Are they really "doctors"?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by nosborne48, May 24, 2023.

  1. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Oh, and another thing: it's a hack. A hack is a way around a system, law, norm, etc. There's a wonderful book on this, A Hacker's Mind: How the Powerful Bend Society's Rules, and How to Bend them Back. Hacks are almost always legal. They occur when clever people find loopholes and other ways around the intent of something.
    Garp likes this.
  2. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Not all psychologists are doctors. Perhaps they are all required to have a doctorate now. However, there are practicing psychologists who don't have a doctorate. I used to see one when I lived in Pennsylvania.

    PA: There was a period of time in Pennsylvania when the educational requirement for licensure as a psychologist was a master’s degree. When the Professional Psychologist Practice Act was amended to require a doctoral degree, psychologists licensed at the master’s level were grandfathered.
  3. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I think it is extremely rare. I am not aware of any states that don't require a doctorate. Some states have Associate Psychologists (Masters). They work under Psychologists and in one state were pushing for autonomy like Masters level Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors.
  4. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I don't think it is wrong for licensed mental health counselors to use "Dr." with their PhD, EdD, or DMin in counseling, pastoral counseling, etc. I am not confused at all.

    The one that I find a bit misleading is the mental health counselors who go to CalSouthern to earn their PsyD. They then don't take the licensure exam and continue to practice as a licensed mental health counselor or clinical social worker. When I see PsyD and they have a web site that says they are licensed and practicing various forms of psychotherapy, I assume they are a Psychologist.

    It (PsyD) would be kind of like a licensed mental health counselor who had an MD and never took (or passed) the Boards but tacked that MD on after their name in their advertising. I would assume they were a Psychiatrist.
  5. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I didn't say it was common. However, there are people, like in Pennsylvania, who were grandfathered in as psychologists with master's degrees. I am not disputing whether a doctorate is currently required.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    So, a counselor using a PsyD and not licensed as a psychologist using the title "doctor" would be misleading, but Dr Laura (PhD in physiology) and Dr Ruth (EdD in education), also not licensed psychologists, are okay? Just trying to understand.
  7. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Absolutely, as long as they are licensed. Dr. Laura was licensed. Now if the doctorate were in English that would a different issue. Dr. Ruth's Doctor of Education was in Family Life Studies (studying under a world renowned sex therapist). She then trained as a sex therapist trained "at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center/Cornell Medical School, working for seven years under sex therapist Helen Singer Kaplan, two years training under her and five years training others."
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2023
  8. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I think there are two separate issues here that are being conflated.

    First, there is a belief by some people that only terminal degrees for practice should entitle someone to the title doctor in their clinical practice. By this standard, the Doctor of Audiology (AuD), Doctor of Optometry (OD), Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology or Doctor of Psychology (PhD/PsyD) etc., are all entitled to use the Dr honorific because they hold licensure to practice at the doctoral level. By this same standard, a Social Worker holding a PhD in Social Work or a Doctor of Social Work (DSW), or a Mental Health Counselor holding a PhD in Counselor Supervision and Education would NOT be entitled to use Dr., because their terminal degree to practice and the license to practice is held at the Master's level.

    Second, there is the issue of whether using the honorific implies that someone is of a different profession than they actually are, or are actively trying to mislead. A nurse with a DNP using the title Dr might be mistaken for a physician. A social worker with a PhD might be mistaken for a Psychologist. I don't think that most counselors with a PhD who are using the doctor title is trying to convince people they are Psychologists, just like I don't think most DNPs are trying to convince people they are physicians with an MD.

    I think as long as you make it clear to the public what your actual credentials are, you're likely to avoid issues. Most Psychologists and counselors are on a first-name basis with their clients anyway, because the power differential interferes with the building of a strong therapeutic alliance. Whether you're John Smith, PhD(ClinPsych) or John Smith, PhD LMHC doesn't make a huge difference to whether you'll be able to connect with your clients.
  9. Futuredegree

    Futuredegree Well-Known Member

    My local doctor's office has a DNP which we all call her Dr.Wong but she makes it clear that she is a nurse practitioner that has advanced studies for a doctoral degree in nursing with a focus on gynecology. I guess it's really up to the patient.
  10. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Something "wong."
  11. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    This conversation reminds me of what a group of chemical dependency clients said. They didn’t think someone was qualified to be a chemical dependency counselor unless they also had a history of addiction. But, they gave a pass to the assistant director of the program because she had a doctorate in psychology. In my state, chemical dependency counselors only need an associate's degree.

    I asked them why they thought it was appropriate for a physician, who has never had heart problems, to treat heart disease. They said that physicians receive a lot of education and training. The clients might not have known all of the specific requirements for someone to qualify for a chemical dependency counselor license, but they knew that the educational requirement was low. So, they placed a lot of value in the PsyD the assistant director had even though she had no personal experiences with addiction.
    Jonathan Whatley likes this.
  12. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Fraud is not "whatever Rich doesn't like." Nor is it "things I think aren't the way they should be." Fraud is a word that has legal heft to it, Rich. This has nothing to do with my opinion. YOU don't get to decide that THIS is a fraud. That is for the legislature of the relevant state to decide. If it were a fraud then there would be a civil or criminal remedy for the supposed problem. However, there is none because it is NOT a fraud.

    "Frank Johnson, PhD LMHC" is nowhere near a fraud OR misleading. "Rich Douglas, PhD, LCSW" is nowhere near a fraud OR misleading. To call it a "rip-off" is beyond ignorant. Your claims that it is is based on the very odd notion, lacking any form of data to support it, that the general public look at the post-nominal of PhD for a professional and assume that the individual is a psychologist. That's it. You have not shown ANYWHERE that this is an accepted notion.

    Go do a survey if it means so much to you.
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  13. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Fraud is broadly used to describe any deception, which does not always involve criminal intent.
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  14. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    You would know. ;)
  15. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Sure. I wasn't offered multiple criminal justice faculty positions based on my good looks!
    Michael Burgos likes this.
  16. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Technically, and I'm nothing if not hyper technical, deception is a component of fraud but it isn't enough by itself. Telling your lady wife that those green stretch pants don't...well. You get the idea.

    For civil or criminal fraud, the legal test is essentially the same. The perpetrator knowingly makes some intentional misrepresentation of a material fact upon which the victim actually and reasonably relies to the latter's material detriment. That last bit is probably the hardest to prove.
  17. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Of course, my post concerns the common law. Licensing agencies have their own professional advertising rules.
  18. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It is for me. I get to have an opinion. I get to judge a situation and state that opinion. I am NOT entitled to change someone else's perspective, of course.
  19. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    One good question might be why use the "doctor" title except to imply that the practitioner is somehow professionally superior to others with similar licenses who are not "doctors" thus attracting additional clients? If that's the purpose but in fact there is no demonstrable advantage to the client that could be fraud. Hard to prove though.
    Rich Douglas and sideman like this.
  20. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I suspect it boils down to marketing and personal satisfaction from earning the doctorate and being called Dr.

    From what I have seen many are careful to write it in such a way that you get their license and preference to be referred to as Dr.

    Dr. Joseph Q. Public, PhD, LMHC (or LCSW)

    The fact of the doctorate is at least indicative of additional training (qualification). Advantage to the client is a whole other issue. A Psychologist wrote a book claiming many clients get better on their own and that therapists tend to self congratulate themselves too much.

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