The PAP President answers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Psych Bill

(by Allan B. I. Bernardo, PAP President)

FAQ: What is PAP doing now about the Psych Bill?
In previous years the PAP has filed the Psych Bill in Congress, and in the previous session of the Lower House the Psych Bill was discussed at the committee level where comments were raised by various stakeholders. Some comments raised alternatives to the PAP proposed provisions in the Psych Bill, and were duly noted by the PAP. Unfortunately, the Bill did not prosper further in Congress and was not passed. This year, the PAP is intensifying its efforts to have the Psych Bill passed in both houses of Congress during the current session, in response to the need to protect the practice of professional psychologists that has been put at risk by the current provisions of the IRR of the Guidance Act, and also consistent with the PAP mission to promote the professionalization of Psychology in the Philippines. In particular, the PAP will be pushing for a revision that embodies the consensus position of the PAP that attempts to accommodate many of the concerns within the various sectors of the Psychology Committee.

FAQ: How was the consensus position arrived at? What is stated in the
consensus position?
As the Psych Bill has been proposed for over 25 years now, the PAP has heard the different and even opposing positions raised by various sectors, which sometimes seemed irresolvable. In most recent years, the main points of contention are (a) whether to license only clinical psychologists or all psychologists, (b) what should be the minimum educational degree requirement for licensure. The positions on the two related points were often intertwined. Those who argue that only clinical psychologists should be licensed proposed that a Master’s degree should be the minimum. Those who argue that all psychologists should be licensed propose that a Bachelor’s degree should be sufficient. The PAP has been sensitive to the arguments for and against the counter positions. On February 4, an unprecedented meeting was held with thirteen PAP Presidents attending. The thirteen Presidents formed an ad hoc council that discussed important issued related to the professionalization of psychology, including the prospects for the psychology bill. During this meeting, various counterarguments were proposed. Finally, it was agreed that the PAP will push for a compromise consensus position that the Psych Bill will not only cover clinical psychologists. Instead the Psych Bill will cover all psychologists who will render higher level psychological services to the public (counseling, psychotherapy, assessment), and as such, should require at least a master’s degree to qualify for licensure. The consensus position reaffirmed the current provisions for licensing bachelor’s degree holders as psychometricians.

definitely. the government has not sought to regulate professional historians. computer scientists. or those working in industry? Will they be covered in the Psych Bill? It depends on whether they provide counseling. and other similar professions. the sick need to be safeguarded from unqualified physicians. With this perspective. Some of us render psychological services. the Psych Bill seeks to regulate only those psychologists who provide counseling.2 FAQ: Why focus on only those providing counseling. environmental scientists. The public needs to be protected from unqualified civil engineers who may construct buildings and bridges. Otherwise. forensic psychology means something very different in other countries) should be licensed under the Psych Bill. . However.b. Why? Because the practice of these professions does not pose any imminent threats or dangers to the public. political scientists. FAQ: What about those who appear in court to give expert witness testimony? Will they be covered in the Psych Bill? Yes.. then they should be licensed under the Psych Bill. For example. Psychologists who appear in court to provide expert witness testimony based on psychological assessment will need to be licensed because they render at least one of the psychological services defined in the Psych Bill. composers. nurses. If they do. psychologists who call themselves Forensic Psychologists in the Philippine context (n. psychotherapy and assessment services. which if not provided for properly. The government assumes that these professions will regulate themselves in order to protect the integrity of the specific professions. the government does not regulate all professions. if unregulated. they do not need to. etc. Thus. there is no need to safeguard the interest of the public from unqualified professionals in these fields. We call ourselves many different names under different specializations. economists. instead. some of us render psychological services which do not pose any risks to our target clients. psychotherapy and assessment services? The Philippine government creates laws to regulate certain professions because the states wants to ensure that only qualified individuals render professional services to target clients. laws to regulate the profession ultimately seek to safeguard the welfare of the public from possible unqualified professionals. psychotherapy and psychological assessment services. sociologists. physicists. FAQ: What about those doing I/O psychology. may cause harm to our clients. Thus. it only regulates those professions which. mathematicians. might put the public at risk. etc. and medical technologists. Thus. journalists. politicians. On the other hand. poets. The profession of psychology is very broad and involves diverse functions. Thus.

social psychology. . the only common competencies agreed upon relate to the general knowledge and use of psychological theories to understand human behavior. Trained social psychologists.e. psychotherapy and assessment services? According to the consensus version of the Psych Bill. FAQ: Why doesn’t the Psych Bill seek to provide licenses to all those who have advanced degrees in psychology? The Philippine government regulates particular professions to ensure that all practitioners of the profession are qualified and to protect the public from unqualified persons who seek to render professional services. In the Philippines and in other countries. Thus.. and educational psychology. that if an MA in Child Psychology wants to provide therapy for children and to engage in psychological assessment of children. and thus. The government has different systems and processes for ensuring the quality of academic degrees (i. There is also no acknowledgement that such general functions actually pose possible harm or threats to any particular sector of the public. Note. In international forums that seek to define the common core functions and competencies of psychologists. developmental psychology. and in the absence of any apparent threat posed by vague statements of competencies and functions. there is no clearly defined set of professional services that ALL psychologists can provide. there is no clear and compelling need for the government to license all master’s degree holders in psychology. developmental psychologists. they do not need to be licensed if they do not provide counseling. Note further. psychotherapy and assessment services. and the ability to apply such knowledge in various domains. however. FAQ: Why can’t the Psych Bill propose something similar to the Medical Board and license “general practitioners”? There is no “general practice” in psychology. that person should be licensed under the Psych Bill. industrial/organizational psychology. do not need to be regulated. psychotherapy and assessment services do not pose any threats to the wellbeing of their clients. assessment psychology. experimental psychologists. that the PAP will soon launch a system of certifying psychologists in six areas of specialization: clinical/counseling psychology. through the CHED). it does not make sense to license psychologists as general practitioners. In the absence of a clear definition of the competencies and functions of a general practitioner in psychology. The regulation of professions is not supposed to be a credentialing of academic degrees.3 FAQ: What about other psychologists who have MA’s and PhD’s in psychology but who do not provide counseling. and psychologists who do not provide counseling.

which has its own licensing systems (e. the British Psychological Society has been authorized by the Crown to maintain the Registry of Chartered Psychologists to protect the public (see http://www. You will need to comply with the requirements separately as provided by the respective IRRs of the two licensing systems (assuming the Psych Bill is approved). Australia. then you may apply to be licensed as both.asppb.psychologyinfo.htm). training centers..psychologyinfo.com/psych.g. Thus. the requirement of a master’s degree will prevent BA/BS Psych graduates from taking jobs that will allow them to do counseling. they start a business. FAQ: How are professional psychologists regulated in other countries? Will the provisions of the Psych Bill allow for mutual recognition of psychologists? In the United States. and requires post-graduate training (i.) . The same requirements are in place in most Commonwealth states (e.g.org. forensic. In the United Kingdom. FAQ: I am also qualified to be a licensed Guidance Counselor. psychotherapy. However. Some BA/BS psychology graduates take on jobs in professions that require licenses (i. counseling psychologists. research and consulting firms.cfm).uk/membership/grades/chartered_psy. Many other BA/BS psychology graduates take on jobs that are not related to psychology at all (i.. The Registry only covers psychologists who provide direct services to individuals or groups. Those holding BA/BS psych get work in a variety of professions after they graduate. medicine. etc. call center agencies. counseling.org. these jobs do not require any license.. and health psychologists. educational.g.e. and they too. can be licensed as psychometricians under the psych bill and do their work in these settings. etc. If you qualify for licensure as a Guidance Counselor and as a psychologist. Will there be a conflict if the Psych Bill gets approved? There should be no conflict. schools doing basic testing functions. hospitals.. only clinical psychologists. and www.e.bps. The minimum degree requirement is a PhD. New Zealand. and advanced psychological assessment services. It only includes clinical. A good number get jobs in industry working in the HR department. law).html.com/license. www. All other types of psychologists are not required to be licensed. work in management positions. Some work in psychology clinics. teaching in elementary and high schools. www. guidance and counseling in schools). They can be licensed as psychometricians under the Psych Bill and can continue to prosper in such careers.e.). sport. Master’s) in psychology. the requirement of a master’s degree to be a licensed psychologist will in no way limit the job opportunities of BA/BS Psych graduates. Some BA/BS psychology graduates use their bachelor’s degree as a preparatory course for another profession.4 FAQ: Wouldn’t requiring a Master’s degree mean that those with BA or BS Psych cannot get work? Completely false.. and school psychologists are licensed by different state boards (see e.

FAQ: Will this be the version of the Psych Bill that will be enacted into law? There is no sure answer to that question. Thus. please send an email to pap_1962@yahoo. and industrial settings. If you and your colleagues have other questions about the Psych Bill. In Singapore. All other psychologists are not included in the certification system. we should note that for all the countries cited above. development. also maintains a Register of Psychologists. Thus.singaporepsychologicalsociety. This additional requirement might not be explicitly complied with in the Psych Bill. thus these foreign countries might look for additional requirements beyond the government licensure specified under the psychology bill. intervention. . all member countries of the European Union adopted common guidelines for the European Certificate of Psychology which regulates the practice of applied psychologists in the clinical. We should further note that if the Philippine grants licenses for psychologists for Bachelor’s degree holders. and communication (see www. Psychologists working in nonapplied field. which include only qualified applied psychologists and for which the minimum academic requirement is the Master’s degree (see www. However.com and the PAP will do its best to answer. who render the following six basic services: goal specification. evaluation. there is a strong likelihood that there will still be modifications before the Psych Bill is passed. Generally.europsy. an intensive supervised internship is required beyond the Master’s or Doctoral degree. the provisions of the Psych Bill are consistent with the professional requirements of the above countries. and who do not render direct psychological services to individuals and groups are not required to be registered.eu. assessment. such a license will definitely not be recognized by other countries as it falls way below their minimum requirements. All proposed bill undergo revisions during the committee and plenary hearing in both houses of congress. The PAP aims to keep its members and other Philippine psychologists updated about developments regarding the Psych Bill. A Master’s degree or equivalent is required for all certified psychologists. educational. there is a good chance that those that will be licensed under the Psych Bill can enjoy mutual recognition in said countries.5 In 2005.org).com/register).

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