Assignment: Ethical educational gatekeeping

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Assignment: Ethical educational gatekeeping

Assignment: Ethical educational gatekeeping


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appropriate while making sure that these students and trainees are providing good care to their

clients. At times, these two goals may conflict with each other and create an ethical dilemma

(Kitchener, 1984). Faculty and supervisors must determine the amount of potential harm that

clients might experience in the service of helping students and trainees develop professional

skills. One way that faculty and supervisors manage this ethical dilemma is to aspire to implement

ethical gatekeeping procedures to assess and remediate STPPC in a timely manner. Timely

remediation that provides developmental road maps for STPPC merges faculty’s ethical commitments

to their students with their ethical commitments to the clients served by students in

training. Thus, Principle A provides guidance to faculty and supervisors at any stage of education

or training.

Supporting standards. In support of General Principle A, Standard 3.04 explicitly states

that “psychologists take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients/patients, students, supervisees

. . . and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and

unavoidable” (APA, 2002, p. 1065). Overall, the purpose of gatekeeping functioning at every

stage of education and training in psychology is to avoid harm or foreseeable harm to clients,

patients, students, supervisees, and others with whom they work. Individuals who enter and eventually

graduate from doctoral internship and postdoctoral programs will ultimately benefit the

public through competent research and practice. STPPC may be more likely to make poor judgments,

exploit others, make mistakes, provide poor clinical care, and “project their own personal

issues” (p. 21) onto others (Bemak, Epp, & Keys, 1999). These behaviors are potentially harmful

to students and trainees when they pursue education and training in an area for which they will

ultimately be unsuccessful. Such students and trainees may face increased rates of failure and be

more likely to be exposed to increased stress, anxiety, damage to self-esteem, and depression as

a result. Students and trainees may spend time and resources on education and training in psychology

that may have been better spent on educational costs associated with another career that

better matches their strengths.

As part of the remediation process, faculty and supervisors may require students and trainees

to obtain individual or group therapy. Psychotherapy was cited as the most common remediation

method for STPPC by faculty and supervisors (Forrest et al., 1999). When psychotherapy is

used in remediation, Standard 7.05 requires faculty and supervisors to provide students and

trainees with the option to choose “therapy from practitioners unaffiliated with the program”

(APA, 2002, p. 1069). Faculty and supervisors must make their role as an educator/trainer clear

and avoid entering into a multiple relationship with STPPC by providing therapy (Standard 3.05,

APA, 2002, p. 1069). However, when faculty and supervisors use personal therapy as the sole

form of remediation without any monitoring components, faculty are unable to evaluate STPPC

progress to ascertain if the personal therapy remediation is positively affecting the professional

competencies of concern (Elman & Forrest, 2004).

General Principle

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