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Psychology professional identity and relation to master's-level fields

futureapppsy2

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Hi all,

Some wanted a thread on this--how do psychologists relate to masters-level fields that originated in psychology but are increasingly seeing themselves as and being seen as distinct fields that are separate from psychology, with their own accrediting bodies, licensing boards, ethics codes, and professional organizations? I'm thinking of fields where master's degrees are the primary degree for license/practice--counseling, ABA, and MFT come to mind as big ones (I'd argue that social work is historically distinct as a field, although clinical social work does overlap a good bit with psychology).
 
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futureapppsy2

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What do you mean “relate to”? Many mental health organizations employ clinicians with various educational backgrounds. I relate to them as peers, mentors, and mentees.
Defining that very broadly--as colleagues, as students, supervisors, supervisees, etc.
 
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R. Matey

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A few thoughts:

1. I have a pretty hard time seeing the counseling profession distinct from clinical/counseling psychology in terms of having a distinct discourse of scholarship. It seems to me that counseling draws on both pretty heavily. An exception might be some of their supervision literature, but I don't think much of it is empirical and don't get me started on the vocational literature.

2. I regard counselors basically like technicians who know how to do therapy and not much else. At the counselor educator (Edit: level), they're sort've psychologists with a little less training in psychology (I felt bad for the OP of the thread-that-must-not-be-named). This isn't to say that they can't be great therapists (though many are not); I've known some excellent master's level counselors who work hard to learn how to read, interpret, and apply secondary sources pretty well. My guess is that this leads to the binomial distribution I've read about in other threads.

3. I worry that clinicians at these levels are very susceptible to grifters and other such peddlers of pseudoscience. Probably less so for the ABA folks, but I've seen LPC/LMFT/LCSWs embrace pseudoscience pretty hardly. From what I've seen, they give enough lip service to science to keep their licenses, but then happily embrace pseudoscientific principles behind closed doors where it counts. The psychiatrists who were arguing in the other thread that master's level clinicians fair no better than psychologists in performing psychotherapy were ignoring the fact that your average master's level counselor is probably doing no more than some basic supportive listening and haphazardly applying principles from whatever podcast they just finished that day. I don't blame them. I've been a master's level clinician and I've seen it happen repeatedly in CMHCs.
 
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MAClinician

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Having attended/matriculated in both types of programs/departments, I see mental health counseling as “psychology lite” in the sense that theories, interventions, and curriculum are fairly similar. MHC does not go as in depth as psychology does, or at least in my own experience. Having started in psychology first, I identify more with psychology than counseling but I am aware I am not a psychologist. The major components of both disciplines’ ethics codes are also pretty similar. I agree that masters level (with the exception of school psych in an education setting) are not qualified or competent to do psychological assessment. I appreciate the training I received in my psychology program to help me understand the testing reports done in the community as often times the assessor doesn’t spend much time reviewing the results with the client/family (primarily work with Medicaid so this likely plays a role).

Having spent my entire career so far in CMHC settings, I find it unfortunate that psychologists are not hired in my region to do direct clinical work with the folks who have the most significant MH needs and would benefit from the training a psychologist usually has. Needs such as severe trauma, psychosis, folks with multiple hospitalizations etc. Part of this is probably due to pay (or lack thereof). While I feel I can handle a good majority of presenting problems and populations, there are definitely some outside of my competence and comfort level. But it can be hard to find other masters level folks to refer to if there are not the doctoral level providers.

What I found helpful from the thread that was deleted, was the discussion around potential applicants identifying why they need a specific degree to reach career goals, and what that degree will help with. Psychology as an undergraduate major is very different than a graduate program and it helps to know what you want to do in order to get the right degree. If counseling/therapy is your main goal, and you have no interest in other skills a psychologist has, then it doesn’t seem worth it to spend 5+ years (even fully funded) on a degree for a position filled mostly with masters level providers. But if you see yourself doing more than one thing with that degree than it is worth the time it takes to make yourself competitive enough to get accepted to a doctorate program. And I’ve also been known to get into heated discussions with friends /colleagues who talk about getting a PhD but want to go to predatory programs or can’t articulate why they want the doctorate.
 
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biomom

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I would like to respectfully offer my perspective as a master’s level LPCC. I know that there are limitations to my knowledge on some interventions and I actively seek out supervision. That being said, I took 4 assessment courses. I did a 6 month practikum with a pediatric neuropsychologist. I followed that up with a 6 month internship. I did intake sessions, feedback sessions and wrote neuropsychological reports. I also administered testing and counseled children, families, and adults for 4 years. My neighbor is a PhD child psychologist. She often asks me about particular tests and their interpretation. I ask her about interventions. I’m not a pediatric neuropsychologist. I don’t have my PhD. I do have some strengths though.
 
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PsyDr

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I would like to respectfully offer my perspective as a master’s level LPCC. I know that there are limitations to my knowledge on some interventions and I actively seek out supervision. That being said, I took 4 assessment courses. I did a 6 month practikum with a pediatric neuropsychologist. I followed that up with a 6 month internship. I did intake sessions, feedback sessions and wrote neuropsychological reports. I also administered testing and counseled children, families, and adults for 4 years. My neighbor is a PhD child psychologist. She often asks me about particular tests and their interpretation. I ask her about interventions. I’m not a pediatric neuropsychologist. I don’t have my PhD. I do have some strengths though.

So you engaged in the practice of neuropsychology, without meeting the educational standard of care?
 
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biomom

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So you engaged in the practice of neuropsychology, without meeting the educational standard of care?

I was supervised by a PhD neuropsychologist at all times. All reports written were edited. I would never do this on my own. There are ma therapists who do psychological testing on their own. I would never do this.

Also, I took 4 assessment courses, assessment methodologies, interviewing skills, and statistics. We also wrote psych reports in each assessment class. I did have some educational training.
 
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Sanman

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I was supervised by a PhD neuropsychologist at all times. All reports written were edited. I would never do this on my own. There are ma therapists who do psychological testing on their own. I would never do this.

Also, I took 4 assessment courses, assessment methodologies, interviewing skills, and statistics. We also wrote psych reports in each assessment class. I did have some educational training.

So you were acting as a psychometrist? I don't think anyone has an issue with this given that many neuropsychologists utilize them in practice. The issue comes up with the push for unsupervised independent practice.
 
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biomom

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I am hoping all this is past tense and was under the supervision of a neuropsychologist.

@biomom what is your training in neuroanatomy, psychopharmacology, etc..?

Very past tense. 100% supervision.

Btw, this practikum, internship, and supervised training was supported by my well-respected university. It was 100% supervised —as in the neuropsychologist was in the room with me
 
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PsyDr

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I was supervised by a PhD neuropsychologist at all times. All reports written were edited. I would never do this on my own. There are ma therapists who do psychological testing on their own. I would never do this.

Also, I took 4 assessment courses, assessment methodologies, interviewing skills, and statistics. We also wrote psych reports in each assessment class. I did have some educational training.

Are you saying you wrote some summaries of some tests results, and then the neuropsychologist used the results for pattern analysis?

Or are you saying that you used pattern analysis despite lacking the educational background defined by the profession and the test publishers, in a subject matter that is associated with actual mortality?

ps. repeatedly misspelling practica is not adding to your credibility.
 

biomom

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Surely, you understand that this is not the norm for most LPCs. Exceptions don't create rules.
I honestly don’t know the curriculum. I was given the opportunity to specialize in assessment. I had a good educational experience that was 100% supervised. As I have said, I have no desire and not enough training to do assessments independently. That is above my pay grade.
 

biomom

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Are you saying you wrote some summaries of some tests results, and then the neuropsychologist used the results for pattern analysis?

Or are you saying that you used pattern analysis despite lacking the educational background defined by the profession and the test publishers, in a subject matter that is associated with actual mortality?

ps. repeatedly misspelling practica is not adding to your credibility.

Actually, I’m german. That’s how I spell it.

I wrote full 20 page reports. I left out the analysis of test results. My boss edited everything and added the analysis. Then we talked about it.

Seriously, I did not pretend to be a neuropsychologist.
 
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R. Matey

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I honestly don’t know the curriculum. I was given the opportunity to specialize in assessment. I had a good educational experience that was 100% supervised. As I have said, I have no desire and not enough training to do assessments independently. That is above my pay grade.

There's a lot of heterogeneity in LPC training, which is part of the problem. If you look at the CACREP standards, it's usually one assessment course and a basic research methods course. By contrast, psychologists who do neuropsychology do prac, internship, and postdoctoral training (usually over two years) to conduct and interpret neuropsychological assessments.
 
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I honestly don’t know the curriculum. I was given the opportunity to specialize in assessment. I had a good educational experience that was 100% supervised. As I have said, I have no desire and not enough training to do assessments independently. That is above my pay grade.

Super curious why your program offered this specialization, and why you chose to do it, if you can't do anything with it once independent to practice.
 

Sanman

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Super curious why your program offered this specialization, and why you chose to do it, if you can't do anything with it once independent to practice.

Is it really can't do anything with it if you are qualified enough to be a psychometrist? This is a decent living and something that I had planned to do while finishing my dissertation if not for the fact that I lived in a state that banned the practice at the time.
 

PsyDr

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Actually, I’m german. That’s how I spell it.

I wrote full 20 page reports. I left out the analysis of test results. My boss edited everything and added the analysis. Then we talked about it.

Seriously, I did not pretend to be a neuropsychologist.


Someone who says they "wrote neuropsychological reports" isn't pretending to be a neuropsychologist?
 

Sanman

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Someone who says they "wrote neuropsychological reports" isn't pretending to be a neuropsychologist?

I think you're being a little hard on her. I wrote plenty of reports that were corrected by a supervising clinician as part of my externship/internship rotations. It is on the supervising clinician to ensure that the work is done correctly and the report is properly written.

Now, if you are talking about the obfuscation in the original post here, that is a different matter.
 
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biomom

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Is it really can't do anything with it if you are qualified enough to be a psychometrist? This is a decent living and something that I had planned to do while finishing my dissertation if not for the fact that I lived in a state that banned the practice at the time.
Someone with a bachelors in psych can do psychometry in my state.
 
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Sanman

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Someone with a bachelors in psych can do psychometry in my state.

There is no set standard for practice as a psychometrist and most states are liberal in who they allow to hold such a position. That said, the psychometrists in the academic medical centers where I have worked often had graduate degrees. If it was not the case that you wanted the training for such a reason, please feel free to enlighten us as to why it is you pursued this area.
 

biomom

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Is it really can't do anything with it if you are qualified enough to be a psychometrist? This is a decent living and something that I had planned to do while finishing my dissertation if not for the fact that I lived in a state that banned the practice at the time.

I have a master’s in molecular biology as well. I was just really interested in learning about assessment. That’s all there is to it. I technically could offer assessments in my state. Personally, I had a great educational experience, but I don’t believe it to be ethical as a masters level provider. I’m happy with what I learned. It helped me with interviewing skills. I work with children and families. Sometimes they bring in reports and ask questions like “what is this test for? Or what is this diagnosis.” More detailed questions? I refer back to the psychologist.
 
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biomom

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There is no set standard for practice as a psychometrist and most states are liberal in who they allow to hold such a position. That said, the psychometrists in the academic medical centers where I have worked often had graduate degrees. If it was not the case that you wanted the training for such a reason, please feel free to enlighten us as to why it is you pursued this area.

i actually considered becoming a psychometrist but in all truth, I just enjoyed learning about it. Is it so bad to take a couple of courses in a subject of interest?
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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I think you're being a little hard on her. I wrote plenty of reports that were corrected by a supervising clinician as part of my externship/internship rotations. It is on the supervising clinician to ensure that the work is done correctly and the report is properly written.

Now, if you are talking about the obfuscation in the original post here, that is a different matter.
Writing reports can be vague, though my concern is that outside of a test list and behavioral observations, what else was written? Administering assessment measures and scoring can be taught and administered under the supervision of a licensed Neuropsychologist, but everything else outside of behavioral observations and test list should be a no-go.

Also, it's important to note that classwork, supervision, and practica are a good start, but ANY report writing including anything else from the assessment starts to raise a red flag. Unfortunately, this sounds like a practice pushing more work onto the psychometrist that is/was not appropriate for them.
 

Sanman

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i actually considered becoming a psychometrist but in all truth, I just enjoyed learning about it. Is it so bad to take a couple of courses in a subject of interest?

No one said it was bad to do so. I was simply suggesting having enough training to function as a psychometrist coming from a counseling program was a great way to expand employment opportunities for oneself. As I said, it was a backup plan I had for myself if I needed work while completing my doctorate. I think some of the posters here took issue with your initial post as the way it read suggested you were practicing independently rather than training under the supervision of a licensed professional.
 

Sanman

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Writing reports can be vague, though my concern is that outside of a test list and behavioral observations, what else was written? Administering assessment measures and scoring can be taught and administered under the supervision of a licensed Neuropsychologist, but everything else outside of behavioral observations and test list should be a no-go.

Also, it's important to note that classwork, supervision, and practica are a good start, but ANY report writing including anything else from the assessment starts to raise a red flag. Unfortunately, this sounds like a practice pushing more work onto the psychometrist that is/was not appropriate for them.


I think that it would really depend on the level of supervision and how much was re-written. Again, I am comparing this to my doctoral level externships and internship where I wrote a great many reports that were then edited by the licensed provider to obtain the final product given to the patient. In a non-training setting, I would agree that this is inappropriate. However, the poster mentioned it being practica for a grad program.
 
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biomom

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Writing reports can be vague, though my concern is that outside of a test list and behavioral observations, what else was written? Administering assessment measures and scoring can be taught and administered under the supervision of a licensed Neuropsychologist, but everything else outside of behavioral observations and test list should be a no-go.

Also, it's important to note that classwork, supervision, and practica are a good start, but ANY report writing including anything else from the assessment starts to raise a red flag. Unfortunately, this sounds like a practice pushing more work onto the psychometrist that is/was not appropriate for them.
Actually, my main function evolved into being a therapist. I am trained in report writing. I wrote the narrative history which is quite detailed. I also wrote paragraphs about the tests used and diagnoses (given to me. ). My boss did all interpreting and editing.
 
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PsyDr

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I think you're being a little hard on her. I wrote plenty of reports that were corrected by a supervising clinician as part of my externship/internship rotations. It is on the supervising clinician to ensure that the work is done correctly and the report is properly written.

Now, if you are talking about the obfuscation in the original post here, that is a different matter.

Eh. She's exaggerating her training, in a manner that demonstrates that she doesn't know what she's talking about.

Notice she's using "educational training" when I allude to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing? That's not a response for someone who is aware of such basic matters. If she's such an expert in testing....
 

biomom

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Eh. She's exaggerating her training, in a manner that demonstrates that she doesn't know what she's talking about.

Notice she's using "educational training" when I allude to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing? That's not a response for someone who is aware of such basic matters. If she's such an expert in testing....
LOL. Believe what you want. Yes, some lowly master’s practitioner specialized in assessment and received supervised training in psychometry and assessment. Feel free to pick apart all of my words. I find these posts to have an element of bullying. There is no curiosity or actual interest in my training. I got lucky and worked hard. Try focusing on your own career.
 
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biomom

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Eh. She's exaggerating her training, in a manner that demonstrates that she doesn't know what she's talking about.

Notice she's using "educational training" when I allude to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing? That's not a response for someone who is aware of such basic matters. If she's such an expert in testing....
I do consider coursework to be educational training.
I’ll leave this thread now.
 

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Very basic question here, but what specifically is included in the accepted duties of a psychometrist? I thought it was limited to test administration and scoring, and that interpretation of the findings/recs are the role of the clinician/psychologist. But it also sounds like psychometrists can write up the results of the tests as long as they don’t interpret them?
 
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WisNeuro

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Very basic question here, but what specifically is included in the accepted duties of a psychometrist? I thought it was limited to test administration and scoring, and that interpretation of the findings/recs are the role of the clinician/psychologist. But it also sounds like psychometrists can write up the results of the tests as long as they don’t interpret them?

They can only bill for their time administering and scoring. Billing otherwise is fraud. Having psychometrists do this would simply be having them do work that no one is getting reimbursed for.
 

Sanman

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They can only bill for their time administering and scoring. Billing otherwise is fraud. Having psychometrists do this would simply be having them do work that no one is getting reimbursed for.

In reality, I do wonder how common it may be for neuropsychs to bill it out as part of their time. Somewhat fraudulent? Yes, but I'm sure someone is doing it.
 

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In reality, I do wonder how common it may be for neuropsychs to bill it out as part of their time. Somewhat fraudulent? Yes, but I'm sure someone is doing it.
It'd be stupid to bill under psychomtrist rather than your own report writing time based on reimbursement. Anyone who is having psychometric do it and billing neuropsych time is being more than somewhat fraudulent.
 

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Defining that very broadly--as colleagues, as students, supervisors, supervisees, etc.
Getting back to the OP. I am coming at this from the perspective of a masters level clinician. I have always had good working relationships with the psychologists I have worked with and trained under. I feel very fortunate in that majority of my supervision occurred under the guidance of psychologists which really supplemented my education. I felt like my masters degree did a good job at teaching us how to diagnose from a checkbox of symptoms but through my supervision, I learned how to actually conceptualize the whole person, which is something I felt was lacking in my education. In the three organizations I have worked at, it seems that their was always an understood hierarchy and that the psychologists were given more leadership roles and guided our practices. For the most part the relationships were very collegial, however, there were a couple of older psychologists that liked to boast their education and belittle anyone that didn’t have a PhD.
 
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MAClinician

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Eh. She's exaggerating her training, in a manner that demonstrates that she doesn't know what she's talking about.

Notice she's using "educational training" when I allude to the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing? That's not a response for someone who is aware of such basic matters. If she's such an expert in testing....
I agree that the original post initially read as if she was currently doing testing and report writing but I never got the impression she was selling herself as an expert in testing. One of the ongoing difficulties of posting on forums instead of in person where confusion can be cleared up in real time.

I do think this discussion speaks to why it’s important to know one’s role and professional duties depending on the degree you have and job responsibilities (or field experience). Prior to finding this forum years ago, I wasn’t even aware there were psychometrists working in the real world. In my doctorate program students did the testing/scoring/writing. In the area I work, most of the psychologists administer their own tests. I’ve read 3 reports where an intern/student contributed to outpatient testing evaluation. It’s interesting to read how this varies depending on region or practice setting.
 

futureapppsy2

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I agree that the original post initially read as if she was currently doing testing and report writing but I never got the impression she was selling herself as an expert in testing. One of the ongoing difficulties of posting on forums instead of in person where confusion can be cleared up in real time.

I do think this discussion speaks to why it’s important to know one’s role and professional duties depending on the degree you have and job responsibilities (or field experience). Prior to finding this forum years ago, I wasn’t even aware there were psychometrists working in the real world. In my doctorate program students did the testing/scoring/writing. In the area I work, most of the psychologists administer their own tests. I’ve read 3 reports where an intern/student contributed to outpatient testing evaluation. It’s interesting to read how this varies depending on region or practice setting.
What field was this doctoral program in? (Asking because it seems relevant to the thread).

In rehab psych (which has a lot of cross-over with neuropsych), most psychologists use psychometricians, IME
 
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MAClinician

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It was clinical psychology and I chose the child clinical psyc track. Core APA required courses were taken by both adult and child students. I had general assessment and then a child assessment, child focused treatment classes and child focused practica in the in-house clinic. I was also assigned a year long practica in Neuropsych which I never wanted to do as i had no interest (in house with a new faculty at the time where a team completed the evaluation together). I left after completing my masters for a variety of reasons, which is why I ended up completing a program in the MHC field. All of my work experience has been in CMHC settings. One agency had a psychologist covering several sites who did his own testing and writing. My current employer does not have a psychologist on staff so any evaluations need to be referred to a hospital setting (9+ month waits, more likely to be seen by intern/post doc with supervising psychologist) or to one in private practice (all I have referred to have done their own testing). And I work primarily with clients under age 21. I am sure psychometricians existed before/while in grad school but I personally was never exposed to it. :shrug: Although I never enjoyed the assessment experience I was required to do in my doctorate program I appreciate the knowledge I gained from it. I can better understand reports. The MHC program I attended offered a semester long assessment course that covered stats AND various testing measures in one semester! Clearly not enough to be even remotely competent. Many of the other MHC programs in my state have similar courses. I am only speaking for what I have experienced or been exposed to.:)
 
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R. Matey

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The MHC program I attended offered a semester long assessment course that covered stats AND various testing measures in one semester! Clearly not enough to be even remotely competent. Many of the other MHC programs in my state have similar courses. I am only speaking for what I have experienced or been exposed to.:)

The part about MHC coursework maps on to my experience of training at that level as someone who has trained as a master’s level counselor and trained other counselors in statistics and general issues related to measurement. How CACREP or other such pundits believe that this amount of training makes someone qualified to interpret either personality or performance measures is quite the interesting leap in logic.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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PsyDr

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I agree that the original post initially read as if she was currently doing testing and report writing but I never got the impression she was selling herself as an expert in testing. One of the ongoing difficulties of posting on forums instead of in person where confusion can be cleared up in real time.

I do think this discussion speaks to why it’s important to know one’s role and professional duties depending on the degree you have and job responsibilities (or field experience). Prior to finding this forum years ago, I wasn’t even aware there were psychometrists working in the real world. In my doctorate program students did the testing/scoring/writing. In the area I work, most of the psychologists administer their own tests. I’ve read 3 reports where an intern/student contributed to outpatient testing evaluation. It’s interesting to read how this varies depending on region or practice setting.

Disagree. Biomom specifically stated that her expertise in testing was of sufficient degree that a psychologist regularly asked for opinions on testing and test interpretation.
 

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I am currently a research postdoc at an academic medical center where I have a caseload of 3 patients. Throughout gradschool, internship, and now my postdoc I have encountered master-level providers that covered the whole spectrum. The worst by a wide margin were providers at the community mental health centers. Not only were many extremely unprofessional, but they were just rude towards patients and lacking compassion. They would often talk smack about patients, which was reflected in their behavior towards them. It's one thing to vent frustration/exhaustion after dealing with an SMI or borderline patient; it's another to make fun of them, or act like they just don't want to change.

During my VA internship, I was pleasantly surprised how well trained in EPBs the master level providers were. If I had not known their degree I would have assumed they're psychologists. There were a couple of times when it was a bit obvious that they don't consult the research literature on advances in the field, but they were knowledgeable in EPBs, could conceptualize patients using various treatment modalities, and delivered treatment effectively (as opposed to just supportive counseling).

Now, at the AMC, it's a bit more of a mix. Everybody is very professional, and most are eager to get training in EBPs whenever possible. However, reading other providers' notes or in meetings, it's sometimes obvious that they mostly just do supportive counseling with things like CBT or ACT sprinkled in.
 
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BuckeyeLove

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it's sometimes obvious that they mostly just do supportive counseling with things like CBT or ACT sprinkled in.

This is 80-90% of every psychologist I've ever known who does solely private practice therapy work. Probably why everyone identifies as "technically eclectic" in those modality polls.
 
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Sanman

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This is 80-90% of every psychologist I've ever known who does solely private practice therapy work. Probably why everyone identifies as "technically eclectic" in those modality polls.

Given the realities of practice, I would agree that this ends up being most practitioners barring some sort of very specialized practice. Most clients come in wanting or expecting supportive therapy.
 
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R. Matey

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This is 80-90% of every psychologist I've ever known who does solely private practice therapy work. Probably why everyone identifies as "technically eclectic" in those modality polls.

I agree with you, but I’ll add that I think having the ability to implement a protocol when the situation calls for it is very important. People also expect to get better when they come to therapy. Most master’s level clinicians don’t have the training to provide this service, IME.


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