Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Case Presentations: A Key Method for Evaluating Core Competencies in Professional Psychology?

Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Case Presentations: A Key Method for Evaluating Core Competencies in Professional Psychology?

Article excerpt

The clinical psychology training literature highlights the need to evaluate student competency in core competencies (e.g., assessment, intervention, interpersonal relationships, research, ethics, supervision). One such evaluation method that allows for a broad-based examination of core competencies is the oral case presentation. The oral case presentation is not new to clinical psychology, but the use of this method to evaluate core competencies has not been extensively discussed. We conducted a Web-based survey on the use of case presentations to evaluate students in professional psychology programmes in Canada. Responses were obtained from 20 of 28 Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)-accredited programmes. Respondents reported on the use of the oral case presentations in the evaluation of students and the perceived value of case presentations. The majority of respondents (N = 14) reported that students gave an oral case presentation during the course of training. Most of these programmes required the case presentation in the fourth year (N = 8), a point in time when competency might be best assessed. Only very few programmes (N = 3) reported that the case presentation was evaluated by a committee, with formal guidelines to assess the case presentation. The case presentation was viewed as being helpful for evaluating several different abilities (e.g., case conceptualisation, awareness of metaknowledge, use of research in practice, reflective skills). Overall, the case presentation was positively evaluated, but appears underutilised in Canadian professional psychology programmes to evaluate clinical competency. To encourage further use of this method for formal evaluation, guidelines for presentations and evaluation are provided. Future directions for research are also outlined.

Keywords: core competencies, case presentation, evaluation, training

Graduate training is a subject of intense interest in professional psychology. Decisions about training directly affect students and faculty, as well as clients, practicing professionals, employers, and regulatory bodies that rely on graduate training programmes to produce competent practitioners. The need for comprehensive and diffuse competency in several areas of professional psychology, and the assessment of multiple competencies, has been emphasised in recent literature (e.g., Fouad et al., 2009; Kaslow et al., 2009). In particular, a "Cube model" of core competency has been articulated (Rodolfa et al., 2005). This model delineates the importance of professional psychologists having numerous foundational competencies (i.e., professionalism, reflective practice/selfassessment/self-care, scientific knowledge and methods, relationships, individual and cultural diversity, ethical legal standards and policy, and interdisciplinary systems) and functional competencies (i.e., assessment, intervention, consultation, research/evaluation, supervision, teaching, and management-administration; Rodolfa et al, 2005).

Specific to Canada, the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) of the Regulatory Bodies for Professional Psychologists in Canada (2004) recommends that regulatory bodies for professional psychology in Canada evaluate applicants seeking entry into the profession on six core competencies, including competency in interpersonal relationships, assessment, interventions, research, ethics and supervision. In response to current attention to competency, CPA recently released a revised draft of accreditation standards and procedures for doctoral programmes and internships in professional psychology (Canadian Psychological Association, 2009). The revised standards and procedures place increased attention on these core competencies and require Canadian students to be systematically trained and evaluated in the six core areas of competency identified in the MRA. Given the diversity of core competencies in psychology, the need for a variety of competency evaluation methods is required. …

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