Originally Posted by docma
Should we even introduce why J.D's don't ever use the title to this discussion?
And for any profession it is (or should be) a violation to mis-represent yourself. I just don't think we "own" doctor in some special way. And I think we need to find common sense ways to explain all this to patients because they can understand it.
This is such an interesting discussion. Someone did bring up the issue of a PhD in counselor education referring to him/herself as "Dr." and in a recent perusal of the ACA ethics, this is considered ethical--as long as the doctorate is in an counseling-related field: "Counselors clearly state their highest earned degree in counseling or closely related field. Counselors do not imply doctoral-level competence when only possessing a masterís degree in counseling or a related field by referring to themselves as 'Dr.' in a counseling context when their doctorate is not in counseling or related field."
I do think that this takes some sensitivity in actual practice. As I mentioned previously, if you work in a clinic where other "Dr."s work and there is a difference between their specialties, the likelihood of confusion is huge, especially if the other Dr. is a physician. I do think it also applies to a practice that has psychologists, but as long as either of these things are explained clearly to the clients, it should be okay. But then, why the enormous insistence on using it, really? I think all people's motives should be examined. Does it really matter, for example?
The JD example is a good one. Many JDs use "Esq." in their names, which reflects the tradition of the field and the degree. Also, the word "attorney" alone implies a JD. "Psychologist" doesn't quite have the same tradition, what with masters-level practitioners using the title in the past. Let's face it, terminal degrees don't exist in the legal profession at the master's level in the way that also allows independent practice. It truly is field-dependent and can be confusing.