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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4 responses to “Blogging this month for the Society of Christian Psychology”
interesting and similar debate here in the UK about the general use of the words ‘counsellor’ [we have two L’s] and ‘therapist’. both likely to require a degree of postgraduate qualification and hours of logged supervised contact that most christian counsellors do not currently have. association of christian counsellors on the case, but many may have to think of a new name – listeners, coaches? i think people within churches will still see them but has implications for the excellent work many do with the local non-church-going community who are after a ‘counsellor’. also an odd move as the government keep saying we need MORE counsellors yet puts barriers in the way ;-(
We could call ourselves “ministers” since we are involved in ministry or “advisors” since we give advice. Or, if we want to take on a moniker that the secular world will avoid like the plague, we could call ourselves “servants or slaves of Christ”.
Let’s stick with Christian Counselor and be relegated to the “Christian ghetto”. There has been lots of good work done in the ghettos of the world and not much accomplished among the hoity-toity.
Lou, Not sure we can use counselor, even if putting Christian in front of it. That is the big question. Yet to be litigated. I prefer that title myself but we will see…
When they start the litigation, tell me where to donate. 🙂