The Michigan Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology
Back to Question of MCE
MSPP Home Newsletter Archives Reading Room
OPEN Letter to Colleagues
On mandatory Continuing education
Etta Gluckstein Saxe, Ph.D.
Author’s Note: This letter was written prior to my learning, through a phone call to CIS (the department that oversees the licensing board) that there are no hearings being planned for implementation of MCE. Nevertheless I have decided that the major ideas and philosophical/professional position about our responsibility for participating in such deliberations and processes remain important ones to convey to my colleagues, so I have decided to print the letter as written. While some of the specific suggested actions do not fit the current moment I think the ideas of the letter can offer us some direction for thinking together about issues of action to maintain the status quo or alter it if it that proves necessary. An opportunity for such thinking together will take place at the March MSPP meeting.
I am writing to you about MANDATORY Continuing Education which the Legislature has indicated it intends to have the Licensing Board/Department of Industry and Consumer Affairs make mandatory in Michigan. I am writing because I believe that the future of Psychoanalytic Psychology/Psychoanalysis as discipline, practice, and education will be heavily influenced by the administrative rules being developed by the Licensing Board for Psychology and that immediate action must be taken to influence these developing rules by those of us to whom the shape and viability of this future is important. Since I believe that each of us has the professional responsibility to ongoingly educate ourselves, I think the formats of education permitted us by governing bodies also become matters about which we would best assume personal responsibility, and that we can best do this by attempting to influence such governing bodies as individuals and through collective action. Hence this letter.
Until October of 2001, when the Governor signed a budget bill which had within it, as I understand the facts, the mandating of continuing education, we in Michigan have been fortunate enough to be free to develop many different formats to meet our professional responsibility of ongoing education. Individuals were free to create and/or choose among a wide range of educational opportunities those which suited their self defined professional educational goals, learning styles, professional styles, and work and life schedules. Some chose attending large meetings and symposia, taking pre-designed courses through this or that group, developing their own study groups or case conferences on a collegial or teacher oriented model, study offerings in their place of employment, becoming candidates in Institutes, reading groups, on-line study, national meetings, self directed reading programs, personal therapy, individual mentoring or individual professional/technical consultation also called supervision and many more beyond this list.
While it is less easy to accomplish such variety and choice under MCE, there is no reason why the administrative rules can not be written to include all these possibilities if those of us, whether psychoanalytic thinkers or professional psychologists of other persuasions, make a major effort to speak with our Licensing Board and the Michigan Psychological Association (MPA) Director of Professional Affairs, Judith Kovach. As a profession and as individual professionals we have the right, and in my opinion the obligation, to participate in this process and not simply stand by and allow a few people to speak for us and likely then design a program that is based either on simple ease of management, what everybody else is doing, or the limited interests of a sub-group of professional psychologists in Michigan. I believe our responsibilities to the public also require that we participate in designing the most suitable and educationally meritorious program which enhances our sense of individual responsibility for our work as well as our knowledge and skill.
I believe further that as a discipline with a strong research tradition we owe it to the public and our profession to include a research component in our program. Beginning as soon as the administrative rules/MCE are in place for license renewal, data on number of complaints to the Licensing Board and perhaps malpractice actions against psychologists should be collected so that it can be ascertained if there is any significant change with the implementation of the MCE requirement. In order to do this a base line must be established right now for these two measures in recent years (1997-2001 for example).
If you are in agreement with the above I urge you to do the following things:
1. Share my communication with colleagues and organizations in which you participate. Urge them to participate in the process of shaping the rules.
2. Communicate with the Department of Consumer and Industry Services and with the Licensing Board secretary, chair, and members. Request information about public hearings and public input to the developing administrative rules. Go to hearings/meetings if they occur or send a representative with a signed statement by those who can not attend.
3. Send letters/e-mails/petitions etc with your views about having many different formats eligible for MCE credit. Insist on maximum CHOICE for the individual professional (see list in text above for examples). Include ideas about “policing” as this is an often used excuse for limiting the educational formats for which credit can be received. For example going to the APA convention in some states does not count, as claims are made you can not rely on the reports of the individual professional as to attendance at the sessions. In discussing “policing” suggest simple means of keeping track based on trusting the professional who is the responsible party to report their own CE activities according to the Bill passed. Speak to the issue of the demeaning public image the “policing” regulatory philosophy/behavior presents to the public and its negative effects on the public welfare and quality of services available. In addition tie such a philosophy to its demoralizing and demeaning effects on our profession and the individual professional.
4. Insist that the rules include provision for lesser hours for part-time people such as those psychologists with young children or those who are partially retired. The fees for malpractice insurance take this into account and MCE, especially the more usual kind is costly in time and money. Let’s learn from history and not repeat it. We had to redo the rules for licensing because the former group was not considered the first time. Let’s not repeat that mistake which basically was discriminatory against women.
5. If you agree that we should research the effects of this time- and money-using program, make a case for/demand/insist on the inclusion of monitoring research. Those interested in this issue may want to read the article by Ed Zuckerman.
In addition to the above, for those who are members of MPA:
Send your views about MCE and CHOICE to Judith Kovach and Art Lewandowski. Insist that these issues be debated in the open and that the membership be informed on how to input the Licensing Board and Department of Industry and Consumer Services, Bureau of Health Services.
Submit proposals for the MCE programs MPA will offer so that Psychoanalytic Psychology is well represented.
(See Contact Information Below)
This Open Letter was originally published in the February 2002 newsletter of the Michigan Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology. It is reprinted here by permission of the author. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Etta Gluckstein Saxe, Ph.D., is a psychoanalytic thinker, practitioner, and educator whose participation in psychoanalysis as discipline, practice, and scholarship spans almost 40 years. She has taught and done supervisory consultation in the Departments of Psychology of the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit Mercy and in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience (previously Department of Psychiatry) of the School of Medicine of Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, with a specialty in work with children and adolescents. Dr. Saxe is a long-time member of the Michigan Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology, which she served as the vice-president and program chair (1989-1991) and as president (1991-1995 and 2001-2003).
Dr. Saxe is a long time member of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association and was the year 2000 president and year 2001 past-president of Section IV (Local Chapters) of Division 39. She is a member of the International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education and has served two terms as a member-at-large, with her area of responsibility the development of a Mentorship Program. She is an active member of the Academy for the Study of the Psychoanalytic Arts and one of the "founding members" of this group. Dr. Saxe practices in Ann Arbor and Royal Oak, Michigan, offering personal and educational consultation, seminars and study groups.
Identify and Contact State Legislators
Board of Psychology (Licensing Board)
Patricia Watson, Ph.D., Chairperson
(517) 335-0918 ext. 0
Department of Consumer
and Industry Services
Director: Kathleen Wilbur
Association of State and Provincial
P.O. Box 4389
Montgomery, AL 36103
(334) 832-4580 www.asppb.org
Director of Professional Affairs
Judith Kovach, Ph.D.
Licensing Committee Chair
Arthur Lewandowski, Ph.D.
American Psychological Association
APA Office of Continuing
Staff Liaison: Jo Linder-Crow, Ph.D.
MSPP Home Back to February 2002, Vol. 12, No. 1 Reading Room