Bill needs review
To the Journal editor:
The attorney general has addressed the statute applying to LPCs utilizing “theories” through “psychotherapy techniques” in their (admitted, but not permitted) diagnoses. Diagnosing by LPCs contradicts existing statute. According to an mlive.com news story, “LARA maintains that state regulations implemented in 1989 do not allow LPCs to diagnose patients or use “psychotherapy techniques” to treat them” (2019).
However, LPCs are quoted as admitting to doing just that: “It was never a concern for 30 years,” regarding the fact that licensed professional counselors were diagnosing and treating patients, Sara Sue Schaeffer said. Though Ms. Schaeffer’s factual statement may be lauded by her peers, it does not make for good medicine if you are misdiagnosed. LPCs should not be above accountability, or the law.
There are many exonerations, their wrongful convictions a result of misdiagnosing patients as victims of such ridiculous “theories” of “satanic ritual abuse” or the junk science of “repressed memories.” The bill (HB 4325) to sabotage that which the attorney general has stood up to, the billion-dollar industry of counseling, is self-serving.
The Detroit Free Press related, per LARA’s rule, “counselors said . . . it could affect their ability to get reimbursed for treatment from a patient’s insurance policy.” Does insurance cover “theories” by licensees who are not statutorily allowed to “diagnose?” “Theory” appears at least twice in this problematic bill.
(1) The Michigan Psychological Association “has questioned the training that LPCs receive,” according to an online article.
(2) Regarding diagnosing and treating, no set rules appear in the bill to protect clients, or warnings, as used in the medical profession per consent.
(3) Counseling is a poorly regulated industry that may have destroyed clients through misdiagnoses.
The majority of LPCs are probably caring counselors; however, a bill specific to their hand-caught-in-the-cookie-jar scenario, is unprofessional. The language bases “diagnoses” on vague techniques and “theories.” Do medical doctors diagnose based on theories?
LPCs can still practice, but the language embraces poor reasoning; i.e., “theories” as a “skill” for diagnosing. It is unethical to subject counseling clients to diagnoses based on “theories” and worse to expect insurance “reimbursement.”
An LPC held a sign up for the news media “LPC’s matter.” Yes, and so do diagnoses, ethics and laws. Please call your senator about this urgent bill before Thursday.
JOAN L. ROBERTS