Category Archives: Alternative/Unlicensed

“How Can I Get Licensed Practitioners to Take Me Seriously?”

How Do You Avoid Getting the Cold Shoulder, or Worse?

Licensed therapists often want to stone unlicensed practitionersA few years ago, shortly after I’d started my practice, I naively decided to reach out to licensed counselors. Why not? I love a good conversation about the different ways we see the change process happening, and I learn so much from a conversation with a counselor, psychologist, or other therapist. I especially like talking with folks who don’t think or work the same way I do, who bring a different approach to their work.

For example, I’m currently attending an attachment training that facilitates a deep sense of connection between therapist and client. But the counselor I’m talking with most lately does dialectical behavior therapy, and while she’s excellent at facilitating connection with her clients, DBT skills are quite different from the ones I’m learning in the attachment training. If I hung out only with clinicians who thought like me, how would I keep learning? Talking with practitioners who do things differently from how I do them alerts me to other ideas, other trainings to look at, and other ideas to consider. And it helps me know who to refer clients out to when my approach isn’t the right fit for them. Read More...

Kurt Swensen Talks about Psychology Board Bullying

Kurt Swensen, host of the popular podcast Online Recovery Support Radio (with around 200,000 listeners) talks about the bizarre bullying he’s undergoing from the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners at the beginning of podcast Episode 307.

As with the Psychology Board’s other victims, he has received a vague and incoherent letter from the OBPE, followed by a bullying phone conversation that left him shaken. But now he’s lawyered up, and his listeners are ready to help in any way they can.

I wish him well, and will watch events with interest. I fully expect him to win. As usual, the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners has no case.

What Does Bullying From the Psychology Board Sound Like?

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public.

Karen Berry
Karen Berry of the OBPE

So suppose you’re an alternative counselor operating under Oregon’s generous exemptions, meaning you don’t need to have a license. What does it sound like when the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners tries — illegally — to bully you into shutting down?

It sounds just like this (shared with the permission of its recipient):

Note that Karen Berry, the “Investigator” for the Board of Psychologist Examiners,  doesn’t even pretend that she’s investigating “the practice of psychology,” which is the only thing the Board is authorized to investigate. She admits that she wants a counselor to shut down a counseling practice. Read More...

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...