Representing Counseling Services Firm with Unaccredited Church School Ph.D

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by spmoran, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. spmoran

    spmoran Member

    This fellow has an unaccredited, exempt Ph.D from a church-based school here is the Seattle area. He runs a counseling service and takes government money. He uses the title of Dr. and follows it up with Ph.D on his website. Does anyone with more understanding of the Washington State laws know if this is legal?

    The site is: Casteele, Williams & Associates - OUR STAFF

    The school is Home

    Thanks for looking.
  2. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    His MA/MS allowed him to become a LMFT, not the questionable degree. While it may be misleading to people that come to him for service, he seems to be open and honest about where and what his education is.
  3. spmoran

    spmoran Member

    LMFT is legit

    Hi. I understand that the LMFT is legitimate, and the Masters degree is also legitimate. The use of Dr. to represent himself publicly is what I am concerned with. I believe it is illegal in Washington, Oregon and some other places. Where I think this fellow gets a pass is that the school is on a (large) list of religious schools exempted from any oversight in this state.

    He is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), and their Code Of Ethics (Principle VIII - Advertising) forbids this misrepresentation.

    Again, I am not an attorney, and have lately had personal experience with this fellow (not of a professional nature), and wanted to see if there was anyone out here who has had personal experience in WA.

    Thanks for taking the time.
  4. jhp

    jhp Member

    What part bothers you about this, Mr. Morgan?
  5. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    The state may or may not allow the religious exemption for his Ph.D. In general, though legal (as far as I know in most if not all states) you get in a bit of a dicey situation when you are in the mental health field as a licensed professional counselor or MFT and refer to your self as doctor. The problem is that even though you call yourself a psychotherapist, people may assume you are a Clinical Psychologist.

    You could literally be an MFT with a PhD in English (so not even in the counseling field) and call yourself "Dr." but again some assumptions may be made. Probably a little less of an issue if your doctorate in actually in counseling or a counseling related field.

    What he is doing with an unaccredited doctorate is a little bit cheesy but may not be illegal. What is your interest in this? You can always take it up with the licensure boards.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2014
  6. spmoran

    spmoran Member

    What bothers me is that the school where the doctorate was awarded clearly states on their website that these degrees are to be used for church or religious use only. The counseling service website seems to be misrepresenting the degree. The counseling service accepts government payments.

    This fellow has used this degree at my accredited school to misrepresent himself to faculty and administration, though not academically. Truth be told, as faculty, I guess that is mostly what bothers me. When I told administration what my two minute Google search turned up, their eyes widened and mouths dropped. I guess we don't expect that sort of thing in a place crawling with legitimate doctorates.
  7. jumbodog

    jumbodog New Member

    Egads. Not another one.

    The only way to answer the OP's concern is by asking an in-state attorney because there type of regulations vary from state to state. (a) what does the WA code say and (2) how has that been interpreted by the courts. There is also (c) whether anyone at the state level cares to do anything about it assuming he is in violation because I don't know any of these laws which contain a private right to action.

    As I said in other threads, in my view these laws are...for the most part...void under the 1A anyway.

    edit: I'll note that you think that he is violating the AAMFT Code of Ethics. Why not start there if you have a complaint?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2014

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