The APA Ethical Principles as a Foundational Competency: Application to Rehabilitation Psychology
Hanson, Stephanie L
Kerkhoff, Thomas R
Rehabilitation psychology 2011 Aug; 56(3): 219-30
OVERVIEW: Competence is a core component of ethical conduct as reflected in its addition as an ethical standard in the 2002 APA Ethics Code. Successfully operationalizing and assessing competence provides psychologists a means to improve education and training, advance the field of practice, and create a framework for accountability to the public. Much of the recent competency discussion has been in response to a proposed Cube Model, with its three axes being foundational competencies (practice building blocks, such as scientific knowledge, ethical standards), functional competencies (attributes of providing services, such as assessment, intervention), and developmental progression (acquiring increasing competence over the course of one's education and career). Ethics is included on the foundational competency axis and has been operationalized to the extent that subcomponents and benchmarks have been promulgated. The competency model as proposed faces multiple challenges, including gaining consensus regarding its components, addressing reliable and valid assessment over time, and creating a culture of acceptance. We propose the Ethical Principles as an alternative framework for conceptualizing ethics as a foundational competency given the Ethics Code is already time tested and includes a serial review process for broad discipline input and adaptability. We apply the Ethical Principles as foundational components to rehabilitation psychology training at internship, postdoctoral, and specialty levels to illustrate the model. CONCLUSION: Rehabilitation psychology should engage in the competency movement at the predoctoral and postdoctoral level. The application of the Ethical Principles as a foundational competency to rehabilitation psychology represents a first step in this dialog.
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