Professions and Occupations

CHAPTER 35. Psychology

Subchapter I. Board of Examiners of Psychologists

§ 3501. Objectives.

The primary objective of the Board of Examiners of Psychologists, to which all other objectives and purposes are secondary, is to protect the general public, specifically those persons who are the direct recipients of services regulated by this chapter, from unsafe practices and from occupational practices which tend to reduce competition or fix the price of services rendered.

The secondary objectives of the Board are to maintain minimum standards of practitioner competency and to maintain certain standards in the delivery of services to the public. In meeting its objectives, the Board shall develop standards assuring professional competence; shall monitor complaints brought against practitioners regulated by the Board; shall adjudicate at formal hearings; shall promulgate rules and regulations; and shall impose sanctions where necessary against practitioners, both licensed and unlicensed.

70 Del. Laws, c. 57, §  1

§ 3502. Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them under this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(1) “Board” shall mean the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists established in this chapter.

(2) “Conversion therapy” means any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, as “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are defined in § 710 of Title 19, including any effort to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender. “Conversion therapy” does not mean any of the following:

a. Counseling that provides assistance to an individual who is seeking to undergo a gender transition or who is in the process of undergoing gender transition.

b. Counseling that provides an individual with acceptance, support, and understanding without seeking to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

c. Counseling that facilitates an individual’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including counseling in the form of sexual orientation-neutral interventions or gender identity-neutral interventions provided for the purpose of preventing or addressing unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices, without seeking to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

(3) “Excessive use or abuse of drugs” shall mean any use of narcotics, controlled substances or illegal drugs without a prescription from a licensed physician, or the abuse of alcoholic beverage such that it impairs the person’s ability to perform the work of a psychologist.

(4) “Person” shall mean a corporation, company, association and partnership, as well as an individual.

(5) “Practice of psychology” shall mean the observation, description, evaluation, interpretation and modification of human behavior by the application of psychological principles, methods, and/or procedures, for the purpose of preventing or eliminating symptomatic, maladaptive or undesired behavior, and of enhancing interpersonal relationships, work and life adjustment, personal effectiveness, behavioral health and mental health.

The practice of psychology includes psychological testing and the evaluation or assessment of personal characteristics, such as intelligence, personality, abilities, interests, aptitudes and neuropsychological function; counseling, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, hypnosis, biofeedback, and behavior analysis and therapy; diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorder or disability, alcoholism and substance abuse, disorders of habit or conduct, as well as the psychological aspects of physical illness, accident, injury or disability; and psychoeducational evaluation, therapy, remediation, and consultation. Psychological services may be rendered to individuals, families, groups, organizations, institutions and the public.

The practice of psychology shall be construed within the meaning of this definition without regard to whether or not payment is received for services rendered.

a. “Psychological testing” shall mean, but not be limited to: Administration and interpretation of standardized intelligence and neuropsychological tests which yield an intelligence quotient and/or are the basis for a diagnosis of organic brain syndromes for the purposes of classification and/or disability determination; and

b. The administration and interpretation of psychological tests which are the basis of a diagnosis of mental or emotional disorder.

(6) “Psychological assistant” shall mean a person who is registered with the Board to perform certain functions within the practice of psychology, only under the direct supervision of a supervising psychologist, and who is authorized by the Board to use the title “psychological assistant.” The Board in its rules and regulations will specify the arrangements for supervision by the licensed psychologist.

(7) “Psychologist” shall mean a person who makes representations to the public by any title or description of services incorporating the words “psychology,” “psychological,” “psychologist,” or who engages in the practice of psychology.

(8) “Substantially related” means the nature of the criminal conduct, for which the person was convicted, has a direct bearing on the fitness or ability to perform 1 or more of the duties or responsibilities necessarily related to the practice of psychology.

(9) “Supervising psychologist” shall mean a psychologist licensed in this State who has practiced as a licensed psychologist for 2 years in this or any other jurisdiction and who applies to the Board for the registration of a psychological assistant.

(10) “Supervision” shall mean the face-to-face consultation between the registered psychological assistant and the supervising psychologist as required by the nature of the work of the psychological assistant. The supervising psychologist is responsible for insuring that the extent, kind and quality of the services rendered by the psychological assistant are consistent with the person’s education, training and experience.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3501;  58 Del. Laws, c. 38062 Del. Laws, c. 314, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 57, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  174 Del. Laws, c. 262, §  7280 Del. Laws, c. 80, §  1881 Del. Laws, c. 340, § 882 Del. Laws, c. 261, §§  13, 1683 Del. Laws, c. 52, § 17

§ 3503. Board of Examiners of Psychologists; appointments; qualifications; term; vacancies; suspension or removal; unexcused absences; compensation.

(a) There is created a State Board of Examiners of Psychologists which shall administer and enforce this chapter.

(b) The Board shall consist of 9 members appointed by the Governor, who are residents of this state: 5 of whom shall be psychologists licensed under this chapter and 4 public members. At least 3 members of the Board shall be engaged full time in the practice of psychology. The public members shall not be, nor ever have been, psychologists or psychological assistants, nor members of the immediate family of a psychologist or psychological assistant; shall not have been employed by a psychologist or psychological assistant; shall not have a material interest in the providing of goods and services to psychologists or psychological assistants; nor have been engaged in an activity directly related to psychology. The public members shall be accessible to inquiries, comments and suggestions from the general public.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, each member shall serve a term of 3 years, and may serve 1 additional term in succession; provided, however, that where a member was initially appointed to fill a vacancy, such member may serve only 1 additional full term in succession. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the former member. Each term of office shall expire on the date specified in the appointment; however, the Board member shall remain eligible to participate in Board proceedings unless and until replaced by the Governor. Persons who are members of the Board on June 12, 1995, shall complete their terms.

(d) A person who has never served on the Board may be appointed to the Board for 2 consecutive terms; but no such person shall thereafter be eligible for 2 consecutive appointments. No person, who has been twice appointed to the Board or who has served on the Board for 6 years within any 9-year period, shall again be appointed to the Board until an interim period of at least 1 year has expired since such person last served.

(e) Any act or vote by a person appointed in violation of this section shall be invalid. An amendment or revision of this chapter is not sufficient cause for any appointment or attempted appointment in violation of subsection (d) of this section, unless such an amendment or revision amends this section to permit such an appointment.

(f) A member of the Board shall be suspended or removed by the Governor for misfeasance, nonfeasance, malfeasance, misconduct, incompetency or neglect of duty. A member subject to disciplinary hearing shall be disqualified from Board business until the charge is adjudicated or the matter is otherwise concluded. A Board member may appeal any suspension or removal to the Superior Court.

(g) No member of the Board, while serving on the Board, shall hold elective office in any professional association of psychologists.

(h) The provisions set forth for “employees” in Chapter 58 of Title 29 shall apply to all members of the Board, and to all agents appointed, or otherwise employed, by the Board.

(i) Any member who is absent without adequate reason for 3 consecutive meetings, or fails to attend at least half of all regular business meetings during any calendar year, shall be guilty of neglect of duty.

(j) Each member of the Board shall be reimbursed for all expenses involved in each meeting, including travel, and in addition shall receive compensation per meeting attended in an amount determined by the Division in accordance with Del. Const. art. III, §  9.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3502;  58 Del. Laws, c. 38062 Del. Laws, c. 314, §§  2, 365 Del. Laws, c. 223, §  167 Del. Laws, c. 366, §  1467 Del. Laws, c. 368, §  2270 Del. Laws, c. 57, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  181 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 18

§ 3504. Organization; meetings; officers; quorum.

(a) The Board shall hold regularly scheduled business meetings at least once in each quarter of a calendar year, and at such times as the President deems necessary; or, at the request of a majority of the Board members.

(b) The Board shall elect annually a President, Vice-President and Secretary. Each officer shall serve for 1 year, and shall not succeed himself or herself for more than 2 consecutive terms.

(c) A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. No disciplinary action shall be taken without the affirmative vote of 5 members of the Board.

(d) Minutes of all meetings shall be recorded, and copies shall be maintained by the Division of Professional Regulation. At any hearing where evidence is presented, a record from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared shall be made. The expense of preparing any transcript shall be incurred by the person requesting it.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3504;  58 Del. Laws, c. 38062 Del. Laws, c. 314, §§  5, 667 Del. Laws, c. 366, §  1670 Del. Laws, c. 57, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  1

§ 3505. Records.

The Division of Professional Regulation shall keep a register of all applications for license as a psychologist or for registration of psychological assistants, and complete records relating to meetings of the Board, examinations, rosters, changes and additions to the Board’s rules and regulations, complaints, hearings and such other matters as the Board shall determine. Such records shall be prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the Board.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3505;  58 Del. Laws, c. 38062 Del. Laws, c. 314, §  770 Del. Laws, c. 57, §  1

§ 3506. Powers and duties.

(a) The Board of Examiners of Psychologists shall have authority to:

(1) Formulate rules and regulations, with appropriate notice to those affected; all rules and regulations shall be promulgated in accordance with the procedures specified in the Administrative Procedures Act [Chapter 101 of Title 29] of this State. Each rule or regulation shall implement or clarify a specific section of this chapter;

(2) Designate the application form to be used by all applicants, and to process all applications;

(3) Designate the written, standardized Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) to be taken by all persons applying for licensure; applicants who qualify for licensure by reciprocity shall have achieved a passing score on the EPPP;

(4) Provide for the administration of all examinations, including notice and information to applicants. The Board shall adopt the administration, grading procedures and passing score of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), or of a comparable alternative national or regional examination, if a national examination is not available;

(5) Establish minimum education, training and experience requirements for licensure as psychologists and for registration as psychological assistants;

(6) Evaluate the credentials of all persons applying for a license to practice psychology in Delaware and persons for whom registration as a psychological assistant is requested, in order to determine whether such persons meet the qualifications for licensing or registration set forth in this chapter;

(7) Grant licenses to, and renew licenses and registrations of, all persons who meet the qualifications for licensure and/or renewal of licenses; and register persons who meet the qualifications to act as psychological assistants under the direct supervision of a licensed psychologist;

(8) Establish by rule and regulation continuing education standards required for license and registration renewal;

(9) Evaluate certified records to determine whether an applicant for licensure or registration, who has been previously licensed, certified or registered in another jurisdiction to practice psychology, has engaged in any act or offense that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this chapter and whether there are disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against such applicants for such acts or offenses;

(10) Refer all complaints from licensees and the public concerning licensed psychologists and registered psychological assistants, or concerning practices of the Board or of the profession, to the Division of Professional Regulation for investigation pursuant to § 8735(h) of Title 29; and assign a member of the Board to assist the Division in an advisory capacity with the investigation of the technical aspects of the complaint;

(11) Conduct hearings and issue orders in accordance with procedures established pursuant to this chapter, Chapter 101 of Title 29, and § 8735(h) of Title 29. Where such provisions conflict with the provisions of this chapter, this chapter shall govern. The Board shall determine whether or not a psychologist shall be subject to a disciplinary hearing, and if so, shall conduct such hearing in accordance with this chapter and the Administrative Procedures Act [Chapter 101 of Title 29];

(12) Where it has been determined after a disciplinary hearing that penalties or sanctions should be imposed, to designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed;

(13) Suspend or revoke a supervising psychologist’s authorization to supervise a psychological assistant; and to otherwise discipline a supervising psychologist whenever a psychological assistant is in violation of this chapter or guilty of any of the acts or offenses that are grounds for disciplinary action under this chapter;

(14) Determine the number of psychological assistants that a supervising psychologist may supervise, and the requirements of their supervision.

(b) The Board of Examiners of Psychologists shall promulgate regulations specifically identifying those crimes which are substantially related to the practice of psychology.

70 Del. Laws, c. 57, §  174 Del. Laws, c. 262, §  73