The Case Against Licensing Health Professionals

The Case Against Licensing Health Professionals Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 10, No. 3, 1998 Opinions Stanley J. Gross1,2 In the interest of full disclosure, I am a licensed psychologist. Yet I oppose licensing. I remain licensed because I wish to continue to practice my profession. My opposition to both general and specialty licensure is the subject of this paper. To understand my position requires knowing that state governments, un- der the umbrella of their police powers, grant licensing to a profession to protect the welfare of the public. The licensing act reserves either a title (i.e., psychologist) or a practice (i.e., psychotherapy) to persons who meet particu- lar requirements approved by the state. Doing so creates a monopoly which in turn grants certain economic advantages to licensees. The history of licen- sure is replete with evidence that economics, not protection of the public, drives licensing. In fact, with rare exceptions (i.e., stockbrokers, detectives), professions have sought licensing—the public has not demanded it. My review of the empirical research shows no substantial relationship between licensing and quality of service measures. Evaluations of the work of licensing agencies also show they do not protect the public (Gross, 1984, 1986): (a) Assessment of Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment Springer Journals

The Case Against Licensing Health Professionals

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Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright © 1998 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Psychology; Sexual Behavior; Psychiatry; Clinical Psychology; Criminology and Criminal Justice, general
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