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Advice columnist not required to have state psychology license

An attempt by a Kentucky state licensing board to muzzle a journalist’s advice column was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, according to a story in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Columnist John Rosemond wrote an article for the Herald-Leader that lent advice to parents of a teenager. Rosemond called the teen a “highly spoiled underachiever” and advised the parents to instill punitive punishments until the teen’s grades improved. The subtitle of Rosemond column read “Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his website…”

A former Kentucky psychologist filed a complaint with the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology in 2013, contending that Rosemond’s advice was “unethical” since he was not a licensed psychologist in Kentucky.

Although it is against Kentucky law to use the title of “psychologist” without having a state license, Rosemond is a licensed psychological associate in North Carolina, and a note detailing such is always present at the end of his advice columns, according to the Herald-Leader news report.

The federal judge, ruling against the board, noted that Rosemond did not palm himself off as a licensed Kentucky psychologist and he did not establish a patient relationship. Therefore, the judge found that Rosemond was entitled to his opinion, and to “permit the state to halt this lawful expression would result in a harm far more concrete and damaging to society than the speculative harm which the state purportedly seeks to avoid, and perhaps that is the ‘wake up’ call best drawn from the facts of this case.”

Read the news report here.