Core Competencies of a Clinical Psychologist
There are six core competencies for the practice of clinical psychology
- Interpersonal Relationships
- Assessment and Evaluation
- Ethics and Standards
This basic competency forms part of all the other competencies. Psychologists normally do their work in the context of interpersonal relationships (parent-child, spouses, boss-employee, etc.). They must therefore be able to establish and maintain a constructive working alliance with their clients, and possess adequate cultural competency.
Knowledge of theories and empirical data on the professional relationship, such as:
- Interpersonal relationships
- Power relationships
- Therapeutic alliance
- Interface with social psychology
- More specific knowledge of the fluctuations of the therapeutic/professional relationship as a function of intervention setting
Knowledge of self, such as:
- Personal biases
- Factors that may influence the professional relationship (e.g., boundary issues)
Knowledge of others, such as:
- Macro-environment in which the person functions (work, national norms, etc.)
- Micro-environment (personal differences, family, gender differences, etc.)
Establishment and maintenance of rapport
Establishment and maintenance of trust and respect in the professional
Assessment and evaluation
A competent professional psychologist draws on diverse methods of evaluation, determining which methods are best suited to the task at hand,
rather than relying solely or primarily on formalized testing as an automatic response to situations requiring assessment. The appropriate subject of evaluation in many instances is not an individual person but a couple, family, organization, or system at some other level of organization. The skills required for assessment can and should be applied to many situations other than initial evaluation, including, for example, treatment outcome, program evaluation, and problems occurring in a broad spectrum of non-clinical settings. The primary purpose of psychological assessment is to provide an understanding that informs a practical plan of action. It may result in a diagnostic classification or in the identification of strengths or competencies.
Knowledge of populations served
Formulation of a referral question
Selection of methods
Information collection and processing
Formulation of hypotheses and making a diagnosis when appropriate
Formulation of an action plan
The intervention competency is conceptualized as activities that promote, restore, sustain, and/or enhance positive functioning and a sense of wellbeing in clients through preventive, developmental and/or remedial services. A broad, comprehensive vision of the intervention competency should include explicitly theory as well as the following knowledge and skills:
The learning of an array of varied interventions with individuals and systems (e.g., couples, families, groups and organizations)
A respect for the positive aspects of all major approaches, which should reflect an openness to varied viewpoints and methods
Awareness of when to make appropriate referrals and consult Awareness of context and diversity
Knowledge of interventions that promote health and wellness
Establish and maintain professional relationships with clients from all populations served.
Establish and maintain appropriate interdisciplinary relationships with colleagues.
Gather information about the nature and severity of problems and formulate hypotheses about the factors that are contributing to the problem through qualitative and quantitative means.
Select appropriate intervention methods.
Analyze the information, develop a conceptual framework, and communicate this to the client.
Professional psychology programs should include research training such that it will enable students to develop:
A basic understanding of and respect for the scientific underpinnings of the discipline.
Knowledge of methods so as to be good consumers of the products of scientific knowledge.
Sufficient skills in the conduct of research to be able to develop and carry out projects in a professional context and, in certain cases, in an
academic context with the aid of specialized consultants (e.g. statisticians)
Basic knowledge of research methods and of the applications of scientific research, including:
Applied statistics and measurement theory;
The logic of different models of scientific research (from laboratory experimentation to quasi-experimental and field research);
Qualitative research methods (including observation and interviewing), etc., particularly with respect to the nature of reliability and validity in the gathering and interpretation of qualitative data
Critical reasoning skills
Applications of various research approaches to social systems
Ability to write professional reports
Ethics and standards
Professionals accept their obligations, are sensitive to others, and conduct themselves in an ethical manner. They establish professional relationships within the applicable constraints and standards.
Standards of professional conduct
Responsibilities to clients, society, the profession, and colleagues
Awareness of potentially conflicting principles
Standards for psychological tests and measurements
Standards for conducting psychological research
Jurisprudence and local knowledge
Ethical decision-making process
Proactive identification of potential ethical dilemmas
Resolution of ethical dilemmas
A kind of management that involves responsibility for the services provided under one's supervision and may involve teaching in the context of a
relationship focused on developing or enhancing the competence of the person being supervised. Supervision is a preferred vehicle for the integration of practice, theory and research, with the supervisor as role model.
Models for the acquisition of competencies under supervision.
Methods and techniques of supervision.
Available technical resources.
Power relationships as well as cultural, gender issues and ethnic differences.
Sensitivity to power, cultural, sex, and ethnic issues.
Articulation of clear learning objectives.
Creating an open and participatory climate.
Learning to be a good supervisee (open to supervision, well prepared, able to use time efficiently, non-defensive, aware of limits, etc.).
Ability to link learning approaches to specific evaluation criteria.
Being able to differentiate between teaching and therapy.
Integration of knowledge.
Awareness of one's own strengths and limitations as supervisor.
Preparing a coherent evaluation based on precise learning objectives.
* This information is taken from the Mutual Recognition Agreement of the Regulatory Bodies for Professional Psychologists in Canada.