Skip to comments.Conscience protections sought for Nebraska psychologistsis
Posted on 06/17/2009 3:26:37 PM PDT by bdeaner
Responding to concerns that psychologists might be required to counsel homosexual couples about strengthening their relationship, Catholic leaders in Nebraska are asking for conscience protections for psychologists who refuse to treat or refer clients because of religious or moral convictions.
Speaking during a licensing rules hearing before the Board of Mental Health Practice, Nebraska Catholic Conference executive director Jim Cunningham proposed a convictions of conscience rule for psychologists. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that he warned that Catholic Charities in Omaha and Catholic Social Services in Lincoln might have to stop hiring licensed counselors and psychologists if they are not protected by the law. The Lincoln agency provides about $100,000 in free mental health services.
While most ethics codes for professional counselors and psychologists permit refusing to offer services based on ethical convictions, the codes generally require the professional to provide a referral for the client.
Cunningham said that even referrals could be a violation of conscience.
Edward Stringham, a Lincoln psychologist, said that the lack of a moral exemption could require a psychologist who believes homosexual relationships are immoral to counsel homosexual couples on improving their relationship.
According to the Journal Star, Stringham pointed to a 2001 federal court case which supported an employer who fired a counselor who refused on moral grounds to provide relationship enhancement counseling to a lesbian.
This is cause for legitimate concerns, Stringham said.
James K. Cole, who represented the Nebraska Psychology Association at the hearing, said that conscience exemptions could allow any provider to discriminate against virtually everyone as long as they claim a conflicting moral or religious belief.
The conscience clause is already part of a proposed rule change for counselors. Its compromise language was worked out between the Nebraska Catholic Conference and the Board of Mental Health Practice this winter.
The Nebraska Catholic Conference has also argued for conscience protections for social workers and marriage and family therapists.
No doubt counselors who advise them “to go and sin nomore” will need to be protected from ruinous lawsuits.
Is this a ‘solution’ in search of a problem?
How many gay couples are getting turned away from marriage professionals?
And who would want to or demand to be treated by someone who does not practice in that area? (I’d like to see one of those sessions... “Bruce refuses to play ‘catcher’ when it’s his turn- so I gave him such a pinch” )
Or is it ‘back door’ legislation- i.e. once they can force psychologist to treat gays its not such a leap to force doctors to euthanize elderly or perform abortions
Not knowing which way the conscience clause will go is a large reason why I am not working in my field.
That's what I was thinking -- are there gay couples who want marriage counseling from a professional who doesn't think they should be married?
I think you both underestimate the gay & lesbian lobby. They will use union tactics — e.g., send someone into a therapist who is a known Catholic, for example, just to put their license in jeopardy. I have no doubt they will do this, if they can.
And remember this. The doctor who took over Tiller's business is in Bellevue, Nebraska.
Lots of darkness there.