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Beach Legislation Criminalizing The Unlicensed Practice Of Psychology, Chiropractic, Social Work, And Psychoanalysis Clears Committee

Senator James Beach addresses the Legislature.

Bill Would Crack Down On Therapeutic Treatments By Unlicensed Individuals

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Beach that would make it a third degree crime to practice psychology, chiropractic, social work, or psychoanalysis without the appropriate license or certification was unanimously approved today by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Patients place an enormous amount of trust in healthcare professionals, and they deserve the guarantee of knowing that their practitioners are properly licensed or certified to administer medical care,” said Senator Beach, D-Camden. “By cracking down on unlicensed individuals who perform mental health and therapeutic treatments, this bill will go a long way to protect the safety and well-being of all New Jersey residents.”

The bill, S-3405, would make it a third degree crime if a person knowingly does not possess a license to practice psychology, chiropractic, or social work, or knowingly has had such a license suspended, revoked, or otherwise limited, and he or she: engages in the practice or any activity for which the license is a necessary requisite; exceeds the scope of the practice permitted by an order enacted by the State Board of Psychological Examiners; or falsely represents oneself to the public as a person being eligible to engage in the practice.

Provisions of the bill would also apply to a person who fraudulently holds himself or herself as being a state certified psychoanalyst, practices psychoanalysis under a false or assumed name, or falsely impersonates another person who is a state certified psychoanalyst.

Currently, it is a crime of the third degree to practice medicine or podiatric medicine, dentistry, or acupuncture without a license. The bill would add the unlicensed practice of psychology, chiropractic, and social work, and the uncertified practice of psychotherapy to that list. A crime of the third degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years or a fine of up to $15,000 or both.

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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