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Decoding The Ethics Code

Decoding The Ethics Code

Decoding The Ethics Code

2.01 Boundaries of Competence

(a) Psychologists provide services, teach, and conduct research with populations and in areas

only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised

experience, consultation, study, or professional experience.

Psychologists benefit those with whom they work and avoid harm through the

application of knowledge and techniques gained through education, training, supervised

experience, consultation, study, or professional experience in the field

(Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence). Competence is the linchpin

enabling psychologists to fulfill other ethical obligations required by the APA Ethics

Code (APA, 2010c). Under Standard 2.01a, psychologists must refrain from providing

services, teaching, or conducting research in areas in which they have not had the

education, training, supervised experience, consultation, study, or professional experience

recognized by the discipline as necessary to conduct their work competently.

􀀴 Psychologists with doctoral degrees from programs solely devoted to research would

be in violation of this standard if they provided therapy to individuals without obtaining

additional education or training in practice fields of psychology.

􀀴 Graduates of counseling, clinical, or school psychology programs should not conduct

neuropsychological assessments unless their programs, internships, or postdoctoral

experiences provided specialized training in those techniques.

􀀴 Psychologists should not offer courses or professional workshops if their graduate

education, training, or continued study is insufficient to provide students with fundamental

knowledge and concepts of the topics or areas to be taught.

􀀴 Psychologists without applicable training in job-related counseling and assessment

should not offer executive coaching services (S. K. Anderson, Williams, & Kramer, 2012).

HMO

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Copyright © 2013 by SAGE Publications, Inc.

68——PART II ENFORCEABLE STANDARDS

Specialties, Certifications,

and Professional and Scientific Guidelines

Determinations of whether psychologists are engaged in activities outside the

boundaries of their competence will vary with current and evolving criteria in the

relevant field. For example, the Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology

(COSPP) and the ABPP recognize 13 “specialty areas” defined in terms of competence

in providing distinctive configurations of services for specified problems and

populations. The COSPP website provides descriptions of the education, training,

and experience required to attain competencies in each specialty (http://cospp.org).

Advanced training for specific problems across specialties may also be required.

As noted in the Introduction and Applicability section of the Ethics Code and

discussed in Chapters 1 and 3 of this book, psychologists are encouraged to refer to

materials and guidelines endorsed by scientific and professional psychological organizations

to help identify competencies necessary for adherence to Standard 2.01a.

For example:

􀀴 Forensic psychologists should not offer opinions on children’s ability to testify if they

have not obtained requisite knowledge of developmental processes related to recollection

of facts, susceptibility to leading questions, understanding of court procedures, and

emotional and behavioral reactions to legal proceedings.

􀀴 Psychologists should not suggest to clients/patients that they alter their psychotropic

medication regimen unless they have specialized training as a prescribing psychologist.

􀀵 According to the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology (SGFP) (Committee on

Ethical Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists, 1991), forensic practitioners refrain from

offering legal opinions, explain to parties that legal information is not the same as legal

advice, and encourage parties to consult with an attorney for guidance regarding relevant

legal issues. (Readers may also wish to refer to the American Psychology-Law

Society (AP-LS) Committee on the Revision of the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic

Psychology, 2010.)

􀀵 According to the Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluation in Divorce Proceedings

(APA, 1994), custody evaluation requires specialized knowledge of psychological

assessments for children, adults, and families; child and family development and

psychopathology; the impact of divorce on children; applicable legal standards; and,

in some instances, expertise on child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, or parental

mental or physical illness (see also Guidelines for the Practice of Parenting

Coordination [APA, 2012a]).

􀀵 According to the Guidelines for the Evaluation of Dementia and Age-Related Cognitive

Decline (APA, 2012b), psychologists who provide evaluations for dementia and agerelated

cognitive decline must have education, training, experience, or supervision in

clinical interviews and neuropsychological testing, and training in the areas of gerontology,

neuropsychology, rehabilitation psychology, neuropathology, psychopharmacology,

and psychopathology in older adults.

FOR THE USE OF UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY.

NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION, SALE, OR REPRINTING.

ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

Copyright © 2013 by SAGE Publications, Inc.

Chapter 5 Standards on Competence——69

(b) Where scientific or professional knowledge in the discipline of psychology establishes that an

understanding of factors associated with age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture,

national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, or socioeconomic status is essential

for effective implementation of their services or research, psychologists have or obtain the

training, experience, consultation, or supervision necessary to ensure the competence of their services,

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