More meaningful healthcare regulation

July 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

It seems quite likely that if Obama’s push to expand healthcare to more/all Americans succeeds, mental health and addictions treatment will be included in the final bill. As such, the debate over regulating psychotherapy & how much regulation & oversight is desirable and necessary will surely follow. England is currently in the midst of such a debate.

The argument has apparently already proceeded on exactly the wrong battlefront. Yes, in such a system as it appears we may be getting, oversight & regulation is desirable and necessary. Yes, quackery should be sniffed out and executed on site. Yes, the taxpayers have a right to transparency in government. Yes. Yes. Yes.

A more meaningful debate that would ultimately prove more efficacious to treatment participants and resource-effective for taxpayers is unlikely to happen over there or over here–namely, that outcomes are far more important than “treatment modality” or “theoretical orientation.” However maligned or misunderstood a particular theory may be, if it “works” and is ethical, the taxpayers ultimately have little investment in the type of interventions used.

What remains unseen, however, is if therapist themselves could get on board with stringent outcomes regulations. Currently, one could exhaust an entire career in psychotherapy without significantly helping a soul and few would notice. Got cited for rats in the building? Sure. Failing to help clients still after 15 years of practice? crickets.

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