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Texas Judge Upholds The Doctoral Degree For Independent Practice Of Psychology

2004 Texas quarterToday, Judge Rhonda Hurley in Travis County District Court, Austin, Texas, upheld the ruling that the entry level to independent practice of psychology in Texas is the doctoral degree. Judge Hurley ruled that the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP) has the authority to regulate the practice of Licensed Psychological Associates LPAs) through its rule making authority which states only doctoral‐trained, Licensed Psychologists may practice independently.

In September, 2010 the organization which represents Licensed Psychological Associates, the Texas Association of Psychological Associates (TAPA), filed a lawsuit in Austin, Texas, against the TSBEP on the grounds that the Board has no statutory authority to prevent Licensed Psychological Associates from practicing independently. According to Texas statute, Licensed Psychological Associates are defined as individuals trained in psychology at the Master’s level. By Board Rule, LPAs must practice under the supervision of a doctoral‐trained Licensed Psychologist. The Texas Psychological Association (TPA) was granted permission by the court to intervene in this case; arguing the intention of the legislature was that only doctoral‐trained individuals could provide independent psychological services. TPA claimed that TSBEP rule, which clearly states the supervision requirement for LPAs, does define how psychology is to be practiced in this state even though the supervision requirement is void in the statute.

David White, TPA’s Executive Director, states “We thank Judge Hurley for her judgment in this case and for clarifying this issue that has been debated for so many years in the psychology community. We appreciate the services provided by Licensed Psychological Associates but are fully committed to assuring that independent psychological practice in Texas remains solely for individuals trained at the doctoral level.”

David White, CAE
Executive Director
Texas Psychological Association

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