Post doc with relative's practices

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by stonesunturned, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. stonesunturned

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    After completing my PhD I plan to seek internships in the area around my home city. After my one year internship I plan to find a post-doc position in an organization somewhere in or near my home city. I happen to be connected to the mental health community in that area. I wanted to know if my post doc supervision hours could be completed with a family friend or family member who is lisenced as clinical psychologist in the state?

    One of these practicing clinicians Is my parent. They are hoping that we can work together someday. Do you think this is a good idea? I assume connection and referral wise this would give me a leg up. Thoughts please...
     
  2. MamaPhD

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    Have you actually discussed this idea with your parent? I'm going to assume you have not yet started your doctoral training and therefore may not be very familiar with the APA ethics code, but there is a problem with this hypothetical arrangement. There is a little more wiggle room in the "family friend" situation depending on the actual closeness of the person to your family and the availability of other supervisors in the community.

    Anyway, go to http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/principles.pdf and jump to Section 3.05. The ethics code does not forbid multiple relationships but advises us to refrain from entering multiple relationships if there is a reasonable risk that it might compromise our objectivity, competence, or effectiveness as a psychologist. Parent-child dynamics have the potential to do all of these things. I think most people would agree that even a good parental relationship should not be mixed with the role of a supervisor. (Likewise, most of us would feel very uncomfortable professionally supervising our own child.)
     
  3. WisNeuro

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    I think it's a bad idea. You're getting into the realm of multiple relationships, which some would see as an ethical violation. This person is expected to objectively supervise you and will have to attest to your competence for things like licensure and board certification in the future. Also, most states will ask you if your supervisors were family or friends. I would stay away to make my life easier down the road.
     
  4. bmedclinic

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    A few things:
    1) I dont know if that's acceptable by your state's standards. A few states explicitly state this is not okay, as does the national register.
    2) It's a terrible idea. I mean, family never has problems, right? No issue there. (sarcasm, if not obvious to all readers).
    3) See APA Ethics code 3.05, Multiple Relationships. I think this scenario pretty clearly falls within that domain, aside from issues 1 and 2.
     
  5. bmedclinic

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    oh wow, I got beat pretty quickly
     
  6. WisNeuro

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    I'm just waiting for the contrarians to jump in :)
     
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  7. stonesunturned

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    Thanks MamaPhD, and thanks for everyone else who has outlined their concerns. The family practice is a group practice so there is room to get supervision from other members of the group with whom I am not related. Without a doubt I could get supervision from someone outside the group.

    I can see the your concern about multiple relationships and perhaps more importantly the transference counter transference issues that would be intractable when getting supervision with a family member. That said my family member is one of the brightest most successful and experienced clinicians I know and I would hesitate not to consult with them if I was facing an extremely challenging situation.

    My biggest motivation for working within this community is that I already have a network of existing mentors in the area. My question should have been: Is it worth it to make plans to return home and build a career in a professional landscape I already know with people/eventual colleagues who I am already familiar with or should I strike out on my own and develop a practice somewhere new? I can see the benefits and challenges in both directions. Assuming there are kosher supervisors who meet the required standards would anyone on this board follow a similar path?
     
  8. WisNeuro

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    Honestly, working in that group is still problematic, they are coworkers/friends of family members. They may still feel constrained in being honest on supervsior attestation forms if they had concerns. My advice is to do a postdoc independently, where there are no hints of multiple relationships. You can always return afterwards when you are licensed and build up a practice. The mentorship is available when you are a early career practitioner, and would not have the same multiple relationship difficulties if there is no supervisory role.
     
  9. MamaPhD

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    I think it should depend more on your personal desire to return to and work in that community. Maybe you have other reasons to return to your hometown, but it's important to be aware of how this invariably introduces more potential for dual relationships. You would still need to manage those relationships and seek supervisors and colleagues who are independent of your family and social relationships. This is not impossible, but whether you go home or start up in another location you should be functionally "striking out on your own." Think through the ramifications of plugging in to a professional community you know by virtue of being the child of one of its members.
     
  10. smalltownpsych

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    Working with family can have it's own set of issues, but not a problem from an ethical stance typically. Receiving clinical supervision from a a close family member would be unethical in my opinion.
     
  11. WisNeuro

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    Oh, I don't even think this is a matter of opinion. It clearly falls within the realm of codes 3.05 and 3.06.
     
  12. Therapist4Chnge

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    You'd be best served to finish your training outside of the group practice, then get your license, THEN consider joining the group practice.
     
  13. stonesunturned

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    Do you think consultation with someone with whom you have a dual relationship while receiving supervision from a seperate clinician is problem? It seems like quite a loss to forgo someone's input and experience because you happen to be related to them.
     
  14. WisNeuro

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    Consultation is perfectly fine with a family member who is a professional, there is no evaluative component. The problem in the above situation is the fact that you could willfully engage in a multiple relationship with someone who has supervisory and evaluative authority over you. It also impairs their ability to objectively rate you when it comes down to licensing later on, of which you will have to disclose this to many states, some of which will surely have a problem with it. If the supervising clinician is a friend of the family, there is still a multiple relationship/conflict of interest, there is a loss of objectivity.
     
  15. WisNeuro

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    Look up state licensing boards, here's an excerpt from the national register as bmed alluded to earlier, it will hinder your licensure/boarding potential

    "3) A supervisor, at the time of supervision, must not be in a dual relationship with the supervisee, e.g., be a spouse, other close relative, or therapist."
     
  16. stonesunturned

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    Thanks for the pointers WizNeuro, I'm reading the licensure information now. If I choose to return to my hometown to practice I will make sure to get adequate supervision that is objective and meets the requirements for licensure.
     
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  17. WisNeuro

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    My advice would be to err well on the side of caution, and not try to "just skirt" by the ethics guidelines. This will color how other professionals view you and could hurt your reputation if not done the right way.
     
  18. stonesunturned

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    Good suggestion. I see the complexity and can imagine the "bad optics" it could generate in the community's perceptions.
     
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  19. AcronymAllergy

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    Agree with the others--when it comes to your post-doctoral year of supervision, I'd say it's safest/best to have it handled by someone unaffiliated with your family's practice and/or with whom you have a previous personal relationship. After that, once your license is in hand, work wherever you'd like.
     
  20. PSYDR

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    I've been fortunate enough to have a few mentors in my profession. Here's some of the problems I have noticed when working with the ones who knew me before I was licensed.

    1) They always had difficulties transitioning into speaking about me as Dr. instead of my christian name.
    2) Some of the money stuff was tricky, because their frame of reference was from when they were starting out. I literally had to explain how their 55k income in 1979 was approximately 190k in 2015 dollars.
    3) Much of the promotions were thought of as "when I retire" or "when I die". I did not really want to wait around for that.

    But I wouldn't try to plan too much about the exact geographical location or type of work I was going to do. Things to to change, and interests tend to develop as you progress professionally.
     
  21. smalltownpsych

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    I have seen similar language when supervisees were applying for approval of me as their post degree supervisor. In our state the law spells this out as well. Here is what it says:
    (13) A supervisor shall not be involved in a dual relationship with a supervisee, which would compromise the supervisory relationship, e.g., related by marriage, immediate family, business partnership, employee of the supervisee, or former client-professional relationship. If the supervisee pays the supervisor for the postdoctoral supervision, the supervisor shall pay particular attention to the impact of the financial arrangements on the supervisory relationship.
    In ethical decision making if the law has the highest standard, then that is what you must follow.
     

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