Practicing Your Profession In Oregon Without a License, Legally and Ethically


Can therapists and alternative practitioners practice without a license in Oregon? In many fields, yes, they can! Are there any rules at all? Yes, there are. I created this Web site to make this information easier to find and understand.

When I started my hypnotherapy practice in Oregon, I found the few online resources scattered and confusing, and this is still the case: No agency takes much of an interest in us. Hence, this Web site.

Oh, and if you’re a licensed practitioner, welcome! Most of the posts on this site will be 100% applicable to you, too, as we discuss topics such as ways to build your practice and give it a compelling, personalized Web presence.

Oregon Mellow

One thing you need to understand about Oregon is that it’s not one of those states where the Legislature is license-happy. As in some other states, the Legislature deliberately keeps things a little loose here, as you’d expect in Oregon. Read More...

Fighting for Kids’ Lemonade Stands

Imagine that it’s summer, and kids across America are running makeshift lemonade stands, as they have since 1898. Imagine you’re a cop and had a report of some kids running a (gasp!) unlicensed lemonade stand. What would you do?

One would hope that you’d have the decency to give a stern lecture to the person who complained, about not wasting police time and, more importantly, not sucking all the joy out of the world. And perhaps head straight to the lemonade stand and buy a glass.

Sadly, not everyone has passed Basic Humanity 101. Every summer, officious officials shut down lemonade stands. (At other times of year, they threaten Girl Scouts with arrest for selling cookies.)

This year’s a little different. Country Time Lemonade has started a “Legal-Ade” program to pay any permit fees or fines that kids encounter when celebrating the traditional American lemonade stand: up to $300 per stand. Good for them! Read More...

Two Attacks on Exemption Die in Committee

In Oregon’s 2017 legislative session, there were two attacks on exempt practitioners. Both were killed in committee.

  • House Bill 2361 died in the House Committee on Health Care. This was the bill that the Licensure Exemption Workgroup wasted so much time on, as discussed in earlier posts.
  • In the Senate Committee on Health Care, Senator Steiner Hayward tried to attach an amendment to House Bill 2303 to require, apparently, anyone with a pulse to register with the Oregon Health Authority as an “alternative behavioral health practitioner.” The committee passed the original bill without the amendment.

HB 2361: A Failed Attempt to Eliminate the Counseling Exemption

The first bill, HB 2361, was just another Psychology Board overreach. This time, they thought they were being sneaky by recruiting a couple of other boards to act as their puppets. The idea was that three boards with zero credibility would carry three times as much weight with the legislature as just one board. And they do! Three times zero equals zero.

All this was just the usual nonsense: the boards live in a bubble where they take for granted everything that other people consider absurd, and vice versa. They have no ability to take the other person’s point of view or find common ground, so their ability to compromise, or even to explain their own position, is impaired. Read More...

Two Oregon Boards Attack Free Speech

An Engineer Can’t Call Himself an Engineer in Oregon

Oregon engineer Mats Järlström, was slapped with a $500 fine by the Oregon Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying. His crime? Sending them a helpful letter, one in which he (accurately) identified himself as an engineer.

According to the Board, no one but a licensed professional engineer can call himself an “engineer” in Oregon. Never mind that Järlström’s observations might save lives. Järlström is suing, with assistance from the Institute of Justice. (See the IJ article, Lawsuit Challenges Oregon Law Prohibiting Mathematical Criticism Without a License.)

The idea that Oregon’s engineers like me can’t call themselves “engineers” came as a big surprise to everyone. Even to Oregon’s engineers. Actually, especially to Oregon’s engineers. Why? Because licensing boards are like pointy-haired bosses, entirely antithetical to the serous, get-‘er-done mindset of engineers. They’re have nothing to contribute and are painful to listen to, so we don’t. Boards are, in a word, silly. Read More...

Feds Closing In On Licensing Boards

An alert reader pointed out an article by Eric Boehm today, New FTC Task Force Will Put Licensing Boards On Notice, where he describes the new Economic Liberty Task Force of the Federal Trade Commission. The Task Force is focused solely on the illegal persecution of exempt practitioners by state licensing boards, with a dual role of:

  • Advising state licensing boards of the limits the federal government imposes on their power.
  • Taking legal action against many boards that insist on violating federal law.

All this came about when, once again, the Federal Trade Commission’s powers were affirmed in the courts, this time by the Supreme Court (FTC v. North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners, 2014).

Why a Task Force?

In that decision, the Supreme Court reiterated in extremely clear language that state licensing boards aren’t allowed to hassle anyone except their own licensees. There are a couple of exceptions, but they require that the state law governing the boards be structured in a particular way—which it generally isn’t. (It certainly isn’t in Oregon.) Read More...

Court Overturns Incompetent Psychology Board Decision

The Oregon Court of Appeals today overturned a disciplinary action of the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners.

How bad was the psychology board’s original decision? Read on and decide for yourself.

The Board Does the Right Thing … Or Does It?

Justice at lastDavid T. Bice, a licensed psychologist, was disciplined in by the board in 2011 for improprieties that allegedly happened all way back in 2003. Dr. Bice appealed, of course, and the Oregon Court of Appeals supported him, slapping down the Psychology Board for an unbelievable number of mistakes, some of which were clearly deliberate.

I quote from the Oregon Court of Appeals decision (emphasis is mine; notes ending with ‘RP’ are also mine):

“In August and September 2003, SM, an 18-year-old woman, saw petitioner [that is, Dr. Bice —RP.] as a client for seven sessions. SM had decided to stop seeing her prior therapist because she did not like the advice she was receiving and began seeing petitioner, who had been her father’s therapist, to help her process her grief over her father’s sudden death, before she left the state for college. [SM turned 18 the day after her first session with petitioner.] SM’s mother filed a complaint against petitioner shortly after SM stopped treating with him based on allegations that petitioner had behaved in a manner that made SM uncomfortable, ‘indicating that [petitioner’s] behavior with SM was personal and physical without being overtly sexual.’ The board dismissed that complaint because SM told her mother that she did not want to pursue the complaint herself and did not sign a release for her records. The board, which it now admits was in violation of its own rules, deliberately decided not to notify petitioner about the complaint or the dismissal.
—From 281 Or App 623 (2016)