We, the undersigned consumers, write to SUPPORT House Bill 3466 and to OPPOSE House Bill 236.
House Bill 3466 prohibits an individual from representing that the service he offers is psychotherapy unless he is licensed by a board of registration. Regulation of psychotherapy is critical. Currently, consumers believe that all psychotherapists are highly educated and trained mental health professionals whose conduct is governed by a board of registration. Unfortunately, however, many psychotherapists who provide psychotherapy services are not licensed, and many have not been formally trained or educated in an academic institution recognized by the United States Department of Education. Unlicensed psychotherapists are not required to have a high school or college education, nor are they obligated to adhere to standards of ethics. Their actions are not regulated, and consumers are not informed of these limitations.
If a consumer currently chooses to receive treatment from an unlicensed psychotherapist, there is no recourse if misconduct occurs. For instance, if patient confidentiality is breached, if a patient is sexually harassed, or if a psychotherapist manipulates a patient’s free will by portraying unintended benevolence for their own financial gain, the psychotherapist cannot be held accountable and is free to do so again and again. The Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure currently regulates the conduct of many licensed mental health professionals, including psychologists and social workers. These practitioners must receive formal education and training before going through the rigorous licensing process. Once licensed, they are held accountable if they act inappropriately. The Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure can revoke or suspend a license or a licensee can voluntarily not renew his license following disciplinary action.
In addition to strongly supporting House Bill 3466, which would protect consumers, we are strongly opposed to Section 65F of House Bill 236, which would allow unlicensed psychotherapists who are members of the Massachusetts Association of Independent Psychotherapists (MAIP) to hold themselves out to the public as psychotherapists and thus be exempt from licensure if House Bill 236 were to pass. A large number of individuals at MAIP do not report an academic degree from a college or university and multiple members of MAIP hold certificates in psychotherapy from the Cambridge Psychotherapy Institute (CPI).
CPI is not an academic institution for psychotherapy training accredited by any agency recognized by the United States Department of Education. CPI is a religious organization called the Society of Natural Science. CPI psychotherapists core belief is that all human decisions are completely determined by previously existing causes (parenting) and that no one is morally responsible for what he does (it was his parents fault). They deny the existence of free will and the ability to make choices not controlled by fate. The CPI psychotherapist training workbook “Lies and Truths About Self and Society” says that society's institutions (e.g., family, schools, traditional religions) teach many hurtful lies about self that create emotional sicknesses. The workbook also says that it may be necessary to have socially promoted licensing for reproduction, birth control and court ordered abortions (i.e., pre-natal euthanasia). These concepts are promoted to patients who are led to believe “unjustifiably” that their parenting skills are poor because they are adapted from their own parents (determined). Patients of CPI are often encouraged to take multiple psychiatric medications and are frequently in “treatment” for decades. They are encouraged to isolate themselves from family and friends who are not in “treatment”, and because their “treatment” is not covered by insurance, they spend large amounts of money on their “treatment.”
While individuals at CPI and MAIP are free to provide services to members of the public, members of the public should not be misled to believe that these services they are receiving are psychotherapeutic. Nor should they be confused about whether the individuals providing these services are regulated by a licensing board. While no licensing board is perfect, no regulation and accountability is far more dangerous to the consumer than some regulation.
We ask you to support House Bill 3466 and oppose House Bill 236 so there is some recourse for consumers harmed by unethical psychotherapists.