Jerry Kopel

Regarding Bruce Brian's letter in last week's Statesman column about the psychology bill vs. the present psychotherapy law: I hate to shatter his delusions but sorry, Mr. Brian. The concept of a Grievance Board was mine, but the original psychotherapy law was a joint effort of people such as Steve Durham, Leo Boyle, Beth Barnett Minahan, Frank DeFilippo, Theresa Donahue, myself, and many, many others, meeting quite often in 1986, 87, and 88.

Actually, Mr. Brian himself may have contributed some language to the original law. He wrote to me, back in 1988, before the bill became law. According to his letter, he placed himself in opposition to the Colorado Psychological Assn., who he stated was supporting the bill. But he also suggested amendments. Mr. Brian has at least been consistent. He wasn't going to wait to see how the new law worked. He didn't like it then and he doesn't like it now.

One bill I will take credit for having written was the original 1961 psychology bill, which I drafted while working for the legislature, and at the request of its chief sponsor, then-Rep. Ted Rubin. Before 1961, psychologists were "the great unwashed", as some psychologists like to now call unlicensed psychotherapists. Psychologists were "certified" under the 1961 law and not licensed until 1981.

Mr. Brian was correct on one issue. Dept. of Regulatory Agencies now tells me while six states have adopted portions from the l994 model grievance board law, no state has adopted it as a total law. My apologies for that error.

Mr. Brian's comments remind me of Marlon Brando as the battered heavyweight in "On the Waterfront," lamenting "I coulda been a contenda". If we had only left the psychology board alone in 1988, they would have done a great job. The only problem is, the vast majority of the complaints before THAT board were based on illegal use of the title "psychologist", and not about the damage being done by psychologists to patients.

The whole point of regulation is not to protect the professional, it's to protect the consumer. That's why concentration on discipline as done by the Grievance Board is so important, and why HB 1317 would be a step backward.

Jerry Kopel

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