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Interesting article on disdain for Master's practitioners & turf wars in psycho

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by biogirl215, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. biogirl215

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    http://www.psichi.org/pubs/articles/article_90.asp

    I found this while searching for sources for the Basics of Graduate level programs guide that I am compiling for one of my classes. I really disagree with his "pecking order" (I HIGHLY doubt a non-APA accredited clinical PhD would be given more credance over a counseling PhD or even a LCSW MSW), but I found it really interesting overall.

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. mslinzyann

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    On one hand, I see where he is coming from with the pecking order, though I agree that accredation is of major importance. Still it does seem that the persons with the most education should be on top of the pecking order, formally or informally supervising those with lower degrees.

    Otherwise, what is the real point of getting the doctoral level degree, particularly in the case of the PsyD?
     
  4. Rapunzel

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    Thanks for posting that. I guess it depends on where you are as far as non-APA clinical PhDs, but in my state that seems like a dead end with no possibility of licensure. Maybe in some states less credence is given to APA accredited programs. They still do as much work getting the degree.

    Other than that detail, which would be another interesting question, I really liked this article. I grew up in a family where there were limits on everything from how many cookies or potato chips you could have (no more than anybody else) to what you could do with your life. In college, limits stood out to me much larger than life. When a psych 102 professor made a broad statement about psychology not being open to people who had their own problems, I gave up and changed majors. In that program they drilled into us that graduate training was the only acceptable option (in communicative disorders), and that there were no jobs at the bachelor's level. When I didn't get accepted to their master's program (because they said I lacked the social skills to do anything in the social sciences) I gave up on any options for having a career at all. I spent 12 years telling people that college was nothing but a waste of time and money. All I had to show for it was debt. I had a dual major in psychology too, and believed that master's level training was not an option, because that was the only perspective I was exposed to. This perceived lack of options contributed to severe discouragement and, well, let's just say that it got really bad. I thought that I didn't deserve to exist and had no purpose. That was compounded again by many of the factors Actkinson listed - lack of money, program availability, family considerations, and lack of research experience or means of acquiring research experience. It looked pretty hopeless, even though I knew that I was capable of independent learning, and intelligent, and had experience and skills that would be helpful. I was an honors student, with good grades, decent GRE scores (when I was turned down in Com D, my advisor was shocked that the department was actually turning away someone with my test scores).

    When I looked up PhD programs, I found statements about justifying why a doctoral degree was needed or wanted, when one could simply get a master's degree if one wanted to be a clinician. I do want to do more than I can with a master's degree, but I ended up enrolling in the program that was available to me at the time, so I am just now finishing a MS in counseling. That appealed to me more than the dead end job I had as line staff in residential treatment where I was getting $6/hour to get beaten up, and was told that I was too old to be considered for any other positions.

    Now I am applying again to doctoral programs, and will keep trying if I don't get in this year. I'm better off than I would have been without going for this degree. I'm still aware that some people will look down on me and think that I shouldn't be doing psychotherapy, and it bothers me a little bit, but not as much as I thought it would. The bottom line is that I am doing psychotherapy, and my clients say that I help them.

    I could have probably avoided some painful and dangerous setbacks in my life if someone had admitted that I did have options (there are bachelor's level careers in ComD with possibilities to complete an employer-funded master's degree, and there are also bachelor's level and master's level psychology careers). I had a teacher in junior high school who said we should aim for the top. Don't be a nurse - you could be a doctor. And my parents who never thought I could do anything worthwhile. A little bit of balance would have been very helpful.
     
  5. Therapist4Chnge

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    Much of the therapy is being handled by MA/MS level practitioners now, with the doctoral level being the supervisors and/or administrators. I know I don't plan on doing much therapy/assessment outside of a small caseload....as there is far better money to be made elsewhere.
     
  6. biogirl215

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  7. racek

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    rapunzel that is an inspiring story. i hope that you get into a good program and keep pursuing your goals. your psych 102 prof. was way off - many mental health professionals have suffered with their own problems. anyhow, i am glad that you are working past all of that discouragement now.
     
  8. psybee

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  9. Rapunzel

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    There are people who just have a natural, intuitive, talent, which is refined by training at whichever level. Those are probably the people who, without training, would be the friend others gravitate to when they need to talk about something. Or in other eras they might grow into roles as local healers, sages, wisemen or wisewomen.

    One difference between master's and doctoral level therapists might be partially who is attracted to which option, and why. There have been students in my master's program that I wouldn't want to go to for counseling myself (some of these didn't continue through the program, or even the first few classes, but to some extent some might make it through). These are the ones who thought it would be an easy way to get into a career they perceived as desireable, but didn't want to deal with research, statistics, and a lot of the real work associated with graduate school. Some of them didn't really seem to me to understand what this work is all about. But there are others who really are dedicated and who want to make the effort and do the work if it will make them better therapists. Many of these would prefer doctoral degrees and may continue if given the chance or may just not have that opportunity. I wouldn't expect any of the first group to be reading here, as they probably wouldn't be that motivated to participate in non-required extras.

    I think that it is possible for master's level professionals to get excellent training and to be very good as therapists, but they have to have enough motivation to go beyond the minimum. By the time that we qualify for independent licensure, in my state, we have about five years of training, including two years of post-graduate internship. It is just focused more on hands on experience and practical clinical skills. Personally, I would prefer to have doctoral-level training, and I did apply for that again this year and would keep applying if it doesn't work out this year. But if I never get that opportunity, I will continue to seek additional training and experience and develop specialties and read independently as I have always done, and I think that all of that should count for something.

    So, my hypothesis is that there are at least two different sets of master's level professionals, and that differences in motivation and natural abilities of the individuals might account for more than the level of the degree earned.
     
  10. Ollie123

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    I'd agree with this.

    I'm with T4C on the therapy aspect too - I think as a field we are moving further away from being "therapists" at the doctoral level. I'm not sure that's a bad thing either. Obviously I may be a bit biased since I'm strongly focused on academia, but I really don't think that is where our greatest strengths are as a profession, and the current evidence supports that point.

    Obviously our role in science is pretty well established, but I see doctoral level clinical work moving towards a stronger focus on assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning as time marches on. I think these are the areas where training would really allow people to stand out from other degrees, especially as we inevitably progress to a more biologically-oriented field. I don't see that as a hierarchy, moreso specialization.

    Also definitely disagree with the placement of non-APA PhD anywhere near that high. Maybe in clinical settings its different (though with potential licensure difficulties, I'm doubtful), but I know we'd hire a counseling or experimental PhD eons before we'd hire a non-accredited clinical.
     
  11. Therapist4Chnge

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    I pretty much agree with Ollie's entire post.

    I won't be doing much therapy/assessment once I become established (too many other things I'd like to do), though I can see how a greater level of training would help with particularly hard cases and/or bring something else to the table via supervision.
     
  12. PSYDR

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    1) the article uses many many very old references... which is suspect

    2) his myths/misinformation points are largely correct.

    3) texas does have an LPC license that does not require supervision. the LPA the author references is a BA level license.

    4) there definitely is a pecking order, not that his is correct. this is a fact of life. dr.s are always going to be preferred. greater education = greater book knowledge. many of the MA ppl i have spoken with have shocking gaps of knowledge and tend to evaluate themselves as better than phds.

    5) the author's assertion that ranks are based upon snobbery is silly to me. the ranking is generally based upon years of education and difficulty of getting into the program. in general, i have more respect for the opinion of someone who goes to harvard than nyc city college in their field.

    6) it seems that his thesis is that a MA is a viable degree for some. which it is. that is not to say that a MA is an equitable or better education than a phd. it simply is not.

    biogirl: it is EXCEPTIONALLY concerning that an LPC is supervising Phd students. I am almost positive this practice is not CoA compliant and illegal in most state laws.
     
  13. biogirl215

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    ^
    Well, the clinical psych students are also supervised individually by Licensed Clinical Psychologists. The LPC does the group supervision for all levels of practitioners (undergrad, MSW, MA, PhD) and then the Clinical Psych PhD students also have individual supervision with a PhD psychologist.
     

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