MFTs lose diagnosis fight at Texas Supreme Court

TexasUpdate, February 24, 2017 – The Texas Supreme Court agreed to rehear the case, and ruled that MFTs *are* allowed to independently diagnose. More on the ruling can be found here.

Original post, published June 6, 2016 – Ten days ago, the Texas Supreme Court refused a petition for rehearing from marriage and family therapists (MFTs) seeking to preserve their ability to independently diagnose mental illness. The refusal brings at least a temporary close to a years-long fight between MFTs and the Texas Medical Association, with TMA winning. It could impact other master’s-level professionals not just in Texas but around the country.

Read more

Updated: The ACA should move its 2017 conference out of Tennessee

Updated May 10, 2016: They’re moving the conference. A written statement from President Thelma Duffey is here, and a video from CEO Richard Yep further explaining the decision is here.
 
Updated April 29, 2016: The ACA has released a statement on HB1840 and asking for patience as their leadership weighs its options for the 2017 conference. The full statement is available here.
 
Updated April 28, 2016: Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed the “religious freedom” bill allowing counselors to freely discriminate, and directly contradicting the ACA Code of Ethics. The ACA should move the conference. My original post, published April 21 under the headline “What should the ACA do about its 2017 conference?” follows. -bc

Tennessee capitol - public domain image via Wikimedia CommonsThe American Counseling Association has been vocal in its opposition to pending legislation in Tennessee that would allow counselors to turn clients away based on any personal belief, even if the refusal to treat is discriminatory in nature. They have said that the bill directly contradicts the ACA Code of Ethics and must be vetoed by the Governor.

If the bill passes, however, it puts the ACA in a quandary: Their 2017 conference — for which registration is currently open — is scheduled to be held in Nashville.

Read more

The Last 100 Hours, Part 3: The California Law and Ethics Exam

track-running-lanesThe California Law and Ethics Exam is a major source of anxiety for many people in the process of becoming a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I have heard colleagues repeatedly express anxiety about studying for the exam, the exam process itself, and even the process for receiving results. I’ll address each of these areas below as it relates to my own experience with the exam. As someone who just went through the process myself, I can relate to some of these concerns.

Before I continue, a quick aside on sharing test experiences: Ben’s two posts (part 1 & part 2) on what can and can’t safely be shared from a licensing exam are worth checking out before you post your exam experience on Facebook or otherwise share it with the world, especially in writing.

Read more

How this year’s religious freedom bills would impact therapists

Golden gavel 1, By walknboston (Flickr: Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsSeveral states are considering religious freedom bills that would directly impact therapist training and licensure, and clients’ ability to access appropriate mental health care.

As has been the trend for several years now, these bills — also commonly referred to as “conscience clause” legislation — are being framed as protection of the rights of religious people to act in accordance with their moral or religious beliefs, free from government interference. The bills tend to be broadly written, though there have been at least a few instances of bills being written specifically to apply to mental health (including one this year — see discussion of Tennessee below).

Read more