Kentucky officials try to ban advice columnist for “practicing psychology without a license”

posted at 9:21 pm on July 16, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

The scourge of government occupational licensing abuse is after another victim:

On May 7, Kentucky’s office of attorney general sent a letter to newspaper advice columnist John Rosemond. The letter ordered him to sign a consent decree that he would stop practicing psychology without a license in their state, and stop calling himself a psychologist in Kentucky as well, since he was not licensed by the state’s Board of Examiners of Psychology.

The kicker is that Kentucky claims that writing an advice column that appears in a newspaper in the state—in the specific case of their complaint, the Lexington Herald-Leader, though it appears in others as well—is not an act of freedom of the press, but rather practicing psychology without the required license.

One of Rosemond’s columns sparked a complaint from another psychologist in the state to the state Board of Examiners of Psychology, which apparently triggered the board’s ridiculous demand, even though the complainant didn’t actually ask the board to make him stop writing:

That the letter from the state described the same column as Neill complained about indicates his complaint likely triggered the unconstitutional demand. The letter demanded that Rosemond agree to stop publishing his column in Kentucky papers by May 30. He has not, and two letters Rosemond sent to the state seeking an extension and trying to clarify the matter have received no formal reply.

“I was incredulous” when the letter from the attorney general’s office arrived, Rosemond says. “I could not possibly imagine such a blatant attempt to restrict my First Amendment rights. I wasn’t upset by it, as much as just unbelieving.”

The Institute for Justice, which fights battles for economic freedom, the First Amendment, and school choice all over the nation, has taken Rosemond’s case.

They’re also working on a similar case in my home state of North Carolina, in which the state threatened a man with a blog about the paleo diet for allegedly crossing the state nutritionists board:

The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition is threatening to send a blogger to jail for recounting publicly his battle against diabetes and encouraging others to follow his lifestyle.

Chapter 90, Article 25 of the North Carolina General Statutes makes it a misdemeanor to “practice dietetics or nutrition” without a license. According to the law, “practicing” nutrition includes “assessing the nutritional needs of individuals and groups” and “providing nutrition counseling.”

Steve Cooksey has learned that the definition, at least in the eyes of the state board, is expansive…

[T]his past January the state diatetics and nutrition board decided Cooksey’s blog — Diabetes-Warrior.net — violated state law. The nutritional advice Cooksey provides on the site amounts to “practicing nutrition,” the board’s director says, and in North Carolina that’s something you need a license to do.

That case is still working its way through the legal system.

Many of these occupational licensing boards run by the states end up operating as cartels to keep anybody from competing with the professional groups who end up running the licensing process. The laws can hamper new businesses run by the newest and most modest of entrepreneurs. Cosmetologists box out hairbraiders with requirements for hours upon hours of class instruction and licensing fees. Funeral directors use the state to require anyone selling a casket be licensed as a funeral home.

Brian Doherty of Reason outlines the very real threat some of these laws are now posing to free speech, and the occasional, scary willingness of courts to allow it.


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One of Rosemond’s columns sparked a complaint from another psychologist in the state to the state Board of Examiners of Psychology…

I have always maintained that students of Psychology are invariably the most messed up people anyone can meet.

Dear Abby must be spinning in her grave.

Liam on July 16, 2013 at 9:26 PM

Raylan Givens can take care of this.

faraway on July 16, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Hey you! Yeahhhhh YOU! Are you breathing without a license? Alright pal, up against the car, you’re under arrest for inhaling and exhaling without being a practicing lungologist.

Bishop on July 16, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Raylan Givens can take care of this.

faraway on July 16, 2013 at 9:27 PM

YES.

Mary Katharine Ham on July 16, 2013 at 9:31 PM

It seems like Mary Katharine Ham often only posts about obscure stories. We rarely see her give her take on the big stuff.

bluegill on July 16, 2013 at 9:31 PM

The last person you want advice from is a psychologist.

Blake on July 16, 2013 at 9:31 PM

It seems like Mary Katharine Ham often only posts about obscure stories. We rarely see her give her take on the big stuff.

bluegill on July 16, 2013 at 9:31 PM

..shut-up!

KOOLAID2 on July 16, 2013 at 9:34 PM

The nutritional advice Cooksey provides on the site amounts to “practicing nutrition,” the board’s director says, and in North Carolina that’s something you need a license to do.

Michelle obama hardest hit

Ronnie on July 16, 2013 at 9:34 PM

It seems like Mary Katharine Ham often only posts about obscure stories. We rarely see her give her take on the big stuff.

bluegill on July 16, 2013 at 9:31 PM

.
Going from Sarah to MKH … huh?

listens2glenn on July 16, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Dear Abby right out of the gate. Stole my thunder.

I used to read it in the paper sometimes just for the bizarre posts/answers.

It was entertainment. Not to be taken too seriously.

wolly4321 on July 16, 2013 at 9:40 PM

CONTROLPALOOZA!!!!

Progressive Nanny staters must snuff out all signs of individual liberty and freedom.

Like “voluntary” seat belt laws, and regulations on the amount of water you can flush in your toilet, and how many days a week you can have trash picked up (the cities drive out the private carriers and then control the service). And let’s not forget, sign ordinances, banning bake sales, lemonade stands of small kids, trying to make it a crime to flash your lights to warn of a speed trap, and more and more and more everyday….

At this rate…….How long before we live in the real life Hunger Games?

PappyD61 on July 16, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Good grief this bluegill character is off her meds again. And no, I’m not a professional psychiatrist, either.

John the Libertarian on July 16, 2013 at 9:47 PM

One of Rosemond’s columns sparked a complaint from another psychologist in the state to the state Board of Examiners of Psychology, which apparently triggered the board’s ridiculous demand, even though the complainant didn’t actually ask the board to make him stop writing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Mary Katharine Ham

.
Professional jealousy will get you every time.

listens2glenn on July 16, 2013 at 9:47 PM

It seems like Mary Katharine Ham often only posts about obscure stories. We rarely see her give her take on the big stuff.

bluegill on July 16, 2013 at 9:31 PM

I don’t recall ever encountering a bluegill in anything but the shallowest of waters …

M240H on July 16, 2013 at 9:48 PM

Good grief this bluegill character is off her meds again. And no, I’m not a professional psychiatrist, either.

John the Libertarian on July 16, 2013 at 9:47 PM

.
In that case, we formally request that you STOP posting these diagnosis at Hotair.com . . . . . . . . at least until you get licensed.

listens2glenn on July 16, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Did Kentucky ever claim the same about Dear Abby or her twin sister, whatever her name was?

Resist We Much on July 16, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Can I retroactively sue doctor Phil and Oprah?

wolly4321 on July 16, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Damned near every day the msm and mooochelle tell me what to eat. Does that count?

wolly4321 on July 16, 2013 at 9:58 PM

Mary Katharine, if the gilled one ever gets on your nerves, I recommend one of these for her.

Bmore on July 16, 2013 at 9:58 PM

Going from Sarah to MKH … huh?

listens2glenn on July 16, 2013 at 9:37 PM

…the stench doesn’t like conservative women…

KOOLAID2 on July 16, 2013 at 10:00 PM

A functional guild will act functionally like a guild.

normalphil on July 16, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Bmore on July 16, 2013 at 9:58 PM

.
Oh … YEAHHHHHHH ! ! ! … : )

listens2glenn on July 16, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Mary Katharine, if the gilled one ever gets on your nerves, I recommend one of these for her.

Bmore on July 16, 2013 at 9:58 PM

…well…in an around about way…its sort of an enema!

KOOLAID2 on July 16, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Or you could just go with the gig. She is rather fond of breadballs also.

Bmore on July 16, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Or you could just go with the gig. She is rather fond of breadballs also.

Bmore on July 16, 2013 at 10:03 PM

.
You’re on a roll. : )

listens2glenn on July 16, 2013 at 10:06 PM

What were the statistics concerning the difference between what you had to have a permit for 50 years ago and today? Something like, what? 1 in 10 occupations, 50 years ago required permits and today it’s something like 5 in 10?

Anybody know?

Cleombrotus on July 16, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Michelle obama hardest hit

Ronnie on July 16, 2013 at 9:34 PM

That comment raises many delicious visions.

FOWG1 on July 16, 2013 at 10:09 PM

FOWG1 on July 16, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Connecting Moochelle Obama with delicious is an affront to humanity.

either orr on July 16, 2013 at 10:29 PM

I might need clarification on this but it sounded like he was claiming his degree in psychology as the basis for his dispensing advice. This would be getting paid as a psychologist in the state without a license. I am pretty sure but all he would have to do to fix it would be to drop the “psychologist” from his column and he would be fine. Any lay person can give advice, once you have the degree you fall under the pervue of state licensing boards. This is something he knows.

As a primary care physician I have some similar restrictions. I cannot go to other states I am not licensed in and give professional advice/treat patients. I could be sued for doing this.

If he claimed a right he did not have we might be jumping the shark a bit knee jerking to defend him.

(Full disclosure: I do not live in Kentucky and I do not have any particular stake in this issue)

airmonkey on July 16, 2013 at 10:40 PM

airmonkey on July 16, 2013 at 10:40 PM

Not necessarily–if he claims what he does is education, he does not need to be licensed, even with the degree (and because he is not teaching in K-12, he does not need to have that license, either). However, he does need to be very clear that he is not practicing therapy.

DrMagnolias on July 16, 2013 at 10:54 PM

Kentucky politicians should be charged with practicing cranial proctology without a license.

john1schn on July 16, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Oh, fer cryin’ out loud.

John Rosemond not only is a syndicated columnist, but has written books about sensible parenting — the kind of parenting that most of us grew up with. He hates the permissiveness of the “Dr. Spock” school of parenting which, I would submit, is one of the sources of our present cultural crisis.

The Kentucky psychologist who is offended by Rosemond’s dispensing of advice is probably the product of the type of liberal parenting Rosemond deplores.

PatriotGal2257 on July 16, 2013 at 11:26 PM

Psychology falls somewhere between Sociology, Numerology, and Voodoo as a “science.”

I have more faith in our local Root Doctor, Doctor Buzzard IV, to give sound advice at a reasonable price than in any psychologist I’ve ever known, read, or heard of.

Adjoran on July 16, 2013 at 11:48 PM

Rand needs to smite them. Libertarioconservatism FTW.

321mdl on July 17, 2013 at 1:36 AM

“practicing psychology without a license”

How does that make you feel?

trs on July 17, 2013 at 7:09 AM

It seems like Mary Katharine Ham often only posts about obscure stories. We rarely see her give her take on the big stuff.

bluegill on July 16, 2013 at 9:31 PM

Yes, I agree. I think she needs to cover more stories about your mom pulling trains with various sports teams and drug gangs.

acyl72 on July 17, 2013 at 7:28 AM

Will they ban or arrest any politicians who daily tell us how to think, what to think, and to never listen to Rush Limbaugh?

Don L on July 17, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Face it folks, psychology (and progressivism)was invented for one reason–to get rid of all guilt so that we (and they)may act in the most evil of ways and call it a “good” thing.

Don L on July 17, 2013 at 8:02 AM

So restricting speech is now a “small issue” really?

The_Livewire on July 17, 2013 at 8:03 AM

I’m in agreement with airmonkey. The problem is from claiming to use his psych degree to dispense advice. Use the psych degree without a shrink license, and the board is going to have a problem. Drop the marketing of his psych degree, and the board should back off.

Sekhmet on July 17, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Kentucky politicians should be charged with practicing cranial proctology without a license.

john1schn on July 16, 2013 at 11:15 PM

I don’t think they’re practicing anymore-they’ve perfected it!

questionmark on July 17, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Sekhmet on July 17, 2013 at 8:18 AM

You are correct. He just needs to stop advertising himself as a “Psychologist” after his name unless he has the license to do so. It is a crime, in fact, in Texas to do so.
http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/practicing-clinical-psychology-without-a-license.htm

I hope those that are disparging the profession aren’t in the practice of taking their automobiles to the nearest grocery store to ask the produce man how to repair it.

Just sayin’

~Licensed Clinical Social Worker

avagreen on July 17, 2013 at 8:58 AM

How does that make you feel?

trs on July 17, 2013 at 7:09 AM

Referencing this (@1:44)?

And, sorry, but he shouldn’t have to stop claiming to be a licensed psych – it’s a newspaper advice column! He’s *not* practicing in Kentucky, he’s printed in newspapers there.

GWB on July 17, 2013 at 9:23 AM

It seems like Mary Katharine Ham often only posts about obscure stories. We rarely see her give her take on the big stuff.

bluegill on July 16, 2013 at 9:31 PM

…like First Amendment rights to free speech or freedom of the press, or something… right?

dominigan on July 17, 2013 at 12:31 PM

I don’t recall ever encountering a bluegill in anything but the shallowest of waters …

M240H on July 16, 2013 at 9:48 PM

It’s just a dumb bait fish, only useful for throwing back or using it to catch something bigger and more substantial.

Since its original comment was too stupid to swallow, I recommend throwing it back and going for the more substantial comments…

dominigan on July 17, 2013 at 12:33 PM