Dear Maryland Mental Health Counselor Community:
I know that I have bombarded you with pleas and special requests this summer, but this one is my most impassioned plea to you for assistance.
Contrary to what any of us would believe was possible, we now have sister groups of mental health counselors sympathetic to the CACREP only perspective, in different parts of the country, lobbying members of Congress to deny mental health counselors who graduated from non-CACREP and counseling psychology programs (with five years experience) the automatic right to practice in TRICARE, as proposed in a revision to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
As you can imagine this is a very concerning development, as it gives the false impression that concerned mental health counselors are decrying the practice of unqualified mental counselors, who are identified by their graduation from "unaccredited" or non-CACREP schools. I confess that it is surreal and disconcerting to read these communications to Congress and to see counselors trying to undermine the careers and livelihoods of their fellow counselors. Nothing can be more distressing to witness than this.
Many of these commentators are trying to spin the false narrative that allowing non-CACREP counselors to practice in TRICARE will prevent all counselors from ever practicing in MEDICARE. There is no connection between TRICARE and MEDICARE in current bills before Congress and to suggest this connection is misinformation.
I need every non-CACREP counselor in Maryland to write a short email through the following link (that contacts the entire Maryland Congressional delegation) in order to explain your exceptional competence as a mental health counselor from a non-CACREP school and to ask our Maryland representatives to support the revision in the NDAA that gives all mental health counselors with 5 years experience the right to practice in TRICARE. If you write a sentence, a few sentences, or a paragraph, your email will make a difference, however short or long.
I wish I had the wisdom to explain to you why our sister associations are trying to harm us rather than reaching out in support. However, I believe our kindness and respectful advocacy will inevitably win out over the hurtful behavior that is being directed against us. I believe our greatest enemy is not those who attack us but the indifference of the overwhelming majority who know what is happening is wrong and choose to do nothing. If every counselor in Maryland stands up for what is right, we will prevail against this undeserved threat to our practice rights and mischaracterization of our competency.
Please take a moment to voice your opinion to the Maryland Delegation in Congress by sending your email to the link below:
The distribution list address is:
This is being sent to:
Jean Doyle - Legislative Director for The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski
Tommy Bredar - Legislative Correspondent for The Honorable Benjamin L. Cardin
Priscilla Ross - Legislative Director for The Honorable Benjamin L. Cardin
Jodi Schwartz - Legislative Assistant for The Honorable Benjamin L. Cardin
John Dutton - Legislative Director for The Honorable Andrew P. Harris
Walter Gonzales - Legislative Director for The Honorable C.A. Ruppersberger
Raymond O'Mara - Legislative Director for The Honorable John P. Sarbanes
Christopher Schloesser - Legislative Director for The Honorable Donna Edwards
Jim Notter - Legislative Director for The Honorable Steny H. Hoyer
Suzanne Owen - Legislative Director for The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings
Sarah Schenning- Legislative Director for The Honorable Christopher Van Hollen
Xan Fishman - Legislative Director for The Honorable John Delaney
McKenzie Haynes - Military LA for The Honorable John Delaney
Thank you again for your assistance.