Category Archives: Alternative/Unlicensed

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)

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Occupational Licensing Under Fire From Everybody

Hair braiding is no longer a crime in IowaThe Wall Street Journal has come out against the creep of occupational licensing, identifying it as a major cause of economic stagnation. The following is quoted from the July, 26th 2016 Wall Street Journal:

Braids of Liberty: A victory in what should be a nationwide war on occupational licensing

One reason for the slow pace of U.S. job creation is the spreading web of licensing laws that impede the self-employed and small business. So two cheers for Iowa, where state lawmakers have liberated hair-braiders from a requirement to get a state cosmetology license.

As with most such rules, hair braiding laws around the country result from lobbying by beauty-ship owners who want to hobble competitors and state licensing boards that want to retain power.  Incredibly, the Iowa law forced women who merely want to help other women braid their hair to spend as much as $22,000 and 2,100 hours in training. Some cosmetology schools don’t even teach hair-braiding, which is a skill often handed down from African-American mothers to daughters.

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New Attack on Exempt Practitioners

Pirate Treasure MapOn Thursday I attended the third meeting of the Licensure Exemption Workgroup, whose purpose is to eliminate the licensing exemption for counselors and family therapists.

The idea is to introduce legislation for this in the 2017 full session of the Oregon Legislature, not the current 2016 short session.

Oddly, this attack on the counseling exemption is not being spearheaded by the counseling board (the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists, OBLPCT), but by the psychology board (OBPE).

Why would the psychology board muscle onto another board’s turf? Because that’s what they do.

Rewriting History

The psychology board published a backgrounder on the licensing exemption that strives to explain it without understanding it first. You see, rather than contacting the counselors who are familiar with the counseling exemption, and who know its history, how it works today, its pros and cons, and its supporters and detractors, they chose to study only its legislative history, in isolation, without talking to anybody . This aversion to human contact is typical of the OBPE.

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We’re Exempt! Boards Concede that Exemptions are Real

We're Exempt!After more than a year of foot-dragging, the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners has conceded that the licensing exemptions in Oregon law do, in fact, exist, and that exempt practitioners are outside the authority of the licensing boards.

We’re Exempt!

Specifically, the “educational exemption” in ORS 675.825(4) was conceded. This exemption allows anyone to practice counseling or marriage and family therapy without a license. And since the definitions of counseling and marriage and family therapy are so broad, this exemption also covers practitioners who don’t even think of themselves as counselors or family therapists — hypnotherapists, NLP practitioners, and so on.

The Board’s Predicament

What kind of meeting was it? Let’s consider the context:

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How to Keep Client Information Confidential

university-of-oregon-confidentiality-caseHow confidential is confidential information? Oregon is rolling in mental-health scandal issues right now. The one that’s most in the news is from the University of Oregon, where a rape victim went to the student mental health center, and when she accused some athletes of the crime, the University’s lawyers plucked her records out of her files. This was done without the consent of the patient or her therapist, by the psychologist in charge of the counseling center, whose job title, Vice President for Student Life, has thus become a sad joke. People at the center who protested had their jobs threatened.

No one has been arrested in either the rape or the theft of the documents. All that’s likely to happen is a disciplinary hearing in front of the Oregon State Bar regarding the University’s lawyers who asked for the documents, and one in front of the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners for the University vice president (who is a licensed psychologist) for handing them over.

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