Presentation on theme: "Legal and Ethical Issues with Problematic Trainees"— Presentation transcript:
1 Legal and Ethical Issues with Problematic Trainees Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship CentersSeventh Membership Meeting and ConferencePortland, OregonStephen Behnke, JD, PhDAPA Ethics OfficeApril 17, 2009
2 www.apa.org/ethics $1000 Submissions due in December The 2009 APA Student Ethics Writing Prize!$1000Submissions due in DecemberRoundtrip to 2010 APA Convention in San Diego, with three nights stayStudent presents winning paper at ConventionPaper is published in Ethics and Behavior
3 Legal and Ethical Aspects of Responding to Problematic Trainees Five ThoughtsRegardingLegal and Ethical Aspects of Responding to Problematic Trainees
4 Five ThoughtsThe relationship among law, ethics, and good psychology trainingAssessment and remediation plansThe ethics of “Gatekeeping”ResourcesA note on the issue of stigma
5 Not to be construed as legal advice Five ThoughtsI.The relationship among law, ethics and good psychology trainingNot to be construed as legal advice
6 Good law, good ethics, and good psychology training practices go hand-in-hand
7 Central to both law and ethics Notice and ProcessCentral to both law and ethics
8 APA Ethical Standard 7.02 Descriptions of Education and Training Programs Psychologists responsible for education and training programs take reasonable steps to ensure that there is a current and accurate description of the program content (including participation in required course- or program-related counseling, psychotherapy, experiential groups, consulting projects, or community service), training goals and objectives, stipends and benefits, and requirements that must be met for satisfactory completion of the program…
9 APA Commission on Accreditation Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology (2008)Domain E: Student-Faculty Relations4. At the time of admission, the program provides the students with written policies and procedures regarding program and institution requirements and expectations regarding students’ performance and continuance in the program and procedures for the termination of students.
10 Competency Benchmarks Document (July 2004) An Example of Notice:Competency Benchmarks Document (July 2004)Product of the Competency Benchmarks Work Group convened by the APA BEA in collaboration with the Council of Chairs of Training Councils
11 Competency Benchmarks Document (July 2004)Students and trainees in professional psychology programs (at the doctoral, internship, or postdoctoral level) should know—prior to program entry, and at the outset of training—that faculty, training staff, supervisors, and administrators have a professional, ethical, and potentially legal obligation to: (a) establish criteria and methods through which aspects of competence other than, and in addition to, a student-trainee's knowledge or skills may be assessed (including, but not limited to, emotional stability and well being, interpersonal skills, professional development, and personal fitness for practice)...
12 Competency Benchmarks Document An Example of Notice:Competency Benchmarks DocumentThis document represents the product of the Assessment of Competency Benchmarks Work Group convened by the APA Board of Educational Affairs in collaboration with the Council of Chairs of Training Councils (CCTC)…(June 2007)
13 Education Directorate Competence as the cornerstone of ethics Competency Initiatives in Professional PsychologyEducation DirectorateAPA WebsiteCompetence as the cornerstone of ethics
14 Competency Initiatives in Professional Psychology Culture of competence emergingCompetency initiatives by related organizationsAPA initiatives on assessing and defining competenceCompetency assessment toolkit for professional psychologyResources related to students with competence problems (remediation plan template)
15 A Note on Competency Initiatives in Professional Psychology APA Ethical Standard 2.05 Delegation of Work to Others Psychologists who delegate work to employees, supervisees, or research or teaching assistants…take reasonable steps to…(2) authorize only those responsibilities that such persons can be expected to perform competently on the basis of their education, training, or experience, either independently or with the level of supervision being provided; and (3) see that such persons perform these services competently.Ensure that whatever trainees are asked to do, supervising faculty are competent to do (e.g., language)
16 Strong convergence between principles in law, ethics, and training A good working relationship with your attorneys will help prevent situations from becoming adversarialTry to work with, not against, your attorneys; educate your attorneys about what you doOrientation of APA General Counsel:How can we help you achieve your goals?
17 Make clear to trainees in writing what is expected of them Make clear to trainees what policies apply if they fall short of what is expected of themYou be clear what policies apply if trainees fall short of what is expected of them
18 The Law of No Surprises What is expected of trainees? What happens if a trainee falls short of expectations?Whether a particular trainee is meeting program expectationsThe status of a particular trainee in the program vis-à-vis a remediation plan
19 Be thoroughly familiar with the process your program has set forth Follow your process carefullyDocument that you have followed your processProgram faculty speak with one, not multiple, voices regarding process
20 Wester, S. R. , Christianson, H. F. , Fouad, N. A Wester, S. R., Christianson, H. F., Fouad, N. A., & Santiago-Rivera, A (2008). Information processing as problem solving: A collaborative approach to dealing with students exhibiting insufficient competence. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2,
21 Principle C: Integrity APA Ethics CodePrinciple C: IntegrityPsychologists seek to promote accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness in the science, teaching, and practice of psychology…
23 Professor Nabil F. Haddad Chair, Department of Psychology A Quotation"We are our own worst enemies. In the guise of being humane, we fail to tell students the truth."Professor Nabil F. HaddadChair, Department of PsychologyUniversity of Montana
24 Beware of the “rubber band” response to problematic trainees How far is your rubber band stretched?
25 Gilfoyle, N. (2008). The legal exosystem: Risk management in addressing student competence problems in professional psychology training. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2,
26 Assessment and Remediation Five ThoughtsII.Assessment and Remediation
27 The Notion of “Problematic” Entails an Assessment
29 McCutcheon, S.R. (2008). Addressing problems of insufficient competence during the internship year. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2,
30 How much of the variance belongs to whom/where? A Question:How much of the variance belongs to whom/where?
31 Assess at individual and system levels Forrest, L., Elman, N., & Miller, D. (2008). Psychology trainees with competence problems: From individual to ecological conceptualizations. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2,
32 Write a focused remediation plan Beware of the “pot pourri,” “kitchen sink” and “more is better” approaches to remediation plansWrite a focused remediation plan
33 Tie the remediation plan to your assessment of the problem A trainee’s remediation planfollows froman assessment of the trainee’s deficitsthat follows fromthe program’s identification of competencies required for successful completion of the program
34 Three Assessment-related Questions: How does a program assess a trainee’s competence?Do we ever really know what our trainees are doing?At the outset of the training program, would we ever consider assessing a trainee’s “baseline ethical understanding”
35 Baseline Ethical Understanding Contact outside of sessions?Contact after therapy ends?Accepting gifts?Disclosing personal information to client?Self disclosures on the Internet?
36 Tie the remediation plan to your assessment of the problem A Question:Which aspect of your trainee’s problem or challenge will this aspect of your remediation plan address?
37 Tie the remediation plan to your assessment of the problem Focus on behaviors that need to change rather than diagnosesRemediation Plan Template
38 APA Ethical Standard 7.04: Student Disclosure of Personal Information Psychologists do not require students or supervisees to disclose personal information in course- or program-related activities, either orally or in writing, regarding sexual history, history of abuse and neglect, psychological treatment, and relationships with parents, peers, and spouses or significant others except if (1) the program or training facility has clearly identified this requirement in its admissions and program materials or (2) the information is necessary to evaluate or obtain assistance for students whose personal problems could reasonably be judged to be preventing them from performing their training- or professionally related activities in a competent manner or posing a threat to the students or others.
39 A cautionary note regarding therapy as an aspect of remediation
40 APA Ethical Standard 7.05 Mandatory Individual or Group Therapy When individual or group therapy is a program or course requirement, psychologists responsible for that program allow students in undergraduate and graduate programs the option of selecting such therapy from practitioners unaffiliated with the program.Faculty who are or are likely to be responsible for evaluating students' academic performance do not themselves provide that therapy.
41 The Ethics of “Gatekeeping” Five ThoughtsIII.The Ethics of “Gatekeeping”
42 Training as “Gatekeeping” Gatekeeping involves: 1) A passage between2) Two or more places with the3) Authority to allow passage, or not, and the4) Responsibility for that decision.
43 An Ethical Dilemma in Training Principle A: Beneficence and NonmaleficencevsPrinciple E: Respect for People’s Rights and DignityBenefiting/Not harming the clientvs.Allowing trainees to make their own mistakes, an inevitable and important part of their development
44 To the other trainees in the cohort Gatekeeping involves considering and balancing multiple ethical responsibilities:To the publicTo the traineeTo the professionTo your programTo the other trainees in the cohortWould you refer a close friend or family member to this individual?
45 Promoveatur ut Amoveatur Beware of thePromoveatur ut AmoveaturPrinciple
46 The ethics of feedback in the gatekeeping process A return to notice and process
47 APA Ethical Standard 7.06 Assessing Student and Supervisee Performance (a) In academic and supervisory relationships, psychologists establish a timely and specific process for providing feedback to students and supervisees. Information regarding the process is provided to the student at the beginning of supervision. (emphasis added)(b) Psychologists evaluate students and supervisees on the basis of their actual performance on relevant and established program requirements.
48 Commission on Accreditation Guidelines & Principles (2008) Domain E: Student-Faculty Relations4. …Students receive, at least annually, written feedback on the extent to which they are meeting the program’s requirements and performance expectations. Such feedback should include:(a) Timely, written notification of all problems that have been noted and the opportunity to discuss them;(b) Guidance regarding steps to remediate all problems (if remediable); and(c) Substantive, written feedback on the extent to which corrective actions are or are not successful in addressing the issues of concern.In all matters relevant to the evaluation of students’ performance, programs must adhere to their institution’s regulations and local, state, and federal statutes regarding due process and fair treatment of students.
49 A significant challenge in training: When should the program intervene and what intervention is most appropriate at that time?
50 Primarily remediation or discipline? When should the program intervene and what intervention is most appropriate at that time?Primarily remediation or discipline?Your answer will have implications for your process
51 APA Ethical Standard 3.05: Multiple Relationships Multiple multiple relationships exist within training programs, rendering an appropriate response complicatedMultiple relationships can get in the way of implementing a good remediation plan
52 A potential impediment to responding to problematic trainees: Beware of the impulse to be helpful and do good
54 Important Resources APA Ethics Code (www.apa.org/ethics) APA Education Directorate (www.apa.org/ed)Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (appic.org)APA Guidelines: Multicultural guidelines; Guidelines for working with older adults; Guidelines for psychotherapy with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. (www.apa.org)Your jurisdiction’s statutes and regulationsCouncil of Chairs of Training Councils (www.psychtrainingcouncils.org/)Association of Directors of Psychology Training Clinics (www.adptc.org)Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB.org)
55 A Note on the Issue of Stigma Five ThoughtsV.A Note on the Issue of Stigma
56 The Americans with Disabilities Act Disability that substantially limits a major life activityCan complete essential requirements of program with “reasonable accommodations”Does not require change in nature of program, lowering program standards, undue expense
57 APA Office on Disability Issues in Psychology Anju Khubchandani(202)How disability-friendly is your program?
58 A Question:Do you view working with a trainee with a disability primarily as an imposition or as an opportunity?
59 National Association of Law Students with Disabilities
61 First Final Observation: (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) FERPA(Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)Rarely an impediment to a good faith, reasonable disclosure to others in an educational institution with a need to know
62 Second Final Observation: Consider responding to problematic traineesas a competence in an of itselfWho in your training program has this competence?“To the extent we become better teachers, students will become better professionals” McCutcheon, 2008
63 Third Final Observation: An important subject to consider: Legal and Ethical Aspects of Responding to Problematic Faculty Members and Supervisors“To the extent we become better teachers, students will become better professionals” McCutcheon, 2008
64 Fourth Final Observation: Get students involved and active in professional associations!
65 Fifth and Final Observation: APA Convention in TorontoSaturday, 4-5:50pm, Room 801BThinking Together:APA and ASPPB Explore Where Ethics and Licensure Converge
66 (202) 336-5930 firstname.lastname@example.org Thank You, APPIC, for including the APA Ethics Office in APPIC’sSeventh Membership Meeting and Conference!(202)