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I have run into a therapist in my professional duties that refers to herself *and* advertises herself (on various websites) as "Dr." and "Ph.D." Through a little digging I discovered this woman has *never* earned a Ph.D. (she is instead a licensed MFC in California).

I have logged a complaint with the Board of Behavioral Sciences in California in January of this year. I just placed a follow-up call today. Still no word.

Hopefully this will go somewhere, but I'm just infuriated this person continues to practice and misrepresent her services. Any thoughts about other ideas?

I'm hesitant to release her info here (I would just list her websites), but she actually admitted to one of my colleagues she has never earned her Ph.D. (she said she stopped short of sitting for her dissertation defense, which is why she feels justified in referring to herself as "doctor" and lists the Ph.D. by her name), so I suppose it wouldn't be libel, but still... I'm just looking for suggestions about how to stop this quack.

Thanks in advance.
 

loveoforganic

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"so I suppose it wouldn't be libel"

Do you mean to name her on the forum? I agree if that's the case. At any rate, you could notify the school she claims to have graduated from. They might put a little more pressure on her.
 

Markp

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I have run into a therapist in my professional duties that refers to herself *and* advertises herself (on various websites) as "Dr." and "Ph.D." Through a little digging I discovered this woman has *never* earned a Ph.D. (she is instead a licensed MFC in California).

I have logged a complaint with the Board of Behavioral Sciences in California in January of this year. I just placed a follow-up call today. Still no word.

Hopefully this will go somewhere, but I'm just infuriated this person continues to practice and misrepresent her services. Any thoughts about other ideas?

I'm hesitant to release her info here (I would just list her websites), but she actually admitted to one of my colleagues she has never earned her Ph.D. (she said she stopped short of sitting for her dissertation defense, which is why she feels justified in referring to herself as "doctor" and lists the Ph.D. by her name), so I suppose it wouldn't be libel, but still... I'm just looking for suggestions about how to stop this quack.

Thanks in advance.

Send the information to your local psychological association and the APA, I am sure they will get the ball rolling and protect the profession rather than allow her to continue to practice in bad faith.

Mark
 
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Send the information to your local psychological association and the APA, I am sure they will get the ball rolling and protect the profession rather than allow her to continue to practice in bad faith.

Mark
Thanks for the suggestion - I just called the CPA and they suggested lodging a complain with the Board of Psychology as well. Good suggestion and it never occurred to me (since this lady isn't a psychologist) - but since she's pretty much representing herself as one they may be interested as well.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Thanks for the suggestion - I just called the CPA and they suggested lodging a complain with the Board of Psychology as well. Good suggestion and it never occurred to me (since this lady isn't a psychologist) - but since she's pretty much representing herself as one they may be interested as well.
Unfortunately this isn't an isolated case. I've seen this from time to time, and it is often ABD or someone who did a "mail away" Ph.D. in an unrelated area. It is quite frustrating considering the amount of time we put in for our legitimate degrees.

Excellent recommendations by everyone here. Additionally, if really wanted to bring this to light, you may want to drop a line to a local news station. There are often "Help Me Howard" or similar news segment that brings to light crooked people in the community and/or worthwhile public interest stories. Local news loves to do "protecting the community" type stories.
 
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Got a call from the Board of Behavioral Sciences today. They apologized for making me wait so long for a response (one year!) and explained to me that they followed up by writing a letter to this woman and asking her to make sure her MFT license status was included in all of her advertisements, but otherwise, it's "okay" with them if she includes this Ph.D. in her ads, regardless of whether the Ph.D. has anything to do with her qualifications to be a therapist - or, in this case, is a completely fraudulent, made-up degree. :confused::confused::confused::mad::confused::confused::mad::confused::mad::mad::mad:

I am making this woman my project now. This has gone on too long.
 

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Unfortunately, legally, she probably has done nothing wrong. As long as she has a license to provide services, and as long as she isn't practicing outside the scope of said license, she has done nothing illegal. The MFT board in her state might view her actions as unethical, and therefore could make a case, but I am not sure the APA has any ground, as she isn't stating she is a clinical psychologist. This is a prime example of why we have licensure laws. An academic degree doesn't mean much; an individual could have a PhD in psychology or in english lit. Similarly, one could have a PhD from a diploma mill. The point being, academic titles aren't legally regulated, thus, licensure laws were enacted to help protect the public from harm.

In reality, she is lying to her clients, which is certainly unethical, but not illegal.
 

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You mention that you would like to "stop this quack." While I agree that what she is doing is wrong, I don't know that it qualifies her as a quack. She could very well be providing invaluable services to her clients. I will play the devil's advocate for a moment; It is plausible to assume that she would want to highlight her advanced education even though she didn't complete the program, she did complete her coursework, granted she is going about it the wrong way.
 
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You mention that you would like to "stop this quack." While I agree that what she is doing is wrong, I don't know that it qualifies her as a quack. She could very well be providing invaluable services to her clients. It is also understandable why she would want to highlight her advanced education even though she didn't complete the program, granted she is going about it the wrong way.
Oh my goodness...how are you in any way trying to defend this woman's actions? Now I have heard it all!
 
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Unfortunately, legally, she probably has done nothing wrong.

I refer you to http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/publications/lawsregs.pdf

See section 1881 (“PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT,") specifically subsections a, g, and k, and

Section 651 (“PUBLIC COMMUNICATION CONTAINING FALSE, FRAUDULENT, MISLEADING, OR DECEPTIVE STATEMENT, CLAIM, OR IMAGE; ADVERTISEMENTS; PENALTY”), specifically subsections b-2 and c-6.

As far as I can tell, by law she is liable to have her license pulled by the board. Am I reading the laws and regulations wrong here? And this is aside from the fact she has apparently never earned a Ph.D. - in anything.
 

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Unfortunately, legally, she probably has done nothing wrong.
I refer you to http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/publications/lawsregs.pdf

See section 1881 (“PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT,") specifically subsections a, g, and k, and

Section 651 (“PUBLIC COMMUNICATION CONTAINING FALSE, FRAUDULENT, MISLEADING, OR DECEPTIVE STATEMENT, CLAIM, OR IMAGE; ADVERTISEMENTS; PENALTY”), specifically subsections b-2 and c-6.

As far as I can tell, by law she is liable to have her license pulled by the board. Am I reading the laws and regulations wrong here? And this is aside from the fact she has apparently never earned a Ph.D. - in anything.
Well, I guess the laws very greatly between states.
 

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You don't live in Colorado, do you? ;)
No, but Indiana is probably just as bad. But I do stand corrected as it clearly states:

(f) Misrepresentation as to the type or status of a license or registration held by the person, or otherwise misrepresenting or permitting misrepresentation of his or her education, professional qualifications, or professional affiliations to any person or entity.

So, she is misrepresenting herself (from the perspective of her licensing board). I find it strange that they didn't enforce this.
 

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In my opinion, this is one of the frustrating aspects of the legal system in the United States. Correct me if I am wrong, but psychology is regulated fairly consistently across all 50 states, however, professions, such as MFT and social work, have very different guidelines between states. It makes for a very confusing collaboration when we discuss issues beyond state lines.
 

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I am not trying to defend her at all; on the contrary I believe what she is doing is wrong, but that doesn't necessarily qualify her as a quack.
Perhaps quack is the wrong term, because I agree that quackery would constitute knowing what her practice entailed and the efficacy of that treatment. However she appears to be unethical, fraudulent, and deceitful/dishonest, all of which she should be taken to task over.

Mark
 
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The complaint to the Ca. BOP is the best option. The Ca. board governing MFTs is pathetic, and this is definitely both unethical and illegal. ABD does not equal PhD, because D is required for said PhD.
 

loveoforganic

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Just out of curiosity, how would you all feel about her putting ABD? I would assume it's no biggie, since it's true, just a slang term (afaik), and probably not recognized by many out of the field.
 
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Holy crap! Were you asking that as a serious question? I assumed you were joking...

Well, if I must, being "all but defended" is a big BUT. She either completed the degree requirements or not. She has a PhD in clinical psychology or she doesn't. Touting herself as a PhD psychologist is misleading and unethical. Adding a slang disclaimer would be.... silly. And that is putting it nicely.
 

loveoforganic

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Sorry, I meant in place of the PhD, not in addition to.
 
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Sorry, I meant in place of the PhD, not in addition to.
:rolleyes:

Makes no difference. ABD, as you pointed out, is a slang term that means nothing outside of the trainee circle. I'm not sure how a person would even list that without a reference to the PhD. Just for grins and giggles (b/c I still cannot believe you are serious) if I listed myself as "O Gurl, MFT, ABD" what would that mean to anyone? Again, she either has the degree or not.

Now, just for my curiosity, would you ever dream of a physician using an "all-but" denotation?
 

loveoforganic

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I'm not sure in what case a physician would have an opportunity to use an AB denotation, so I'm having a hard time answering your question, and I'm not sure what you're getting at with it anyway. I think it's pertinent in this instance, regardless of how many times you say you think it's silly of me to say so :p. People like qualified health care providers, though they probably don't know by and large what qualified is. Letters are nice and easy to see. "Hm, this person has MS and ABD behind their name." Even if the person does think to ask the therapist what the hell ABD means, the therapist can, without misrepresenting, say what it means, and honestly, that would probably be impressive to a patient. What does a patient care about a dissertation?
 
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I'm not sure in what case a physician would have an opportunity to use an AB denotation, so I'm having a hard time answering your question, and I'm not sure what you're getting at with it anyway.
Really? Seems obvious to me. If a med student failed to attain his/her MD... you would certainly not take an 'all but MD' as any form of blind proof that they can act in a doctor's capacity (or even an advanced medical capacity even if not doctoral). And I would never dream of going to an "all but MD" for health care if I was looking for a doctor (which ties in to my point below).

I think it's pertinent in this instance, regardless of how many times you say you think it's silly of me to say so :p. People like qualified health care providers, though they probably don't know by and large what qualified is. Letters are nice and easy to see. "Hm, this person has MS and ABD behind their name." Even if the person does think to ask the therapist what the hell ABD means, the therapist can, without misrepresenting, say what it means, and honestly, that would probably be impressive to a patient. What does a patient care about a dissertation?
While you may debate the merits of a dissertation in terms of training (I'm sure some of us value research more than others in how it informs our clinical skills) it's a requirement that she failed (or hasn't been able) to complete. [And I would imagine, would get in the way of any postdoctoral training that she might be able to engage in... which, at least in my understanding, most doctoral level providers need to complete to gain enough hours for licensure (which in turn may make me question whether her clinical skills are really advanced enough to confidently advertise herself as anything beyond a master's level training)]. Her ABD status may be reflective of something else (poor research skills? lack of care?) and not necessarily be something that should be touted or assumed to mean that she has any advanced skills worthy of advertising in the first place. And if she is blatantly unethical in this domain (my guess would be to get more $$$ instead of in any beneficence toward her clients) she certainly may be unethical in other domains. ... because really.... why wouldn't she just take the time to defend her dissertation if that's ALL that's left?

And putting that aside (i.e., my personal views as someone who is striving to get their PhD and enter this field as a provider), if I am a patient who is interested enough in receiving mental health care from someone who has a PHD (or doctoral degree) then I should not be taken for a ride. Patients may assume that ABD is a doctoral degree in something due to the ending letter D (e.g., "oh maybe AB stands for applied behavioral whatever") and would probably not go out of their way (you know, trusting their therapist and all) to clarify. And you truly think that a woman who misrepresents herself like this knowingly is going to go out of her way to bring it up and explain voluntarily what it is to a patient who does not ask? In my opinion, being so concerned with being "impressive" to patients that you would list ABD next to your name (when it is nothing more than a slang term and just as potentially misleading as saying you have a PhD when you don't) is more of a marker of self-concern/greed than any actual concern about the quality of care you are delivering to your patients.
 
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Let me rephrase and be more specific. Let's say you have a person who has received their medical degree, clearly a different scenario, but stopped short of completing residency, which is required to practice in many jurisdictions. Prior to med school, they were credentialed as a physician's assistant. Would you be ok with them listing their PA credentials and an all-but-residency denotation for their M.D.?

What I am getting at is that it is strange to think that an almost, but no cigar, attempt at a degree can or should be listed as a professional credential. Degrees have termination points for a reason. It is not up to consumers to take some person's word for having done enough to practice. I sure as hell wouldn't trust an "attorney" who is just lacking a passing bar exam to give me legal advice. I wouldn't trust a "surgeon" who stopped just shy of completing their residency to operate on me. I don't think anyone should trust their mental health to an almost psychologist. She has an MFT. Great! She should work with that and not try to credit herself for her partial doctorate training. Btw, I have a hard time believing that the dissertation alone kept her from completing her degree... but hey, that is something we can never know. Nor do we have to debate. At the end of the day, she did not complete the requirements for her program to award her a doctorate degree, so it should not bear mention as a credential.
 
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And putting that aside, if I am a patient who is interested enough in receiving mental health care from someone who claims they have a PHD then I should not be taken for a ride. Patients may assume that ABD is a doctoral degree in something due to the ending letter D (e.g., "oh maybe AB stands for applied behavioral whatever") and would probably not go out of their way (you know, trusting their therapist and all) to clarify. And you truly think that a woman who misrepresents herself like this knowingly is going to go out of her way to bring it up and explain voluntarily what it is to a patient who does not ask?
Spot on. And if by some miracle, she found her honesty bone and disclosed/clarified this, what is the client's recourse? How do they validate this story? Should they contact her training director to be sure she did all but a dissertation? Which, I must restate, sounds like B.S. It is more plausible that she couldn't get or complete an internship than couldn't complete any project to satisfy a committee of 3-5 people who have a stake in her training and future.
 
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Spot on. And if by some miracle, she found her honesty bone and disclosed/clarified this, what is the client's recourse? How do they validate this story? Should they contact her training director to be sure she did all but a dissertation? Which, I must restate, sounds like B.S. It is more plausible that she couldn't get or complete an internship than couldn't complete any project to satisfy a committee of 3-5 people who have a stake in her training and future.
Agreed. And the ABD in this case sounds even fishier because according to the OP she simply "stopped short of sitting for her dissertation defense"... I highly doubt that's all to the story either. :)
 

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:rolleyes:

Makes no difference. ABD, as you pointed out, is a slang term that means nothing outside of the trainee circle. I'm not sure how a person would even list that without a reference to the PhD. Just for grins and giggles (b/c I still cannot believe you are serious) if I listed myself as "O Gurl, MFT, ABD" what would that mean to anyone? Again, she either has the degree or not.
It's funny how you say ABD "means nothing outside of the trainee circle"...as opposed to PhD which means what exactly? Patients/clients need to know if the person is competent enough to do assessment or provide therapy--basically to know if he's licensed. That's all. Were it to be decided that a person with masters degree is competent enough to provide therapy and get labeled a "psychologist," then that's what will happen. These rules are not set in stone. If the powers that be are to decide that having a bachelor's degree is sufficient, then having a PhD would have no relevance to clinical practice.

Legally, of course, ABD would be meaningless. If you need a PhD, then you need a PhD, not just masters or ABD or whatever. If you need a PhD from a Western country, then having a PhD from the best university in China would mean nothing.

And being deceptive is still another thing. Misrepresentation, outright lies and deceit are unacceptable, specially because therapists' clientele are often people with boundary issues, usually vulnerable to being taken advantage of.

Whether this person is truly competent or not, this is primarily a legal matter, and secondarily a matter of ethics because of the outright deception. This is reason enough, I believe, for DrGero to follow up on this.

More open to debate is the matter of competency. If this person had been a stellar clinician but was unable to complete her thesis, would she be a competent clinician?
 

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Thanks for your replies :) I hope you at least see why asking your opinions on the matter wasn't absurd. For reference, I wasn't inputting my opinion on the ethics of the situation in my description of how it could be used, just my opinion on how I could envision the situation happening.

The MD/PA thing is actually interesting, and I wonder if any such thing has ever happened. MD completion, regardless of residency completion, earns you the title beside your name (e.g. Michael Crichton). I'd certainly feel it would be unethical (and illegal) for the PA to misrepresent as a physician, and by attaching those letters to the white coat would almost inherently be misrepresenting, but I wonder how delicately worded the law actually is.
 
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It's funny how you say ABD "means nothing outside of the trainee circle"...as opposed to PhD which means what exactly? Patients/clients need to know if the person is competent enough to do assessment or provide therapy--basically to know if he's licensed. That's all.
Righteous?! :eek:

Um, a PhD means someone has completed a doctoral program's requirements for degree. You are absolutely right in that clinically it is without teeth sans licensure (which ties into my point about an MD who never completed residency). However, a PhD means SOMETHING. ABD is a jocular, slang term to discuss someone who is has yet to defend. Kinda like the term "super senior" that I used in undergrad to describe 5th and 6th year students. If the difference between a slang term and the oldest degree known to man is not clear to anyone reading this, then... never mind.

And if all the client needs to know is that a person is licensed, then why, pray tell, can this woman not just use her MFT licensure in her advertisements? The answer is simple.
 
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The MD/PA thing is actually interesting, and I wonder if any such thing has ever happened. MD completion, regardless of residency completion, earns you the title beside your name (e.g. Michael Crichton). I'd certainly feel it would be unethical (and illegal) for the PA to misrepresent as a physician, and by attaching those letters to the white coat would almost inherently be misrepresenting, but I wonder how delicately worded the law actually is.
We already agreed on the initial point. As our training models are different, there is no perfect apples to apples comparison. Thus I described a person who has the MD and a PA, but never completed residency to practice in a certain jurisdiction as an MD. But given this scenario, would you be Ok with this person using their MD title with a denotation that they have "all but residency" to "practice" as a doctor? Gets confusing, but my main point is that a person either has credentialing (degree and license) or not. Any attempt to dance around an incomplete is unethical IMO. We, as professionals (in training), have to be vigilant in making sure that we maintain open and honest representation in our respective fields.
 

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I would not be OK with a clinician (NP, PA, psychologist, whatever) representing an MD in a clinical setting with completion of med school and not residency. I was going to bring up some differences between the two examples again, but after tossing it around a little more, I think they're close enough to answer my original question, and that would be in concordance with y'all.
 

Existenz

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Sometimes I call my neighbor "captain" because he referred to himself as that; perhaps I should check his credentials for quackery? :p
 

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I was ABD two years ago. Since then, I collected original data over the course of a year, read, coded, and analyzed thousands of pages of text, wrote a 200 page dissertation over several drafts, and defended my work in a spirited discussion among people whose research is quite different. ABD ain't much.
 
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All I know about this is that a woman who has such a low opinion of what she's accomplished that she must lie about it hardly sounds like she's of the moral character and personal competency to be delivering mental health treatment to others.

And yes, she may perhaps be helping people...but she's still a liar. And while some people may not value what the PhD means, those who have struggled to legitimately achieve that designation know that it deserves respect. It appalls me that anyone would try to make excuses for a woman who is blatantly misrepresenting herself.

That being said, it's a little disheartening that the OP would be so concerned with what this woman is doing. Really, spend your energy on your own professional betterment, not in worrying about what someone else is doing.
 
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That being said, it's a little disheartening that the OP would be so concerned with what this woman is doing. Really, spend your energy on your own professional betterment, not in worrying about what someone else is doing.
Only problem is this woman is harming other people (I know a bit more about her and her practice than I've posted here). She *is* a quack, and I don't think it's ethical to just sit idly by and focus on my own "professional betterment" while she hurts people.
 
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That being said, it's a little disheartening that the OP would be so concerned with what this woman is doing. Really, spend your energy on your own professional betterment, not in worrying about what someone else is doing.
I'm sure the OP can continue to work on his own professional betterment while putting his focus on this matter. If making this his pet project begins to interfere with his work or quality of life (functionality) or causes him too much emotional distress... than sure, one wouldn't recommend it.

Personally, I think it's fine to zero in like this on someone who is doing something unethical and attempt to do something about it... and frankly, I think more people in our field need to be more active in addressing the problems we face as a field (financial to unethical) instead of passively sitting by and turning a blind eye.

If someone doesn't pursue issues like this - or if we all give up midway - if we all bemoan poor ethical (and even potentially illegal or harmful practices) but don't actually do anything about it... we're never going to better our field as a whole (which btw, can actually contribute to our own "professional betterment" and is something that we sure as heck should care about as much as the immediate rewards of our own careers). And if we just let that one person go ("because, really, they're only one person"), and someone else lets that other person get away with it, and then another person.... you'll soon have a whole bunch of people on your hands actually causing harm (which will be even harder to deal with). We can't fix everything, sure, but we can attempt to address macro-level problems on the micro-level (i.e., we gotta start somewhere). We may have an ineffective legal system (or professional organization at that), but no thanks to the number of people who see something wrong occurring and don't push to have current laws or sanctions endorsed even in just that one single case.
 

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loveoforganic

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I'm sure the OP can continue to work on his own professional betterment while putting his focus on this matter. If making this his pet project begins to interfere with his work or quality of life (functionality) or causes him too much emotional distress... than sure, one wouldn't recommend it.

Personally, I think it's fine to zero in like this on someone who is doing something unethical and attempt to do something about it... and frankly, I think more people in our field need to be more active in addressing the problems we face as a field (financial to unethical) instead of passively sitting by and turning a blind eye.

If someone doesn't pursue issues like this - or if we all give up midway - if we all bemoan poor ethical (and even potentially illegal or harmful practices) but don't actually do anything about it... we're never going to better our field as a whole (which btw, can actually contribute to our own "professional betterment" and is something that we sure as heck should care about as much as the immediate rewards of our own careers). And if we just let that one person go ("because, really, they're only one person"), and someone else lets that other person get away with it, and then another person.... you'll soon have a whole bunch of people on your hands actually causing harm (which will be even harder to deal with). We can't fix everything, sure, but we can attempt to address macro-level problems on the micro-level (i.e., we gotta start somewhere). We may have an ineffective legal system (or professional organization at that), but no thanks to the number of people who see something wrong occurring and don't push to have current laws or sanctions endorsed even in just that one single case.
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

aequitasveritas

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In a situation like this in San Diego people have often notified the local ethics committee board members or very senior psychologists who represent sort of an old guard. These figures usually have a sit down lunch with the person in question and lay out in very clear terms the issues at hand and the ramifications of non-compliance.

You may want to try that.

Best of luck.

AV
 
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If she is a quack then, the real complaint would be about the therapy she is providing, and not just about her misrepresenting herself and her education. If that's the case, then I would imagine that her providing detrimental treatment to clients would be the biggest complaint, and that the OP's complaints to various authorities would be taken more seriously.

If this crusade on the part of the OP is due to her potentially hurting her clients, then I support it. But if it's predominantly because she's calling herself a PhD or Dr. when she isn't, then I am sorry, but I find that to be the OP fixating on someone who is offending his/her sensibilities. And, in my opinion, that's not healthy.
 

Markp

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If it's predominantly because she's calling herself a PhD or Dr. when she isn't, then I am sorry, but I find that to be the OP fixating on someone who is offending his/her sensibilities. And, in my opinion, that's not healthy.
Sorry, it's stealing and taking something that isn't yours... As a professional you have an ethical duty to intervene.

It's like those "veterans" who claim they were war hero's and only to find out that all the medals they are wearing were never earned and in some cases they never served in the military.

Anytime you lie or falsify your credentials is a SERIOUS issue. People work hard, very hard, to become licensed professionals in this and other fields. To lie about your education and qualifications is wrong, unethical, and often illegal.

Mark
 
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In a situation like this in San Diego people have often notified the local ethics committee board members or very senior psychologists who represent sort of an old guard. These figures usually have a sit down lunch with the person in question and lay out in very clear terms the issues at hand and the ramifications of non-compliance.

You may want to try that.

Best of luck.

AV
On that note, I got a call back from the President of the county psychological association within which this woman operates. He apparently is very interested in talking to me - I will be calling him back shortly. Stay tuned.
 

futureapppsy2

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Which, I must restate, sounds like B.S. It is more plausible that she couldn't get or complete an internship than couldn't complete any project to satisfy a committee of 3-5 people who have a stake in her training and future.

NOT defending the woman described by the OP in anyway (From everything that's been posted here, it sounds like it's probably blatant and unethical fraud), but I do now someone who has successfully completed everything but her dissertation, including an APA-accredited internship. Even though she's two and a half years out of internship, she could never recruit enough participants for her study and so has yet to write or defend her dissertation.

Granted, it would still be misrepresentation/fraud and unethical for her to claim to be a "doctor" or to have a PhD (and AFAIK, she doesn't do so), but it shows that some people really can be "ABD" in the literal sense.
 
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NOT defending the woman described by the OP in anyway (From everything that's been posted here, it sounds like it's probably blatant and unethical fraud), but I do now someone who has successfully completed everything but her dissertation, including an APA-accredited internship. Even though she's two and a half years out of internship, she could never recruit enough participants for her study and so has yet to write or defend her dissertation.

Granted, it would still be misrepresentation/fraud and unethical for her to claim to be a "doctor" or to have a PhD (and AFAIK, she doesn't do so), but it shows that some people really can be "ABD" in the literal sense.
Oh, yeah. I didn't mean to suggest that ABD doesn't exist. I, too, have heard of people finishing internship before defending. But all of them keep plugging away and eventually get it done. I may not have enough info about the woman in question here but it doesn't sound like she is still in pursuit of the degree. I just have no reference for that kind of scenario. Just sounds very suspect to me.
 
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Just out of curiosity, how would you all feel about her putting ABD? I would assume it's no biggie...
Actually, it is. This was presented as an issue when I was studying ethics in-depth for my licensing exam. You are not supposed to use anything in your advertising that could be misleading, including a string of letters such as "ABD," which might lead an uninformed person to think you've got some extra degree. In fact, you're not even supposed to put "Ph.D. Candidate" when you are one, as a lay person might be confused and assume that means you already have a Ph.D.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Actually, it is. This was presented as an issue when I was studying ethics in-depth for my licensing exam. You are not supposed to use anything in your advertising that could be misleading, including a string of letters such as "ABD," which might lead an uninformed person to think you've got some extra degree. In fact, you're not even supposed to put "Ph.D. Candidate" when you are one, as a lay person might be confused and assume that means you already have a Ph.D.
Good point. The "Ph.D. Candidate" designation drives me nuts, because you see it all over the place, and it is incorrect.
 

Markp

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Good point. The "Ph.D. Candidate" designation drives me nuts, because you see it all over the place, and it is incorrect.
Funny because that's what is in my email signature block. Our program uses it to distinguish between those who have completed qualifying exams and those who have not. I could care less, but that's the way it is.

Mark
 
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Funny because that's what is in my email signature block. Our program uses it to distinguish between those who have completed qualifying exams and those who have not. I could care less, but that's the way it is.
It's fine within the context of an academic program.

It becomes problematic when it's used in, say, advertising or other materials targeted to lay people (especially potential clients). Within academia, it's expected that one knows what differentiates a doctoral student from a Ph.D. candidate from a Ph.D. (although people still manage to use "Ph.D. Candidate" wrongly!). A lay person, though, might see Ph.D. Candidate, misread or misunderstand, and assume you have a Ph.D.