Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
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The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC

The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC, is located at 675 Route 72 E, Manahawkin, NJ 08050,
Telephone (609)709-2043 and (609) 494-0009.

Driving directions: Take Mill Creek Road South, just off Route 72 E After about 400 feet, turn right into the office complex of Mill Creek Commons.Then, immedately turn right again and go past the Lyceum II Gym. Continue on to the Prudential Zack Building,which will be the only building on your right. We are the last office at the end.

We accept Medicare and most other major insurance.
We do not accept credit or debit cards.

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

How to Spot Bogus Academic and Professional Credentials

I can run off a Ph.D. degree today on my computer and give it to you, and you can say that you have a Ph.D. without breaking any law. The only time you can actually be prosecuted is when you offer your services to the public in a license-protected occupation, such as a psychologist, counselor, or social worker; but even here, there are exceptions.  In New Jersey, for example, a non-profit organization such as a church can hire you as a psychologist or a counselor  without having to comply with formal licensing requirements, because you are not actually holding your services out to the public, they are, regardless of whether or not you have a real degree, a phony degree, or no degree at all. Many non-profits do employ licensed people, of course; and there are many fine instructors in non-profit organizations who do not have the full preparation which is required for working or teaching in public institutions.

If you want to open a practice as a "psychic astrologer," with a Ph.D. that you designed this morning on your word processor,  there's nothing stopping you, because "psychic astrologer" is not a license-protected occupation -- although you may still have to pay for a business license before you can actually open a practice and collect fees for your services. Generally, these occupations operate according to the "Golden Rule:" He who has the gold makes the rules!

In any field, a degree which is recognized by established institutions of higher learning must be offered by the officially recognized accrediting body in your locality, and no other, because diploma mills are very good at forming legitimate-appearing organizations which happily "accredit" each other. Here is a list of all officially accredited post-secondary institutions from the U.S. Department of Education.
Since there aren't any restrictions on forming an "educational institution," it is easy to incorporate "universities" with impressive-sounding titles, offering courses and degrees in all sorts of subjects, which may then group themselves into unsanctioned regional associations to accredit each other -- and they do!  To muddy the waters even further, some States maintain "lists" of educational institutions, which some of these institutions then use as evidence that they are "recognized" by that State, because it is all too easy to confuse being on a State list  with being "accredited by the State in question, which usually involves an official visit by a State accrediting team and a thorough review of the qualifications of every member of the faculty,
Whenever you hear someone say that they "can paper the wall of their office" with their academic degrees, or you see an official-looking diploma signed by people who have a large number of degrees in several different fields after their name, or someone has claimed to earn a large number of degrees in just a few years, this should be a signal to examine the situation further. (Just think how many years or decades it would take to actually earn all those degrees!)
The best way to establish whether or not an accrediting body is legitimate is to call up the Registrar's office of an academic institution which you trust, and inquire as to the legitimacy of the accrediting body of the college or university which you are asking about -- but sometimes even the legitimate institutions themselves get fooled by a person who has begun teaching there with a bogus credenttial. 
When I was teaching, every few years I would hear about somebody who was booted off the faculty because their diploma was found to be a fake. By the same token, professed membership in the American Psychological Association is not in itself proof of professional standing, since A P.A. lacks the financial resources to police the Internet for impostors.
Here in New Jersey, there is a woman up the road from me who advertises that she has a degree in psychic astrology and hynotizes people to tell them the name of their guardian angel. I once complained about her ro the New Jersey Psychological Association, and I was told that because neither hypnosis nor psychic astrology are regulated by State law, there was nothing that they could do. 
It is no crime to posess an unaccredited degree. The world is awash with them! But before you take a course or a workshop from such a person, or pay good money to attend one of their conference presentations, it is usually a good idea to check out their credentials ahead of time. If you are met with silence, evasiveness, or a personal attack, this is usually good reason to suspect their qualifications. 
Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware!

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