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People Shouldn't Get Shut Out From Options

Licensing mental health professionals: good idea. The way Arizona is initiating this process: bad idea, with many lurking unintended consequences ("Head Games," May 6). The license to practice does not necessarily weed out quacks--take a look at some medical doctors, as a prime example. But no client participating in treatment for a behavioral-health disorder should be shut out from their treatment options. Reading the lamentable situation of the UA professor (teaching a class in counseling, but, not having actually taken the class, being rejected for a license) is crazy-making, for sure.

David Mitchell


All Psychiatric Therapists Need to Go

I think the reason it is so difficult to license therapists is because there is no evidence that they, in fact, know anything.

This is why, as your article notes, "Psychology and Psychotherapy are notoriously dynamic fields. What may for a time be seen as standard theory is often refined or discredited only a few years later."

I don't think the state should give any sort of legitimacy to a field that cannot demonstrate empirically that it deserves it. While I sympathize with the desire to keep out the unqualified, I don't see that the data supports making any distinctions between these people and any person off the street. Certainly, the methodology of licensing the students but not the professor is bizarre, but the whole idea assumes scientific support for the field that does not in fact exist. Without such support, any licensing system is entirely arbitrary.

Just think of the savings if we all used paraprofessional therapists with minimal training!

Carmi Turchick


Note to the State: Dead People Can't Fill Out Forms

I am a registered art therapist in Peoria, Ariz. I greatly appreciated reading the article by Joe Bavier, published on May 6. I am another professional (graduated from Lesley College in 1981) who is being adversely affected by the licensing law about to take effect. I am taking the two courses the board requires: ethics, and multicultural issues. I will more than pass those courses, and my transcripts will be ready soon for the board.

My big problem is that the board is probably going to deny the supervision I received in the early '80s, because the board insists that those who gave me supervision back then must fill out the board's new supervision forms. One of my supervisors is deceased, I fear. The board will then require me to close my private practice and go to work for two years and repeat the process of getting my supervision.

I am 62 years old and am raising one of my husband's grandchildren, who is 11. We took him in two years ago.

Carolyn McDonald


An Open Letter to Rep. Deb Gullet

Dear Representative Gullet,

I read with interest the article in the Tucson Weekly. I certainly believe the intent of your bill was not to injure anyone, other than the dangerous, abusive therapists out there. There are a few points I'd like to make regarding the implementation of this bill.

Behavioral health issues are different from, say, physical medicine issues. With counseling, you cannot draw blood or take a urine sample, make an accurate diagnosis, then treat according to commonly accepted protocol. Counseling is, in my opinion, more of an art. With each of us being individuals, products of our upbringing and our genetics and our experiences, the same treatment protocol does not work for everyone. Treatment must be individually tailored to meet the learning style, temperament and experiences of each individual. I do believe patients who are emotionally or physically harmed by a "therapist" should have the same recourse as a medical patient who had their appendix taken out instead of their gall bladder. The recourse is: Stop seeing that therapist or doctor, and consider a lawsuit.

I am appalled by the impact of this new law, and not just on professionals such as Jane Martin, Carl Ridley and Richard Poppy. What most concerns me is the clients of these individuals. Sometimes, consumers of counseling don't want or need to be given a diagnosis, such as "anxiety disorder." I don't want to have to have a diagnosis other than "person asking for counseling" in order to receive treatment. I don't want to require that my therapists' handwriting be legible at all times. I don't even want him or her to have to keep notes unless that is the process that works best for him or her. I don't want a "treatment plan." I want my counselor to be there in the room with me, 100 percent, to interact with me in the ways we have determined are most effective for me. Consumers just want to work through their stuff with a person they feel most comfortable with. Will there be licensure in the future for "best friends" to ensure no individual gets emotionally hurt by hearing something truthful or difficult, or to protect us from having a jerk for a best friend?

The state, by providing licensure, cannot weed out all the bad apples. People will be hurt. We cannot prevent that by making laws. I don't mean to sound flippant; I know a lot of work went into this bill with nothing but good intentions, but I want decide who will be the best at helping me, whether or not they are licensed.

There are many people who have a relationship already with a counselor. For whatever reason, when that counselor can no longer be there, there will be people who will be horribly harmed. Many of these people will kill themselves. Perhaps they will have to band together and sue the state for taking their counselor away, or perhaps families will do so on behalf of loved ones who are no longer with us.

Please, please take a harder look at how this is going to be implemented. People who have mental-health challenges already have enough to deal with without losing one of the most important people in their lives. I no longer think the answer is to grandfather everyone in, although that might be an immediate measure. I think the entire bill must be reviewed.

Beth Goldman Porter


Serraglio's Right: Tucson's Not 'Friendly' to Bicyclists

The commentary by Randy Serraglio provoked some serious thought after reading it a couple of times (Guest Commentary, April 29). I have ridden in and around Tucson for more than 30 years, and I feel strongly that while Tucson is a great place to ride, on and off road, it is not the least bit "friendly" to cyclists. Anyone who rides regularly around town knows just how dangerous it is to "share the road." Besides being crowded to the curb, yelled at, having objects thrown towards us, getting cut off by turners and generally disrespected, it isn't healthy to get a big gulp of diesel fumes as some delivery truck rumbles a foot off your left shoulder.

I have written countless letters to the Arizona Daily Star on this topic, usually soon after another poor biker is sent off to meet his maker by some inattentive motorist. It would be laughable if it wasn't so sad that these murderers get off with the equivalent of a parking ticket, $50 or so.

As is the case with any topic, there are always two sides. Every time I see some idiot riding on the wrong side of the street, towards traffic, at night, with no lights, reflectors, or helmet, running stop signs and red lights, my blood boils. And to the Lycra-clad "hammerheads" who persist in riding more than two abreast down Speedway Boulevard during morning rush hour: Get with it! And parents, how can you let your precious child climb on their two-wheeler without a helmet strapped on their noggin? It is the law for kids under 16.

I didn't mean for this to be a rant, but Tucson motorists and cyclists could co-exist peacefully with just a modicum of common sense on everyone's part. Then we really could be the "bicycle friendly" city the tourist bureau touts us to be.

Milo Borich


TPD Doesn't Need More Money; It Needs Priorities

I'm sick and tired of hearing how Tucson is in a financial crisis ("Towering Inferno: Budget Crunch," April 29). As an example, either the Tucson Police Department is so understaffed and underfunded that they are unable to address thousands of burglary cases every year, or they are so well-funded and bored that they are able to surround an El Charro with 100 officers to bust one underage drinker. They can't have it both ways. Fortunately, I have seen this act long enough to know what is coming next--an impassioned plea to steal yet more tax money from the hard-working citizens of our community.

The problem with Tucson (as well as the TPD) is not a shortage of funding, but gross mismanagement. A real solution to the financial problems of Tucson is to deny the bureaucrats additional funding once they waste what was originally allotted and then to replace said bureaucrats with competent individuals capable of actually achieving something.

Rich McKnight
Libertarian Candidate for Pima County Sheriff


The Skinny's Integrity Is Lacking

The author who wrote the almost scurrilous remarks about interim TUSD Superintendent Roger Pfeuffer went way out of his way to show himself completely lacking in journalistic integrity ("Paz Tense," April 29). They didn't wait, it seems, but a few hours from the time of Pfeuffer's appointment by the TUSD governing board to fire an opening volley against him (and his wife, and her family) as well as most members of the board. Unfortunately, he offered no positive ideas to assist the already ailing TUSD's slump in morale and perhaps added to existing problems. I'm sure Chris Limberis is now eagerly awaiting notification of his Pulitzer for uncovering this shattering news story regarding Roger Pfeuffer.

The only good thing about reading The Skinny in the Tucson Weekly was that the article was worth every cent I paid for it.

Hal Bardach

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