Subscribe: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice - Vol 40, Iss 6
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Professional Psychology: Research and Practice - Vol 47, Iss 4

Professional Psychology: Research and Practice publishes articles on the application of psychology, including the scientific underpinnings of the profession of psychology.

Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 12:00:25 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2016 American Psychological Association

Examining emotional support animals and role conflicts in professional psychology.


This article examines the role conflicts that psychologists may face in their practices related to the evaluation and certification of emotional support animals (ESAs). It reviews the legal differences between ESAs and service animals (SAs), outlines ethical guidelines and legal policies/regulations regarding the use of ESAs, and examines the potential role conflicts that exist when a treating psychologist is certifying the need for an ESA. Finally, it makes recommendations to assist psychologists in staying within the standards of practice in order to avoid the ethical and legal risks associated with certifying an ESA. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Hurting the healers: Stalking and stalking-related behavior perpetrated against counselors.


The increased risk of stalking faced by mental health professionals (MHPs) raises many important questions for practitioners. For instance, what factors place MHPs at greater risk of being stalked, and what perceptions do MHPs have about stalking? The present study investigates these and other understudied questions pertaining to stalking and stalking-related behavior perpetrated toward MHPs in the context of their work, by surveying a sample of 346 registered clinical counselors in British Columbia, Canada. Results indicated that many respondents had experienced individual stalking-related behaviors, and 7% (n = 23) had been stalked by a client. Work-related stalking and stalking-related behavior was perpetrated by clients, coworkers, and the acquaintances of clients. Respondents treating clients for forensic, substance abuse, and sexuality issues as well as for sexual abuse were at greater risk of being victimized. However, respondents treating clients out of their residence were not at greater risk. Less than half (47%) of respondents were aware of their heightened risk of being stalked, and many (50%) endorsed the view that poor clinical skill can increase stalking victimization. The majority of respondents reported that they would call police or terminate therapy in the event that they were being stalked by a client and three-quarters wanted to receive training on stalking. Findings suggest the need and desire for training that raises the awareness and abilities of MHPs to manage stalking behavior, but that also challenges unfounded and potentially harmful beliefs that some MHPs hold about their victimized colleagues. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Relationships between firearm availability and suicide: The role of psychology.


The causes and theoretical underpinnings of suicidal behavior are complex and multidimensional. A review of current research indicates a correlation between firearm availability and suicidal risk. Variables that contribute to this relationship are examined, including geographic location, legislative issues, impulsivity, and occupation. Reasons for considering this correlation as a social advocacy issue for psychologists are presented, and recommendations for the profession of psychology are described. These recommendations include potential empirical research areas, ways of incorporating the relationship between firearm availability and suicidal risk into doctoral training programs, and a variety of practice-related recommendations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

An exploratory study of experiences and training needs of early-career correctional psychologists.


Early-career correctional psychologists (ECCPs) have challenging roles, but their experiences and training needs remain unstudied in the literature. This study marks the first step in introducing the experiences and training needs of ECCPs. Professional development statements listed from 192 doctoral-level ECCPs during an orientation training exercise were available for archival, secondary data analysis. By adapting and applying the consensual qualitative research (CQR) procedure, professional development statements from ECCPs on the best work advice received were coded into 9 categories; and immediate training-need statements were coded into 6 categories. The most frequently presented advice categories were balance and flexibility. The most common immediate training-need category was policy knowledge. By clarifying and articulating categories within these data, we weave a more complete picture of the experiences and perspectives (a) used by those currently in the workforce and (b) required for effectively training a resilient correctional psychologist workforce in the future. Implications for ECCP development and supervision are made. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Professional standards’ citations in law and the behavioral sciences: Implications for policy and practice.


Standards developed by professional organizations reflect positions that emerge through a lengthy and rigorous process. They attempt to operationalize best practice, and hence should be useful in guiding policy and practice in law and behavioral health. However, the extent of such influence is difficult to judge. In the current study, citation counts for 4 sets of professional standards (the American Bar Association [ABA] Juvenile Justice Standards; ABA and Institute of Judicial Administration [IJA], 1981; the ABA Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards; ABA, 1986/1989; the American Psychological Association [APA] Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct; APA, 1992, 2002; and the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists/Psychology [SGFP]; APA, 2013; Committee on Ethical Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists, 1991) were obtained using behavioral science and legal databases. Results suggest that none of these standards exert more than a modest effect on the published behavioral science literature, and the legal standards in particular are cited rarely. This is unfortunate, given the potential value of such standards in promoting more uniform and high-quality practice and better-informed policy. Greater exposure of professional standards to researchers, practitioners, and policymakers through various mechanisms is recommended to increase their exposure and potential impact. Future research might provide evidence on the relationship between citation count in the case law and scholarly literatures and impact on policy and practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Therapy with the nonreligious: Ethical and clinical considerations.


Current estimates suggest anywhere from 16% to 23% of American adults and 33% of adults under the age of 30 identify as nonreligious. Many people experience spiritual struggles and may seek counseling when deciding to leave the religion of their family of origin. The current state of nonreligiousness in America suggests psychologists may see an increase in clients who experience spiritual struggles and could be deciding to leave their family religion. Psychologists may not feel prepared to work with such clients, or actively avoid religious discussions. Being prepared to work with nonreligious clients and the unique issues they bring to treatment calls for a practical evaluation of ethical and clinical considerations. Demographic trends suggest nonreligiousness is a topic that will only become more relevant to psychology, and beginning an exploration now will greatly contribute to the profession at an opportune time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Exposure therapy practices and mechanism endorsement: A survey of specialty clinicians.


Studies have suggested that exposure is a key ingredient in the treatment of youth with anxiety disorders and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), yet there are several barriers to the implementation of exposures. This may reflect the lack of detail in treatment protocols specifically outlining the delivery of exposure and the lack of consensus on treatment mechanism. The aim of this study was to learn how experts treating this population practice exposure treatment and conceptualize treatment mechanism on the basis of their responses on an Internet-based survey. Participants (N = 65) were licensed mental health clinicians who treated youth for primary OCD or for a primary anxiety disorder (generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, social anxiety disorder) within the last year. Results indicated that exposure was widely practiced among our sample. Results on specific endorsements of exposure techniques and mechanism are reported, and clinical and research implications are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Integrated pediatric behavioral health: Implications for training and intervention models.


Integrated pediatric behavioral health is the practice of colocating and integrating behavioral health providers into the primary care pediatric setting. Pediatric primary care, a nearly universally accessed venue by children, represents a promising path to take behavioral health prevention and treatment to scale. However, child psychologists wishing to practice in such a setting face limited training opportunities and few options to learn the evidence-based interventions and skills needed to excel in these settings. We describe our pediatric life span–integrated behavioral health model, including Healthy Steps for children and their families starting at birth, and a child and adolescent model for children ages 5 and up. We review the need to improve the evidence base in pediatric integrated behavioral health and present our modularized intervention protocols. We review staffing ratios, workforce development, and other programmatic design elements. We present our feasibility findings and suggest that a pediatric life-span model of integrated care may be the best mechanism for taking behavioral health prevention and treatment to scale. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)