The Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals changed the name on my Massachusetts counseling license without any documentation whatsoever. I just filled out a form, signed it, and received my new license. They apparently rely on my professionalism. Which really makes sense, given that they trust me to make professional judgments that impact people's lives; it would be a bit odd if they didn't also trust me to be honest in reporting my correct legal name.
The Certification Board for Music Therapists, however, is asking that I provide an actual registered copy of my marriage license in order to change my name. I had a lengthy conversation with a staff member there, who stated that they will not accept my driver's license, Social Security card, mortgage documents, tax documents, or professional license. I should mention that the MT-BC credential does require completion of extensive training and continuing education to secure and maintain, but is not a professional license by legal standards. Having the credential does not grant any sort of legal standing or privileges.
I just received a voice mail from a board staff member stating that she has talked to the board's lawyers, and I can fax over a copy of the marriage license from the city, and the board's lawyers would look at it and "decide if it is acceptable."
In the event that it is not, the board will effectively be asking me to use a name in a professional capacity that is no longer my legal name. They will be asking me to have a different name on my certification from the name associated with my private practice, tax documents, and state license. Actually, at the current time, they are asking that I use a name that is not my current legal name. How is this any sort of professional standard? I asked the staff member to whom I spoke if she could at least update their directory to include both of my last names, in the same way that one is free to choose whether to have a middle name or initial listed. She stated that this was also not possible without "a legal document." (Which, remember, doesn't include Social Security cards or tax documents, according to CBMT).
I should also mention that, for many therapists, the MT-BC credential is not "needed." The CBMT is not a gatekeeper for all therapists. With my master's in expressive therapies and license in mental health counseling, I am qualified to practice as an expressive therapist and to use music (and other artistic modalities) in my work to the extent to which I have appropriate training. I choose to maintain the MT-BC credential mainly because I value the field of music therapy and wish to do my duty to further it, but I'm starting to reconsider this.
Since this is a public entry and could be potentially read by clients and others, I will say here that I absolutely do not intend to discontinue practicing, and that this post is not intended to pass judgments on the field of music therapy overall. My intention is quite the opposite actually; I want to point out that if the CBMT is going to hold standards that are
This doesn't do the field any good.
UPDATE: They did finally change my name after having a meeting with their lawyers. Yes, a meeting with their lawyers. This is how the CBMT spends their money, apparently.