APA's Continuing Professional Education Committee (CPEC) is asking members to comment on its proposal to expand the definition of "nontraditional" approaches in earning continuing-education credit as stated in the Criteria and Procedures of APA's Sponsor Approval System (SAS).
CPEC hopes that this expanded definition of suitable program content will encourage continuing-education providers to offer more innovative programs, while at the same time filter out programs whose content does not meet the standard for psychologists' postgraduate education.
The proposed language below has been disseminated to APA governance groups, divisions, APA-approved sponsors and state and provincial psychological associations. If the proposal is approved, the statement will be added to Criterion H of the SAS Criteria and Procedures. To review a copy, contact the CPE office at (202) 336-5991. Please submit comments to Jo Linder-Crow, PhD, APA Office of Continuing Professional Education, at the APA address; fax: (202) 336-6151; email.
Proposed definition: CPEC discussion on offering credit for nontraditional approaches
One important goal of continuing professional education is aimed at maintaining, developing or increasing competencies that are relevant to psychological practice, education, and science. As such, innovative approaches in method, theory, and practice benefit psychology. The Continuing Professional Education Committee (CPEC) also recognizes the need for new and innovative ideas, and the extension of current thinking and methodologies. However, the CPEC recognizes that the dissemination of unsubstantiated, non-traditional practices must be closely monitored to safeguard the public and enhance contributions to the profession. Therefore, before approved continuing-education sponsors offer programs which may be viewed as new, non-traditional, or breakthrough, sponsors must address the following considerations.
1. Information and/or programs presented by the CE sponsor must be based on a methodological, theoretical, empirical and/or practice knowledge base which supports the credibility of the information and relates it to existing knowledge. This credibility can be established by demonstrating that the information presented is related to more well-established method, theory, research and/or practice:
a) Has peer reviewed, published support for its efficacy and effectiveness, and/or
b) Has obtained acceptance by a substantial minority of psychologists as demonstrated by involvement of the broader psychological community in studying the innovative finding(s), procedure(s), practice(s), or theoretical concept(s).
2. Programs or information provided by CE sponsors which are viewed by the sponsors, the CPEC, or others as non-traditional must be demonstrated to be relevant to psychological practice, theory and method for doctoral level psychologists.
3. Potential program participants must be informed by the sponsor and/or presenter(s) that materials to be presented are considered non-traditional and may be controversial and not have widespread endorsement within the profession. The CPEC reserves the right to define a program as non-traditional (requiring the CE sponsor to adhere to these guidelines), and observe or closely monitor its curriculum content, objectives, and teaching methods.
4. Special safeguards are required when non-traditional programs have implications for clinical practice. Program sponsors will not make actual or implied statements about the efficacy or effectiveness of any non-traditional treatment approaches. Program sponsors will be required to demonstrate that any non-traditional treatment approach has been studied according to established procedures of scientific scrutiny.
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