It seemed so clear when I made the choice to become a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist in NY what I wanted to do and what I was going to have to do become trained and licensed to do so. I made the commitment to follow the guidelines and laws to obtain my credentials so that I could practice in my field. Unfortunately, over time due to economic conditions, changes in guidelines, and state exemption laws, my one time clarity has now dissolved into frustration and confusion. I am really disappointed.
I did not and still do not agree with all of what the Occupy Wall Street Protestors were fighting for and against. However, I understand the anger and frustration that inspired their movement.
As I try to put into words how angry and disappointed I am, I struggle to find a starting point to try to express all of my feelings with out complaining. I have been doing my best to find answers to my concerns so that I can help or advocate for what I believe in and take action rather than complaining.
I will begin to explain here. The first problem; it is almost impossible to find anyone willing or capable of answering my questions. The second issue is the more answers that I am able to extract from people, the more questions arise, and the more difficult it becomes to know what I need to know or to do to make any sense of what is occurring.
At the same time, I am overwhelmed by the number of people who are in positions of power who are just as confused and seem just as unaware as myself. I have been sent by those in charge to various social media groups of discussions, which is helpful to find others who feel the same way and who are trying to accomplish the same goals. But unless someone steps up with any type of clarity, plan of action, or useful information the discussions increase my frustration level and lead to no real clarity.
My quest to find a variety of information started when I really took a look at the exemption law and reports from NY State Office of Professions. It amazed me that the State of New York created laws for practicing professionals such as creative arts therapists, psychologists, social workers to become licensed to practice in their respective fields. Yet, in 2002 NY State also created exemption laws for their own State agencies so that they could hire unlicensed professionals. I believe it was due to a shortage in licensed professionals at that time. However, all other organizations in New York State were required by some date to abide by the laws and hire only licensed workers. By the way these laws were established to protect the people receiving the care and services.
In 2010 the original law was extended to July 2013 and I am not clear as to why this happened. So now, the State agencies are requesting for the laws to be extended indefinitely based on their new findings, which I believe is mostly due to cost. They were unable to come up with the funds in their budget to actually pay for the licensed professionals. Again, I believe they also claimed that there is no difference between the care given by a licensed professional and one that is unlicensed. Yet, the state government was the ones who established the criteria for the licensing of the workers in the first place.
I am sure that after two years of graduate school, along with on hands training during that time, a research paper, exam, and 1500 additional training hours would make the majority of licensed professional much more educated and capable than the average unlicensed professional. Yes, I agree; there are always the exceptions to that logic and I have met some unlicensed workers that were amazing and some licensed workers that were not so good. However, if laws are going to be created that require a hefty amount of financial investment for grad school, years of training, and dedication from a person who wants to work in the field then the laws should be followed by all including the state agency that enacted these laws. Just as important, the laws were established for the protection of the people receiving the services and care as well.
I can’t even begin to go into my frustrations about the National Art Therapy Association and the New York Art Therapy Association. I will post-pone my further blogging until I try to confirm additional information. Until then, please check out the links to the NY State Office of Professions that I provided at the top of the MyATI home page and take the survey.