Lawsuit accuses APA of defamation over torture report

A 2015 report commissioned by the American Psychological Association determined that the organization colluded with military and CIA officials to allow psychologists to participate in torture of military detainees. Five people named in that report have now sued the APA and the report’s author, David Hoffman. (The report is widely known and referenced as the Hoffman Report.) The lawsuit alleges that Hoffman worked with longtime APA critics to create a one-sided and often inaccurate telling of how the APA interacted with military and intelligence officials. This report then allowed the APA to use the five as scapegoats, they say, in some cases ending their careers.

The Hoffman Report, and the APA’s responses to it, are collected here. The lawsuit can be read here. They present vastly different perspectives on the events Hoffman and his team investigated.

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Agencies are now charging trainees to work there, too [Updated]

currencyIf you’ve been around this blog a while, you’ve heard me rail against unpaid internships that are often illegal. I’ve encouraged anyone who has been through such an internship to fight for their rights — including back wages. I’ve also argued that the “intern” title is part of the problem, and thankfully, it’s changing to “Associate” for California MFTs and PCCs in 2018. But interns aren’t alone in troubling and potentially exploitive work settings.

Around Los Angeles, it is increasingly common for agencies to charge significant fees to trainees — students in graduate school, doing the clinical hours they need to graduate — for the privilege of working for free.

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What’s going on with California’s MFT Clinical Exam? [Updated]

California flagIt is certainly debatable what an ideal pass rate for licensing exams should be. If the pass rate is high, that means almost everyone gets through. Then the tests don’t serve a meaningful function. (That’s pretty much the status quo.) If the pass rate is low, it raises questions about the validity of the exam, given how much time most examinees spend preparing for it. But what makes a pass rate too high or too low? Given that the exams don’t do much of anything anyway, it’s hard to say for sure.

But it does raise eyebrows when pass rates for a single exam fall off a cliff, as seems to have happened for California MFTs over the past year.

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Four reasons to move your practice online

USMC videoconferencing familyAs I’ve outlined in the past two weeks, there is a lot we know and a lot we don’t know about online therapy. If you’re considering moving part or all of your practice online, there are a lot of things to consider. Do you have the appropriate technology, and are you comfortable using it? Do you have policies and practices ready for online work? Have you ensured that your online work will be fully legally and ethically compliant, and consistent with best practices like those outlined in the new AAMFT Online Therapy Best Practices guide? Are your clients appropriate for online therapy?

Many therapists wrestle with the choice of whether to practice online. While these are not determining factors — in other words, I’m not saying your final decision should be to practice online, as there’s more to consider than what’s below — here are four good reasons to consider making the move.

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What we don’t know about online therapy

USMC videoconferencing familyLast week, I offered a snapshot of what we know about online therapy. That data shows a great deal of potential for online work. However, there is also a lot that we don’t know about online therapy. In today’s post, I’ll address three of those unanswered questions.

As I mentioned last week, the research base for online psychotherapy is growing quickly. It may be that answers to these questions will be more readily available just weeks or months from now. In addition, the fact that we do not yet have answers to these questions should not stop therapists interested in working online from doing so. But for the time being, these are issues where we as a field are still seeking important information.

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HIPAA compliance: Three great resources under $35

HHS logo. HHS offers information on HIPAA
The US Department of Health and Human Services.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, confuses a lot of therapists. Parts of the law are flexible based on the size and type of entity involved. Other parts apply equally to every covered entity. It’s a big and complex law, one that sometimes scares therapists and counselors away from using technology in their work.

Thankfully, there are a number of good and inexpensive resources for psychotherapists who want to comply with the law. Each of the ones listed below is less than $35.

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