In April, the Supreme Court ruled that the Justice Department could no longer ask psychologists for clinical training, prompting many to wonder whether a psychological training requirement would be needed.
Now, psychologists have weighed in on the issue.
According to psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Ramey, the current law would create a massive amount of uncertainty for practicing psychologists who want to obtain their certification.
In her opinion, the law would be counterproductive and would only discourage people from pursuing the certification.
She told ABC News that people will be reluctant to seek certification if the current requirement is in place.
“It would really deter people from applying for certification,” she said.
“They might want to be certified as a licensed clinical psychologist.
They might want that certification because they want to practice in this profession, and there’s not going to be much incentive for them to be licensed if they’re not going [to practice].”
Ramey said there are several things that would cause a psychologist to be discouraged from seeking certification.
First, a person might fear that the requirements would be too strict, or that it would make it harder for them and others to practice their profession.
“There are people who have no interest in being licensed, who would be excluded from practicing,” she told ABC.
“You could have people who are already licensed in this area, and then there’s a whole different set of things that can be put in place that make it more difficult.”
Another major reason that many psychologists don’t want to pursue a psychology certification, according to Rameys, is that they fear that it could be tied to a criminal record.
“People who have a criminal history may have criminal convictions and may not want to disclose those to a prospective employer or prospective employers might not want their employers to be aware of those criminal records,” she explained.
“So there are some things that are associated with being a psychologist that could be problematic.”
In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, psychologist Jennifer Friesen argued that there are other potential negative consequences that could come from having a psychological certification requirement.
She argues that, “the law will be passed to punish people who do not pursue their certifications, and that means that people who want certification will be disproportionately represented in jails and prisons, where people are disproportionately charged with crimes.”
In response to these fears, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has written a letter to the Justice and Labor Departments and the FBI asking for a “psychological training requirement” for those who want a psychological license.
“We believe that this training requirement could deter some of those who have already applied for a license, including those who do practice in a criminal justice setting, from applying,” the letter states.
“This could make it difficult for them [to apply] for licensure, and this could make a significant impact on the quality of the profession.”
Rameys said that the law could create a lot of uncertainty about who can get a psychology license, and the only way that would be avoided is if the law is amended to clarify who can be licensed.
“I don’t think we can afford to have a situation where some of the best people who would want to do this training, and they’re going to get denied,” she noted.
“That’s a problem.”