security and Growth Potential: The demand for mental health professionals, including counselors, has steadily increased in recent years. This trend is expected to continue, making counseling a stable and growing profession in Kentucky. By pursuing a career in counseling, you can enjoy the benefits of job security and numerous opportunities for professional development.

3. Flexibility to Work in Various Settings: As a licensed counselor in Kentucky, you can work in diverse settings, such as private practices, schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, and community organizations. This flexibility allows you to choose a work environment that best aligns with your personal and professional goals.

4. Advantages of Establishing Kentucky LLC: Starting an LLC in Kentucky for your counseling practice can provide various benefits, including tax advantages and liability protection. By forming an LLC, you can protect your personal assets from potential lawsuits, lower your tax liability, and enjoy greater business management flexibility. Forming an LLC in Kentucky typically includes the payment of $40 filing fee and $15 annual report fee.

5. Opportunities for Professional Growth and Specialization: As a counselor in Kentucky, you can choose to specialize in a specific area of counseling, such as marriage and family therapy, substance abuse counseling, or school counseling. This specialization allows you to focus on the population and issues that most interest you, further enhancing your career satisfaction and growth opportunities.

6. Networking and Collaboration Opportunities: Becoming a counselor in Kentucky offers numerous opportunities to connect with other professionals in the mental health field. Networking and collaboration can help you gain valuable insights, share best practices, and stay informed about the latest developments in counseling. Joining professional organizations and attending conferences can also provide you with access to resources, support, and continuing education opportunities.

FAQs

What qualifications are required to become a licensed professional counselor in Kentucky?
To become a licensed professional counselor in Kentucky, an individual must hold a master’s or doctorate degree in counseling or a related field from an accredited program.
What is the process for obtaining a professional counselor license in Kentucky?
The process for obtaining a professional counselor license in Kentucky includes completing a counseling education, obtaining supervised experience, passing the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), and applying for and receiving the license.
Are there any specific regulations for counselor licensure in Kentucky?
Yes, Kentucky requires licensed counselors to adhere to certain regulations such as completing continuing education hours and reporting any disciplinary actions taken against them.
What is the job outlook like for counselors in Kentucky?
The job outlook for counselors in Kentucky is positive, with growth expected in areas such as substance abuse and behavioral health counseling.
Where can I find counseling programs in Kentucky?
Counseling programs can be found at several universities in Kentucky, including the University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University.
Do I need to obtain a graduate degree to become a counselor in Kentucky?
Yes, a graduate degree in counseling or a related field is required to become a licensed professional counselor in Kentucky.
How long does it take to complete a counseling education program in Kentucky?
The length of time it takes to complete a counseling education program in Kentucky varies depending on the program, but typically takes around two years for a master’s degree.
Are there any specific coursework requirements for counseling programs in Kentucky?
Yes, counseling programs in Kentucky must include specific coursework in areas such as assessment and appraisal, human growth and development, and research and evaluation.
Is there a difference in the licensing process for school counselors and professional counselors in Kentucky?
Yes, the licensing process for school counselors and professional counselors differs in Kentucky, with school counselors requiring a different exam and additional coursework.
What is the job outlook for school counselors in Kentucky?
The job outlook is also positive for school counselors in Kentucky, with growth expected in both K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions.
Can licensed professional counselors in Kentucky work in private practice?
Yes, licensed professional counselors in Kentucky can work in private practice once they have met the requirements for licensure and obtained the necessary level of experience.
What is the average salary for counselors in Kentucky?
The average salary for counselors in Kentucky varies depending on their specialty and experience level, but averages around $48,000 per year.
Are counseling internships required in Kentucky counseling programs?
Yes, internships are required in counseling programs in Kentucky, with an average of 600 hours of supervised clinical experience needed for licensure.
Where can I find supervision for my clinical experience in Kentucky?
Supervision requirements can be met by working with a licensed professional counselor or through some universities and counseling agencies in Kentucky.
Is there a difference in requirements for licensed counselors and certified counselors in Kentucky?
Yes, licensed professional counselors have completed stricter educational and experiential requirements than certified counselors in Kentucky.
What is a Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA) in Kentucky?
A Licensed Psychological Association is a professional in Kentucky who holds a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology and has met specific requirements for licensure.
What is a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) in Kentucky?
A Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor is a specialization for licensed professional counselors in Kentucky who work specifically in the field of substance abuse.
Is there a specific exam required for substance abuse counselors in Kentucky?
Substance abuse counselors in Kentucky are required to pass an additional exam, in addition to the National Counselor Examination.
Can counselors in Kentucky administer assessments and tests to their clients?
Yes, counselors in Kentucky can administer assessments and tests within their scope of training and experience.
Are distance learning options available for counselor education in Kentucky?
Yes, several universities in Kentucky offer online and distance learning options for their counseling programs.
What is the difference between a Master of Arts (MA) and a Master of Science (MS) degree in counseling?
In counseling, the difference between a Master of Arts and Master of Science degree often includes differences in coursework requirements or research components.
Is there financial assistance available for counselor education in Kentucky?
Yes, several financial assistance programs are available for students pursuing their counseling education in Kentucky, including the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority.
Can counselors refuse to take on clients in their private practice in Kentucky?
Yes, counselors can choose to refuse service to clients that they feel may not be a good fit or for other valid reasons.
What is the difference between counseling and therapy in Kentucky?
While there may be some overlap in their services, therapy in Kentucky often focuses more on long-term processes and personal growth, while counseling is more immediate and goal-focused.
What is the difference between a LPC and a LPCC in Kentucky?
An LPCC in Kentucky refers to a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and may have additional educational and supervisory requirements than a Licensed Professional Counselor.
Are there places counselors can go in Kentucky to receive supervision if they aren’t able to find it elsewhere?
Yes, the Kentucky Counseling Association offers members the opportunity for individual and group supervision.
How often do counselors in Kentucky need to renew their licensure?
In Kentucky, counselors need to renew their licensure every two years and complete continuing education hours.
Can preliminary counseling rounds be done online in Kentucky?
Yes, COVID-19 has allowed for some counseling requirements to be completed online but be sure to check up-to-date requirements in Kentucky.
What steps should I take if I need to file a complaint against a counselor in Kentucky?
If you need to file a complaint against a licensed counselor in Kentucky, you can contact the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors to start the disciplinary process.
How do I become a licensed counselor in Kentucky?
To become a licensed counselor in Kentucky, you must obtain a master’s degree in counseling or a related field from an accredited institution.
Can I become a licensed counselor in Kentucky with an out-of-state license?
Kentucky offers licensure by endorsement for applicants who hold a current, active license in another state.
What are the educational requirements for becoming a licensed counselor in Kentucky?
The educational requirements for becoming a licensed counselor in Kentucky include a master’s degree in counseling or a related field from an accredited institution.
What are some common areas of counseling in Kentucky?
Common areas of counseling in Kentucky include marriage and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, and mental health counseling.
How long does it take to become a licensed counselor in Kentucky?
The timeframe for becoming a licensed counselor in Kentucky can vary depending on the individual’s educational background and the requirements set forth by the licensure board.
What is the difference between LPC and LPCC in Kentucky?
The LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) and LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor) designations in Kentucky differ in their clinical requirements.
What is the average salary for a licensed counselor in Kentucky?
The average salary for a licensed counselor in Kentucky ranges from $36,000 to $74,000 per year.
What is the process for obtaining a counseling license in Kentucky?
The process for obtaining a counseling license in Kentucky includes completing the required educational requirements, passing an exam, and meeting any additional licensing requirements.
Can I obtain certification as a counselor in Kentucky without a master’s degree?
No, a master’s degree is required to obtain certification as a counselor in Kentucky.
How many continuing education hours are required for a Kentucky counselor license?
Kentucky requires 20 continuing education hours every two years for a counselor license.
Are online counseling degrees accepted in Kentucky?
Yes, accredited online counseling degrees are accepted in Kentucky.
What is the career outlook for counselors in Kentucky?
The career outlook for counselors in Kentucky appears positive, with expected job growth of 13% increase through 2028.
What are the requirements for completing the supervision portion of counselor licensure in Kentucky?
Four years (6,000 hours) of supervised work as a post-graduate level employee under a licensed mental health professional.
What is the difference between a licensed counselor and a licensed social worker in Kentucky?
Licensed counselors and licensed social workers have different educational and licensure requirements in Kentucky.
What type of exam is required for counselor licensure in Kentucky?
The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is required for counselor licensure in Kentucky.
Are there specific ethics and legalities of the counselor profession in Kentucky?
Yes, there are specific ethics and legalities to the counselor profession outlined in the Kentucky Revised Statutes and the Kentucky Administrative Regulations.
Can I provide telehealth counseling services without traveling to Kentucky?
If you are licensed in another state and wish to practice telehealth counseling services for Kentucky residents, you can follow Kentucky’s telemedicine laws and apply for a Kentucky telehealth license.
How often must a counselor in Kentucky renew their license?
A counselor in Kentucky must renew their license every two years.
How long does supervision need to be completed before applying for clinical licensure in Kentucky?
Supervision needs to be four years (6,000 hours) to qualify for clinical licensure.
Is there a difference between CPC and LPCC in Kentucky?
CPC (Certified Professional Counselor) and LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor) both require a master’s degree.
How many therapists are licensed in Kentucky?
Though it’s difficult to say exactly how many licensed therapists there are, there are over 2,000 members in the Kentucky Counselor Association (KCA).
What is the basic application fee for licensure in Kentucky?
The basic application fee for licensure in Kentucky is $100.
As an active military spouse, can I apply for counselor licensure without meeting residency requirements?
If you are an active military spouse filing for licensure through education and examination, the time or physical presence requirements for residency are waived.
What is the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors?
The Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors is the board that governs the licensure and practice of counseling in Kentucky.
How do I transfer my counseling license to Kentucky?
Licensed Professional Counselors from other states that offer reciprocity may transfer their counseling license to Kentucky after we verify their license in good standing in another state.
Must I be certified to work as a substance abuse treatment provider in Kentucky?
Almost all substance abuse treatment providers in Kentucky are required by law to be credentialed by the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy (ASAP).
What are some common accreditation organizations for counseling degrees accepted in Kentucky?
Some common accreditation organizations accepted in Kentucky are CACREP, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and American Psychological Association (APA).
What supporting documents must be included in my Kentucky counseling license application?
You’ll need to visit ky.gov to view the Office of Occupations and Professions (OP) Board site then login to submission “kbn.ky.gov” to apply. Then refer Application Denote Refernce and apply exactly match with state requirement such as Employment/Practioner Verification , Transcript of Master’s degree that you get from the entity, Supervisor Verification, BackGround clearance. Here are some facts to guide you, within six months before your license /certificate issued, you must submit evidence of completed required continuing education.
Are there any reciprocity guidelines for Kentucky counselors?
Yes, Kentucky does offer licensure by reciprocity for certain applicants that meet specific requirements.

Also Read

How to Save Money While Starting a Becoming Counselor in Kentucky

One of the first steps to saving money as a counselor in Kentucky is to carefully research and compare the different educational and training programs available. While a Master’s degree is typically required to become a licensed counselor, the cost of tuition and fees can vary significantly between different schools. By taking the time to explore all your options and weighing the costs against the potential benefits of each program, you can make a more informed decision that aligns with your budget.

Additionally, many counseling programs offer financial aid and scholarships to help students offset the cost of their education. Before committing to a program, be sure to explore all available options for financial assistance and apply for any scholarships or grants that you may be eligible for. This can significantly reduce the financial burden of pursuing a counseling degree and set you up for success in the long run.

Once you have completed your education and training, the next step is to establish yourself as a counselor in Kentucky. This can be a costly process, as setting up a private practice requires office space, equipment, insurance, and marketing materials. However, there are several ways to save money during this phase of your career.

One cost-saving tip is to consider sharing office space with other counselors or mental health professionals. By splitting the rent and utilities with colleagues, you can significantly reduce your overhead expenses and save money in the long run. Additionally, you can explore the option of offering online counseling services to reach a broader client base without the need for a physical office space.

When it comes to marketing your counseling services, there are several budget-friendly strategies that you can use to attract clients without breaking the bank. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can be powerful tools for promoting your practice and connecting with potential clients. By creating a professional online presence and sharing engaging content, you can build a strong client base and grow your practice organically without spending a fortune on traditional advertising.

In conclusion, starting a career as a counselor in Kentucky may come with its financial challenges, but with careful planning and strategic decision-making, it is possible to save money while pursuing your passion for helping others. By researching educational programs, exploring financial aid options, sharing office space, and leveraging cost-effective marketing strategies, you can set yourself up for success without breaking the bank. Remember, the key to saving money while starting a counseling career is to be resourceful, creative, and willing to put in the hard work to achieve your goals.

Conclusion

Becoming a licensed counselor in Kentucky can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice. By following the steps outlined in this article and adhering to your state’s licensure requirements, you’ll be well on your way to positively impacting the lives of those in need. Remember, establishing Kentucky LLC can provide you with the flexibility and protection you need to practice counseling in Kentucky successfully.

Whether you’re just starting your journey to become a counselor or looking to expand your existing practice, taking the time to understand the licensure requirements and opportunities available in Kentucky will set you up for success. We hope this article has provided you with valuable information and guidance on how to become a licensed counselor in Kentucky and start your own Kentucky LLC. Visit LLCBase today and take the next step in your journey to success!

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