Model

Legislation

Therapeutic Protection and Therapeutic Rights of Adults

 

Section 1.  Definitions.

(a)  A licensed therapist means an individual who is practicing within the scope of practice defined in the individual’s respective licensing act and is licensed under [insert citations to applicable state licensing statutes] as:

     (1)  A physician or osteopathic physician, who is engaged in the practice of psychiatry or mental health therapy;

     (2)  A psychologist or a certified psychology resident, psychological assistant, intern, or trainee qualifying to engage in the practice of psychology or mental health therapy;

     (3) An advanced practice registered nurse or advanced practice registered nurse intern specializing in psychiatric mental health nursing;

     (4) A clinical social worker or certified social worker;

     (5) A marriage and family therapist or associate or registered marriage and family therapist, associate, or trainee;

     (6) A clinical mental health counselor or associate or registered clinical mental health counselor, associate, or trainee; or

     (7)  [Insert term for any other person licensed as a therapist under your state’s law or regulation].[1]

 

(b)  “Political subdivision” means any county, city, town, municipal corporation, school district, or any division or agency of any of them.[2]

 

(c)  Professional licensing board means the:

     (1)  Physicians Licensing Board created under [insert citation to statute];

     (2)  Osteopathic Physician and Surgeon’s Licensing Board created under [insert citation to statute];

     (3)  Psychologist Licensing Board created under [insert citation to statute];

     (4)  Board of Nursing created under [insert citation to statute];

     (5)  Social Worker Licensing Board created under [insert citation to statute];

     (6)  Marriage and Family Therapist Licensing Board created under [insert citation to statute]; or

     (7)  Clinical Mental Health Counselor Licensing Board created under [insert citation to statute]; or

     (8)  [Insert name of any other licensing board and statutory citation].[3]

Section 2.  Prohibited practices.

(a)  Any individual, including but not limited to a licensed therapist, who engages in any of the following practices for the purpose of attempting to change another individual’s sexual attractions, sexual feelings, or sexual behaviors is guilty of a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed five years:[4]

     (1)  Castration; or

     (2)  Electroshocking of the genitals.

(b)  Any individual, including but not limited to a licensed therapist, who engages in any of the following practices for the purpose of attempting to change another individual’s sexual attractions, sexual feelings, or sexual behaviors is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed one year:[5]

     (1) Administering electroshocking or electroconvulsive procedures to body parts other than the genitals;

     (2) Administering drugs or substances to induce vomiting or nausea; or

     (3) Using any other aversion technique that involves inflicting physical pain or physical discomfort on a client or patient.

 

(c)  A licensed therapist who engages in any of the practices identified in subsections (a) and (b) of this section is also subject to professional discipline, including revocation of the therapist’s license, by the applicable professional licensing board or body or state professional licensing or regulatory authority that issued or has jurisdiction over the therapist’s license.[6

 

Section 3.  Unethical practices.

(a)  In addition to the prohibited practices identified in section 2, the following constitute unethical practices for licensed therapists:

 

      (1)  Using any of the following as a therapeutic technique in therapy:

         (A) Threat of force or rejection;

         (B) Intimidation;

         (C) Punishment;

         (D) Verbal abuse;

         (E) Bullying;

         (F) Humiliation; or

         (G) Shaming;

     (2)  Undressing, using nudity, or engaging in sexual activity in a therapy session;

     (3) Representing that that therapy will or probably will result in a substantial and permanent change in a client’s or patient’s feelings of sexual attraction towards persons of the same sex; 

     (4) Representing that a client’s or patient’s sexual attractions, sexual feelings, or sexual behaviors toward persons of the same sex cannot change (whether as a result of therapy or otherwise);

     (5) Advocating that a client’s or patient’s feelings of sexual attraction towards persons of the same sex should or should not change; or

     (6)  Affirming a client’s or patient’s unlawful sexual behaviors.

(b)  A licensed therapist who engages in any of the practices identified in subsection (a) of this section is subject to professional discipline, including the possibility of revocation of the therapist’s license, by the applicable professional licensing board or body or state professional licensing or regulatory authority that issued or has jurisdiction over the therapist’s license.[7]

 

Section 4.  Protection of client rights.

Subject to any requirement under applicable law that a therapist must report a particular matter or information to law enforcement authorities under [insert applicable statutory citations], every individual 18 years of age or older has the right to voluntarily consult with, and seek and receive professional assistance from, a licensed therapist regarding -

(a) Any feelings of sexual attraction;

(b) Any sexual behaviors;

(c) Any issues related to gender perception; and

(d) Any emotional issues that may be relevant to such attractions, behaviors, or gender perception.

 

Section 5.  Preemption of regulation of licensed therapists by political subdivisions.

(a)  A political subdivision is preempted from promulgating, adopting, or enforcing any ordinance, rule, regulation, policy, or order that regulates, restricts, controls, or otherwise interferes with the professional conduct and judgment of a licensed therapist, including speech, undertaken within the course of treatment and communication with any minor or adult client or patient, or in the course of communications with other persons or the public.

(b)  The Attorney General, a licensed therapist, or a client or patient of a licensed therapist (or, if the client or patient is a minor, the parent or legal guardian of the client or patient) may bring an action against a political subdivision for an injunction to prevent or restrain any violation of this section.

(c)  A licensed therapist or a client or patient of a licensed therapist (or, if the client or patient is a minor, the parent or legal guardian of the client or patient) may bring an action against a political subdivision to recover damages caused by any violation of this section.

(d) A licensed therapist or a client or patient of a licensed therapist (or, if the client or patient is a minor, the parent or legal guardian of the client or patient) may recover reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees incurred in an action seeking an injunction or damages under subsection (b) or subsection (c) if the licensed therapist or client or patient (or parent or legal guardian of a minor client or patient) is the prevailing party or substantially prevailing party in that action.  A political subdivision may not recover attorneys’ fees if the political subdivision is the prevailing party or substantially prevailing party in such an action.

(e)  Sovereign immunity or governmental immunity of the political subdivision from suit or liability under [cite applicable state constitutional or statutory provisions] is waived or abolished as to any action or suit brought under subsections (b), (c), or (d) of this section.

 

Section 6.  Viewpoint neutrality of professional licensing boards.

(a) No professional licensing board may promulgate any standard or rule that explicitly or implicitly compels or requires a licensed therapist to affirmatively support or to advocate or take a position against

     (1) same-sex attractions or behaviors;

     (2) client or patient transgender self-identification or gender transition; or

     (3) chemical, hormonal, or surgical gender change procedures.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit, limit, or restrict any licensed therapist subject to standards or rules promulgated by a professional licensing board from advocating or expressing any opinion, position, or viewpoint publicly or privately.

[1] The terms used to identify licensed therapists, and the laws regulating them, vary from state to state.  This section should be revised to correspond to the professional identifying terms used in your state, and the structure of how licensed therapists or mental health professionals are regulated under your state’s laws and agency regulations.

[2] This subsection should be revised to reflect the constitutional and statutory structure and terminology for local governments within your state.

[3] The names of professional licensing boards or authorities, and the scope of their jurisdiction, vary from state to state.  This section should be revised to correspond to the statutory and regulatory licensing structure and naming terminology used in your state.

[4] The classification of criminal offenses varies from state to state.  This section should be revised to correspond to the criminal offense category under the law of your state for which equivalent or similar punishment is prescribed.

[5] See footnote 4.

[6] The professional licensing and professional disciplinary scheme applicable to therapists varies from state to state.  This subsection should be revised to correspond to the structure and terminology used under the law of your state.

[7] See footnote 6.

Finally, the Alliance proposes that we need reasonable legislation that will protect the client from therapeutic harm while insuring client self-determination.

 

This model legislation could be adjusted to meet the specific concerns of individual states and their legislatures and can even be broken up into several bills depending on local political situations. It has been reviewed and adjusted to meet the recommendation of an impressive number of legal experts and to offer to individuals and organizations a workable strategy for potential use in your state. 

Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity      888-364-4744      contactus@TherapeuticChoice.com
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