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  1. #1
    ikibah is offline Registered User
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    using my online PsyD after my name.

    Hey guys, here's a question I've seen around this forum before but I figured I'd ask it in a more direct way.

    Say I'm an lcpc or lcsw or any other type of masters therapist for that matter with a psyd from a program like cal southern or touro universty worldwide.

    How do people get away with using the psyd title when the apa guidelines say

    §18-402.

    (a) Unless authorized to practice psychology under this title, a person may not represent to the public by title, by description of services, methods, or procedures, or otherwise, that the person is authorized to practice psychology in this State.

    (b) Unless authorized or permitted to do so by this title, a person may not use as a title or describe the services the person provides by use of the words “psychological”, “psychologist ”, or “psychology

    How then does one stick a PsyD after their name if they are not a psychologist . PsyD in itself is doctor of psychology ??

  2. #2
    sanantone is offline Registered User
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    Saying that you have a PsyD isn't the same as saying that you are a licensed psychologist , although, it could confuse patients if you're a practicing therapist. There are PsyD programs in a few areas that don't lead to licensure such as I/O psychology , forensic psychology , and sports psychology . You just can't tell patients that you're a psychologist or that you are providing psychological services. If you're not practicing psychology , then what is more pertinent are your state laws and the ethical code of the organization that applies to your field such as professional counseling or social work .
    Last edited by sanantone; 05-22-2016 at 03:02 PM.
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  3. #3
    ikibah is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanantone View Post
    Saying that you have a PsyD isn't the same as saying that you are a licensed psychologist, although, it could confuse patients if you're a practicing therapist. There are PsyD programs in a few areas that don't lead to licensure such as I/O psychology, forensic psychology, and sports psychology. You just can't tell patients that you're a psychologist or that you are providing psychological services. If you're not practicing psychology, then what is more pertinent are your state laws and the ethical code of the organization that applies to your field such as professional counseling or social work.
    Two things. First off, what I was quoting is from my state, not the APA; my mistake.
    Second. What you are saying makes sense in theory. But the guidelines say explicitly using the word "psychology " in your title is an issue.

    My question stems from the psyd degree standing for psychology .

    Does this make sense?

  4. #4
    Neuhaus is offline Registered User
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    It makes sense but it isn't what the state is referring to.

    Different states regulate psychologists , and other mental health practitioners, differently. However, generally speaking, the word "psychologist " is not regulated unless you use it in a context in which it is not allowed.

    A college professor with a PhD in Psychology , who has no license, and specializes in say, I/O Psych, is a psychologist . If they get up and say, at the beginning of the semester' "I am a psychologist " the state isn't going to send in the goon squad.

    The reason is that the professor is not marketing services to the public. The professor is not soliciting patients, treating others or otherwise holding him/herself out as a licensed psychologist .

    In New York, you don't need a license to be a psychologist . You need a license to be a licensed psychologist . There are numerous jobs, including many with the state Office of Mental Health, that carry the title "psychologist ," do not require a license, and typically work under a licensed psychologist .

    We have discussed here the issue of whether it is ethical for a non-psychologist with a PsyD to "advertise" their degree. States seem keen as long as you are properly identifying yourself. So "Joseph Neuhaus, PsyD: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist" is unlikely to get a person in trouble with the state though I understand why some others have concerns that it misleads. To me, it's no different than how, when I had surgery, I was Introduced to "Dr. X, my pharmacist" and "Dr. Y, my nurse practitioner" and "Dr. Z, my physical therapist ." That modifier pretty much eliminates the confusion. The issue, as I see it, is that a more accurate comparison would be to a physician assistant with a doctorate. My physical therapist doesn't walk around wearing a lab coat and carrying a stethoscope and writing prescriptions. A Physician Assistant does. So the potential for confusion when throwing around the title "Doctor" especially when one's modifier includes the word "physician" is much higher.

    Your typical consumer doesn't know the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist let alone the myriad mental health licenses that are floating around out there today. But the typical therapist also never requires clients to refer to him/her as "doctor" either.

    PsyD is an academic degree. Unlike the MD and the DDS, also academic degrees, it isn't necessarily tied to a licensed profession. You can certainly read your state's guidelines in a way that would basically prohibit every unlicensed college professor from ever using a post-nominal. Then again, Pennsylvania marriage law as it is written says that only Christian ministers can officiate weddings. We know that not to be the case in practice.

    So, there's the fact that the state isn't enforcing the law in the manner in which you are interpreting it. But then there's also the fact that the state typically only acts when there is a complaint. And the lines between a licensed psychologist and say an LCSW can get very, very murky. In New York almost all of the professional licenses are issued by the Department of Education . So we don't have dualling licensing boards. And here the general rule seems to be that unless you are really acting out of line you should be OK and using a post-nominal for an earned degree is unlikely to draw the state's attention no matter how literally we might take the law as written.
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  5. #5
    ikibah is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neuhaus View Post
    It makes sense but it isn't what the state is referring to.

    Different states regulate psychologists , and other mental health practitioners, differently. However, generally speaking, the word "psychologist " is not regulated unless you use it in a context in which it is not allowed.

    A college professor with a PhD in Psychology , who has no license, and specializes in say, I/O Psych, is a psychologist . If they get up and say, at the beginning of the semester' "I am a psychologist " the state isn't going to send in the goon squad.

    The reason is that the professor is not marketing services to the public. The professor is not soliciting patients, treating others or otherwise holding him/herself out as a licensed psychologist .

    In New York, you don't need a license to be a psychologist . You need a license to be a licensed psychologist . There are numerous jobs, including many with the state Office of Mental Health, that carry the title "psychologist ," do not require a license, and typically work under a licensed psychologist .

    We have discussed here the issue of whether it is ethical for a non-psychologist with a PsyD to "advertise" their degree. States seem keen as long as you are properly identifying yourself. So "Joseph Neuhaus, PsyD: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist" is unlikely to get a person in trouble with the state though I understand why some others have concerns that it misleads. To me, it's no different than how, when I had surgery, I was Introduced to "Dr. X, my pharmacist" and "Dr. Y, my nurse practitioner" and "Dr. Z, my physical therapist ." That modifier pretty much eliminates the confusion. The issue, as I see it, is that a more accurate comparison would be to a physician assistant with a doctorate. My physical therapist doesn't walk around wearing a lab coat and carrying a stethoscope and writing prescriptions. A Physician Assistant does. So the potential for confusion when throwing around the title "Doctor" especially when one's modifier includes the word "physician" is much higher.

    Your typical consumer doesn't know the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist let alone the myriad mental health licenses that are floating around out there today. But the typical therapist also never requires clients to refer to him/her as "doctor" either.

    PsyD is an academic degree. Unlike the MD and the DDS, also academic degrees, it isn't necessarily tied to a licensed profession. You can certainly read your state's guidelines in a way that would basically prohibit every unlicensed college professor from ever using a post-nominal. Then again, Pennsylvania marriage law as it is written says that only Christian ministers can officiate weddings. We know that not to be the case in practice.

    So, there's the fact that the state isn't enforcing the law in the manner in which you are interpreting it. But then there's also the fact that the state typically only acts when there is a complaint. And the lines between a licensed psychologist and say an LCSW can get very, very murky. In New York almost all of the professional licenses are issued by the Department of Education. So we don't have dualling licensing boards. And here the general rule seems to be that unless you are really acting out of line you should be OK and using a post-nominal for an earned degree is unlikely to draw the state's attention no matter how literally we might take the law as written.

    This makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the the feedback.

  6. #6
    cookderosa is offline Resident Chef
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    To put it more plainly, you could have graduated from nursing school but never went on to become a registered nurse . I have a Master's of Science in Nutrition but am not a registered dietitian (which only requires a bachelor's degree btw). Having education is only one piece of the licensure pie, and licensure is usually a holistic set of requirements- that's true in most fields.
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  7. #7
    ikibah is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookderosa View Post
    To put it more plainly, you could have graduated from nursing school but never went on to become a registered nurse. I have a Master's of Science in Nutrition but am not a registered dietitian (which only requires a bachelor's degree btw). Having education is only one piece of the licensure pie, and licensure is usually a holistic set of requirements- that's true in most fields.
    This I understand. My question was specific to psychology which forbids using the word psychology in your title if you are not licensed. The degree PsyD is an abrev. of psychology . so If state law was was that a person who is not a nutritionist can not have the title "nutrition" in their title, the comparable question would be could I market myself as "cookderosa MS nutrition" despite not being licensed. You get it?

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  9. #8
    Bruce is offline Moderator
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    It seems to be very much by state, Massachusetts for one prohibits people from calling themselves "psychologist " unless they're licensed psychologists . However, I've never found any law or regulation regarding the use of an academic degree as a title, so Psy.D. would be fine.

    It's common practice for licensed psychologists here to put "LP" (licensed psychologist ) after their degree title, especially those with an Ed.D. Example; Johnny Jones Psy.D. LP.
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