Situation at work

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Michele, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. DL-Luvr

    DL-Luvr New Member

    Re: Re: Dubious PhD

    Michele, are you also competing for this position ? If you're not competing and are genuinely concerned, I'd approach her about your concerns.

    Does your agency have any policy on the use of non-RA degrees ? Do any of the agency's accrediting bodies require RA degrees ? Does she use it on business cards ?
  2. Michele

    Michele New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Dubious PhD

    Hi again DL,

    Oh, I'm absolutely NOT competing for this position! I use to have administrative and program manager positions in this organization for the first 8 years of my employment with them, and requested a "step down" a couple of years ago so I could concentrate 100% on clinical mental health counseling with clients - my true pleasure and calling! :) Someone mentioned earlier (maybe you) that it is an entirely different skill-set needed for those positions, and the reason I went into the helping field in the first place was certainly not to write up budgets, proposals, policies, etc. - although I was quite good at those activities, I found them completely UNFULFILLING! Ha ha. Also, I prefer my day to actually end around 5pm with my last client, as I'm a full-time student with Capella (at least that was my rationalization to my employer for my request to get the heck out of management!). I never intend to return!!!! Client work is my true passion, and I don't intend for that to change even with my unnecessary PhD completed in the future.

    Yes indeed, my employer does have a police that requires degrees to be regionally accredited, as do accrediting agencies. She has only used her CDP (chemical dependence professional) on her cards, as that is what her position has been. Her BA is regionally accredited. No masters. Her CDP is state certified.

  3. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    I've only skimmed the previous posts, but it sounds like you think this person can do the job just fine. Regardless, i think hiring them might create a time bomb.

    Don't you think hiring someone for a management position with a very questionable degree (regardless of her BA and state qualifications) is risky in your profession?

    What if this person as a manager hires someone as a therapist. This therapist then does something with a patient that a patient doesn't like and goes to sue your clinic. The lawyers for the patient then find out that:

    1) It "came up" in your clinical supervision meetings (from us therapists) that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there exists no legit PhD in hypnotherapy.

    2) Your employer has a policy that requires degrees to be regionally accredited, yet this person was hired anyway.

    I forget the legal term, but basically anytime you violate the policies of your own place of employment or professional body (APA, etc) you lose.

    It sounds to me like the person can never ever ever say she got a degree from this school, destroy all the evidence, and start looking for a recognized program.
  4. spmoran

    spmoran Member

    If this is a hypnotherapy degree from a California-approved school, then how can it be said that there is no degree in hypnotherapy? This woman has one. Obviously, they exist. Perhaps they are not recognized in the eyes of any mental health agency, but they seemingly *do* exist.

    Regardless of whether the school moved to another state, and for whatever reason, at the time the degree was conferred, it was a legit degree (even though it might have been scraping the bottom of legit). This would seem to be the same as asking whether an RA degree is still valid after an RA school lost RA. Yes, Virginia, it is valid because the school was RA at the time of degree conferral.

    If it were a degree in history, would it be any big deal? What about astrophysics, or Buddhist studies? In Washington State, hypnotherapy is not a tool that is used in DASA approved agencies for the purpose of treating drug addiction (at least it's not a skill CDP's are required to know to get certified). So having a degree in hypnotherapy, while it may *seem* like something related to counseling or mental health, is *not* related to counseling or mental health. Having a degree in hypnotherapy has absolutely nothing to do with getting CDP, LMFT or LMHC licensure, or with the proper practices of those disciplines. Sounds like sour grapes to me.

  5. Michele

    Michele New Member


    Um, please tell me where you get the "sour grapes." Have you actually read the discussion? It appears you may not understand the issues and concerns.

  6. spmoran

    spmoran Member


    Michele, I read (and enjoyed) the thread, and I think I understand the concerns. My comment about sour grapes comes from the fact that the following statements were made by you well before any reference was made to concerns about the well being of the agency:


    However, she's applying to become program mgr, which means she'd supervise (not clinical supervision, but program/administrative supervision) mental health therapists like myself who all hold legit masters degrees in counseling fields.

    -- AND --

    P.S. - I have to admit that it kind of pisses me off that someone would proclaim a PhD in hypnotherapy, since I'm doing the REAL work myself in a regionally accredited PhD program - and it's a LOT of hard work, and no small accomplishment! BTW, I have only 2 more quarters to go before my comps, then dissertation!


    Only later were references made about accrediting agencies, the continued good standing of your agency and the like. If there are no sour grapes then there are none. However, it sounded like sour grapes to me.

  7. Michele

    Michele New Member

    Re: Michele

    Hello Sean,

    Michele says: Actually, that's not true. Read my first post again. I stated my concern about the agency and accreditors/auditors first thing. I also mentioned that I truly like/respect/admire this person. Later I said I'd have no personal problem with her legitimate credentials in the position of performing a mgr role, aside from the bogus one - that could affect the reputation, if word gets out, of we "legitimately credentialed" therapists in the program. I think that having "sour grapes," as you put it, is different than having feelings and concerns about another person proclaiming a PhD. I have to admit - as I said in my second post - that it does kind of piss me off that one would call themselves a PhD when it's bogus. Sour grapes? Well, you have a right to your opinion, but the term has the connotation of ill-founded emotion bent on vengeance. You express sour grapes when you put down something you can’t get - with bitterness and resentment. So, I would take offense at that phrase, if it weren't so obviously off the mark.

    However, the purpose of the thread is to gather opinions of better-informed persons than myself as to how they would perceive the situation ethically and professionally. Do you have an opinion about this? This thread has helped me formulate a plan of how to address the situation. Thank you to all.


    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2004
  8. spmoran

    spmoran Member


    Ethically: I would not call a degree from a California-approved institution bogus, as it did meet the requirements of being legitimate at the time of conferral. It was up to the State of California to determine legitimacy, not you. They did so, and it doesn't matter if you don't agree with them. Since you cannot confer illegitimacy where the State of California has declared legitimacy on this degree, I would not imply to anyone else that a legitimate degree is bogus, especially the degree holders supervisor. I think that since the position she is seeking does not require a doctorate in anything at all, and she has met the degree requirements for the position with an R.A. bachelors degree, this should be good enough. I also think that you can open yourself up to a great deal of trouble if you play your cards wrong, especially if you choose to use the language (like "bogus") that you have used in this thread.

    Professionally: I would get used to the idea of being supervised by someone who holds a lesser R.A. degree than yourself, and a doctorate that you do not see as legitimate. I would get used to her being really pissed off at you if you decide to try to prove something that you cannot prove at her expense, which is the illegitimacy of her approved degree. As I stated earlier, this degree in hypnotherapy is on par, in my view, with a degree in history from an approved but not accredited institution. A degree in hypnotherapy has absolutely nothing to do with being a supervisor, any more than a degree in history would. If this degree is not a requirement for the position then it shouldn't even come into the picture.

    My own take: If this were a mill degree, then yes, I'd say open both barrels and let the chips fall where they may. But from what I've read, that is not the case here. California approval means legimitacy to California institutions. It is different than other states, and the distinction is very important. It is not R.A., and it may not be up to the standards that you and I strive to meet, but if it were legitimate at the time of conferral, then it is still legitimate. Understand that I mean legitimate for what it is. If this was Rose Donnelli whatever-her-name-is trying to practice clinical psychology with this degree, and thus breaking some law(s), then she would be a criminal, and by God, I say blow the whistle. It does not sound to me like that is the case here.

    I hope that the structure put forth here falls more in line with what you were looking for, and is useful to your decision making process.


    State of Washington Registered Counselor
    Pierce County Juvenile Courts
    R.H.A.D.D. Inpatient Chemical Dependency Treatment Facility
  9. Michele

    Michele New Member

    Hello Sean,
    I have a feeling that this thread has touched a nerve with you, so I probably won't continue to reply to your posts. As you are studying to become a CDP yourself someday, I'll only state one more time that I have absolutely no problem with a program mgr who is a CDP and a BA providing administrative supervision for my position. Again, not the issue at all.

    You write fairly well and express yourself well, and you'll do just fine in your field. Thanks for your comments, and good luck! :)

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2004
  10. David Williams

    David Williams New Member

    Re: For David

    Michele - I'm not familiar with your organization's code of ethics. APA ethics direct as follows: If you encounter an ethical breech you don't believe to be of sufficient gravity to report the infraction to the state licensure board your obligation is to deliver the message directly. I've never actually investigated the rationale behind this approach, it just always seemed to me that engaging another party introduces triangulation. Which when you think about it is typically something one avoids in clinical practice. So how did your ethics consult with your advisor go? In my doctoral program we had an entire course on the APA code of ethics. What will your PhD be in and how does Capella address ethics?

  11. Michele

    Michele New Member

    Re: Re: For David

    Hello David,
    My PhD will be in Marriage & Family Services, and my masters is in clinical mental health counseling. Capella has us follow the ACA and the AMHCA codes of ethics, which was what our courses always have us turn to and base our professional decisions upon.

    From the ACA Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice:
    C.4. Credentials

    Credentials Claimed. Counselors claim or imply only professional credentials possessed and are responsible for correcting any known misrepresentations of their credentials by others. Professional credentials include graduate degrees in counseling or closely related mental health fields, accreditation of graduate programs, national voluntary certifications, government-issued certifications or licenses, ACA professional membership, or any other credential that might indicate to the public specialized knowledge or expertise in counseling.

    . . . and . . .

    Section H: Resolving Ethical Issues

    Standard of Practice Forty-Nine (SP-49):

    Ethical Behavior Expected. Counselors must take appropriate action when they possess reasonable cause that raises doubts as to whether counselors or other mental health professionals are acting in an ethical manner. (See H.2.a.)

    Standard of Practice Fifty (SP-50):

    . . . and . . .

    Doctoral Degrees From Other Fields. Counselors who hold a master's degree in counseling or a closely related mental health field, but hold a doctoral degree from other than counseling or a closely related field, do not use the title "Dr." in their practices and do not announce to the public in relation to their practice or status as a counselor that they hold a doctorate.


    I've decided to play this quite low-key, and mention it to the department director that she might consider encouraging our new boss (if she is our new supervisor) to remove reference to the PhD from her personnel file, and not announce it to the public when she's in meetings, etc. in the community so as not to confuse the public or accrediting agencies. I'm fairly close to our director because we've worked together for more than a decade. I will, of course, request that my name be kept out of it, and ask that the director try to minimize any personal embarrassment or discomfort for the new boss - as I'm sure she'd avoid anyway.

    FYI, other than that original clinical supervision meeting when we therapists mentioned that we know that there is no legitimate PhD in hypnotherapy, NONE of us have discussed it further with each other. We don't do that - gossip. No one else in the entire program other than we therapists are aware of the issue at all. So, no one other than myself will be aware that I'm going to the director with my concern. Heck - for all I know, other therapists may be doing the same and I wouldn't know about it. We're a pretty healthy group, and don't malign our co-workers. Rare, but quite a positive work environment! :)

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2004

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