American Positive Psychology Association and Accredited Schools

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Garp, Mar 19, 2022.

  1. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Lots of it discussed here:

    Enough for a start. There are lots more.
    Not all people who set themselves up as coaches KNOW when they're doing this - they're not all certified and trained to know. And an untrained unethical person, with a $600 Napa Valley Spiritualized Nonsense PhD on their business card may not CARE, if there's a buck in it for them.
    Maybe YOU do, but as I said, there are "life coaches" without exalted certifications (unlike yourself) who DON'T have this knowledge. THEY, not Dr. Rich Douglas, are a clear, present and exigent danger. And, as you have pointed out previously, there is no regulation that would forbid them to practice whatever deceit, nonsense and general harm they might wish to promote as "Life Coaching."
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2022
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    My doctorates have nothing to do with it.

    But certification certainly does, and that's my point.

    I would just appreciate it if people who are not certified in coaching refrain from broad generalizations that sweep all coaches up into the same category. The risk of harm from uncertified people is one reason for having certification. It's not licensure, but it's not nothing, either. More than 33,000 of us are making a distinction with a difference regarding coaching. Broad generalizations require extraordinary evidence; that isn't here. And when someone is posting about some alleged shenanigans and paints all coaches with the same brush, a coaching professional just might object.

    Are there examples of uncertified coaches doing bad things? Sure. It's unregulated, after all. But it's not like there's no difference between what we do and those people may or may not be doing.

    My wife is licensed as an esthetician. Licensed by the state. To do facials and other skin-related care. (Because she's also a nurse practitioner, she can do a lot more than that.) Why does the state license estheticians? Why do they require the candidate to go to an accredited school (yes, the field has an accrediting agency), to pass a written exam, and to pass a practical exam (conducted by the state)? To protect the public. Should coaching is regulated in order to protect the public? Personally, I view that favorably. (Lots of complications with that as well, so I'm not necessarily convinced.)
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  3. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I looked at each of these. Only one mentions ICF, and another suggests considering certified coaches (without going into details).

    One other point: coaches tend to specialize in areas they're experts in. I focus on leadership and career coaching, as well as working with people in talent development (developing the developer). I would not be a life coach or wellness coach, although there are ICF-accredited schools offering such learning.

    Okay, just one other point: we make a huge deal of accreditation when it comes to the largely-self-regulated field of higher education, yet this thread just blew past accreditation when discussing coaching. I seem to recall a guy running a "university" out of his basement (two different guys in two different basements, actually!) and issuing degrees he wasn't qualified to assess from a school no one recognized. But posters on this board had no trouble making those distinctions. They didn't lump all distance learning together and equate it all to those rip-off operations. In fact, how many posts on this board over its many years have decried the tendency of some people to equate DL schools with diploma mills, blowing right past accreditation? How man of those posters felt they'd been disrespected without reason? Right.
  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    And neither did I. I clearly stated that I'm not after you, personally - or other people with appropriate training and good ethics. My problem is the "bad schools" or bad coaches who may have suspect ethics and have neither training nor approval of any appropriate kind. I have, for a long, long time, realized the distinctions between good and bad schools.

    I like to think I have a modicum of ability to distinguish between people of good intent and qualifications - and bad. And that's what I'm trying to get across here. As to mention of your doctorates (plural), Rich, they may not be all that crucial in the coaching field, Rich, as you pointed out, but they do help define you as a person of education - as opposed to some untrained rogues who undoubtedly practise in this and other unregulated "helping" disciplines. That's why I thought it appropriate to mention your education. I still think it was.

    It's the same situation, as you say, as distance education.
    The good exists - and the bad. In US and other countries, it has taken legislation and regulation to keep the "bad" at bay - people have had to be severely censured, fined and made to serve prison terms. Maybe we need some of that in the lowest end of coaching arena. You professionals, of course, at the higher end, would have nothing to worry about.

    They went after schools like Monticello U. and Thomas Jefferson U. Not Harvard and Columbia.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2022
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Error: That should be the Thomas Jefferson Educational Foundation, run by Les Snell, who also ran Monticello U. NOT the RA Thomas Jefferson U. in Philadelphia - a fine school. Sorry - I couldn't change it - I was at 9:50-odd of the 10-minute limit. Profuse apologies - to a great school and all DI readers.

  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    And I also apologize, Dr. Douglas, for calling you by name twice in the same sentence. Another missed edit in the 10-min. limit.
    It's 3:30 a.m. Me go nap now.

  7. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    One can setup accreditation site like theirs on-line in 5 to 10 min.
    Claiming recognition by U.S. Department of "POSITIVE" Education :) ?

    Red flags all over this entity.
  8. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Oh! Not....Communists??:eek: :eek:Thanks Lerner. I think we covered this in the first few posts.
  9. Acolyte

    Acolyte Active Member

    This has been an interesting thread - especially to me as I have often looked at "Life coaching" programs and things as I move into ACT III of my life and continue to look for ways to diversify what I offer in the way of ongoing employment. I've never liked the term, "Life Coach" and over the years I've looked at lots of programs - everything from Udemy to online programs that require little more than reading and taking a test - and of course, they all offer "certification" - but many (especially the inexpensive ones) are all "self-certified" - no affiliation with ICF or other bodies that have tried to establish standards. It's a rather crowded field of overlapping claims and individual program "certifications" (Become a Tony Robbins certified coach!) - that makes it hard to decide what if anything is a reasonable investment in any particular program or what I might gain as far as marketable credentials. Because ultimately it would most likely be something I would use to enhance what I would call "consultancy" - in fact, where do you all come down on the word "consultant" - using that term requires no licensure, no accreditation, no specific education or degree - but anyone can be a "consultant" - I've been one - and I will be again at some point I'm sure, but I have no "credentials" other than my past experience and my education - how would that be different than calling oneself a "coach" based on the same things? I'm genuinely curious - where do these distinctions REALLY MATTER? To Rich's point - a vast majority of professions and bodies of expertise are not "licensed" or even credentialed to a great degree.
  10. Jan

    Jan Member

    Rich Douglas: "I don't see how what I posted was wrong. I like your description of what therapists do, though. Except....

    You should listen to therapists who have gone on to become trained and certified coaches. They make clear distinctions about what they learned and are able to do as coaches that is beyond the scope of their therapeutic practices. I'm not qualified to describe it in meaningful detail; I'm not a therapist."

    JAN: It's not a matter of being wrong but incorrect. Therapy cannot be dichotomized into disparate functions because the therapist can and does provide therapeutic and coaching interventions, based on the presentation and needs of their clients.

    Regarding therapists who acquire coaching credentials, it's most probably in specialized areas (ie. health, wellness, career, etc) to enhance the services they offer to clients, as well as for marketing purposes.
  11. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    You are correct Jan. I read an article by a therapist who expanded to coaching to cover another niche for people who don't want to see a "therapist" and need to work with someone on issues (non pathological).

    Coaching is completely unregulated and there are many certification organizations out there. I have seen coaches who try to cover regulated areas such as Marriage and Family, nutrition, and so on. In one sense it is concerning but in another sense regulatory entities try to expand their footprint to claim territory. Texas courts smacked the Psychology Board a couple of years ago for an overly broad definition of "Psychology" that the judge said would make a grandmother giving advice and counsel to her grandson, "practicing psychology without a license".
  12. laferney

    laferney Active Member

    As the old joke goes "What do you call the person who finished last in their medical school class?" Answer: Doctor!
    Licenses and certifications basically state that the the person has met the minimum requirements to practice in the that state or that profession. It doesn't really tell you how good they are at what they do. That said certifications that require supervised experience , passing a difficult test , and a legitimate training program would rank higher on my list if I were looking for a coach or therapist. Look at the persons education credentials. references, and experience. When it comes to finding a therapist or coach a good rapport is probably the most important element.
    Johann likes this.
  13. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    One of the problems with regulating coaching is that, like many other fields, you cannot actually regulate the activities. You can largely only regulate the marketing. In New York, for example, we have a combined license for dietitians and nutritionists. The law prohibits you from from calling yourself a registered or licensed dietician or nutritionist unless you have a license. Then it carves out the myriad ways in which someone might dispense nutritional advice without being any of those things. But, at the end of the day, as long as you aren't using the protected title, you're in the clear.

    Same way that a professor of psychology can call themselves a psychologist as long as they don't call themselves a "licensed psychologist."

    There is a reason why coaching, at present, is unregulated. The reason is that there is no singular definition for what "coaching" is. Wellness coach is the way that most of the naturopaths in NYS practice since they aren't licensed to practice naturopathy here (we don't have a license and, God willing, we never will). Likewise there are numerous coaches who are, in essence, practicing therapy without a license. This isn't because coaching is a thing that needs regulating. This is because current licensing around these fields have giant, gaping holes in them that allow this sort of thing to happen.

    A good many coaches are going nowhere near mental health. If I hire Rich to coach me to become the best HR person I can possibly be then there is really no reason the government should need to get involved in that any more than we would suggest the state of New York needs to start regulating Deloitte. It does a disservice to the public to lump them all together and suggest that they are all part of the same problem. In reality, it's very different groups of people using a fairly vague (and relatively new) term to describe very, very different activities.

    In truth, if we're going to start regulating some of these things I would prefer they are more administrative licenses like the way New York regulates athletic trainers or notaries public. Here's an ethics exam. Maybe you need to post a bond or have insurance. Pay a fee and be on about your day. The reality is that all it does then is give the state something to revoke if you misbehave. And that can have a ripple effect if you're licensed in another area. The school teacher who thinks he can cross professional boundaries with clients in his side coaching business might take pause if losing that coaching license could threaten a teaching certificate as well, for example.

    But we're regulating the hell out of everything now. Pharmacy technicians are being licensed in New York as we speak. Teh requirements are very low. But, I'm sure that will change. I remember when physical therapy assistant was basically anyone who got hired by a physical therapist. Then it was a diploma. Then an associates. Now a bachelors degree and a license. Physical Therapy Aide fills the gap that the assistants once occupied. It's all getting a bit out of hand, if you ask me.
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