Policy on Working with Diverse Clients in Practica or on Traineeship
In our APA-accredited program, we are committed to a training process that ensures graduate students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively with members of the public who embody intersecting demographics, attitudes, beliefs, and values. When graduate students’ attitudes, beliefs, or values create tensions that negatively impact the training process or their ability to effectively treat members of the public, the program faculty and supervisors are committed to a developmental training approach designed to support the acquisition of professional competence. We support graduate students in finding a belief- or value-congruent path that allows them to work in a professionally competent manner with all clients/patients.
For some trainees, integrating personal beliefs or values with professional competence in working with all clients/patients may require additional time and faculty support. Ultimately, though, to complete our program successfully, all graduate students must be able to work with any client placed in their care in a beneficial and non-injurious manner. Professional competencies are determined by the profession for the benefit and protection of the public; consequently, students do not have the option to avoid working with particular client populations or refuse to develop professional competencies because of conflicts with their attitudes, beliefs, or values. If trainees do not feel comfortable or capable of providing competent services to a client because it conflicts with the trainee’s beliefs or values, it is the trainee’s responsibility to bring this issue to the attention of their supervisor. Because client welfare and safety are always the first priority, decisions about client assignment and reassignment are the responsibility of the faculty/supervisors.