This month (really, the 4 Mondays of February), I’ll be the guest blogger at the Society for Christian Psychology’s site. You can find it at www.christianpsych.org or from my links on this page. Here’s a tease from my first post:
Should Christian Psychology become a Profession?
Right now, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, lawmakers are considering a bill that would place more restrictions on who can provide counsel. Currently, the state has a number of mental health credentials. Among those is the Licensed Professional Counselor credential for those with a requisite master’s degree and post graduate supervised practice. If passed, the new bill will not only protect the title of “Professional Counselor” but also the practice of professional counseling. Per the law, one may not “style” themselves as a counselor unless they are licensed as such.
Who does this effect? This will especially impact the many Christian counselors who are not licensed but practice a form of counseling (aka biblical counseling, Christian counseling, etc.). While these counselors do not provide diagnoses or bill insurances they do collect fees, keep progress notes, maintain confidentiality, and provide counsel for those struggling with issues such as anxiety, anger, depression, marital conflict and the like. So, the 64 million dollar question: Do these unlicensed Christian counselors “style” themselves as professional counselors? And who decides the line between the two? As an aside, the bill does contain an exemption for pastoral counselors. Pennsylvania does not yet define that title but in other locales that title is reserved for those ordained, trained in a pastoral counseling graduate program, and doing work in church-related institutions.
Here’s where the bill gets interesting. It describes what typifies a profession that might overlap with counseling but have a separate (and thus exempted) identity and practice. Here are some of the criteria they might use to discern a separate profession (note my bolded text to emphasize interesting details):
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