Grand Rapids Press, The (MI) – Oct 5, 2002 – The Associated Press – It turns out that the sports psychologists Jacksonville Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin hired to counsel his players aren’t really sports psychologists after all.

Michael Brawer, executive director of the Florida Psychological Association, said Friday that neither Chad Bohling nor Trevor Moawad, the two employees of IMG Academies hired by the Jaguars, are licensed psychologists.

Falsely calling oneself a psychologist is against the law in Florida, and Brawer filed an “administrative complaint” to the state health department Friday, after reading an Associated Press story about the men.

“This is a very serious problem, because it’s misleading to the public that you practice and perform mental health care services that you’re not qualified and trained to perform according to Florida law,” Brawer said.

Neither Bohling nor Moawad returned messages left by The AP at their Bradenton offices. IMG spokeswoman Linda Dozoretz said the men are not licensed psychologists, but they don’t promote themselves as such. Rather, they call themselves “sports psychology consultants.”

Brawer says a semantic difference doesn’t excuse the violation, and the state statute backs him up. The statute says “no person shall hold … himself out by any professional title, name or description incorporating the word ‘psychologist’ unless such person holds a valid, active license as a psychologist.”

Further, the statute says people aren’t allowed to use any permutations of the word, such as “psychology,” “psychologist,” or “psychodiagnostic.”

Why make such a big deal about it?

“The truth of the matter is, it’s very hard to be a psychologist,” said licensed sports psychologist John Murray of West Palm Beach.

Murray says he spent nine years in school earning a master’s degree in sports science and a master’s and Ph.D. in clinical psychology. {correction – 6 years}

“If you’re just a glorified teacher, you could never handle some of the medical care {correction – “health care” not “medical care”} you need to do as sports psychologist,” Murray said. “Maybe they should call themselves ‘mental skills performance enhancement specialists,’ or something. But not sports psychologists.”
Edition: All Editions
Section: Sports
Page: C6

Index Terms: Football; Pro