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.

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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).

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Why you should read Saving Psychotherapy, in two charts

Saving psychotherapy cover image (c) Copyright 2015 Benjamin E. Caldwell.My new book, Saving Psychotherapy, will be officially released September 22 [Update: Here it is!]. An edited excerpt about licensing exams is available here. Another excerpt focused on student debt appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of AAMFT’s Family Therapy Magazine (it starts on page 26).

I could spend a lot of time convincing you why you should read the book, but I think these two charts will be sufficient.

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Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act would ban conversion therapy nationally

US Capitol domeFollowing successful bans of conversion therapy for minors in California, Oregon, Illinois, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, US Representative Ted Lieu — who authored California’s ban when he was in the state Senate — has introduced the federal Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act. The bill would order the Federal Trade Commission to classify for-profit conversion therapy as fraud. It would also classify any advertising that claims to change sexual orientation or gender identity as fraud.

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