Combatting stigma and ableism through, um, stigma and ableism

My agency is pushing people to get the CPRP credential. I love the psychiatric rehabilitation field, and I like that USPRA is offering a credential one can earn through field experience rather than requiring graduate degrees and internships. I do also think it's a bullshit credential for someone who already has a billable license and who has a board certification in a very rehab-oriented field. The credential really doesn't get me anything that I don't already have on the basis of my current credentials and my description of my treatment philosophy.

But hey, the agency is paying for the preparation course, the exam, the licensure and renewals, and the required continuing education. They're also giving a meager raise to anyone who completes the credential. So I figured, hey, it's free education and free letters after my name, and I decided I might as well go for it.

I was filling out the application, and I discovered that I have to authorize USPRA to conduct a credit check, background check, driving record review, court record review, personal interviews with all past employers and schools, and reviews of any public records.

My state license only required the usual let's-make-sure-you-don't-have-any-felonies background check. My state license authorizes me to take on responsibilities such as billing insurance companies, diagnosing people, reporting on people's fitness to parent, and involuntarily hospitalizing people.

What's particularly ironic is that the whole premise of psychiatric rehabilitation is the belief that people with mental illness can and do recover. The field of psychiatric rehabilitation particularly encourages individuals who are in recovery from mental illness to train and take on roles as practitioners.

"We believe that people can recover from mental illness. We believe that people can turn their lives around and find meaningful roles in society. However, we insist on intruding into people's pasts as part of assessing current skills and strengths. We highly professional and completely sane folks encourage you little crazy people to maximize your potential and apply for our credential. However, we wish to emphasize that this does not include any crazy people who have a history of making poor financial decisions, losing housing, driving unsafely, or burning bridges with employers or schools. We recognize that these actions often occur as a result of acute psychiatric illness and/or due to the discrimination that we actively seek to mend. However, we continue to maintain that, although we advocate for crazy people, we do not wish to actually deal with any of them in any sort of equal role. So, please, fill out this form authorizing us to verify that you are an us and not a them."


Jodie said...

While trying to figure out what the point of that certification is, I looked on the FAQ page. If you're in a bachelor's or associate's program currently, you have to have your old high school send them a transcript. I was under the impression that high school transcripts were destroyed after a number of years (like 5 or 10). Way to keep older students down!

eeka said...

Yep, also a good point.

It depends on the district, but there are definitely districts that only keep them for 5 years or so. Which generally makes sense, because once someone has held jobs above entry level, no one is going to ask for a high school or GED transcript -- it's sufficient to just put the name of the school on an application if they even want that.

I love the idea that they're offering human services credentials to people with field knowledge and experience who haven't been able to complete formal education. But clearly they're not actually committed to offering this, given all the barriers they're putting up. Which is a paradox or a tautology or an orobouros or something like that, because the credential really is pointless for people with licensure and/or higher education. The credential really only makes sense for people who don't have another way to get letters after their names. Yet it actively discriminates against people who don't have higher education and who haven't always been upstanding citizens.