Remember just a handful of years ago when the number of complaints was through the roof? A high percentage of those complaints were based on a lack of knowledge of your Board's rules and the laws of Texas. So the LPC Board rightly thought it a good idea to require that the ethics we sought be based on board rules and TX law. They called them, "Texas Ethics", and combined with new Sheriff Darrel Spinks and his posse at BHEC, it worked.
Enter the Standards Committee
For some still unknown reason which we cannot get anyone to divulge, that "problem" needed to be fixed. So, the acceptable ethics list now no longer requires "Texas Ethics". (Your rulebook requires that you know it and large portions of 9 additional TX Codes but it always has and we know how that worked out, don't we?) Here's what the soon-to-be approved "acceptable ethics" list says:
(c) Acceptable ethics hours include, but are not limited to continuing education on:
(1) state or federal laws, including agency rules, relevant to the practice of (your discipline);
(2) practice guidelines established by local, regional, state, national, or international professional organizations;
(3) training or education designed to demonstrate or affirm the ideals and responsibilities of the profession; and
(4) training or education intended to assist licensees in determining appropriate decision-making and behavior, improve consistency in or enhance the professional delivery of services, and provide a minimum acceptable level of practice.
My Three-Point Observation
First, (1) is the category that includes what used to be called "Texas Ethics". They're still acceptable, just not required anymore. If the current requirements stemmed the creation of new complaints, why would you want to go back to what wasn't working? Oh, wait......(2) may give us a great big hint.
Second, (2) association ethics, including ACA ethics courses, will soon count again as a required ethics option. This is a large part of what got us in trouble pre-Sunset Commission, the incorrect understanding by most grad students and way too many veteran counselors that association-ethics are the "law of the land". They are not and never will be.
State law trumps association ethics in a court of law, where it counts. Remember that when you're selecting your (6) "required ethics" hours.
So why do you think the Standards Committee would re-wind the clock and allow association practice ideology to count towards your required ethics again? (Hint: You might take a look at who's on the Standards Committee then follow the money.)
Finally, see that little phrase in (c), "but not limited to"? That means pretty much anything might count as required ethics. What could possibly go wrong??
I'm not privy to the back-room discussions these boards and committees have and they're not very forthcoming with the supporting arguments behind their decisions. So, I can only infer what happened from the evidence left at the scene, just like you have to do.
I know this, though,.....the rules were tightened a few years ago because we didn't know what our own rules were and the mountain of unnecessary complaints was growing, and it worked. We're more knowledgeable about our rulebooks and codes now, and the stack of complaints is all but gone.
So why change that? If there's no identifiable problem to fix then, from what I can see, there's only one driving reason behind re-opening Pandora's Box.
Somebody has....well, I'll let you fill in that blank.
Plan Smart. Be Safe. Serve Others.
Kathleen Mills, LPC-S, CEAP
Got An Opinion?
These posts are my beliefs based on my a) 32 years of practice as a mental health provider and b) my own research. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to leave your civil, constructive comments below. I try very hard to back up my liberty-based statements with my own experience and/or verifiable facts and I would ask you to do the same. You do not need to be logged in to leave a comment.
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