Kunz, Kevin and Kunz, Barbara, Reflexions, Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer/Fall 1997, p. 1

Official Sanctioning and Definition

At the core of issues involving any profession is that of definition. A definition can serve a number of purposes ranging from that of focus for informal discussion to that of legally mandated scope of practice.Listed below are views of definition from sociologists and lawyers about the role of definition in the formal sanctioning of a profession and a professional:


"A professional is not merely skillful. His basis of judgement on how and when to act is grounded in a body of knowledge that is internally consistent; in short a theory.... "(The community grants professional authority to a profession) only to the area the professional is trained in.... "Formal approval may come in the form of legislation, licensing and an examination system." (Schneider, Jill, "A Definition of a Profession and Some Notes Pertaining to Reflexology," Reflexions, Vol. 6, No. 2, Jul./Aug./Sept., 1985, pp. 3-4)


"No profession survives without formal sanctioning of a 'legal scope of work.' One must be created to ensure the survival of the professional practice.

(Luecks-English, J. A., Health in the New Age, A Study in California Health Practices, University of New Mexico Press, 1990)


"Malpractice liability protects patients' expectations that providers will shield them from harm by following the standards of diagnosis and treatment accepted by their profession. Legislatively defined scopes of practice ensure that practitioners confine their interventions to those they are trained to offer. Informed consent obligations ensure that providers let patients know of the risks involved in specific treatments before they give consent to treatment."

(Dumoff, Alan, and Cohen, Michael H., ed., "Malpractice Liability of Alternative / Complementary Health Care Providers, Part One," Alternative and Complementary Therapies, June/July, 1995)

Regulatory Issues - 30 MARCH 1999

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