Addressing Professional Competence Problems in Trainees: Some Ethical Considerations

W. Brad Johnson, Nancy S. Elman, Linda Forrest, William N. Robiner, Emil Rodolfa, Jack B. Schaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Psychologists working as graduate student educators and clinical supervisors often encounter trainees who manifest problems of professional competence. At times, faculty members and supervisors may experience role conflict, ambiguity, and anxiety about how to respond to trainee competence problems. Psychologists engaged in the education, training, and credentialing of trainees are ethically and professionally obligated to balance their developmental and gatekeeping roles with respect to trainees. A discussion of several systemic concerns related to psychology's approach to competence problems is presented along with 3 expert commentaries that further elucidate the core issues from the vantage point of education, training, and licensure. Several recommendations for enhancing cooperation and excellent practice among psychologists who train and credential are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-599
Number of pages11
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008


  • competence
  • ethics
  • gatekeeping
  • professional
  • training


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