Occupational Licensing

Virginia Is About To Require a Government License for 'Art Therapy,' Because Glue and Scissors Are 'Potentially' Dangerous

The real motive for laws like this has nothing to do with scissors and glue. It's all about protectionism.

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Based on a study that cites such potential dangers as the "sharp edges" on scissors and "toxic chemicals" in glue, state lawmakers in Virginia are on their way to approving a new licensing law to cover art therapists.

There is no word on whether kindergartners will continue to be allowed to use these tools that, in the hands of unlicensed adults, apparently constitute a risk to public safety.

The Virginia state Senate voted unanimously this week to approve the legislation, sending the bill to the state Assembly for further consideration. The bill would create a new license for art therapists, but it is largely silent on the requirements for obtaining such a license. Instead, the legislature intends to offload those details to a newly created board—a board that will be staffed primarily by practicing art therapists.

That's a common practice when it comes to licensing laws. It's also one of the primary reasons why occupational licensing limits job opportunities. Boards that are controlled by members of the industry they are supposed to regulate frequently become anti-competitive cartels more interested in limiting who can do certain types of work. The most egregious example is probably Louisiana's ridiculous florist licensing board.

Art therapy is no more dangerous than arranging flowers. It's a growing practice—one that is, sadly, already licensed in some form by 12 other states—that incorporates psychotherapy with artistic media, usually by having patients express themselves through art. Practitioners say it can help individuals cope with stress and keep mental disorders under control.

Should that require a permission slip from the government?

"With its new state power, an art therapy licensing board could go after art teachers for advertising the mental health benefits of their classes or go after out-of-state art therapists for offering online classes," warns Andrew Wimer, communications director for the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit law firm that frequently challenges anti-competitive licensing laws. "Potential problems like these are why licensing should be a last resort used when there are real threats to public health and safety."

That's where the nonsense about glue and scissors comes in. In a report to the state legislature, the Virginia Board of Health Professions found no examples of public safety threats created by unlicensed art therapists. Undeterred, the group said the legislature should consider creating the new license anyway, because there are "basic art tools, such as paint and glue, which contain toxic chemicals that could cause harm should they be inhaled or ingested, scissors which have sharp edges capable of causing cuts or punctures, and objects such as clay, if thrown, could be considered potentially dangers."

The same report recommends that the state require a master's degree in art therapy as part of the to-be-determined criteria for obtaining an art therapy license.

Yes, the same scissors that thousands of other Virginians might use on a daily basis for dozens of different tasks would be, under this legislation, considered dangerous public threats if handled by an art therapist lacking an advanced degree.

There are already professional certifications and accreditation processes for art therapists. If those are insufficient to ensure public safety, you'd assume advocates for licensing would make that argument in their reports to the state legislature.

"First of all, nobody has demonstrated the harm of unlicensed art therapy. So this is a solution without a problem," says Shoshana Weissman, who works on occupational licensing reform at the R Street Institute. "Furthermore, therapy is already licensed; why do we need to add this additional license?"

The real motivation behind licensing laws like this has nothing to do with the potential dangers of scissors and glue, of course. It's all about capturing a segment of the economy, and in that regard the Virginia proposal would be quite effective.

By the way, only two universities in the state offer master's degrees in art therapy. In the same way that mandatory licensing for makeup artists creates a captured market for cosmetology schools—if you want that license, you have to pay for classes at one of those schools, even if you already have the necessary skills—mandatory art therapy licensing would force would-be therapists to attend one of those two institutions.

The Virginia Board of Health Professions report also notes that mandatory licensing would allow art therapists to charge higher rates for their services. Funny how that happens when you start erecting artificial barriers to competition, right?

Protectionism for art therapists and a windfall for a couple of universities is a bad reason to limit opportunities for all Virginians. And excessive licensing is no joke. One study has found that licensing laws across all 50 states resulted in 2.85 million fewer jobs and cost consumers more than $200 billion annually.

The real threat to the public is not unlicensed art therapists with merely an undergrad degree wielding scissors and glue. It's state lawmakers crafting anti-competitive policies without regard for common sense.

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94 responses to “Virginia Is About To Require a Government License for 'Art Therapy,' Because Glue and Scissors Are 'Potentially' Dangerous

  1. and objects such as clay, if thrown, could be considered potentially dangers

    Are they pulling our legs? Or have they been sniffing the glue?

    1. Well if it was dry and weighed 5 pounds it could actually hurt you.

    2. Three Stooges hardest hit.

    3. Based on my grandkids’ experience, most little-kid art projects use Elmer’s Glue, which these days is less toxic than school lunch.

      1. “…Elmer’s Glue, which these days is less toxic than school lunch.”

        Good one! Thanks for lightening up the day!

  2. You know what else requires a government license?

    1. Chainsaw jugglers?

    2. The mechanic who maintains my brakes? Oh, wait a minute – he doesn’t need one!

      *For the slow of mind, I’m not calling for state licensing of auto mechanics.

      1. The people who designed and build all of those “dangerous” art supplies don’t need a license either. Even legitimately-dangerous items like propane heaters can be made or sold by just about anyone, and if you buy from a foreign seller through a broker like eBay or Amazon, you’re absolutely on your own. (Fine by me.) But it’s still illegal for an Indian PhD economist to sell investment consulting to US citizens without first obtaining a license in every relevant state. And it’s also illegal for a Costa Rican radiologist to sell me a second opinion on an X-ray, even if he did his residency in Chicago less than 10 years ago.

    3. Capital Radio?

      A long time ago there were pirates
      Beaming waves from the sea
      But now all the stations are silenced
      ‘Cause they ain’t got a government license

      1. +1 for The Clash

  3. “basic art tools, such as paint and glue, which contain toxic chemicals that could cause harm should they be inhaled or ingested, scissors which have sharp edges capable of causing cuts or punctures, and objects such as clay, if thrown, could be considered potentially dangers.”

    So they’ll also be recommending that all of these things be banned from retailers?

    1. scissors which have sharp edges capable of causing cuts or punctures

      Have the Brits banned these dangerous items yet?

      1. You could put your eye with that thing !

        1. eye out.

          1. If ya have to fix it, the humor is lost…

      2. Not sure about banned, but definitely binned. Especially military-grade high-capacity tungsten tip depleted uranium APFSDS fully-semi automatic assault rape potato peelers.

      3. Isn’t that the purpose of scissors?

    2. Have you seen the “safety scissors” kids are using these days?
      https://borncute.com/best-scissors-for-kids/

    3. Better require a background check for them, just to be safe.

      It’s for the children, you know.

  4. I’m sure that John and lovesocialism1917 will be chime in to explain how libertarians should support these licenses in order to defeat China.

  5. Art therapy is no more dangerous than arranging flowers. It’s a growing practice—one that is, sadly, already licensed in some form by 12 other states—that incorporates psychotherapy with artistic media, usually by having patients express themselves through art.

    Just don’t call it art therapy, call it an art club, don’t call them patients, call them club members. Is there a law that says I can’t invite my friend over to do arts and crafts together and we talk about whatever’s on his mind? Arts and crafts materials aren’t cheap – I don’t think it’s too much to expect him to pay for the materials, at a suitable mark-up to cover my costs of obtaining the materials of course. And who doesn’t want more than one friend? Advertising that you’re available to be an arts and crafts friend and a good conversationalist is a good way to make more friends.

    1. And then they will require a license for “art clubs.” Why not just ban centralized government?

      Of course, what I, personally, would do, is used my status as a Minister and have the attendees at such meetings be “visitors” to my church function. Problem solved.

      1. We tried to ban central government, but those clever bastards have themselves central government licenses.

    2. What would prevent someone in a state that doesn’t require licensing to do this sort of thing over the interwebs?

      1. Given states can now tax online retailers in other states and pursue civil and criminal charges for failure to collect, we’re already in the position where literally every state’s law applies to all citizens.

        SCOTUS not only does nothing to hinder government power, they’ll bend you over and spread you for it. No lube, though. That’s licensed, too.

    3. “Art therapy is no more dangerous than arranging flowers.”

      Which is why Louisiana requires a license for flower arrangement. That’s probably the next topic in Richmond.

    4. This sort of dovetails into my therapy idea. For 40 minutes, you just talk about whatever you want. Then for 20 minutes you play with kittens. Why does that require some special permission slip?

      1. Because kittens are dangerous. Toxoplasma gondii and all that.

  6. I swear I’m going to reanimate Bob Ross and Sister Wendy and turn them loose on these people.

  7. There was an old cartoon from ‘That’s Jake’, where the waitress in an obviously southern diner is putting down the plates saying “if you didn’t want grits, why did you order breakfast?”

    If you didn’t want government control over each and every aspect of your life, why did you vote for democrats?

  8. In the VA Senate it’s 21 Demopulicans vs. 19 Republicrats. That’s a pretty even breakdown, and according to the article it was passed unanimously. It’s not a D vs. R issue, it’s a politicians vs. real people issue.

    1. Clearly there is a valuable concession going to someone when this passes. So obviously, they passed a lot of shemolians around Toontown to get this passed.

  9. The same report recommends that the state require a master’s degree in art therapy as part of the to-be-determined criteria for obtaining an art therapy license.

    Oh, FFS! Follow the money.

    1. Exactly, but the money goes more places than you’re probably thinking of. I suspect this is because of insurance reimbursement, and the insurers are among the forces behind this. They don’t want to be paying for…anything, really, let alone “art therapy” sessions, but they don’t want to seem to be skinflints, so they’ll pay for your “art therapy” — as long as it’s by a licensed art therapist.

  10. License it? What the holy fuck is “art therapy”? So they require a license for a completely bogus, made-up “profession”; why should that matter any more than licensing of unicorn keeping?

    1. Don’t get me fucking started on that!!!!

      1. Unicorn licensing is the worst.

  11. I ‘fess!!! I am an asshole!!!

    Will “art therapy” cure me of being an asshole?!?!?!?

    Yes, I am an asshole… I have bribed some shrinks to explain that I have a “personality disorder” instead. So whenever I act like an asshole, I can whine and moan to the courts, and they will let me off!!! Then the taxpayer will pony up, and I will go and see my fave shrink-therapist-recipient-of-my-rivers-of-tears-of-self-pity… And I will steer the taxpayer monies to my fave uncle-shrink!!! He’ll therapueutricize my assholeishness, ooops, I mean, my “personality disorder”!!! He’ll give me a kickback, and we’ll laugh all of the way to the bank!
    Also, for all of you who believe everyone who acts like an asshole has a “mental problem” that can be properly treated by a shrink or therapist, that they should be forced to get Obama-care-mandated, taxpayer-funded drug addiction (or other) “therapy” from the likes of “Chris Bathum”, see http://www.malibutimes.com/news/article_62b16ee4-2246-11e8-b456-1f240b332af0.html ,
    Malibu ‘Rehab Mogul’ Guilty on 31 Criminal Counts
    Christopher Bathum’s rap sheet includes a long list of charges, from fraud to forcible rape.
    Your tax and health-insurance money at work!!!

    In case I am too long-winded and not clear above… What I am saying is, if you are an asshole and want to NOT be an asshole (be cured of your “personality disorder”), then good on you, you recognize your problems; that is a LARGE part of the solution! But be VERY careful when you go to the Government-Almighty-certified “therapists”… Some significant number of them may be even bigger assholes than you are!!! (“Physician, heal thyself!!!!”) And NEVER take ANY kind of therapy from Tulpa, or from Tulpa’s head voices!!!

    1. SQRLSY One
      February.14.2020 at 6:42 pm
      “I ‘fess!!! I am an asshole!!!…”

      Yes you are. You and your mommy may find your idiocy amusing; most everyone else here wonders whether you’ll ever enjoy the next great years of your life in the second grade.
      Please, just fuck off and offer your idiocy where it might be appreciated; aren’t there kiddie programs on local stations looking for stupid content near you?

      1. I just hope he kills himself. Best thing for him really, his comments are going nowhere.

        1. Adolf Hitler peddled death and destruction, too, ya know, and ended up punching his own ticket… Drinking his own Kool-Aid! Are you PROUD of following in Hitler’s footsteps, Shitsy Shitler? Turn BACK from the Evil One and Jimmy Jones, and come towards the Light!

          1. Hey look, more nonsense.

            1. Criticizing pro-suicide people, pro-death-and-destruction people, people who arrogantly try to gather to themselves, the power to declare which humans should live, and which should die… this is nonsense? Are you claiming tribal affiliation with Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao Tse Tung, Joe Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Shitsy Shitler? Be careful of the company you keep!

              1. Squirrel speaks truth

              2. How much shit did you eat in front of the therapist to get your disability payment approved?

                1. You know, when you hurt my baby feelings and self-esteem this way, in my old-leech welfare-parasite geezer-home, that means I am now going to need, as is “medically necessary”…

                  25 more hours of self-esteem therapy

                  22 more hours of crystal healing therapy

                  30 more hours of aromatherapy

                  42 more hours of artistic self-expression therapy

                  And more! All told, it will cost the taxpayers and insurance buyers about $55,000 or more!

                  So don’t come pissing and moaning, whining and crying, about how your taxes and insurance premiums go up-up-up! It is heartless, humorless, self-righteous, smug, pointlessly cruel and EVIL bastards like YOU, who have themselves to thank!

      2. Do you recall the awesome enchanter named “Tim”, in “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail”? The one who could “summon fire without flint or tinder”? Well, you remind me of Tim… You are an enchanter who can summon persuasion without facts or logic! … From whence does your magic come?

        1. You said this already. A bunch of times.

          1. If you don’t like it, stop reading it!

            But the truth hurts, doesn’t it? There IS hope for you yet! At least you’re not HIDING from the truth!

  12. If Art Therapy needs any legal constraint, it should be outlawing any pretense that Art Therapy is a thing.

  13. Thomas Jefferson weeps.

    1. I doubt it. He dead.

      1. “The same report recommends that the state require master’s degree in art therapy as part of the to- be-determined criteria for obtaining an art therapy license.”

        I work in the theming industry and have worked with people with degrees in silly shit like ‘art therapy’. They tend to be idiots. This is for their own safety! ????

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  15. Democrats. Feh!

  16. It’s great to see Virginia Democrats embrace the free market system this way. Open bidding to provide legislators campaign contributions in return for the right to pursue a profession is the free market at work.

    Probably the only way to head this off is to find out how the art therapy paid off the key legislators, then let the people know.

  17. I get the sense there is something missing from this story. The bill sounds both stupid and horrible. That’s par for the course for politicians. However, I sense there is something else ar play when both parties come to a unanimous agreement on something this absurd. Is this policy a rider on some other bill that couls understandably have broad bipartisan support?

    1. Why would you be surprised at a stupid and horrible occupational licensing scheme?

      If we didn’t already have requirements of 400-600 hours training, a high school diploma, and an exam to do nails in most states, or requiring a license and a degree to do interior design in Florida, or a flower arrangers license in Louisiana then you would think they were nuts.

  18. First! Also, you know who else was concerned about competition?

    1. The Houston Astros?

    2. Tonya Harding?

    3. The three girls suing to stop transgender runners?

  19. Just wait until they figure out the fees and license requirements for on line commenters . . .

  20. “Art therapy is no more dangerous than arranging flowers.”

    Arranging flowers? Safe?!? If the thorns don’t get you, the lawsuit will.

  21. Anyone remember paste?

    That shit was good.

  22. Right on Eric.

  23. at my elementary school in the late 60s, Elmer’s glue was one of the four basic food groups. it was and still is delicious.

  24. Funny, Clinton stopped this type of program in the early 90s.

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  28. Use a hot glue gun, go to jail!
    It’s their way of preventing stick-ups.

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