LMHC, PsyD, calling themselves Doctor but not Psychologist

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Dustin, Jul 17, 2023.

  1. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I was watching a documentary that featured as a speaker Dr Janie Lacy. She was identified as a therapist which got me curious about her credentials.

    She identifies on her LinkedIn that she has a PsyD from California Southern University: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janielacy

    She only ever uses the Dr honorific but never the postnominal. (So it's always Dr. Lacy, never Janie Lacy PsyD.) They also never call themselves a Psychologist.

    I'm wondering if it's possible to earn a PsyD that won't allow them to get licensed anywhere?
  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm pretty sure that if you earned your Psy.D. at, say, Pebble Hills University - or a couple of hundred similar "schools" I could name - you'd never get licensed for ANYTHING anywhere. :) You'd probably end up banned from driving a CAR! :) If you mean properly accredited schools -- I don't know. If there is - why would anyone want to attend there?

    This lady is a LMHC - and her references speak well for her. As for calling herself a "psychotherapist" I say, fine. If the shoe fits...

    Here's what I read about the def. of psychotherapists.

    "Professionals who provide psychotherapy include psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, licensed professional clinical counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, pastoral counselors and psychiatric nurse practitioners. Of that group, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers are the most common. All of these professionals are trained to offer psychotherapy, but there are differences in their education and training." from here: https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/psychotherapy-professionals

    But yeah - if she uses "Doctor" in a mental health setting, that would not be good. If she uses it on a TV show or a motivational speaking engagement, I'm OK with it. Audiences - fine. Counselling clients - no.At least not without full disclosure.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2023
  3. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    There are several PsyDs in non-licensure areas of psychology online or low-res e.g., from William James College in Leadership Psychology, Walden in Behavioral Health Leadership, UAGC, TUW, and Alliant.
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  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Thanks Jonathan. I get this - I can see why people would want these non-licensure degrees. I note the popularity of "leadership" degrees has now established a beach-head in the field of psychology. Wonder if we'll see a bunch of Formacion Alcala or even ENEB "leadership degrees." I'll look for "liderazgo" on my next Spanish scroll-through. :)

    Come to think of it, I might have learned that word from a degree ad...
  5. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Psychotherapist is often not a regulated term so anyone doing Psychotherapy can call themselves a Psychotherapist (Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists and Psychiatrists).

    This varies by state but in general a Licensed Mental Health Counselor or Clinical Social Worker who has an accredited doctorate in a FIELD RELATED to Psychotherapy can call themselves "Dr." legally and ethically.

    My issue would be with someone just writing Dr. Jennie Smith. In a Psychotherapy context you could be an MD/DO, a Clinical Psychologist, or another licensed professional with a doctorate. It could be misleading.

    Preferable to be Jennie Smith, PsyD, LMHC or Dr. Jennie Smith, PsyD, LMHC (seeing that more often in this context where the honorific is used in combination). When I see a PsyD and LMHC or LCSW, I assume they never took and passed the Psych Boards but earned the PsyD.

    Also, in their written disclosure statements they should be clear the degrees, source and what licensed they operate under.

    I get the impression that most people who are already licensed earn a CalSouthern type PsyD for marketing, perception, etc. A few probably embark on it to become a Psychologist but at the end are faced with the reality that they are already licensed to do very similar things (diagnose and treat). They can't do projective tests but may not be a big issue (how many Rorschach test requests do they get). They can do all kinds of other tests. They would have to give up their practice to intern (or whatever they call it) then more expense to study and pass boards. They weigh things and go "nah".
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2023
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  6. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Now, a mental health counselor with a Doctor of Business Administration or PhD in Medieval Sock Washing calling themselves Dr. Jennie Smith, LMHC would be a definite no go. Doctorate isn't in a related field.
  7. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Sigh. Same objections. Ugh.
  9. Xspect

    Xspect Active Member

    Throughout my professional conference experiences, I have never come across a psychotherapist in attendance. It made me reflect on my own practice and the range of services I provide to my clients, including prescribing medication and utilizing various therapy approaches.

    In light of this, I have decided to set a new goal for myself. Given that I hold a D.Min (hon) from Abide University, I shall hence forth been know as Dr. Xspect Psychotherapist.
  10. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    Just a few of many:




    Last edited: Jul 18, 2023
  11. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    The professional practice of "Psychotherapy" is regulated in Ontario and Quebec. In Ontario since 2017 psychotherapy as defined in law is a controlled act that can be performed by a Registered Psychotherapist or by a nurse, occupational therapist, physician, psychologist, or social worker or social service worker, each governed by their own professional body.
  12. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    As Jonathan stated, there are non-licensure PsyD programs out there. California Southern University is unique in that you can choose whether you want to take the licensure or non-licensure path.
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  13. Xspect

    Xspect Active Member

    I know many who advertise and promote themselves as psychotherapists. Still, I've attended several prominent mental health conferences, including the Annual Psychopharmacology, Global Conference on Addiction Medicine, International Conference on Neurology and Brain Disorders, and many others. Surprisingly, during these events, I haven't encountered anyone explicitly identifying as a psychotherapist. Even with the Evolution of Psychotherapy, professionals prioritize idea exchange and networking over emphasizing their professional titles. Psychotherapists must be transparent about their qualifications and professional background when establishing credibility and avoiding any potential harm to one's career. This includes clearly stating their degrees, certifications, licenses, and any specialized training they have received. It's also helpful to mention the reputable institutions or individuals they trained under and the settings in which they have practiced. its easy to say your are an expert and possess certain skills, except when experts surround you.

    --- Dr. Xspect DMin (hon) Abide University

    I know they exist and what they are. They n
  14. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    The problem for you (and I know you are being funny) is that there is a huge difference between being a Licensed Counselor or Licensed Social Worker and using an accredited PsyD, PhD, EdD, DMin that is in a field RELATED to counseling (neither unethical or against statutes) and using an unaccredited or honorary doctorate (DMin Abide University). Could be unethical and in some states it is a violation of state statutes (could result in disciplinary action).
  15. Xspect

    Xspect Active Member

  16. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I saw a practice advertisement a few days ago where several DNP nurses referred to themselves as "physicians". That might hold up because in New Mexico chiropractors call themselves "chiropractic physicians" with no apparent blowback.
  17. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Just as an aside, I don't consider "chiropractic physician" to be misleading. As a further aside, thirty odd years ago I was the Assistant Attorney General assigned to assist the state Chiropractic Board. I have never resorted to chiropractic care myself but I am familiar with the field.
  18. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    In order to have parity there, they would probably need to call themselves nurse physicians (which doesn't really make sense.) Or like the PAs, Physician Assistant or Physician Associate depending on jurisdiction. Physician with no qualifier is the only title that MD/DO can hold. There's especially visceral reaction to CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) who have been trying to take over the word "anesthesiologist" from physicians. Many CRNAs even refer to them as "physician anesthesiologist" as if to suggest that there are other kinds.
  19. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    My opinion: To call one's self a "physician" should mean you are one first. Co-opting the title for use in other paramedical fields implies an expertise and licensing that one does not have. Using it in those fields redefines the term.

    Chiropractors, optometrists, psychologists, audiologists, and podiatrists are not physicians.

    Psychologists, ENTs, anesthesiologists, ophthalmologists, and orthopedics all have the same common training: they're medical doctors, physicians.

    Maybe in this age of acute specialization, this distinction shouldn't matter anymore. Maybe the rise of PAs and NPs means having a basic MD background is no longer important, that those specialists should just get on with their specialty training. I don't know. But for now, the distinction is very real.
  20. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Except for Lacy, she probably didn't have a choice. She's based in Florida. California Southern's PsyD degree is not eligible for licensure in Florida. I am shocked that it's eligible in New York though. Very shocked.

    I respect what it takes to become a practicing Doctor of Psychology because of what the state and the industry (mostly unfairly) puts on people before they can reach that point. I also respect it because not everyone is fit to do a job with the potential for so much emotional labor and compassion fatigue, hence the high turnover in the industry. But a main part of why I've always viewed the road to licensed Psychologist with so much respect is the difficulty of finding and paying for the hours you need for licensure which has proven to be a major roadblock for so many people. I'm not sure how to feel about someone getting a PsyD by skipping the extra hours, but that's in general. I feel less worry about someone like Lacy who did do the clinical work to become an LMHC and had plenty of experience in the field before earning the PsyD.

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