Category Archives: Bullying From Psychology Board

Foot-Dragging, Silence, and Turnover

At the May 2015 meeting of the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners, they once again put the issue of their own illegal harassment of unlicensed practitioners on the agenda (they called it “Exempt Practitioner Workgroup”), and once again they did nothing.

Money talks, and silences at the oregon board of psychologist examinersWarren Foote, the board’s attorney, said that they were not done “investigating the legislative history of the exemption.” But that’s just lawyer-speak for “We’re in the wrong, the case against us is open-and-shut, but I’m still combing through the dusty stacks of precedent, hoping against hope to find a loophole.”

In the meantime, what about the board’s false prosecutions? They’ve put them on hold, right? “Above all, do no harm.” Well, the OBPE is a different kind of organization. The investigations are continuing, as if nothing had happened.

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This is the Age of Science, So Let’s Crunch the Numbers!

scientists_studying_psychologistsThe Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners has come under a lot of criticism recently, but how can we tell if it’s justified? Well, this is the Age of Science, so let’s do some research!

May 25, 2015: This is a work in progress. I’m putting the framework here and providing access to the raw data. As I work my way through the data, I will post conclusions. I will also add links and references over time.

June 2, 2015: I’ve uploaded a spreadsheet with most of the data entry complete, but not the analysis. See the update at the end of this article.

Purpose of the Experiment

To see where the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners (OBPE) lies on the spectrum between scrupulous, even-handed fairness and the reckless, biased, abuse of power.

Background About the Fairness Problem

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
— Lord Acton

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An Epic Fail: How Not To Intimidate Someone

So there I was, attending the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners Meeting on March 20. It was sparsely attended, as usual, with just myself, Christian Wolff (a licensed Psychologist Associate who attends all the board meetings), someone associated with the Oregon Psychological Association, and another guy.

A Mysterious Stranger

After the meeting, Christian and I went out to the lobby and were talking, and the other guy also went to the lobby, so Christian did the polite thing and went over and introduced himself. Then he came back and told me what he learned:

(The laughter is mostly mine.) In short, the other guy was a security guard: a Mr. Colton of Advanced Security, Inc. in Salem. (Nice guy, by the way.) Now, normally I’d have assumed that the only reason for a security guard to attend something as sedate as a Psychology Board meeting would be to catch up on sleep, but he showed too much interest in us for that. In short, he oregon_board_of_psychologist_examinerswas there for us!

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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.

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