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."