Behavior: Battling Shrinks

Mind-bending fray in Florida

Psychotherapy is such an uncertain art, critics say, that anyone with a heartbeat can claim competence in the field.

In Florida, the critics are right: a reporter who flunked psychology in college became a licensed psychologist in Miami, a hamster was officially dubbed "animal psychologist" in Pensacola, and a pet chameleon was licensed as a psychoanalyst and sex therapist in Polk County.

Reason: in its rush to adjourn, the state legislature failed to pass a law extending the life of the board that licenses and regulates psychologists. Since July 1 Florida's counties have issued local licenses to all comers. Bade...

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