Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Jan, Mar 10, 2019.
Yeah, I read it...
I think that non-psychologists who advertise as PsyD's are dancing awfully close to the edge of the law here in California.
California Business and Professions Code, Chapter 6.6, section 2902 (c) says (highlighting by me):
(c) A person represents himself or herself to be a psychologist when the person holds himself or herself out to the public by any title or description of services incorporating the words "psychology," "psychological," "psychologist," [many other similar titles here] ... or when the person holds himself or herself out to be trained, experienced or an expert in the field of psychology."
If boasting a PsyD (which after all is an educational qualification that satisfies the educational requirement for licensing as a psychologist) is supposed to give a practitioner an added marketing advantage in attracting patients, then those same patients are presumably being influenced by the degree. If they are heeding the degree at all (and the 'marketing advantage' argument assumes that they are or else it wouldn't confer an advantage) then they must be interpreting it as meaning something.
Presumably (and quite reasonably) prospective patients are probably thinking that possession of a PsyD is communicating something about the practitioner's training and expertise in psychology.
It may indeed be the case that non-psychologists aren't typically disciplined or criminally charged for doing it. There are probably some professional organizations for non-psychologists who argue strenuously that there's nothing wrong with their members doing it.
But I persist in thinking that finessing the outer boundaries of the law like this isn't exactly ethical.
But I persist in thinking that finessing the outer boundaries of the law like this isn't exactly ethical.[/QUOTE]
Heirophant, I understand your concerns but generally disagree with your conclusion.
For instance, if a Masters level clinician in any mental healt discipline obtains an RA PsyD, either to further their education, for title and/or to promote their practice, it does not draw questions of ethical violations, unless they exclude the fact that they are not practicing Psychologists, and do not clearly relate the discipline and license under which they practice.
Of course, prior to entering a PsyD program in any state, the Clinician should check with their respective state board to ensure that they will not be in violation for misrepresenting their title to the public.
In some states a person with a PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology still cannot refer to themselves as a "Psychologist". To do so, they must take the Licensure exam. One state I saw offered an different type of exam/internship for those in I/O.
Similarly (at least in some states), a person who has a PhD in Psychology and teaches cannot refer to themsleves as a Psychologist without licensure. Boards have managed to get a pretty good grip on the process.
Generally, "psychotherapist" is not regulated so almost anyone can call themsleves one (as long as they have some kind of license to perform Psychotherapy).
As a side issue, based on the very reasonable tuition and generous tuition credit exchange offered by CSU, the PsyD appears to be an attractive degree for mid Career clinicians as well as for more seasoned Practitoners. In addition, individuals with ABD status, and for those who merely wish to complete a lifelong ambition to attain a doctoral degree in Psychology, this degree program may meet their needs.
I don't actually know this, but I think you just described their student demographic.
I suspect so. Judging by their student story page, the majority do not go on to become Psychologists. They are clinical social workers, Licensed Mental Health Counselors and so on. After earning the PsyD there is little incentive to try to become a Psychologist. It would mean a further internship and passing a stringent exam to basically be doing the sane thing they are now.
I believe this type of programs are geared towards people interested in careers such as Corporate Trainer, HR professional, Pastoral Counselor, School Career Counselor, Marketing professional, etc and in general career that does not require licensing nor is interested in an academic career.
They are clear about the fact that the program prepares people for a variety of career tracks, including that of a licensed clinical psychologist
"For those looking to practice as a licensed clinical psychologist, CalSouthern’s PsyD meets the educational requirements for licensure in the state of California and numerous other states. (Since states’ policies are subject to change and/or dependent upon the circumstances of each case, each student must confirm with the appropriate regulatory body that CalSouthern’s degree will be accepted in a particular state."
RESPONSE: It appears that the majority of students in this program possess licenses at the Masters level in myriad mental health disciplines and/or are seeking the PsyD either for title, to enhance the promotion of their clinical practice, for promotional opportunities, to complete a derailed doctoral education resulting in ABD status, or for personal attainment.
It's interesting to note that on CSU's website they indicate that the completion rate of the PsyD program in 2016 was 92%. Completion rates of this degree in previous years was in the high eighty percent range. This is a very high completion record for a doctorate when many online distance and brick and mortar universities average around fifty percent.
This program is a bit similar to the old Southern California University of Professional Studies (SCUPS) program that claimed that would allow people to write the exam in California but in practice only a hand full were able to get a license. You still need to get an internship and pass an exam, not very likely that someone would give an internship to someone with a low ranked online degree unless the person has a strong masters with some experience and the pass rate for clinical exam might low for graduates. I am just speculating but my guess is that the program is not ideal for clinical licensing plus it might only be a qualifier in California as the rest of the country requires an APA accredited degree.
It is possible to become licensed as a clinical psychologist in multiple states without attending an APA accredited program. Many states list requirements for non-APA graduates. But the gold standard and easiest way to meet the licensing requirements is to obtain the APA accredited degree.
These alternative licensing options exist in part because in some states a PhD Counseling/Counselor student can qualify as a licensed psychologist depending on how they do the coursework and internship.
Here in Ohio one of my Counseling professors was explaining the process and two of my colleagues went this route. They were originally Counseling grad students but qualified as licensed psychologists.
Actually, this is not the case. At last count only 19 states require APA accreditation in order to become licensed.
Most states do not require APA accreditation. My state does not require APA accreditation unless the school isn't regionally accredited. I'm not sure if APA has accredited any schools that aren't regionally accredited.
My state won't accept counseling degrees, though. It needs to be a degree in psychology.
Last I checked, the school made the practicum optional and that to me is a joke. I don't know how anyone could feel good about being a CLINICAL psychologist without having done the clinical part. I'd look elsewhere.
It's not a "joke" because as you noted the practicum is an option, meaning that one can complete a practicum if they wish to pursue licensure as a Psychologist in California or possibly in other states as well.
The reason it's an option is that in certain states such as New York, the Psychology State Board will not accept the practicum from CSU for Psychology licensure. Therefore, CSU is promoting their PsyD program in states such as NY for mental health professionals licensed at the masters level, as well as others who are not seeking Psychology licensure and therefore do not require a practicum.
That's beside the point. We're talking about a Doctoral-level degree that has always literally been about clinical care. It shouldn't be a matter of "option", it should be mandatory. If a state won't accept it, then the school shouldn't promote it to that state. Otherwise, it becomes a matter of worthless degree-stacking and/or resume puffing and that's not the kind of thing an ethical healthcare professional should be doing.
The issue here, I think, is that you only cited the definitions part of the relevant law and not the law itself.
According to your citation, a professor of psychology cannot be a professor of psychology unless they are licensed.
They cannot, after all, represent themselves as an "expert in the field of psychology" or incorporate any title which uses the word psychology or anything to that effect. So "Associate Professor of Psychology" would be out, as would "Adjunct Instructor in Psychology."
This is the permanent faculty of the department of psychology at Stanford...
Two had licenses, both are expired. The others have none. They are all using the word "psychology" in their names, one notes she is a "psychologist" in her biography and all are holding themselves out to be trained, experienced or expert in the field of psychology.
What the actual law says is...
So the practice of psychology, and the things psychologists do, are restricted to psychologists...as well as other mental health practitioners, clergy and, for some reason, lawyers and optometrists. Or, more accurately, this law doesn't prevent other licensed professionals from doing what they do as long as they don't use the words "psychological, psychology" et al.
So no, a practitioner is not dancing close to any line unless, of course, they were to try something cute like spelling out their degree.
John Smith, PsyD
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
is accurate and there is nothing listed here to suggest John Smith is breaking any rules.
John Smith, Doctor of Psychology
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
However, would be running afoul of that licensing law.
As for our professor friends...
Here again, you could have a situation where someone who is not a licensed psychologist is permitted to use the term "psychologist." New York has a similar exception for school psychologists, which is a separate license with different licensing requirements as well as the countless unlicensed psychologists who work for the state government under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.
The lines are murky even around people who are undeniably psychologists. I'm sorry, but for someone to make an issue out of this the following would need to happen:
1. First, someone would actually have to possess one of the other licenses we talk about AND a PsyD. I'm sure one or more exist but they are by no means common.
2. Someone would have to file a complaint alleging that their marketing was misleading.
The thing people don't understand about licensing is how licensing body jurisdiction works. If I am licensed by the board of mental health counselors then I am accountable to them. They handle any disciplinary actions that can affect my license. The board of psychology has nothing to do with me. I'm not subject to their jurisdiction. On an issue like this involving a licensed mental health practitioner with a legitimate degree, even if that person was technically violating the law as written, the board has pretty broad discretion as to how they handle that.
They can assert that they don't have jurisdiction since the person is licensed by another body and that body should address professional conduct. They can send a cease and desist to the individual saying "Hey bud, you're not one of ours but you're using a word that we have control over" or, more than likely, they would just say "this is not worth our time or energy" if for no other reason than the fact that even a comprehensive law like California has is riddled with exceptions and protections for other practitioners, academics. Out of state psychologists, by this same law, are permitted to practice in California for up to 30 days as long as their license is active.
It isn't really that grey of an area in a world that is basically one giant grey area.
Separate names with a comma.