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Tuesday
Mar222011

Practicing without a License

In the state of NC, the psychology practice act specifically defines the practice of psychology to include applied behavior analysis (ABA) and behavior therapy.  For this reason, only those licensed to practice psychology or those with an exemption such as being licensed by another or the "healing arts" can practice applied behavior analysis.  In Arizona, the Psychology Board solved a similar problem by creating a division within that board that licenses Behavior Analysts.  The purpose of the regulation of health care professions is not to stifle competition or prevent the public from exercising free choice, but instead all of this licensure business is about protecting the public from quacks.  We understand this is necessary in medicine (would you go to an unlicensed medical doctor?)

Should the Psychology Board license Behavior Analysts or should the NC requirement stand that a Behavior Analyst must also be a licensed professional?  I know a proposal is out there, that Board Certified Behavior Analysts should be exempt, but who would regulate them, and what would that open for the regulation of health care practice.  My main concern is that there are individuals practicing in NC without a licence right now, who are taking advantage of the "good name" of ABA to practice whatever their pet method is under the name of Behavior Analysis, not even aware that this is prohibited by statue.

Tell me what you think.

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