In 1975, musician Paul Simon famously gave us 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. The song our collection of distinct health departments sing to aspiring counselors is 50 ways to make you run for cover. Think rap beat. The most painful aspect of state licensing is state licensing. Most countries, such as Canada, have one national set of laws for health-care providers. While there are advantages to local…

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Until about 60 years ago, the lone qualification to practice psychotherapy and counseling was to find a sign shop that could fix you up with a nice shingle. Bear in mind that this was before Google and GPS. To find a sign shop, you had to either read a map or ask for directions, and in those days, as with most professions, psychotherapists were mostly men1 — who notoriously don’t ask for…

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“It’s the same thing, only different.”_Daniel Herring The profession of mental health counseling came out of the soup of vocational counseling, school counseling, and other loosely identified helping professions, but now have little to do with those specializations. The first state license for MHCs was issued, in 1976, a dozen years after that of the initial MFT license, and not…

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The late, George C. Scott, legendary actor, ex-Marine, and real-life brawler, once played one of the toughest characters ever seen on the screen. No, I don’t mean that one. I’m referring to Neil Brock, New York City social worker, on the short-lived Eastside/Westside TV series. Social workers don’t usually look as tough as George C. Scott. They look more like my wife, my…

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Can a psychologist read your mind? Some people used to think so. I’ve been in close quarters with a few psychologists in my time, and they weren’t reading minds. Like the rest of us, they were reading the sports section or restaurant reviews. The supernatural skills of psychologists are non-existent. Sometimes, the natural skills aren’t that good either. I’ll get to that.…

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This is the first of many posts on how to become a counselor or psychotherapist.1 To start, I will cover each counseling profession, as recognized by the 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. In my early post-college years (the 70s), the most common precursor for the break-up of the marriage of one of my friends or acquaintances was that one or both members of the couple entered individual…

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I said to the friendly strangers next to me, “Let’s not make her nervous.” We were having a little out-of-earshot fun, at the expense of the college-age woman trying to maneuver her subcompact into a space barely large enough to fit a full-sized SUV. She had sufficient room to do it the easy way, head in, but was defaulting to the back-in method she must have learned from a driving…

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A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. _Robert De Niro as Al Capone, right before he clubs a fellow gangster to death with a baseball bat. Capone’s enthusiasms (at least, in the movie) were baseball and murder, and he combined these like a skilled adventure game player. I, also, like baseball, but strongly prefer writing tools to mob-style execution, so I’m pleased…

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In the late 70s, I took a class called Psychiatry and the Law, with the late professor, Dr. Bernard Diamond. Dr. Diamond was a collector of famous first-run books. During our first seminar, he passed around one of only 600 originals of the most famous social science book of the 20th century, and the book most responsible for creating my profession — Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of…

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