Is Congressional candidate Adia McClellan Winfrey violating state licensing law?

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Adia McClellan Winfrey is one of two Democrats hoping to win their party’s nomination Tuesday for a chance to unseat longtime incumbent, Republican and 3rd District U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers in November.

Throughout her campaign, Winfrey has come on record several times, attributed her work as a clinical psychologist as part of her experience that gives her the people skills necessary to maneuver in a divided Congress.

“I’m someone who’s ready to bring change in ways that people from both parties can be comfortable with,” she told the Annistor Star.

Online she’s made the claim on just about every platform she’s on: Twitter, her websiteLinkedInFacebook.

Adia’s tweet

Adia’s campaign website

Adia’s LinkedIn

Adia’s Facebook

But the Huffington Post has unveiled something about Winfrey’s story isn’t adding up — despite touting her experience as a clinical psychologist, she’s never actually been licensed. That’s against the law.

In fact, it’s not just Alabama where she’s broken the law. According to HuffPo, “Winfrey has never been licensed as a psychologist in any state that she’s lived in, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia and Alabama. In each of those states, a person representing themselves to the public as a psychologist must be licensed by a state board. If they aren’t licensed, they are violating the law.”

Is ignorance bliss?

HuffPo reached out to Winfrey to confirm whether or not she’s been licensed as a psychologist in any state that she’s lived. Her answer: no.

“I’ve never been a licensed psychologist,” Winfrey told HuffPo. “I did complete the hours required for licensure ― but right when I was going to be studying for licensure exam, that’s when my curriculum took off.”

When HuffPo explained that it was against the law to refer to herself and practice as clinical psychologist without licensure, they said Winfrey was stunned.

“I have been referring to myself as a clinical psychologist for nearly 10 years but have never told anyone that I am licensed and have never diagnosed anyone,” she told them.

It’s unclear why Winfrey first began to prepare for licensure and then ignored it when it was convenient to work without it.

Alabama licensure

According to the Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology, those who wish to be licensed in the state must meet several requirements. Along with pay a $400 application fee, they must:

  1. Good moral character.
  2. At least nineteen (19) years of age.
  3. A doctoral degree from a department or school of psychology (see educational requirements) from an educational institution accredited and recognized by national and regional accrediting agencies as maintaining satisfactory standards. Any applicant with a doctoral degree in psychology who is otherwise qualified pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of Section 34-26- 41, who is licensed in at least two (2) states, and who has passed a recognized national exam.
  4. Competency in psychology as shown by passing such examinations, written or oral, or both, as the Board prescribes, unless exempted pursuant to subsection (d) of §34-26-41.
  5. Is not engaged in unethical practice as defined in the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association (APA).
  6. Has not within the preceding six (6) months failed an examination given by the Board.

Winfrey faces former Miss America Mallory Hagan in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. The winner will advance to face Rogers in the Nov. 6 general election.

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