Category Archives: Alternative/Unlicensed

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. Read More...

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: Read More...

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. Read More...

Uproar Over Pro-Torture Stances in the Helping Professions

Jean Mercer posted an entry in her ChildMyths blog about the responses over different professional organizations to US-sponsored torture. The American Psychiatric Association shunned torture from the beginning, but the American Psychological Association was willingly complicit with the torture in Guantanamo Bay, and actually rewrote their code of “ethics”to become pro-torture. Fast-forward many, many years, and the American Psychological Association has finally passed a resolution to reverse this policy.

Mercer also points out that — unlike physicians (including psychiatrists), who since the time of Hippocrates have held the ethical principal of, “First of all, do no harm” —  psychologists have been reluctant to adopt this stance. Read More...

How to Serve on a Board or Committee

Don’t be afraid to vote no.
—James Hendry

Independence is better than being a cloneJames Hendry, a Portland attorney, finished his second and final term as a “public” (non-psychologist” member of the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners in May. His valedictory message to the board included advice to be willing, even to feel good, about voting against the majority.

Hendry himself provided a good example of this. Most board decisions were either unanimous or had Hendry as the lone dissenting vote. And he dissented a lot! And he dissented well, casting his “no” vote in a firm, confident voice, neither apologetic nor confrontational, and letting it go when the board as a whole voted against him.

Update, July 11, 2015: This post is more timely than I realized, as two other board members on the OBPE have just resigned. These boards and commissions have high turnover, so if you throw your hat in the ring, you’ll get your chance sooner than you think. Read More...