Important Changes Approved by the APA Council

Linda Campbell

Linda Campbell

The APA Council In Action!  By Linda Campbell and Norine Johnson.

We are quite used to stalemates, filibusters, and partisanship these days, aren’t we? I wish you could all have attended this Council meeting to see actual decision-making, compromise, and respectful disagreement. There were items on this Council agenda that truly spoke to who we are, what our values are, and what is important to us. You would have been very proud to see how differing members conducted themselves and how the decisions were made.  We are going to plunge into the top items of importance to Div. 29 here and hope that if you want more detail or want to discuss any of these subjects that you will contact us at lcampbel@uga.edu or NorineJ@aol.com.

Recognition of Psychotherapy Effectiveness

Before your blood pressure goes up, yes, all of us who are members of Div. 29 know and have known for many years that psychotherapy is effective. What we recently realized, however, is that never has there been a resolution, declaration, or any official statement adopted by APA to acknowledge this fact. Melba Vasquez, Nadine Kaslow, and Linda Campbell authored a new business item to be presented in August for a vote of Council acknowledging this important fact. Linda Campbell or Nadine Kaslow can send you a copy of the statement if you would like to read it. Several of our Div. 29 members contributed to the supporting seminal references and citations. It’s a great read!

Amendment to The APA Ethics Code

For the first time ever, the APA Ethics Code has been amending between official revisions. You are aware of the concerns that many APA members have had regarding the potential use of the Standards 1.02 and 1.03 and the ambiguity of the meaning of the standards in serving as guidance for psychologists. A primary concern about the potential interpretation of the standards as they stood was the possibility that following the law could be used to coerce psychologists into inhuman treatment of others. The APA Ethics Committee drafted the proposed change that is meant to better define this uncertainty. The draft change went through without a hitch. The revised standards are written as follows. The underlining represents added text and the strike through represents deleted text:

Standard 1.02 Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority

If psychologists’ ethical responsibilities conflict with law, regulations, or other governing legal authority, psychologist clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code and take reasonable steps to resolve the conflict consistent with the General Principles and Ethical Standards of the Ethics Code. If the conflict is unresolvable via such means, psychologists may adhere to the requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing legal authority. Under no circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defined violating human rights.

Standard 1.03 Conflicts Between Ethics and Organizational Demands

If the demands of an organization with which psychologist are affiliated or for whom they are working are in conflict with this Ethics Code, psychologists clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code, and to the extent feasible, resolve the conflict in a way that permits adherences to the Ethics Code. Take reasonable steps to resolve the conflict consistent with the General Principles and Ethics Standards of the Ethics Code. Under no circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defend violating human rights.

These amendments represent hard work by many people and very difficult and challenging conversations. Those whose efforts were greatly invested in this matter rose to the occasion most admirably and respectfully.

The APA Model Licensure Act Has Been Approved!

The primary purpose of the Model Licensing Act is to provide a model to state, provincial, and territorial legislatures of language that would be consistent with APA’s policies in the event that legislatures enact a change in their law or regulations that affect the practice of psychology. Several areas were reviewed and updated; however, the major discussion centered around the use of the term “psychologist” in school settings and licensure requirements for I/O psychologists. The challenge for consensus came from the policy of APA enacted several years ago and the stance of professional psychology in that psychology is a doctoral level profession. Although, some state and provincial licensing boards have variations in masters level practices, the policy of APA is that psychology remains a doctoral level profession.

For many years, prior to licensure in some states, State Departments of Education have authorized and certified individuals who have masters and educational specialist degrees to practice in the schools and be termed “school psychologists.” Individuals who work in public school settings in these roles are typically not doctoral level. The question at hand was whether or not to extend the exemption that school psychologists have had for some years. In other words, could school psychologists be an exception to the requirement for doctoral level status of those calling themselves psychologists?

In hearing out all sides and all opinions on this very difficult matter, the Council voted to adopt the following: “The act recognizes the authority of appropriate state education bodies to issue titles to those who provide psychological services in schools as long as those titles incorporate the word “school.” The act continues to restrict the practice of such individuals and their use of their title to employment within school settings.” In other words, the adopted wording recognizes Departments of Education to be able to authorize professional positions under their aegis. The second amendment to the Model Act exempted I/O psychologists from the requirement of licensure (except as required in their jurisdictions) unless they provide mental health services to individuals.

Council Moves Out Of The Manchester

Contracts for APA Convention sites are made several years ahead of the event. After contracting with the Manchester Hyatt, it was discovered that the owner, Doug Manchester is a major contributor to the California Proposition 8, an effort to overturn the California Supreme Court ruling providing marriage equity for same-sex couples. This development resulted in much deliberation between values and money. On the one hand, many members felt that they could not in good conscience attend the Council meeting if held in the Manchester. The other meetings and where members’ hotel reservations are would, of course, be individual or divisional decisions. The Council meeting location represents a decision by APA that is logistical, financial, symbolic, and value-driven. The Treasurer, Paul Craig determined that a move would cost no more than $100,000. President Goodheart established a context for Council members’ remarks that was respectful, inclusive, and encouraging of all to speak. After the discourse, Council voted overwhelmingly to move the August Council meeting to another location. Dr. Goodheart summarized the discussion by saying, “Members of our Council will now not be faced with having to choose between their responsibilities as members of Council and their wish to express their opposition to Mr. Manchester’s action by not entering his hotel.”

Consensus and Endorsement of the APA Core Values

Our APA CEO Norm Anderson has initiated the development of our first ever Strategic Plan. Along with the plan was needed a mission statement, vision statement, and set of core values. As we have reported from earlier Council meetings, all had been decided except the core values. The task force charged with developing the core values for acceptance by Council was chaired most ably by Rodney Lowman and one of our representatives, Linda Campbell, was a member of this group. Over a period of months, the task force worked on finalizing the values with the sticking points being around (1) how to word the diversity value and (2) how to word the science value. Even on the floor of Council during the discussion, editing and compromise were still going on. Almost miraculously, we now have a set of core values overwhelmingly supported by Council and they are:

The American Psychological Association commits to its vision through a mission based upon the following values:

Continual Pursuit of Excellence

Knowledge and its Application Based Upon Methods of Science

Outstanding Service to its Members and to Society

Social Justices, Diversity and Inclusion

Ethical Action in All that We Do

Approval of APA 2010 Budget

Good news, sort of. As you know, APA like the rest of us was hard hit by the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009. Many cuts were made in meetings, personnel, and services, and benefits in order to right the ship. The cash flow from the buildings, however, yielded $3.5 million which contributed greatly. As a result, APA can report a forecast of $114,400. with expenditures of $113,500 resulting in a forecasted operating margin of $900.000.

Transparency In Advertising

APA has become aware that students and potential students who are reading APA materials see paid advertisements which sometimes appear to be endorsed by APA and therefore can be misleading for students who are looking for graduate programs and other educational services. As a result, the Council voted soundly to develop criteria and transparency for educational advertising:

  1. Advertising of educational programs in APA publications and  web sites must be programs that are fully accredited by regional or other institutional accrediting associations recognized by the Department of Education.
  2. Programs representing areas of professional psychology that are eligible for APA Accreditation (e.g., clinical, counseling, school, I/O, combined) must be accredited by APA to quality as advertisers.

To our loyal and faithful members, if you made it this far in the report, you not only get the t-shirt but a sweatshirt to boot!. It is our pleasure to serve as your Council representatives and we would very  much like to talk with you individually about your thoughts regarding Council and our Division 29.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda Campbell, Ph.D.

lcampbel@uga.edu
phone: 678-234-1444

Norine Johnson, Ph.D.

NorineJ@aol.com
phone: 617-471-2268

Updates from the 2010 Meeting of the APA Council

By Linda Campbell

By Linda Campbell

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Norine Johnson and I are your representatives to APA Council of Representatives. We bring you the decisions and direction of APA in our report immediately after the Council meeting. We also want your input and your opinions before we go to Council in order to accurately represent your ideas and thoughts on matters that can affect us. I am listing here the items I think hold importance for us. I have also presented these items to our Board of Directors:

1. Call for language amending Ethical Standards 1.02 and 1.03.

In August 2009, the APA Council asked the APA Ethics Committee to propose revised language for the Ethics Code that would accomplish the following three goals:

  1. Resolve the discrepancy between the Introduction to the Ethics Code and Standard 1.02.
  2. The recommended revision must effectively communicate that Standards 1.02 and 1.03 can never been used to justify or defend a violation of basic human rights.
  3. The revision must be ready to become an action item for the Council meeting of February 2010.

The proposed revision as it now standards is the following. Please note that deletions are indicated by brackets and additions are indicated by underlining:

1.02 Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority

If psychologists’ ethical responsibilities conflict with law, regulations, or other governing legal authority, psychologists clarify the nature of the conduct, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code and take reasonable steps to resolve the conflict consistent with the General Principles and Ethical Standards of the Ethics Code. [If the conflict is unresolvable via such means, psychologists may adhere to the requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing legal authority.] Under no circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defend violating human rights.

1.03 Conflict Between Ethics and Organizational Demands

If the demands of an organization with which psychologists are affiliated or for whom they are working are in conflict with this Ethics Code, psychologists clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics C ode, and [to the extent feasible, resolve the conflict in a way that permits adherence to the Ethics Code.] take reasonable steps to resolve the conflict consistent with the General Principles and Ethical Standards of the Ethics Code. Under no circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defend violating human rights.

2. Revision of APA’s Model Act for State Licensure of Psychologists

APA’s Model Act serves as a prototype for state legislation regulating the practice of psychology. State legislatures are encouraged to use the model language as a base for development of state laws and regulations. The reasons for the current revision of the Model Act are that (1) the current Model Act was written 20 years ago and is out of date; (2) Recommendations for prescriptive authority for psychologists needs to be included, (3) Important developments have occurred in the practice of psychology apart from provision of health services such as I/O and consulting psychology such that psychologists may wish to or be required to become licensed; (4) the changes in the recommended sequence of education and training leading to licensure need to be incorporated.

Some of the significant changes in the MLA are as follows:

  1. Definitions: Several terms are created that were not present in the 1987 MLA document. The new term “Applied Psychologist” includes the two categories of Health Service Provider” which is already defined in APA documents and General Applied Psychologist” which may refer to applied psychologists providing services outside of the health and mental health field. Additional definitions include “Board, Institutions of higher education, Practice of psychology, Psychologists, Developed areas of practice, Emerging areas of practice, and Client.”
  2. Requirement or Licensure: The sequence of training lagnauge was added such that two years of supervised experience can be obtained during the doctoral program rather than one year being required post doctoral. Substantial detail about doctoral training programs is included in the MLA.
  3. The Task Force recommends to APA that creation of policy that applies to cross jurisdictional practice particularly telepractice be created. The APA does not currently have policies regarding limitations or guidelines for this practice.
  4. Exemptions: The application of exemption from licensure is recommended to include (a) persons engaged in teaching or research in academic /institutional settings, (b) non-health service provider psychologists not involved in direct service, (c) individuals for whom licensure was previously prohibitive but are now expected to become license should be considered for some form of grandparenting.
  5. The exemption that existed in the 1987 MLA for individuals credentialed by a state agency who did not have a doctoral level credential were entitled school psychologists. In the revised MLA, the term school psychologist is reserved for those who have a doctoral degree in psychology; are certified by the state education agency, and are using the terms only during their practice in the public schools.

3. APA’s Strategic Plan: Core Values

Core values are essential and enduring tenets that have intrinsic value and importance to its members. The Ad Hoc APA Values Committee recommends the following core values statement:

“The American Psychological Association commits to its vision through a mission based upon the following values:

  • The Continual Pursuit of Excellence
  • Science-Based Knowledge and Application
  • Outstanding Service to Its Members and to Society
  • Social Justice including Diversity and Inclusion
  • Acting Ethically in All that We Do.”

There are considerable additional items that will be presented, discussed, and for which action will be taken. These items will be fully reported by Linda Campbell and Norine Johnson in their Council report in the next Bulletin. If you have any questions or comments that you would like us to know before the Council meets on February 19th please contact Linda Campbell at lcampbel@uga.edu or Norine Johnson at NorineJ@aol.com. We can either communicate by e-mail or arrange a time to talk by phone.