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Concerned About Unconventional Mental Health Interventions?

Concerned About Unconventional Mental Health Interventions?
Alternative Psychotherapies: Evaluating Unconventional Mental Health Treatments

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Facebook Page that May Interest You: About Continuing Education for Psychologists

In the United States, each state has its own regulations about licensure of psychologists, but generally speaking a person may not describe him- or herself as a psychologist or advertise clinical services without being licensed, or being supervised by a licensed psychologist. In addition, it's generally the case that in order to maintain licensure, psychologists must receive continuing education through coursework off- or on-line. Not all courses are acceptable for continuing education credit-- they must be approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) working through entities called "approved providers". An approved provider may be a university, a commercial organization, a non-profit, or a state board of psychology.

 Approved providers are supposed to ascertain that coursework earning continuing education (CE) credit meets some fairly stringent APA requirements. A presentation is acceptable for CE credit only if the content is adequate-- an application must include learning objectives for attendees, professional publications supporting the information provided, background of the presenter, and so on.

The problem? Some approved providers, notably some commercial groups, do not do a very good job of vetting the material before approving APA CEs. And , in spite of disclaimers in conference and lecture brochures, some people continue to think that any content that receives APA CE credit must have been stated to be valid by APA. For one example, a presentation by Nancy Thomas, the self-described foster parent educator, was approved for CE credit a few years ago-- in spite of Thomas's having no professional education at all, and being able to submit no professional publications to support her claims.

Fortunately, there is a clear path to complaints that trigger investigation by APA of presentations that should not have been given CE credit. It takes a while to search for supporting information and to write a complaint, but it can be done-- and these investigations do take place and may lead to cancellation of the CE credit for a questionable presentation. (Although there are certain commercial organizations that have been guilty of these problems more than others, as far as I know, their approved provider status has not been revoked.)

If you are interested in being involved in discussion of some of these issues and learning how to make a complaint, please join us at You don;t have to join to comment.

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