Navigating the Labyrinth of Professional Regulations: Surviving in a Flawed Regulatory System

Jeffrey N. Younggren, Michael C. Gottlieb, Eva Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The profession of psychology is regulated by the U.S. Constitution, federal laws, state statutes, professional regulatory boards, and, indirectly, the profession. These multiple sources of regulation have led to a patchwork quilt of rules that often conflict and can create obstacles for practitioners who are making their best efforts to provide competent and ethical service to their patients. However, a significant and ongoing concern revolves around interjurisdictional (state to state) practice. In this article, we briefly review the history of professional regulation nationally, the purpose and development of state regulation, the ethical principles at risk, and the lack of regulatory concordance across jurisdictions. In the next section, we discuss the efforts to address these problems and the unintended consequences they have created for interjurisdictional practice. We conclude with recommendations both for individual practitioners and the profession on how we may resolve some of the current, confusing, and overly complex jurisdictional problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-339
Number of pages7
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Licensure
  • Professional mobility
  • Professional practice
  • Psypact
  • Telehealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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