Working definitions of profession-wide competencies

Glossary to accompany highlights from SoA.

The proposed SoA currently out for public comment includes a list of proposed profession-wide competency categories that would be required of all accredited programs (10 competency areas specified for doctoral programs and internships; three advanced competency areas specified for postdoctoral programs). Several constituent groups and individuals have asked CoA for clarification regarding what may be encompassed in each of these competency categories. 

As noted in the SoA document, fuller articulation of the specific requirements in each competency category, for each level of training, will appear in Implementing Regulations. In the meantime, the CoA is providing the current working definitions of the profession-wide competency areas. These working definitions should not be considered final policy, but instead are intended to inform public comment on the proposed SoA. Based on public comment on the SoA, the proposed competency areas and their definitions may be altered. In addition, public comment on the SoA will inform Implementing Regulations that further describe requirements within each competency category for each level of training. Drafts of these Implementing Regulations will be circulated for public comment prior to finalization and adoption. 

Brief definitions for glossary

  1. Evidence-based intervention
    Demonstrates appropriate1 knowledge, skills and attitudes2 in the selection, implementation and evaluation of interventions that are based on the best scientific research evidence; respectful of clients’ values/preferences; and relevant expert guidance. 
  2. Evidence-based assessment
    Demonstrates appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes in the selection, administration and interpretation of assessments consistent with the best scientific research evidence and relevant expert guidance. 
  3. Ethical and legal standards
    Demonstrates appropriate ethical and legal knowledge, skills and attitudes in all professional roles3
  4. Individual and cultural diversity
    Demonstrates appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes about cultural and individual differences in all professional roles. 
  5. Research
    Demonstrates appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes to produce and disseminate scientific research and to make appropriate use of scientific methods and findings in all professional roles. 
  6. Professional values and attitudes
    Demonstrates dispositions and engages in behaviors that reflect the values and attitudes of the psychology profession, in all professional roles. 
  7. Communication and interpersonal skills
    Demonstrates ability to communicate effectively, to interact appropriately, and to develop meaningful and helpful relationships in all professional roles.
  8. Consultation/interprofessional/interdisciplinary
    Demonstrates appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes regarding interprofessional and interdisciplinary collaboration in relevant professional roles. 
  9. Supervision
    Demonstrates appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes regarding the instruction and oversight of trainees and other professionals. 
  10. Reflective practice
    Demonstrates appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes in reflecting on, critically evaluating, and improving one’s own professional performance. 

Footnotes for IR(s)

1Appropriate” is to permit programs to define the competency relative to their own training aims as well as to accommodate levels of training variations in what constitutes minimum levels of achievement. 

2Knowledge,” “skills” and “attitudes.” Knowledge roughly encompasses coursework and other didactic training experiences, whereas skills encompass practicum and other experiential training experiences. Attitudes encompass the individual’s beliefs and values. 

3All (or relevant) professional roles” is to encompass assessment, intervention, research, teaching, consultation, program evaluation, prevention, etc.