A Moment to Celebrate!
“Diagnose and Treat” Expanded Scope of Practice
Passed for Licensed Psychoanalysts
S9449-2021 has been signed by NY State Governor Kathy Hochul
With much gratitude for the monumental efforts and dedication of NAAP’s Legislative Team,
Patricia Harte Bratt, PhD
On June 29,2022 New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law an amendment to the state education law, Title VIII Article 163, enhancing the scope of practice of licensed psychoanalysts to include assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning of those seeking mental health services in New York.
On December 9, 2002, Governor George E. Pataki signed into law a bill–A.11769/S.7727–establishing psychoanalysis as an independent licensed profession. Since then, NAAP has been spearheading the campaign to amend the education law relating to psychoanalysts and analytic services to include assessment and diagnosis in the scope of practice. More recently this legislation was sponsored by Senator Samra Brouk, and fiercely advocated by Member of the Assembly Harry Bronson, with additional support from Senator Toby Stavisky and Member of the Assembly Deborah Glick.
It was a long, and sometimes harrowing internecine fight, that ultimately brought the Psychoanalysts, Mental Health Counselors, and Marriage and Family Counselors together in a determined legislative campaign. Dubbed the “Diagnose and Treat” campaign, it spanned two decades, attempting to convince NY legislators that the public is persistently denied full mental health services while Article 163 professions are not provided, in their professional statute, the specific ability to assess and diagnose mental disorders. This gap in the statute inhibited agencies from hiring members of the 163 professions and enabled insurers to deny coverage of services.
This new, 2022 landmark legislation means availability of more desperately needed services rendered by psychoanalytic clinicians with the highest caliber of training and clinical education. While it may take up to two years for regulations to be put in place formally implementing this law, it opens the door for continuous, uninterrupted treatment of New Yorkers currently in treatment with Licensed Psychoanalysts whose ability to work within certain settings was to terminate on June 24, 2022. The decision of the legislature and Governor Hochul, coming at what might have been the eleventh hour, represents a renewed commitment to mental health needs awareness and service provision. It also signals acknowledgement of the large profession of skilled, licensed psychoanalysts who have been marginalized away from consumers of mental health services because of the “diagnostic” loophole in the pre-existing law.
Over these two decades we have many among our ranks to thank for their tireless, pursuit of a resolution to the problem while continuing to build and expand the profession. There will be another moment in which many from the history of this effort can be included in our thanks, but of the past several years the NAAP Board extends it deep gratitude to those who have formed what we refer to as the “NAAP Legislative Team”, and to our government relations consultants at Pitta, Bishop & Del Giorno, LLC.
I also want to make note that the NAAP membership has been a tremendous help in reaching out, letter writing, donating dollars, and encouraging the NAAP Board of Trustees to pursue this campaign, and others that will be arising, through to a win. The huge outpouring of letters to legislators in the final moments when Governor Hochul was to sign or not on the legislation was a great help. Every time dues are paid a certain percentage goes into ensuring the viability and sustainability of the profession. NAAP is the spokesperson, but the membership is the backbone and body for whom it fights. The Board is thankful for your ongoing support in what can seem far away from everyday life but is consistently going on behind the scenes on your behalf. We also want it known that often we are tempted to make announcements, reveal steps or roadblocks along the way, but are advised to hold back. It is an ever-changing legislative and political landscape, so we try to only provide information that is definitive, rather than release confusing possibilities.
A huge celebratory thanks to NAAP’s Legislative Team.
- Jennifer Harper, NAAP Legislative Chair
- Patricia Bratt, NAAP President
- Christian Churchill
- Michael Connolly
- James Holmes
- Emily Horvath
- Monique Rinere
- Merrill Schneiderman
- Theresa Cosgrove and Robert Bishop of Pitta, Bishop & DelGiorno, LLC
While each of the team provided a uniquely indispensable impact to the campaign, I’d like to say something about these individuals, and what they contributed, at the same they time lobbied, networked, made inroads with legislators, and remarkably lead their own active personal and professional lives. Their efforts represent an enormously generous gift to all of us who will benefit from what we can celebrate today.
Jennifer Harper is NAAP’s Legislative Chair and the absolute guiding light and force behind the many legislative hurdles we’ve jumped over the years. Jennifer is a warrior. She will fight the battle from every perspective, spending sleepless nights strategizing, and then reaching out to guide her team. She will face down any opponent. At the same time, she can step back and recognize vulnerabilities, having the good sense to reboot to Plan B. Jennifer has an abiding commitment to the profession of psychoanalysis, maintenance of its standards, and expansion of its national reach throughout the states. This long-awaited journey to legislative amendment was fought by many, but crafted, held together, and pushed to the finish line by Jennifer Harper.
Theresa Cosgrove, of Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno LLC, has been NAAP’s stalwart ally through all the battles. She is a wonderful diplomat, a genius at intuiting how to connect with the opposition and us when we are ready to jump in and fight. She can mediate, throw down a gauntlet, or stand firm. Theresa has an uncanny ability to hear through to what the opposition really needs, explain it to us, and then devise counter proposals that may be palatable all around. She has saved NAAP’s skin countless times over the years.
Robert Bishop, of Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno, LLC, has overseen our lengthy battles, stepping in when his influence can move a matter forward, or when a new strategy is being hammered out. His commitment to NAAP, willingness to step into the breach with the legislature or administration when needed, is inspirational. NAAP is truly a small fry in the workings of Pitta, Bishop & Del Giorno, but we have always been treated as key players and are grateful for their support. Bob’s personal dedication to our cause has been humbling to witness.
Christian Churchill and James Holmes provided exhaustive research into the nature of NAAP psychoanalytic institutes. They amassed and analyzed data about where students came from, what draws them, what is studied, issues arising in training, specific questions/issues about the licensing exam, and life after licensure. All this to understand better the proficiencies and needs of our members to present as a report to the Office of Professions as part of our larger campaign. Emily Horvath, NAAP’s Administrator, was central to our task in putting the data together and distributing surveys for our various and many assessments.
Michael Connolly has been a consistent support, particularly in the areas of networking and outreach in the communities. He is tireless in introducing the NAAP Legislative Team, and any of NAAP members suggested, to those he thinks may help our legislative cause.
Monique Rinere, a well-established educational researcher, representing both NAAP and ABAP, was hired to do an educational assessment of institute academic training both of its own status and in comparison, to that of other mental health professions. Astonishingly, while a relatively equal playing field was expected, Monique’s results provided a surprise to those on both sides oof the legislative debate. As it happens, graduates of psychoanalytic institutes spend more than 50% additional documented time studying diagnosis and assessment than their colleagues in other mental health disciplines. This new evidence was a turning point in the debate over amending the existing psychoanalytic statute.
Merrill Schneiderman provided enormous input and energy on the team, continuously connecting us with her group, the NY Alliance of Psychotherapy Institutes. Merrill is incredibly generous in her tireless networking, strategizing, and reliable follow up whenever needed. She never failed to jump in and call someone to educate them about our cause and encourage their support. Merrill’s efforts with the Alliance galvanized the relationship between social workers and psychoanalysts in our institutes, in pursuit of the common goal of securing our scope of practice expansion for Licensed Psychoanalysts.