In the world of private education, it isn’t uncommon for universities to be bought and sold. But recent years have seen a spike in the acquisition of private universities offering graduate degrees in mental health fields. Many students may not even be aware that their universities are now parts of larger corporations.
Ben recently published an article on the shortage of therapists in California. He discussed the “supply-demand disconnect” and why it’s so difficult to meet the needs of clients across the state. Toward the end of the article, he remarked that due to this shortage, “more of our functions will be turned over to substance abuse counselors, peer counselors, and other professionals and para-professionals.”
What did he mean by that? How can therapists possibly be replaced by individuals who haven’t earned a master’s degree, aren’t registered with the Board of Behavioral Sciences, and aren’t supervised by a qualified mental health professional? Unfortunately, I can cite examples from my own personal experiences in the workforce that support Ben’s claim.
If you’re a therapist in private practice, you’re probably listed on Psychology Today. For better or worse, it’s the 800-pound gorilla of therapist directories: It gets a ton of traffic, which means its pages show up high in search results, which generate even more traffic.
Despite owning the market, the Psychology Today directory is not necessarily well-liked. Its user experience looks and feels dated. While advanced searches are possible, the main search page only allows searches by name and location. Therapists and clients alike sometimes grumble that the information therapists can share on their profiles is limited.
For a new generation of online therapist directories, the failure of Psychology Today to improve its product represents a tremendous opportunity.
ACA, AAMFT, and CAMFT continue to work with and others in Washington to get LPCs and LMFTs included as eligible providers in Medicare. Bills pending before both the House and Senate would do it. And that change would be beneficial for consumers and taxpayers alike.
Look, I’m not here to defend the BBS (California’s Board of Behavioral Sciences) or any other licensing board. They’re not your friend. They require deeply flawed exams that even they know don’t work. Their disciplinary guidelines, especially around substance use issues, are unreasonably punitive. They are notoriously unresponsive. There are a lot of problems there. But it’s also true that most complaints about the BBS are based on flat-out falsehoods.