This past Friday I was invited to dinner by a woman who promotes herself as a psychotherapist. She does a lot of telehealth these days with patients in Israel. I try not to talk about work because anyone in NYS can call themselves a psychotherapist--it's not a protected term. It is a meaningless term. And worse--they all gloat over how much money they earn doing telehealth and how patients just "love it."
During the course of dinner, she pronounced marijuana to be a miracle drug for PTSD. I talked about the research, which is much more muted about this. In fact, if you read the research, you find it plagued with placebo effects, small samples, no control groups, and an unacceptable rate of negative effects. In science, the minimum effect necessary to proclaim "significant" differences is <.05. In the research (more like case studies) of the effects of marijuana on mental health, you find the difference between pre and post symptomatology is >.08. Not significant. Not approaching significance. The VA would accept this--after all, even early experimental results require longer and bigger samples, and after all, there is nothing we should spare for our vets. However, the methodology would never be accepted in typical OPD samples--after ingestion, the participants are observed for over 6 hours. And by observed--I mean they don't go to the bathroom by themselves. I concluded by stating, "At the present time, the evidence shows that the risks of marijuana use outweighs the benefits."
She replied, "I don't believe in science." I replied, "As a NYS licensed psychologist, I am bound to base my practice on empirical evidence and empirical research.
She went on to make statements to show she doesn't know either the law or basic ethical responsibilities (first, do no harm). She went on to say that no one can sue for this, anyway.
I said, "it is not a matter of suing." If you do not have the proper credentials, NYS will come after you for practicing medicine without a license." Not to mention, if you don't have the proper credentials, you are not showing adequate care for your patients. It is your ego you care about, not anyone elses.
In an attempt to change the subject, we talked about travel and other places. I wished that I could travel some more, soon. I needed a vacation. She told me I should. I acquainted her with the reality of the pandemic decreasing my income by a third, and my contract was ending soon, which was the main source of my income.
She insisted that the only thing which prevented me from going was "general anxiety." So she does practice medicine without a license. It's not anxiety if it will actually happen. If I leave right now, I will lose my insurance. When I lose my main job, I will lose significant income and may not be able to pay for more than my maintenance. She doesn't get reality. She told me all these anecdotes about patients who sold everything and traveled. But all these patients were Israelis--no worries about health insurance. In America, it's different. The average American who doesn't have employer-paid insurance pays over $15000/annum--and this doesn't include deductibles. She insisted I exagerrate--after all, her Health Plus insurance (which must be a family plan) was less than the amount I cited and had no deductibles.
I don't know what she tells the health broker about her income. Obviously, she is not a licensed, credentialed, therapist, she doesn't have to report her income from therapy sessions, which must be all cash.
She is a Lubavicher and speaks often of the rebbe. Obviously, most of her clients come from him--and she doesn't do therapy, she does indoctrination. She certainly doesn't listen. She has no credentials. She doesn't care a whit what reality is. Reality is what she says it is, and hang empirical research or actual reality.
I went home and looked her up. She has a web site. She is a "life coach." Life coach is not a credentialed term. No wonder she doesn't have to worry about being sued. There are no requirements for life coaching. They can't take insurance or any third party payments. She says she earned her credentials in Israel via YNAR. There is nothing on the internet about this school. She says this is the equivalent of a university certification. Gee--here you have to have at the very least a master's degree and several years of supervised training, alongside another certification test. The only credential she has is chutzpah.
In terms of helping out the conversation, her husband was worse. He was preoccupied with where Vlodimir Zelensky was really a Jew. He opined not. He didn't believe Zelensky's mother was Jewish. He felt the Ukraine should just surrender and accept the Russian presence. After all, Ukrainians were worse than the Germans in WWII. Which is true. And I actually understand that line of thought. But after a year of destruction and death, how can you now surrender?
He was preoccupied with the whole who is a Jew thing mainly --interrogating me about my Judaism. I used the whole "All Jews are one," argument, but he cared little for that. Perfect Lubavitchers--whatever the rebbe says, goes.
As for me, I know who I am. I know one as well.