All posts by Robert Plamondon

About Robert Plamondon

I'm a hypnotherapist, free-range egg farmer, and publisher. I live on a 37-acre farm in Blodgett, Oregon, with my wife and two sons. My work over the years for Silicon Valley startups has resulted in over 30 U.S. patents. When I became interested in hypnosis, I took three complete hypnotherapy courses and opened a hypnosis practice in Corvallis.

Legal Update for Exempt Practitioners

25099212_sIn Oregon, the Board of Psychologist Examiners (OBPE) has long claimed a legally dubious authority over exempt practitioners. This is odd, because these exemptions are not for psychologists, but for counselors and marriage and family therapists! So the OBPE has long been poaching on other Boards’ turf.

After looking into the matter on my own, I concluded that their claim to authority was not only of questionable propriety, it’s of questionable legality.

No Authority Over Unlicensed Practitioners

But after consulting with several lawyers, it turns out I was wrong. Their authority isn’t questionable, it’s nonexistent.

The Psychology Board Knows This, Sort of

Doomed policies of the OBPE are steaming full speed ahead

The Board itself is starting to consider the possibility of changing course … eventually. At the March 20, 2015 board meeting, they announced the semi-existence of an Exempt Practitioner Workgroup, a group that has never met, whose membership has not been disclosed, and which has no deadlines. In the meantime, their unlicensed practitioner prosecutions are proceeding full speed ahead. I’m hearing from more and more of them (and if you’re one of them, feel free to get in touch.) Read More...

Reasons to Avoid Getting a License

monopolyRather to my surprise, I’ve discovered that licensing boards are taking a lot of heat recently. For example, just in the last month, there has been  a Supreme Court decision upholding an anti-trust decision against a state dental board (see this Washington Post article). And across the country, there’s an increasing outcry against treating doctors as criminals for minor or nonexistent offenses — especially because, when doctors lose their licenses, their more fragile patients often commit suicide. You’d think that a medical board, consisting mostly of doctors, would consider what’s truly best for the patients, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

My experience with licensing boards is that they have difficulty attracting the best and the brightest — most of a board’s tasks are tedious and unrewarding — and even when they do, the board members are not trained judges or lawyers. Nor does the system provide adequate backup to compensate for this. A doctor brought in front of a medical board, and at risk of losing his license, has fewer legal protections than he would for a simple speeding ticket! Read More...

Gregory Bateson and Choosing Your Assumptions Wisely

gregory_bateson_steps_to_an_ecology_of_mindSo I’ve been surveying brief therapy techniques and advanced modalities, and what do I find? Most of them seem to have a direct connection with one man, Gregory Bateson: brief therapy, hypnotherapy, NLP,  Hakomi, sensorimotor psychotherapy, family therapy, and many more.

Wait, what? Gregory Bateson wasn’t a therapist, he was an anthropologist. He studied cultures in New Guinea. (He was married to Margaret Mead, another famous anthropologist.) But maybe that’s the point. Big changes tend to be started  by outsiders who bring a new perspective. Typically they’re from a related field. Freud wasn’t a psychiatrist: he was a neurologist. Louis Pasteur wasn’t a physician: he was a chemist.

Being an anthropologist gets you out of the office and into the field, watching people interact with each other in ways that seem weird to you but (mostly) work for them. You can’t understand it you never see it! Read More...

“You DO Accept Credit Cards, Don’t You?”

A friend of mine went to a therapy session recently, and the therapist knuckle_busterdidn’t accept credit cards. Wait, what? Most people don’t carry checkbooks anymore. Most people never carried much cash. But everyone carries plastic.

There’s a basic rule of business, which says:

Make it easy for people to give you money.

So if credit/debit cards are what people have, credit/debit cards are what you take.

“OK, But How Do I Accept Credit/Debit Cards?”

I’ve never messed around with the traditional method — merchant card services through your bank. Too complicated, and expensive for the small number of transactions most of us would have per month.

Square Card Reader

What I did was to get a Square card reader for my hypnosis practice.

square_card_readerI got the reader for free from This is a little doohickey that plugs into the headphone jack of your smartphone, and lets you charge client’s cards — Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. Square takes 2.75% off the top and delivers the rest to the bank account of your choice in a day or two. Read More...

What’s the Difference Between a Counselor and a Psychologist?

Which is better, a counselor or a psychologist?Everyone will tell you that a licensed psychologist has a PhD and a licensed counselor has a Master’s degree. Fair enough. But if you’re looking for therapy, what can psychologists do that counselors can’t, and vice versa? And should you expect a better outcome with a PhD psychologist than a counselor with a Master’s degree? In short, what’s the difference between a counselor and a psychologist? And what about exempt, alternative therapists who have taken trainings, but don’t have a license or an advanced degree?

Is Conventional Wisdom True?

How many of these statements do you believe?

  • A counselor deals with simple problems; a psychologist deals with complex problems.
  • The difference in coursework between a counselor (with a Master’s degree) and a psychologist (with a PhD) is that a psychologist spends those extra years focusing on advanced therapy skills.
  • Psychologists can diagnose “mental disorders”; counselors can’t.

None of those statements are true. Here’s the real deal:

  • Counselors and psychologists deal with the same problems.
  • The difference in coursework is that psychologists are trained to do scientific research. Therapy training is about the same.
  • Both counselors and psychologists can diagnose “mental disorders.”

So, yes, I’m claiming that psychologists and counselors are the same thing, unless you’re looking for someone to run rats through a maze. Now, is this just my opinion, or do I have something to back it up? Perhaps something authoritative, like the legal definitions of the two professions? Read More...