I came across this article on an ACA discussion board. This article strikes me as very concerning. Though it's dated from 2014, you can check out the Texas LMFT website for updated information. It's still in the courts and could have some major implications for all counselors.
Basically, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) filed a lawsuit against LMFT's, opposing LMFT's ability to clinically diagnose patients using the DSM. Crazy right!
If this were to happen, private practice counselors would have to make some major changes. Without the ability to diagnose, they would not be able to practice independently. Though this is currently between LMFT's and TMA, you can see the writing on the wall. If this goes in favor of TMA, I would assume LPC's and Social Worker's are next. Maybe even Licensed Psychologists.
In some ways, I think this is exactly the thing we need to come together as mental health providers instead of arguing over petty turf wars that have kept us divided. This is our opportunity to come together for the greater good of our profession.
I feel 100% confident that a licensed mental health professional is equally (and even more) capable of appropriately diagnosing mental health disorders than the average MD. Just speaking for myself, the typical MD conversation lasts about 5 minutes. How are they able to determine someone's state of mind in such a brief time period? Therapists, on the other hand, spend at least an hour specifically focusing on the client before coming to a diagnosis. Second, mental health professionals focus all their education and skill on diagnosing and treating mental illness. How much time and training does the average MD spend on diagnosing and treating mental health disorders?
Finally, if TMA wins the battle in court, what then? Are doctors going to treat patients for mental health disorders? I doubt it. They will still have to refer the patient to a licensed counselor. This process would clog the system up even more than it already is, and create more barriers to receiving mental health treatment. We all know that many people go untreated already. Why would we create a system that makes it even more difficult for a person to receive the help they need.
On the flip side, if TMA wins, this will give us the opportunity to reinvent the profession outside of managed care. Just think: no more insurance billing, no more medical paperwork, no more waiting for insurance companies to reimburse. We can go 100% self pay- do away with the labels attached to diagnosing, and offer our clients the help they want, and receive payment without dealing with insurance. Just a thought...
What are your thoughts about this?