Ethical question

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by rayrayz, 05.21.14.

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  1. rayrayz

    rayrayz

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    Hi, I just discovered this site and love what I'm finding. I found a few old posts discussing this issue but I would like to hear a few more opinions in regards to the matter.

    I am a licensed lcpc in my state and I am free to practice independently. Now, from what I've been able to deduce from contacting different boards I believe this is completely legal, however I'm asking the question from an ethical stand point, not a legal one.

    My practice is pretty successful and I make a nice living, but as I'm sure many of you know, us therapists in private practice can use whatever advantage we can get in terms of differentiating ourselves from the competition. In addition to a marketing stand point, I also see this as an opportunity to learn some more and develop some more skills.

    Here's what I'm thinking. There are a number of psyd/phd programs out there which are fully accredited by the united states department of education but not APA accredited. I have no interest in becoming a licensed psychologist, however I do believe an additional doctorate will 1) improve my marketability and 2) improve my training skills. I have no intention in tricking people though. So here's where I'm holding.

    If I were to get a PhD in something like Marriage and Family therapy or even social work, there would be no deception in marketing my self as John Doe, PhD, LCPC, licensed psychotherapist, because a doctorate degree is a doctorate degree and that does not imply I'm something that I'm not. However there is one very tempting psyd program out there which seems to have a curriculum that really appeals to me, but I'm not sure about marketing myself as John Doe, PsyD lcpc as I'm worried people may mistake me for a psychologist. Do you guys think people would make this mistake? should this prevent me from pursuing a psyd? what If I state explicitly,

    John Doe, PsyD, LCPC, licensed psychotherapist, professional counselor


    Thanks for bearing with me guys.

    Looking forward to hearing back
     
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  3. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-VA 7+ Year Member

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    If the doctorate is related to the vocation or service you are advertising, its fair game, I believe. You of course must clarify with the patient though that you are NOT a psychologist.

    If you get a Ph.D. in managment, history, art history, basket weaving, then no, referring to yourself as "Dr. So and So" would NOT be appopriate in the context of your MH services.
     
    Last edited: 05.21.14
  4. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist SDN Moderator 5+ Year Member

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    Agreed. If the doctorate is in MFT or social work, for example, listing the credential on your materials wouldn't really be disingenuous so long as you clarify with patients. I personally feel that a proactive approach is most appropriate in these types of situations. In my case, for example, if I refer to myself as Dr. AA in a hospital setting with a new patient, I'll then very clearly delineate my position (postdoctoral fellow) and area of specialty (neuropsychology), and will let them know that I'm a psychologist and not a medical doctor.
     
  5. rayrayz

    rayrayz

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    Thanks for the replies, Acronym, I noticed you mentioned MFT or Social work, how would you feel about the PsyD if I was "proactive"

     
  6. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist SDN Moderator 5+ Year Member

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    Essentially the same way--let them know what the degree is in, but clarify that you aren't a psychologist (unless you're licensed as one, in which case have at it).
     
  7. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Seems grey to me.

    PhD or PsyD. . . makes no difference. Both can be clinical degrees. There's no more or less of an implication of that by having it after your name in the context of advertising mental health services. IF you are going to get a PhD in a clinical field, you might as well get licensed at that level. You aren't saving yourself time. Also, unless the degree is free, I don't think it makes economic sense to get it for the purpose you state.

    My opinion is that it would be unethical to advertise the PhD/PsyD for the purposes of marketing your clinical skills without licensure at that level.
     
  8. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Neuropsychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Agreed. Also, are you going to be significantly altering the scope of your practice? If so, I don't see how this helps you out that much to be honest. If you get a degree from somewhere that is known to be terrible, providers like me will actually be less likely to refer to you. And, any reputable program will likely eat up at least 5 years of your life (grad +internship). Doesn't seem like a pragmatic decision unless you are looking for a new direction to go in. The pure marketability standpoint seems like a diminishing return.
     
  9. smalltownpsych

    smalltownpsych 2+ Year Member

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    I agree with the above. To me this has always a red flag and I have pointed this out to clients in the past who were looking at various treatment options. Although this is not your intent, it also adds to the problem of non-accredited degrees in psychology which diminishes the perceived value of the degrees that lead to licensure.
     
  10. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist SDN Moderator 5+ Year Member

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    Again, my take--the end goal is to aim for transparency. So if you include the credential but aren't licensed at the doctoral level, and if there's a decent chance for confusion from the client's perspective, then it needs to be clarified. This is what irks me about folks like Dr. Laura, for example; her Ph.D. is in physiology, so in my opinion, she's disingenuously presenting herself as a psychologist/psychiatrist when dishing out horrible life advice.
     
  11. ikibah

    ikibah MSW student 2+ Year Member

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    I agree with this. It's one thing if you put "John Doe PsyD, LCPC" and leave it as is as then people will think you are a psychologist. However, if you state afterwords "John Doe PsyD, LCPC, psychotherapist, professional counselor" as you mentioned I don't think it's unethical as you earned a degree that relates to your career of counseling and you are in no way implying imho that you are a psychologist. A degree and license are two very different things and while a client/patient can get confused if you state your profession clearly I see no problem with it. It's just representing that you earned a degree in a subject which is in the "zone" of what you practice.
     
  12. Doctor Eliza

    Doctor Eliza 5+ Year Member

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    I have a friend who is licensed as social worker. She later went to an unaccredited psych PhD program that did not qualify her for licensure in our state. She writes her name as Dr. Jane Doe, LISW. My understanding is that this was something she checked out with the social worker board many years ago (she has been licensed for 20+ years).
     
  13. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I think it's misleading, however you write it. The general public has a hard time distinguishing between psychologists and psychiatrists, they aren't going to be able to tell the difference between John Doe, PhD, LISW, John Doe, PhD, LCPC or John Doe, PhD, ABPP.

    I can't see a reason other than trying to mislead someone to advertising yourself as a doctoral level provider when you aren't.
     
  14. ikibah

    ikibah MSW student 2+ Year Member

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    Maybe to show clients that you have diverse academic accomplishments and have furthered your education in the mental health field? Why can't a social worker/counselor advertise that they have say a research-oriented marriage and family therapy PhD?
     
  15. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    "Maybe to show clients that you have diverse academic accomplishments and have furthered your education in the mental health field? Why can't a social worker/counselor advertise that they have say a research-oriented marriage and family therapy PhD"

    If the degree were called a "Mega Doctorate or MD" and you listed your credential as John Doe, MD, LISW or John Doe, MD, PA or John Doe, MD, ARNP would that not be misleading? How is a non-clinical doctorate any more relevant than a Mega Doctorate to a clinical advertisement? What if my PhD was in Archeology? What if my archeology doctorate emphasized anthropology? Should I list it? Bottomline, you list it, you are going to come up as a doctoral level provider in searches. That's wrong.
     
    Last edited: 05.25.14
  16. ikibah

    ikibah MSW student 2+ Year Member

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    If the Mega Doctorate was an actual accredited degree that people knew existed (and it was mental health-related) than I would in fact list it. The reason it sounds so crazy the way you're saying it is because we all know there is no such thing as a "Mega Doctorate" therefore if one put John Doe, MD, LISW, the only option people would think is medical doctor. PhD on the other hand is not limited to meaning "licensed"...it is a degree earned. If specified that you are a social worker or counselor with a doctorate then I again, I see no problem with it.
     
  17. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 2+ Year Member

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    I'd have to agree as long as it was related and it was specified what it was in, someway or another.
     
  18. fresnel

    fresnel

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    Seems to me that as long as you have had formal training in what you are delivering and as long as you are not deceiving or misrepresenting your credentials, should be ok. I've said this before but not been believed on this site but I know a faculty member who calls himself a neuropsychologist and who supervises students conducting assessments-he has an experimental psychology degree. Spent a sabbatical being taught various tests and how to administer them-with no formal course work or even recognition by the hospital where his friend allowed him to test-returned to his home university, and marketed himself as a neuropsychologist. For a while his Vita had (x's used to obscure identify)
    "University of xxxxx - xxxxxx B Physiological Psychology Accredited Program in Clinical Psychology". While the university had an accredited program, he had not been in that program. I view that as a problem because he had no formal training in anything applied.
     

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