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Letter from a Licensed Professional Counselor in response to a Cease and Desist letter from the State Psychology Board

Dear XXXX,

Please kindly excuse my delay in responding to your CEASE AND DESIST letter dated XXXX.  During the last few days, I have taken the opportunity to consult with my supervisor, XXXX, MD, other licensed professionals, as well as Thomas W. Clawson, Ed.D., who is the current Co-Chair of The National Fair Access Coalition of Testing (FACT).  They each have offered me a great deal of wisdom and guidance in knowing how to properly respond to your letter.  Without question, I certainly take your letter very seriously and will do my best to provide you with a quality and respectful response.

Please be formally advised that it is NOT my intent to practice psychology without a license but rather, to practice as a licensed professional counselor within the scope of the law.  Upon receiving my licensure (LPC) during the winter of this past year, I have taken much care to research both the scope of practice and ethical considerations associated with practicing my individual profession.  Although I have over 14 years experience serving as a school psychologist in two different school systems, I certainly am well aware of the need to now align myself within the confines of this new profession.  Nevertheless, please realize that I have never been informed from anyone acquainted with my skills that I am now ‘unqualified’ to utilize various tests and measures in order to develop an appropriate treatment plan for my clients.  Based on my understanding of the Scope of Practice associated with LPCs, I have yet to find anyone willing to offer me clear guidelines as to how I might be working outside the confines of the law.  In case you are unaware, I have been employed with and am currently working very closely with Dr. XXXX, who is a licensed psychiatrist.  I was asked to join the XXX this past summer and have worked under Dr. XXXX’s direction in conducting assessments and providing therapy since this time.

Please know that in addition to my intent to continue practicing as a licensed professional counselor in a lawful manner, I am also requesting the office of the Attorney General to conduct an investigation of my case.  I will be asking this individual to give me a formal opinion of my case, based upon the laws governing psychologists, counselors, and counselors working under direct supervision of a licensed psychologist/psychiatrist.  Once again, I take the formal cease and desist letter you sent seriously, and I feel quite assured that I am practicing in a lawful manner.

The nature of your letter does not exact any reason that I am practicing psychology, other than what appears to be an anonymous and vague ‘received information that you may be practicing without a license.’  Because of this, I request that you supply me with a specific reason that you have chosen to write to me and also to list all parties in full who are part of your decision to write me the cease and desist letter.  Furthermore, I would like you to supply me with all information and written law you possess that shows in law that your allegations are correct and that my practice is outside my licensure area. 

In sum, please consider the following points in making your determination:

  1. I have previously been awarded a M.Ed. in Educational Psychology and an Ed.S. in School Psychology from the XXXX.  These programs were primarily geared toward preparing me to conduct comprehensive assessments of an individual’s learning and behavioral functioning.  I have been serving as a school psychologist for nearly 14 years in two different counties.  I don’t believe anyone would argue that I lack the training and needed experience to properly conduct a comprehensive learning and behavioral assessment – especially when considering that I now work under the direction of a licensed psychiatrist.
  2. Despite my background and training, I no longer refer to myself as a School Psychologist but rather, a Licensed Professional Counselor, who has extensive training in assessment procedures.  Furthermore, my reports are no longer titled, Psychological Evaluations, but rather, Learning and Behavioral Assessments. Semantics?  You make the call.  In addition, I have added the following addendum (which may not actually be warranted) to my reports which might serve to appease those in objection.

    "Please be strongly advised that the contents of this report should, in no way, be construed as representing a comprehensive psychological evaluation for this client.  At this particular time, such a venture is considered beyond both the scope and practice of this licensed practitioner.  In addition, the overall purpose and results derived from this assessment were not elicited specifically in order to arrive just at a diagnosis.  Rather, this assessment is felt to be a useful mechanism in which to obtain pertinent information regarding the overall status of this client felt necessary for treatment planning."
  3. Thus far, the advertisements we have created have been the only thing called into question and just by one licensed psychologist in this area.  He apparently took exception with the phrase, ‘psychological testing’, listed in our ad.  For your information, Dr. XXXX has reportedly given the MMPI for a number of years now and feels completely justified in keeping this phrase in our advertisement due to this fact.  Please know that no other professional has contacted either Dr. XXXX or myself in regards to any concerns relating to your cease and desist letter.  One certainly might consider this to be ‘unethical’ in practice.

Please respond, on behalf of the Board, to this letter as soon as possible in order to provide me with some much-needed guidance in addressing these concerns.  In the meantime, I will attempt to contact the attorney general’s office and ask for an appointment with the assistant attorney general for the counseling board.  I also will continue to consult my colleagues, other licensed professionals, members of FACT, and my attorney (if needed) in an effort to guide me in this endeavor.  I appreciate your cooperation and attention to this matter.

Respectfully,

XXXX
Licensed Professional Counselor

 
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