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Implementation of Peer Recognition of Professional Psychology Student Impairment

15 April 2005


Impairment in professional psychologists has been addressed more thoroughly than in psychology graduate students. Research is beginning to address impairment in graduate students before they begin their professional careers; however, the research has been slower to define and identify impairment in graduate students than most other professional groups. The purpose of this study was to gather information about a process and model that would implement peer feedback concerning impaired students at the training level, prior to becoming a professional Participants in the study were selected from Pacific University School of Professional Psychology and included full-time and part-time faculty (N=20), University Administrators (N=3), Doctoral level students (N=30), Counseling students (N=10), and Student Association Members (N";'15). Results suggested that while the majority of respondents would welcome peer input in student evaluations, concerns about confidentiality and anonymity were evident. Clinical competency, academic, and ethical concerns along with interpersonal relationships, and professional behavior concerns were among the most commonly reported examples given as to what kind of information would be helpful for student evaluations. Concerns about problems foreseen by the addition of peer input were a lack of honest disclosure from students, personality conflicts between students, creating a paranoid environment, and problems with confidentiality. Recommendations and potential problems were identified for implementing a peer model for student evaluations based on the results. Suggestions for future research were also made and included clarifying the definition of impairment to better identify concerns in psychology graduate students.


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