Abstract productiveness in performing their task. There are

Abstract

This paper will address
different areas that are directly associated with our professional competence. We
will explore some of the best practices in defining and
measuring competence, while exploring multicultural competencies, spiritual
and religious competencies and boundary issues. Implementing
a competency-based approach to education and
training will allow current and future professionals to understand the borders
of their competence. Ethical boundaries are necessary and are deemed critically
important for building healthy relationships with clients. Boundaries should be
beneficial in the professional relationship. Setting boundaries play a key role
in achieving successful outcomes. As a psychologist, becoming competent is a requirement
when demonstrating and understanding the appropriate and effective manner that
is consistent with the expectations as an educated professional within your
field. Competence connotes motivation and action to achieve a level of
quali?cations or capabilities within a chosen professional field. Implementing competency-based
approaches are put in place so psychologists can be trained to meet the
specific requirements. Competency-based approaches and training techniques are
developed around the competency standards. Thus, establishing a blueprint for a
positive work environment and a stronger relationship between the psychologist
and client.

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Enforceable Standards Regarding
Competence

Psychologists who provide services to others must work
within the boundaries of their competence. Competence is based off of  experience, education, professional
experience, training, and consultation studies. Psychologists are expected to
have knowledge about the different areas of competencies and the foundational
areas of psychology. When providing services to children, adolescents, and
adults, you must possess knowledge of appropriate assessments, therapeutic
techniques, intervention procedures, and the ability to perform, plan and
implement your areas of demonstrated competence. Maintaining competence
throughout your professional role as a licensed psychologist is crucial. Psychology
is continually evolving, generating new research pathways, and providing new assessment
methodologies to provide psychologists with the proficiency to retain and strengthen
their developmental progressions in functional competence. “Lifelong learning
is fundamental to ensure that teaching, research, and practice provide an
ongoing positive effect for those with whom psychologists work” (Fisher, 2013,
p. 78). Spiritual and religious competencies for
psychologists requires them to have training in multicultural competence. There
is a great need in psychology for both religious and spiritual competencies.

Areas of Competence

Boundary Issues of Competence

One boundary issue of competence as a psychologist includes engaging
in dual relationships. When a professional psychologist enters a dual relationship,
they assume a second role with their client. “A multiple relationship occurs
when a psychologist is in a professional role and at the same time is in
another role with the same person” (Fisher, 2013, p. 344). Being in a dual
relationship with a client can impair the psychologist’s competence, even-handedness,
and productiveness in performing their task. There are also some risks that
comes along with engaging in a dual relationship. There is a risk you can harm
or exploit a client with whom the professional relationship exists, lead to
confusion, unfair results, conflict of interests and it can cause potential impairments.
Guidelines need to be set in place to help psychologists distinguish boundary
issues and managing them. “Boundary issues occur when practitioners face
potential conflicts of interest stemming from what have become known as a dual
or multiple relationship” (Reamer, 2012, p. 3). A dual relationship cannot
always be avoided, so professionals need to continue to clarify a dividing line
between dual relationships. It’s best to try and avoid these types of
relationships in which we might enter by taking appropriate cautions. There are
benefits and risks when psychologists self-disclose personal information to
clients. It can blur client–therapist boundaries while decreasing important
professional qualities associated with the psychologist’s role.  When a psychologist discloses personal
information pertaining to themselves, it can generate boundary issues and can
ultimately diminish or enhance perceived credibility and competence. “Self-disclosure
also influenced client perceptions of therapist competence and credibility” (Audet,
2011, p. 95).

Multicultural competence.

Diversity and ethical practice are the foundational
competencies in any field of psychology. Most psychologists do acknowledge and
accept religion and spirituality as important aspects of human diversity. A
client’s culture is the embodiment of their worldview and is passed on through
their values, beliefs, morals, and religious and spiritual traditions “Because
spirituality and religion are less important to some psychologists overall than
their clients, they may have been neglected as important aspects of
multicultural competency” (Ammondson, Lukoff, Pargament,
Pilato, Scammell &Vieten, 2013, p.132). Incorporating spiritual and religious
competencies in psychology is a form of multicultural competence. Multicultural
competencies strive for psychologists to understand the world views of
culturally different clients without being biased. Psychologists need to
implement delicate, and pertinent intervention techniques with clients who
culturally differ. Cultural differences extend into a client’s religion and
spirituality beliefs. Multicultural competence is predominant for psychologists
when working with clients in any type of therapeutic environment. Psychologists
who are culturally aware have insight into how their cultural biases influence
the counseling process, are comfortable with clients’ culture, and respect
clients’ religion and culture (Sue, Arredondo, & Mc Davis, 1992a, 1992b). Multicultural
skills and competencies are illustrated when psychologists actively seek out
educational workshops that are culturally sensitive to elevate their proficiency
and training in multicultural practices. Acquiring multicultural competence is
a continuous process that includes self-awareness, and reflection. Cultural
competence and knowledge affect the counseling process by allowing
psychologists to implement culturally sensitive counseling strategies. Effective
multicultural training is still a necessity because psychologists must have
awareness and knowledge about cultural diversity and effectively apply these dimensions
to their clients. “Counselors demonstrating cultural knowledge understand how
cultural norms influence personality and manifestations of psychological
symptomatology” (Barden, Sherrell & Matthews, 2017, p. 203).

Spiritual and religious competencies.

“Religion and
spirituality have been empirically linked to a number of psychological health
and well-being outcomes” (Vieten, Scammell, Pilato, Ammondson, Pargament &
Lukoff, 2013, p.129). The term spirituality is strikingly missing from the 2010
APA Ethical Principles for Psychologists and Code of Conduct. In the year 2011,
the APA Division 36 Psychology of Religion was changed to the Society for the
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. “Division 36: Society for the
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality promotes the application of
psychological research methods and interpretive frameworks to diverse forms of
religion and spirituality” (American Psychological Association, 2017, p.1). This
was done because we have a need for both religious and spiritual competencies
and need to find an intersection of psychology and spirituality. The field of
psychology has not yet established a research- based solidarity that is set on religious
or spiritual competencies, methods for assessing them, and standards for how they
are taught to professionals in psychology. “When identifying spiritual distress
as deserving, the same intensity of attention as physical pain makes spirituality
a recognized domain of care” (Balboni, Puchalski & Peteet, 2014, p.2). Spiritual
and religious competencies are set in place to facilitate and authorize
professional psychologists to address and identify any spiritual or religious
problems, and to channel clients interior and exterior spiritual and religious
resources, thus boosting and improving treatment outcomes. There have been
discussions on how professionals can successfully integrate spirituality into
the treatments and care of clients. Psychologists can be trained to recognize
the possible signs of spiritual and religious distress, and if not, there is a
need for more training in spirituality and religious care. As professionals, we
have an ethical obligation to take part in and address the spiritual,
religious, psychosocial, and existential distress of our clients and/or
patients. Some professionals deem this a holistic approach to a client’s
overall well-being and care. “Clinicians need to work with trained spiritual
care professionals such as chaplains, spiritual directors, pastoral counselors,
clergy, and culturally based healers in the care of the whole person—body,
mind, and spirit” (Balboni, Puchalski & Peteet,
2014, p. 11). Treating clients and patients fully and as a whole-person, means
effectively treating not only their physical and mental health ailments, but
also treating their spiritual, religious, and social well-being.

Maintaining
Competence

“Psychologists
undertake ongoing efforts to develop and maintain their competence” (Fisher, 2013,
p. 344). Psychologists must commit to participating in ongoing efforts to
ensure continued competence within their field. As stated in the text by Fisher,
2010, p. 79. “This standard is consistent with mandatory requirements for
continuing education of many Psychology Licensing Boards” (E. H. Wise et al.,
2010). Establishing and maintaining competence is a concern. This is because the
licensing boards oversee regulating practices and protecting the public and they
need psychologists to stay within the boundaries of their competence. Psychologists
need to posses the skills and knowledge within the foundational domains because
they contribute the groundwork for psychologists to subsequently acquire
functional competency. Foundational competencies and functional
domains of competence have been deemed the building blocks of psychology.
Foundational competencies and functional domains of competence include scientific
knowledge-methods, individual-cultural diversity, reflective practice-self-assessment,
ethical-legal standards-policy, interventions, both current and ongoing professional
functioning and development, consultations and research-evaluations. “In the
United States, Psychology Licensing Boards also serve a key role in ensuring
that psychologists maintain professional competence” (Wise, Nutt, Schaffer, Sturm,
Rodolfa & Webb, 2010, p. 290). School psychologists are required to continuously
evolve with the laws and knowledge that are relevant in effective consultations
with both teachers and the school.

Implementing competency-based approaches.

“Accreditation, credentialing,
regulation, and training have all been transformed to competency-based
approaches” (Kaslow, Falender & Grus, 2012, p. 1).
Recently, competency-based approaches have gained more momentum. Enhancing both
education and training is significant in strengthening competency and becomes
essential for lifelong learning. There is a growing solidarity that guidance
and supervision is a core functional competency. Psychologists need to start articulating
strategies while implementing competency framework into their practice.
Utilizing a competency-based model along with strategies and tools for
assessing competencies is essential to accomplish key objectives. To ensure
ongoing values regarding competency-based supervision, there needs to be a
commitment to utilizing these approaches in a devoted and steady manner. By continuing
to provide professionals with educational workshops, you create opportunities
for psychologists to bolster their competence, share both short and long-term
goals, link strategies for attainment, and share visions that value a
competency-based culture. When implementing competency-based approaches it is
important to adopt innovative and new models that allow professionals to
acquire a new armamentarium of knowledge, skills, and attitudes to motivate
them. “Competency-based approaches serve as a useful guide regarding
structuring the pedagogy, training, and supervision of professionals” (Kaslow,
Falender & Grus, 2012, p.2). Integrating instruction on a full range of
competencies will have a great effect on many professions. “Competency-based
education (CBE) is a model that guides the educational process toward
acquisition of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for effective
professional practice in service of the public” (Hatcher, Fouad, Campbell, McCutcheon, Grus
& Leahy, 2013, p.225). When we implement competency-based approaches into
education we are ensuring that the community is assisted by competent
professionals. Our learning process is powered by our acquisition of competence
thus, requiring a continual commitment to learning, assessing, and training
competencies.

Many ethical codes come into play when making ethical
decisions as a psychologist. Personal values are looked at as standards that we
chose to live by. They include different areas such as our beliefs, values,
morals, religion, and ethics. Ethics will play a key role in how we interact
and treat others as professionals. Following a clear set of values will help us
to develop a clear sense of what’s important to us. Ethical and moral values
are aligned with our belief system, which in turn, helps us identify and live
for success not only within ourselves but to also help others live that way. Personal
values and the professional codes/standards that relate to becoming a
psychologist include, but are not limited to Principle C: Integrity, Principle
E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity, Principle B: Fidelity and
Responsibility, Principle A: Beneficence and
Nonmaleficence, Ethical Standards-Resolving Ethical Issues, Competence, Privacy
and Confidentiality. Integrity as a psychologist is very important. Integrity
requires you to be honest, to keep promises, and to convey accuracy in the
teachings, science, and the practice of psychology that you provide to
clients.  Fidelity and Responsibility as
a psychologist include the responsibility and loyalty that you have to clients
when in your care. You do not harm or exploit clients, while also avoiding any
conflicts of interest. As a psychologist, it is essential to nurture, maintain,
and achieve high standards of competence within their own work. Beneficence and
Nonmaleficence requires a psychologist’s to always aim towards the goal of doing
great while avoiding harm at all costs. Psychologists must strive to advance
the well-being, comfort, and doing what’s in the best interest of each client. Psychologists
must increase both professional and scientific consciousness regarding conduct
and behaviors and the way people understand themselves (Fisher, 2013). When you
work as a psychologist it is important to not be biased. When we become bias,
it can influence the way we think, act, and how we see others. “Psychologists
endeavor to be aware of and guard against their own biases and the prejudices
of others that may condone or lead to unjust practices” (Fisher, 2013, p. 26).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

American Psychological Association (2017). Society for the Psychology of Religion and
Spirituality. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/about/division/div36.aspx

 Audet, C. T.
(2011). Client perspectives of therapist self-disclosure: Violating boundaries
or removing barriers? Counselling Psychology
Quarterly, 24(2), 85.  doi:10.1080/09515070.2011.589602

Balboni, M. J., Puchalski,
C. M., & Peteet, J. R. (2014). The relationship
between medicine, spirituality, and religion: three models for integration. Journal of Religion and Health, 53(5), 1586-1598.
doi:10.1007/s10943-014-9901-8

Barden, S. M., Sherrell,
R. S., & Matthews, J. J. (2017). A National
Survey on Multicultural Competence for Professional Counselors: A Replication
Study. Journal of Counseling &
Development, 95(2), 203-212.

Fisher, C.
B. (2013). Decoding the Ethics Code: A Practical Guide for Psychologists, 3rd
Edition. MBS Direct.

Hatcher, R. L., Fouad, N.
A., Campbell, L. F., McCutcheon,
S. R., Grus, C. L., & Leahy,
K. L. (2013). Competency-based education for professional psychology:
Moving from concept to practice. Training
and Education in Professional Psychology, 7(4), 225-234.
doi:10.1037/a0033765

Kaslow,
N. J., Falender, C. A., & Grus, C. L. (2012). Valuing and practicing
competency-based supervision: A transformational leadership perspective. Training and Education in Professional
Psychology, 6(1), 47-54. doi:10.1037/a0026704

Reamer,
F. G. (2012). Boundary Issues and Dual
Relationships in the Human Services. New York: Columbia University Press.

Sue, D.
W., Arredondo, P., & McDavis, R. J. (1992). Multicultural Counseling
Competencies and Standards: A Call to the Profession. Journal of Counseling & Development, 70(4), 477-486.

Vieten, C., Scammell, S.,
Pilato, R., Ammondson, I., Pargament,
K. I., & Lukoff, D. (2013). Spiritual and
religious competencies for psychologists. Psychology
of Religion and Spirituality, 5(3), 129-144. doi:10.1037/a0032699

Wise, E.
H., Nutt, R. L., Schaffer,
J. B., Sturm, C. A., Rodolfa, E., & Webb, C. (2010). Life-long learning for
psychologists: Current status and a vision for the future. Professional
Psychology: Research and Practice, 41(4), 288–297.

 

 

 

 

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