Alternative Therapists in Oregon

As I note in the Bio section of my web site, I practice in Oregon as an Alternative Therapist.  In recent years I’ve advocated to the Oregon legislature and state government for the creation of a board for Alternative Therapists modeled after the board that regulates Alternative Therapists in the State of Vermont.   During 2017, this idea gained momentum with some legislators and with the Oregon Health Authority.  A series of meetings and workgroup sessions have moved the “Vermont Concept” forward to the point where we are ready to discuss legislative concepts with the broad community of Alternative Therapists in Oregon.

On Friday, November 10 we are holding an informational meeting regarding the proposal to form a regulatory board for Alternative Therapists in Oregon.

  • Date: November 10th, 2017
  • Time: 7-8:30 PM
  • Place: Process Work Institute (thanks to PWI for the use of the room)
  • Address: 2049 NW Hoyt St., Portland, OR 97209
  • Distance/Remote Attendance:  Online access will be available (see below)

Some Background:

During the 2017 legislative session, bills were introduced in the Oregon house and senate that would have affected Alternative Therapist practice in Oregon (HB2361, SB2303.A3).  These bills stirred up a discussion about regulating Alternative Therapists in Oregon.  In this discussion, a proposal that I’ve advocated for in recent years based on the state of Vermont’s regulatory board for alternative therapists came back into focus.  The Oregon Health Authority and state Senator Steiner-Hayward were receptive to this idea, and I’ve been working with them and with some NGOs (ACCBO, AOCMHP) during the late summer and early fall on a legislative concept that could be introduced in the upcoming legislative session.

I’ve brought a few other alternative therapy stakeholders into this process to wring out ideas and add to the concepts – educators, stakeholders who run training programs, the president of a professional group.  They are a thoughtful and capable group who have also been involved in past advocacy efforts for Alternative Therapists.

Basic Concepts:

The legislative concept that we’re working on addresses the two key issues that were paramount during the 2017 legislative session and in earlier sessions:

  1. Consumer protection
  2. Affirming the right to practice for Alternative Therapists.

Consumer Protection:  The 2018 legislative concept/proposal addresses consumer protection in a manner that’s similar to the Vermont Concept.  Consumer protection is addressed primarily through 2 provisions:

  1. Professional Training Disclosure: Alternative Therapists would provide detailed description/disclosure about their training, qualifications, and scope of practice to the public. This “Professional Disclosure” would be made available to potential clients so that they can make well informed decisions concerning their choice of providers.
  2. Ethical/Professional Standards: A set of professional standards would be developed for Alternative Therapists, who would be required to practice according to these ethical/professional standards.  A board (or registry) would be created to administer these professional standards.  As with other professional regulatory boards, a complaint process would be put in place for use by the public.  A process for investigating claims and a disciplinary process would be developed.


Affirming the Right to Practice:  During the 2017 legislative session, we made efforts to affirm the continued right for Alternative Therapists to practice in Oregon.  The concept that we’re working on for 2018 affirms our right to practice by defining the practice of Alternative Counseling Therapy in Oregon, and by the implicit agreement that Alternative Therapists exist in Oregon as a known group.  This implicit agreement moves Alternative Therapists as a group out of the shadows or out of the unknown, and makes them a known and registered group in Oregon.

Proposed Role of the State:  In the concept that we’re working on, the state of Oregon would not play a role in accrediting Alternative Therapists.  Nor would the state have a role in defining education or training for Alternative Therapists.  The state of Oregon would not limit your practice or define “best practices” for Alternative Therapists.  Instead, consumer protection would be served through therapist’s professional disclosure to clients about their training and through the provision of ethical/professional standards and a complaint/discipline process.

Hypnotherapists have requested to not be include in this proposal and as per their request, Hypnotherapists are given an exclusion in this proposal. 

Alternative Therapist Discussion:

This legislative concept is in the process of being debated and edited.  We’re reaching out to Alternative Therapists at this time to provide information about the legislative proposal and to invite discussion.  If you have an interest in this topic we hope that you’ll attend and participate.  Please also pass this invitation along to other Alternative Therapists in your community.

Online participation:   Online participation will be provided through Adobe Connect.  At the time of the meeting please open a web browser and go to the following link:

Login as a guest. You’ll see the a bar of icons that control speakers, microphone, web cam, and raising your hand to comment.

You can turn your camera on if you like and people in the room will see you, or leave it off. If you have comments you can also share them in the chat window. We’ll try to monitor the chat for questions and monitor hands that are raised to make comments.   We’re grateful to the Process Work Institute for making this facility available to us.

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