The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 26: Professions and Occupations

Chapter 55: PSYCHOLOGISTS

§ 3001. Definitions

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1) "Practice of psychology" means rendering or offering to render to individuals, groups, or organizations, for a consideration, any service involving the application of principles, methods, and procedures of understanding, predicting, and influencing behavior which are primarily drawn from the science of psychology. The science of psychology includes, but is not restricted to, assessment, diagnosis, prevention, and amelioration of adjustment problems and emotional and mental disorders of individuals and groups.

(2) "Psychologist" or "practicing psychologist" means a person who is licensed to practice psychology under this chapter.

(3) Psychologist-doctorate means a person who is so licensed under this chapter.

(4) Psychologist-master means a person who is so licensed under this chapter.

(5) "Board" means the board of psychological examiners established under this chapter.

(6) "Disciplinary action" or "disciplinary cases" includes any action taken by a board against a licensee or applicant premised upon a finding of wrongdoing or unprofessional conduct by the licensee or applicant. It includes all sanctions authorized under this chapter, but excluding obtaining injunctions.

(7) "Unprofessional conduct" means conduct prohibited by section 3016 of this title or by other statutes relating to the practice of psychology, whether or not taken by a license holder.

(8) "Financial interest" means being:

(A) a psychologist;

(B) a person who deals in goods and services which are uniquely related to the practice of psychology; or

(C) a person who has invested anything of value in a business which provides psychological services.

(9) "Institution of higher education" means a university, professional school, or other institution of higher learning that:

(A) in the United States, is regionally accredited by bodies approved by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation of the United States Department of Education;

(B) in Canada, holds a membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada; or

(C) in any other country, is accredited by the respective official organization having such authority.

(10) "Professional psychology training program" means a postgraduate training program that:

(A) is a planned program of study, defined by the board by rule, which reflects an integration of the science and practice of psychology and emphasizes assessment, intervention, psychopathology, statistical methods, and professional ethics, including practice and internship; or

(B) is designated as a doctoral program in psychology by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, or is accredited by the American Psychological Association or the Canadian Psychological Association; or

(C) is a master's program in psychology that is offered by an educational institution that is a full member of the Council of Applied Master's Programs in Psychology (CAMPP).

(11) "Psychotherapy" means the provision of treatment, diagnosis, evaluation, or counseling services to individuals or groups, for a consideration, for the purpose of alleviating mental disorders. "Psychotherapy" involves the application of therapeutic techniques to understand unconscious or conscious motivation, resolve emotional, relationship, or attitudinal conflicts, or modify behavior which interferes with effective emotional, social, or mental functioning. "Psychotherapy" follows a systematic procedure of psychotherapeutic intervention which takes place on a regular basis over a period of time, or, in the case of evaluation and brief psychotherapies, in a single or limited number of interventions. If a person is employed by or under contract with the agency of human services, this definition does not apply to persons with less than a master's degree, to persons providing life skills training or instruction, such as learning to make friends, to handle social situations, to do laundry, and to develop community awareness, or interactions of employees or contracted individuals with clients whose job description or contract specifications do not specifically mention "psychotherapy" as a job responsibility or duty.

(12) "Psychological trainee" means a person engaged in postdegree supervision who shall register with the board and be subject to its jurisdiction. (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1993, No. 98, § 1; 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 1a; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 1999, No. 52, § 23; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 21; 2009, No. 35, § 38; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 20, eff. May 12, 2010.)

§ 3002. Prohibitions

(a) A person who is not licensed under this chapter shall not engage in the practice of psychology.

(b) A person who is not licensed under this chapter shall not use the title "psychologist" or any title which contains that word. (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1993, No. 98, § 2.)

§ 3003. Penalties

A person who violates section 3002 of this title shall be subject to the penalties provided in 3 V.S.A. § 127(c). (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2005, No. 27, § 83; 2007, No. 29, § 39.)

§ 3004. Exceptions

This chapter shall not apply to a person engaged or acting:

(1) In the discharge of his or her duties as a student of psychology.

(2) In the discharge of his or her duties as a psychologist in an accredited academic institution.

(3) In the discharge of his or her duties in a business, corporation, or research laboratory, provided that he or she is performing those duties for which he or she is employed within the confines of the corporation or organization, and provided that the corporation or organization does not sell psychological services to the public for a fee.

(4) In clinical training for licensure as a clinical social worker or clinical mental health counselor or for certification as a marriage and family therapist or a psychoanalyst provided that the person's title indicates his or her training status and that the person does not identify himself or herself as a psychologist. (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 1b; 1995, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 1999, No. 52, § 24; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 30; 2009, No. 3, § 12a, eff. Sept. 1, 2009; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 21.)

§ 3005. Exemptions

(a) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to persons while engaged in the course of their customary duties as clergy, licensed physicians, nurses, osteopaths, optometrists, dentists, lawyers, social workers, mental health counselors, certified marriage and family therapists and psychoanalysts, rostered psychotherapists, or licensed educators when performing their duties consistent with the accepted standards of their respective professions; provided, however, that they do not describe themselves to the public by any other title or description stating or implying that they are psychologists or are licensed to practice psychology.

(b) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to persons while engaged in the course of their customary duties:

(1) In the practice of a religious ministry.

(2) In employment or rehabilitation counseling.

(3) As an employee of or under contract with the agency of human services, provided that the person does not practice psychotherapy as defined in section 3001 of this title.

(4) As a mediator.

(5) In an official evaluation for court purposes.

(6) As a member of a self-help group such as Alcoholics Anonymous, peer counseling, or domestic violence groups, whether or not the person is serving for a consideration.

(7) As a respite caregiver, foster care worker, or hospice worker.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the provisions of this chapter shall apply to any person licensed by the board of psychological examiners. (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1987, No. 245 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1993, No. 98, § 3; 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1995, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 15.)

§ 3006. Board; establishment

The board of psychological examiners is established, which shall consist of five members. The board shall be composed of three licensed psychologists and two other persons who are consumers but neither of whom are psychologists. Consumer members shall have no financial interest in the practice of psychology, either personally or through a spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister. At least one but not more than two of the psychologists shall represent the practice of psychology within the agency of human services or a community mental health center. All members of the board shall have been residents of the state of Vermont for at least two years prior to their appointment to the board. When a person who is an employee of or under contract with a community mental health center is subject to disciplinary action and the agency of human services member or the community mental health center member has a conflict of interest, the secretary of state shall appoint a psychologist who is an employee of another community mental health center to serve as an ad hoc member of the board. (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1995, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2005, No. 27, § 84.)

§ 3007. Board members; appointments

Board members shall be appointed by the governor pursuant to 3 V.S.A. §§ 129b and 2004. (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1993, No. 98, § 4; 2005, No. 27, § 85.)

§ 3008. Repealed. 2005, No. 27, § 117(1).

§ 3009. Organization of board

The board shall hold at least two regular meetings each year; but additional meetings may be held upon call of the chair or at written request of any two members of the board. A majority of the members of the board shall constitute a quorum for transacting business and all action shall be taken upon a majority vote of the members present and voting. (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2005, No. 27, § 86.)

§ 3009a. Powers and duties of board

(a) The board shall adopt rules necessary to perform its duties under this chapter, including rules which:

(1) specify educational and other prerequisites for obtaining licensure;

(2) explain complaint and appeal procedures to licensees, applicants, and the public;

(3) explain continuing education requirements; and

(4) explain how the board shall investigate suspected unprofessional conduct.

(b) The board may:

(1) establish or approve continuing education programs;

(2) conduct hearings;

(3) receive assistance from the director of the office of professional regulation and from the attorney general or an attorney assigned by the office of professional regulation. (Added 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(d); 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 2a; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 31; 2005, No. 27, § 87.)

§ 3009b. Repealed. 2005, No. 27, § 117(1).

§ 3010. Fees; licenses

Applicants and persons regulated under this chapter shall pay the

 following fees:

       (1) Application for license                                                $175.00

       (2) Biennial renewal of license                                         $150.00

       (3) Psychological trainee registration                                 $ 75.00

       (4) Biennial renewal of trainee registration                        $ 90.00

 (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 66; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 50; 1997, No. 59, § 61, eff. June 30, 1997; 2007, No. 76, § 7; 2009, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 22; 2011, No. 33, § 4.)

 

§ 3011. Repealed. 1997, No. 40, § 33.

§ 3011a. Applications

(a) Any person desiring to obtain a license as a psychologist shall make application therefor to the board upon such form and in such manner as the board prescribes and shall furnish evidence satisfactory to the board that he or she:

(1) is at least 18 years of age;

(2)(A) possesses a doctoral degree in psychology and has completed 4,000 hours of supervised practice as defined by the board by rule, of which no fewer than 2,000 hours were completed after the doctoral degree in psychology was received; or

(B) possesses a master's degree in psychology and has completed 4,000 hours of supervised practice as defined by the board by rule of which no fewer than 2,000 hours were completed after the master's degree in psychology was received; and

(3) has successfully completed the examinations designated by the board.

(b) In exceptional cases, the board may waive any requirement of this section if in its judgment the applicant demonstrates appropriate qualifications. (Added 1997, No. 40, § 34; amended 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 52.)

§ 3012. Repealed. 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 2c.

§ 3013. Conduct of examinations

(a) The board shall conduct examinations under this chapter at least twice a year at a time and place designated by it; provided, however, that examinations need not be conducted at times when there are no applicants requesting to be examined. Examinations may be written, computer-administered, computer-adapted, or oral as determined by the board. In any written examination each applicant shall be designated by a number so that his or her name is not disclosed to the board until the examinations have been graded. Examinations shall include questions in such theoretical and applied fields as the board deems most suitable to test an applicant's knowledge and competence to engage in the practice of psychology. An applicant shall be held to have passed an examination upon the affirmative vote of at least four members of the board.

(b) Examinations administered by the board and its procedures of administration shall be fair and reasonable and shall be designed and implemented to ensure that all applicants are admitted to practice if they demonstrate that they possess the minimal occupational qualifications which are consistent with the public health, safety, and welfare. They shall not be designed or implemented for the purpose of limiting the number of licensees.

(c) If a licensee has a principal place of business, a license shall be prominently displayed at that place. (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 22.)

§ 3014. Licensure by endorsement

(a) The Board may at any time issue a license, upon payment of the required fee, if the applicant presents evidence that he or she:

(1) is licensed or certified to practice psychology in another jurisdiction in which the requirements for such licensing or certification are, in the judgment of the Board, substantially equivalent to those required by this chapter and the rules of the Board;

(2) is a diplomat in good standing of the American Board of Professional Psychology;

(3) holds evidence of professional qualification from an individual certification program acceptable to the Board; and

(4) has taken and passed an examination on the Vermont laws and rules governing the practice of psychology.

(b) The Board may at any time issue a license, upon payment of the required fee, to an applicant who is licensed as a psychologist at the doctoral level in another jurisdiction of the United States or Canada in which the requirements for licensure are not, in the judgment of the Board, substantially equivalent to those required by this chapter and the rules of the Board if the applicant:

(1) is in good standing with no pending charges as verified to the Board by the licensing authorities of all jurisdictions in which the applicant has held a license;

(2) has practiced as a licensed psychologist at the doctoral level for an average of at least 1,000 hours per year for a minimum of seven years. The seven years' licensed practice experience need not immediately precede the application so long as the applicant has remained licensed for five years preceding the application; and

(3) has had no disciplinary history resulting in a finding of unprofessional conduct in any jurisdiction. (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1999, No. 52, § 25; 2005, No. 27, § 88; 2013, No. 27, § 33.)

§ 3015. Renewals

(a) Licenses shall be renewed every two years upon payment of the required fee.

(b) Two months prior to the expiration of the license, the director of the office of professional regulation shall forward to the holder a form or application of renewal. Upon the receipt of the completed form and the renewal fee, the director shall issue a new license.

(c) Any application for renewal of a license which has expired shall in addition require the payment of a reinstatement fee. A person reinstating shall not be required to pay renewal fees for the years during which the license was lapsed.

(d) As a condition of renewal, the board may require that licensees establish that they have satisfied continuing education requirements established by board rule. Upon application, the board may exempt from continuing education requirements a licensee on active duty in the armed forces of the United States, if obtaining continuing education credits would be impossible in practice or a significant hardship for the licensee.

(e) [Deleted.]  (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1993, No. 98, § 6; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 23; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 31.)

§ 3016. Unprofessional conduct

Unprofessional conduct means the conduct listed in this section and in 3 V.S.A. § 129a:

(1) Failing to make available, upon written request of a person using psychological services to succeeding health care professionals or institutions, copies of that person's records in the possession or under the control of the licensee.

(2) Failing to use a complete title in professional activity.

(3) Conduct which evidences moral unfitness to practice psychology.

(4) Engaging in any sexual conduct with a client, or with the immediate family member of a client, with whom the licensee has had a professional relationship within the previous two years.

(5) Harassing, intimidating, or abusing a client or patient.

(6) Entering into an additional relationship with a client, supervisee, research participant, or student that might impair the psychologist's objectivity or otherwise interfere with the psychologist's professional obligations.

(7) Practicing outside or beyond a psychologist's area of training or competence without appropriate supervision.

(8) In the course of practice, failure to use and exercise that degree of care, skill, and proficiency which is commonly exercised by the ordinary skillful, careful, and prudent psychologist engaged in similar practice under the same or similar conditions, whether or not actual injury to a client or patient has occurred.

(9) Conduct which violates the "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct" of the American Psychological Association, effective December 1, 1992, or its successor principles and code.

(10) Conduct which violates the "ASPPB Code of Conduct-1990" of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, or its successor code. (Added 1975, No. 228 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1993, No. 98, § 7; 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 50; 1999, No. 52, § 26; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 2013, No. 27, § 34.)

§ 3016a. Disciplinary action

(a) After giving opportunity for hearing, the board may take disciplinary action against a licensee or applicant found guilty of unprofessional conduct.

(b) In connection with any disciplinary action, the board may:

(1) refuse to accept the return of a license tendered by the subject of a disciplinary investigation;

(2) refuse to license a person who has been found guilty or who is under investigation in another jurisdiction for an offense which would constitute unprofessional conduct in this state;

(3) issue warnings to a licensee;

(4) suspend, revoke, or reinstate licenses;

(5) notify relevant state, federal, and local agencies and appropriate bodies in other states of the status of any pending or completed disciplinary case against an applicant or licensee, provided that the board has taken disciplinary action against that person or the board had made a finding after opportunity for hearing that there is probable cause to believe that disciplinary action is warranted; and

(6) require restitution of fees received from a complainant.

(c) The board shall investigate all complaints and charges of unprofessional conduct against any licensee. The board shall not discontinue a pending investigation or disciplinary case by reason of the absence of the applicant or licensee from the state. (Added 1981, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

§ 3017. Disclosure of information

The board shall adopt rules requiring licensed psychologists to disclose to each client the psychologist's professional qualifications and experience, those actions that constitute unprofessional conduct, the method for filing a complaint or making a consumer inquiry, and provisions relating to the manner in which the information shall be displayed and signed by both the psychologist and the client. The rules may include provisions for applying or modifying these requirements in cases involving institutionalized clients, minors, and adults under the supervision of a guardian. (Added 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)

§ 3018. Telepractice

Licensees who provide services regulated under this chapter by means of the internet or any other electronic means are deemed to provide such services in this state, and are subject to the jurisdiction of the board. The board may take disciplinary or other action against such licensees. Action taken by the board does not preclude any other jurisdiction from also taking disciplinary or other action against such licensees. (Added 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 25.)