Byron Schlomach

Is Professional Licensing the Enemy of the Good?

Posted on January 09, 2013 | Author: Byron Schlomach
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Barry Goodfield is a world-renowned psychologist who lives in the Phoenix metro area. His recognized expertise in non-verbal cues puts him in such demand that he regularly consults with international diplomats. He holds two patents in psychotherapeutic methods. But, if you’d like to give the Goodfield Institute a call for an appointment, as they say in New York, “Fuhgeddaboudit.”

Dr. Goodfield isn’t licensed to practice in Arizona by the state government and in the Byzantine world of professional licensing, he isn’t likely to be. Being licensed in California, he’s caught in a Catch 22. California’s licensing board won’t take the time to fill out Arizona’s lengthy forms and Arizona’s Board of Behavioral Health won’t accept anything else that demonstrates Dr. Goodfield’s lengthy résumé and extensive experience.

Even if Dr. Goodfield were granted a license in Arizona, he would have to practice for a time under the supervision of a licensed Arizona psychologist. Dr. Goodfield is a Senior Professor at Henley-Putnam University in San Jose, California. Given his authorship of three books and other qualifications, it’s Dr. Goodfield who should supervise.

Now that he lives in Arizona, Dr. Goodfield would like to offer his services for free to military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Perhaps he and others like him could prevent the sort of tragedies perpetrated by mentally disturbed youth that we’ve seen lately. Unfortunately, the counter-productive tendency of professional licensing boards to keep new people out of a profession is preventing Arizonans from benefiting from Dr. Goodfield’s expertise.

Clearly, changes are needed in the way we approach government licensing for professionals. First, Arizona should reciprocate professional licensing with all states as long as a professional can demonstrate good standing, whether or not that demonstration is in the particular format a board may prefer. Second, a majority of professional boards’ membership should be people who aren’t part of the profession to ensure that the public interest is represented rather than that of already-licensed professionals. Arizonans are smart enough to do their own due diligence on the people they want to hire for professional services and should have greater liberty to do so.

Learn more:

Goldwater Institute: Six Reforms to Occupational Licensing Laws to Increase Jobs and Lower Costs

Goldwater Institute: Licensing Hurts

Goodfield Institute: About Dr. Goodfield

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