THE DISCIPLINE OF PSYCHOLOGY
Psychology — the study of behavior and mental processes, involves the application of scientific methods to inquire into the biological, cognitive, affective, developmental, personality, social, cultural, and individual difference dimensions of human behavior. It is an extremely broad discipline with wide reach and great impact to society and humanity.
Cutting across the biosocial sphere of human functioning, Psychologists study the intersection of two critical relationships: brain function and behavior, and the environment and behavior. As scientists, psychologists follow rigorous scientific methods, using standardized tools and procedures for observation, experimentation and analysis… and apply scientific findings in ethically responsible and creative ways.
THE PRACTICE OF PSYCHOLOGY
The state recognizes the multifarious specializations and functions of psychologists along with the crucial significance of the psychological services they provide to a multi-diverse population; thus, the regulation of the profession to protect the various publics who avail of their services.
Republic Act 10029 was enacted into law to regulate the practice of Psychology in the Philippines. Under the law, Practice of Psychology is defined as the delivery of psychological services that involve the application of psychological principles and procedures for the purpose of describing, understanding, predicting and influencing the behavior of individuals or groups, to assist in the attainment of optimal human growth and functioning.
The delivery of psychological services includes, but is not limited to:
(1) Psychological Interventions: psychological counseling; psychotherapy; psychosocial support; life coaching; psychological debriefing; group processes; and all other psychological interventions that involve the application of psychological principles and methods to improve the psychological functioning of individuals; families; groups; and organizations;
(2) Psychological Assessment: gathering and integration of psychology-related data for the purpose of (a) making a psychological evaluation accomplished through a variety of tools including individual tests, projective tests, clinical interviews and other psychological assessment tools, (b) assessing diverse psychological functions including cognitive abilities, aptitudes, personality characteristics, attitudes, values, interests, emotions and motivations, among others, in support of psychological counseling, psychotherapy and other psychological interventions;
(3) Psychological Programs: development, planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of psychological treatment programs and other psychological intervention programs for individuals and/or groups.
The term “other psychological interventions” shall be deemed to include:
(a) preventive and therapeutic measures like play and expressive arts therapy, music therapy and trauma healing; as well as correctional, rehabilitative and behavioral modification measures;
(b) consultation, that is, providing extensive knowledge, specialized technical assistance and expertise in an advisory capacity to consultees in regard to mental and behavioral concerns, emotional distress, personality disorders and other neuropsychological dysfunctions.
“Psychological evaluation” shall include the making of diagnostic interpretations; reports; and recommendations, as part of a case study, or in support of diagnostic screening; placement; management/administrative decisions; psychiatric evaluation; legal action; psychological counseling, psychotherapy and change intervention
“Assessing diverse psychological functions” shall include the development, standardization and publication of psychological tests which measure adjustment and psychopathology; and/or the creation of assessment tools primarily for psycho-diagnostic purposes.
The term “other psychological intervention programs” shall include:
(a) addiction rehabilitation and treatment programs; behavioral management and intervention programs in correctional facilities; psychological training programs which involve inner processing; and mental health programs in disaster and emergency situations, either for individuals and/or communities;
(b) clinical supervision: the direction, guidance, mentoring, and cliniquing of psychology practitioners and interns; psychometricians and other trainees for psychology-related work to meet the standards of quality and excellence in professional practice.
The practice of psychology in the Philippines covers such areas as clinical psychology, counseling psychology, assessment psychology; social psychology; developmental psychology, cognitive psychology and industrial/organizational psychology. There is no distinction made in the legislation or in the regulation between Psychologists across these specialties at this point. Within these areas a Psychologist may work with a variety of individual client populations such as children, adolescents, or adults, or may focus their attention on families, couples or organizations. But the ethics of the profession dictates that no psychologist should cross over areas he/she is not equipped to handle, thus the certification in various specialty areas. All professional psychologists, however, regardless of specialty must have knowledge and skills respecting interpersonal relationships, assessment and evaluation, intervention and consultation, understanding and applying research to professional practice and knowing and applying professional ethics, standards and relevant legislation to professional practice.
Licensure is on two levels: for those with at least a Master’s Degree in Psychology who can be called a Psychologist; and those with at least a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology who can work under the supervision of a psychologist, called a psychometrician.
A Psychologist as defined by law, is a natural person who is duly registered and holds a valid Certificate of Registration and a valid Professional Identification Card as Professional Psychologist, issued by the Professional Regulatory Board of Psychology (PRBP) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) pursuant to Section 3(c), Article III, of R.A. No. 10029, for the purpose of delivering the different psychological services defined under the IRR.
A Psychometrician is a natural person who has been registered and issued a valid Certificate of Registration and a valid Professional Identification Card as psychometrician by the PRBP and the PRC in accordance with Sec. 3 (d), Article III of R.A. No. 10029, and is authorized to do any of the following activities; Provided, that these activities shall at all times be conducted under the supervision of a licensed professional psychologist: (1) administering and scoring objective personality tests, structured personality tests, excluding projective tests and other higher level forms of psychological tests; (2) interpreting the results of these tests and preparing a written report on these results; and (3) conducting preparatory intake interviews of clients for psychological intervention sessions.
All the assessment reports prepared and done by the psychometrician, shall always bear the signature of the supervising psychologist who shall take full responsibility for the integrity of the report.
Clientele can include those with psychological and emotional difficulties, academic and behavioral difficulties, victims of abuse and calamities; those needing psychological evaluation for work purposes, marital nullification, child custody, carrying of firearms; those in organizations that need to improve human relations and behavior among personnel; and many others.
Psychologists work in a range of settings including schools, hospitals, industry, social service agencies, rehabilitation facilities and correctional facilities, or go into private practice. Regardless, they must be competent in formulating and communicating a psychological diagnosis.
The Professional Regulatory Board of Psychology is a collegial body under the administrative control and supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission. It is composed of a chairperson, and two (2) members appointed by the President of the Philippines from a list of three (3) nominees for each position recommended by the Commission.
Qualification of Board Members
The Chairperson and Members of the Board shall, at the time of their appointment and for the course of their term, possess the following qualifications:
- A natural born citizen and resident of the Philippines;
- At least thirty-five (35) years of age;
- Possess good moral character;
- Hold a doctorate degree in psychology conferred by a university, college or school in the Philippines or abroad duly recognized and/or accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED);
- Have at least ten (10) years of practice in psychology and psychometrics in a duly recognized institution, clinic or center, as well as at least five(5) years of teaching experience in the field of psychology;
- Be a registered and licensed psychologist, except in the case of the first members of the Board who shall automatically be conferred a valid certificate of registration and a valid professional identification card in psychology and psychometrics upon appointment to the Board;
- Is neither an officer, trustee nor member of the faculty of any university, college, institute or school where a regular course in psychology is offered or taught or review classes conducted and shall not have any pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, in any such institution;
- Is not an officer, nor hold any position other than being a member of the integrated and accredited national organization of psychologist; and
- Shall not have been convicted by final judgment of any crime involving moral turpitude. The members of the Board shall have a term of office of three (3) years or until their successors shall have been duly qualified and appointed. Each member of the Board may be reappointed for one (1) full term of three (3) years. The first members of the Board shall hold office for the following terms: the Chairperson for three (3) years; one (1) member for two (2) years; and the other member for one (1) year, which shall be specified in their respective appointments. Any vacancy occurring within the term of a member shall be filled for the unexpired portion of the term only. Each member of the Board shall qualify by taking the proper oath prior to the performance of his/her duties.
The Board shall have the following powers and duties:
- Administer and Implement the provisions of R.A. No. 10029 and promulgate as well as revise or update, as necessary, rules and regulations, resolutions and guidelines hereto: Provided, that the policies, resolutions, rules and regulations issued or promulgated by the Board shall be subject to review and approval of the Commission.
- Supervise and monitor the registration, licensure and practice of psychologists and psychometricians in the Philippines;
- Administer oaths in connection with the administration of R.A. No. 10029;
- Issue, and upon compliance with due process requirements, suspend or revoke, and reinstate, the certificate of registration and professional identification card for psychologists and psychometricians;
- Adopt an official seal of the Board;
- Monitor the conditions and circumstances affecting the practice of psychology and psychometrics in the Philippines and adopt such measures as may be deemed lawful and proper for the enhancement and maintenance of high professional, ethical and technical standards of the profession;
- Issue permits to and exercise visitorial powers over agencies, institutions, associations, corporations and partnerships to verify that the person practicing psychology and psychometrics therein are psychologists and psychometricians with valid certificates of registration and valid professional identification cards, and that they possess the necessary accreditation, skills and/or facilities to competently carry out their functions;
- Assist the Commission in the formulation and implementation of the guidelines on continuing professional education for psychologists and psychometricians;
- Ensure, in coordination with the CHED, that all educational institutions offering the course/program of psychology strictly comply with the policies, standards and requirements prescribed by the CHED for such course/program, especially in the areas of administration, curriculum, faculty, library and facilities;
- Prepare, adopt, issue and amend, in consultation with the CHED, syllabi for the licensure examination subjects;
- Investigate and, when warranted, hear administrative cases involving violations of this Act, its implementing rules and regulations as hereinafter promulgated, and any applicable code of ethics and/or code of professional standards, warranting issuance of subpoena testificandum and subpoena ducestecum to secure the appearance of witnesses and the production of document in connection therewith; Provided, That the Board’s decision, resolution or orders rendered in administrative cases shall be subject to review only on appeal; and
- Perform such other functions and duties as may be lawfully delegated to it, or as it may deem necessary to carry out the objectives of R.A No. 10029
- The Board in the performance of the above-mentioned powers and duties shall seek the assistance of the offices, divisions, sections, and units of the Commission.