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Monday, April 27, 2009

Will the Real School Psychologist Please Stand Up?!?

Some people don't know the role of a school psychologist, and when they hear the term they automatically think of them as a typical "psychologist." It has been proposed by the APA to change the title of school psychologists in order to eliminate that confusion. As future school psychologists, what is your opinion on this topic? Do you feel that there should be a new title or term given for us or that it should be left alone? How do you feel this will impact our future careers?

The proposed changes would allow any licensed doctoral level psychologist to use the title “school psychologist” and work in public schools, even though they have no training in school psychology and are less qualified than we will be to perform school psychological services. How will this impact students? Will students receive competent care from unqualified doctoral level psychologists with no training in psycho educational evaluation and assessment? At a time when there is a shortage of school psychologists and an increased need for school psychological services, does it make sense for the APA to advocate these changes and limit current school psychologists from engaging in work they are qualified and trained to do?

Check out these links to find out more about the APA Model Act Revisions

This blog was created by Laura Martino and Susan Bartolozzi


Tahina said...

While gaining hours for my practicum today, the school psychologist I am shadowing introduced herself as the "psychologist" to a parent; not the “school psychologist”. FYI... she is not a doctoral level practicing psychologist. Of course many parents like this one, are not aware of a distinction between the two. But there is. As I am becoming more aware of the actual role and function of a school psychologist, I see that we will be doing A LOT more than some practicing doctoral level psychologists. We will be in the school setting which will require us to do crisis interventions, become familiar with the local police department, local mobile crisis units, and "quick decision" de-escalation techniques. (And we can’t forget the consultation and many, many, many assessments.) Again, this is A LOT more.

With that said, not only would a doctoral level psychologist have to complete the many years of schooling for the doctorate degree, but also get much more training to do all the above in order to adequately provide services for students in need. I feel that the term school psychologist should remain unchanged. Although some of us will not be pursuing a PHD, many of us will have earned our title as the "school psychologist" once on the job after a few years. We will be studying behavior and the behavioral/emotional reactions to the environment predominantly in the school setting. I.e., SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY. Leave it alone!

Jamie Cowan said...

I strongly agree with Tahina's blog. I think the best training comes from on the job experience and putting our skills learned in school to use. Despite not having a doctoral degree I feel school psychologists deserve to keep their title because of the uniqueness of the school culture in which they practice. A regular psychologist would have to familiarize themselves with school law, school policies, the unwritten culture of working in a school system, etc. School psychologists earn this title because of the special population they service- children in our schools, and the specific training they receive to work with them and provide them with the best possible services.

Jessica S said...

While I feel that the APA has a valid point, I am absolutely not in favor of having my title stripped away before I even get it.
I mean really, what kind of respect would you gain from parents, teachers, students or administrators by being called the "testing technician"? Not that that is what APA is proposing that we be called, but I think you get my drift. Often times the school psychologist is one of the most educated people in the school building. School Psychology is the longest Master's program that I know of. We have a lot of time invested in our education, both in classes taken and training hours. To take away our title is demoralizing.

Laura M said...

I urge all those who oppose the APAs Model Revision Act to ACT NOW!. Voice your opposition, let the APA know how you feel, it is your future and career! Follow this link to submit your comments directly to APA, the deadline is June 5th. http://www.nasponline.org/standards/apaletters/oneclick_apa.aspx

Tami said...

I agree with everyone who has posted so far; I am not in favor of losing the title school psychologist. It is clear that if we pursued our education and entered a doctorate program that, yes, we would have more training than if we chose not to continue our education. However, I do not feel that we wont be properly trained if we do not pursue further education. After completion of our program, we will be properly trained to enter the school and begin working. At this point experience we gain will better assist and train us as school psychologists. Actually working on the job is very beneficial, which is why we are required to complete the practicum, as well as the one year externship. The term school psychologists should not be taken away from those who are working with a Masters, because I truly believe they are prepared and knowledgeable to do their job, and to do it well.

Angelica said...

As future school psychologists, I believe that we are receiving the adequate training and experiences both within our classwork and practicum/externship applications to be well prepared to enter the field. As such, we would be doing alot of various functions, including assessments and consultations especially to aid our children within the school communities. Therefore, we are receiving alot of training and putting forth a lot of hard work to be able to provide these children with the best possible services we can. As such, I definitely disagree with the APA. I feel that our titles as 'school psychologists' should not be changed due to our educational diploma. I agree with the comments mentioned that as part of a Master's program, we are working as hard if not harder than many doctoral level programs in order to complete our NJASP Requirements. Likewise, once we're placed within a school district, we would be performing double the work and we would be more involved with our school children than doctoral level pscyhologists. I feel that if we were to be striped of our title, we would be devaluing all of the hard work and hours we would be putting into our educational career. Not all of us will go into doctoral level schooling, therfore, I strongly feel that this title should not be changed due a simple difference within one's education. Like Laura posted, I strongly urge everyone who is against this change to voice their opinions so we can make a difference within our future as school psychologists.

Desiree Antas said...

I personally do not like the idea of APA taking that title away from specialist level school psychologists. I think if you earned a specialist degree you have gone through enough training to be qualified and to be labeled a school psychologist. However, there is a big misconception people hold about the role of a school psychologist. Anyone I have ever told that I was in training to become a school psychologist their response was, “Oh so you are going to be picking apart children’s heads. What are you trying to figure me out? Or I have a client for you.” And then of course I have to say umm not exactly, it is more like testing children and classifying them for special education services. It is frustrating that so many people have no clue what the role of a school psychologist is. When people hear the term psychologist they automatically think of a Clinical Psychologist. The reality is there are Forensic Psychologists, Child Psychologists, Social Psychologists, Industrial-Organizational Psychologists, Developmental Psychologists, Experimental Psychologists etc..I guess my point is just because people have a misconception of what our role is does that give APA the right to strip us of our prestigious title we all worked so hard for?