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Professional Guidance

The College communicates daily with members, providing regulatory information and guidance. Regulated members are welcome to contact the College for professional guidance related to regulatory information.

The College cannot provide specific practice advice; members can consult with a practice advisor through the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta’s (PAA) Practice Advisor program. If legal advice is required, the member is encouraged to consult with a lawyer through their insurer and/or independent counsel. Do not hesitate to contact the College regarding any professional issues or questions you may have; we always welcome your questions. Sometimes we cannot give you specific answers, but we can direct you to the existing regulatory information that addresses your inquiry and to other resources that will assist you. We are happy to report that professional guidance inquiries have increased gradually and substantially over the past few years. The value of consultation cannot be overstated; we continue to encourage all consultation. As directed by the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists, among its many benefits, consultation may enhance skills, augment knowledge, modify perspective and rectify biases, and therefore may have the overall effect of improving the quality of services you provide. Additionally, consultation protects you. Therefore we encourage you to consult with the College, the PAA practice advisors and your colleagues. Remember to document all consultations.

Before you contact the Professional Guidance department:

 

It is best to put your initial question in writing prior to contacting our Professional Guidance department and the following are some of the questions to include in your request. Some things to consider when you present your ethical problem may include:

  • Who are the primary and secondary/ancillary clients?
  • Who is your employer?
  • Which privacy legislation applies to you (Health Information Act, Freedom of Information Protection of Privacy Act, Personal Information Protection Act, or Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, as a few examples)?
  • If you are a provisional psychologist, have you consulted your supervisor?
Additional areas to consider are:
  • From the Canadian Code of Ethics, which principle(s) and standard(s) would apply to your ethical dilemma?
  • Within the Standards of Practice, which standard is relevant and applicable to your ethical problem? 
  • When considering the document Jurisprudence: Legislation Naming or Affecting Psychologists in Alberta, which legislation or decision is relevant?
  • Which practice guidelines are pertinent?

As psychology is a self-regulated profession, the decision for action remains with you, the member. It is important to seek consultation with another regulated member who has knowledge, skills, experience and judgment in the areas about which you are deliberating, and to thoroughly document your reasoned analysis and your decision-making process.

After you contact the Professional Guidance department:

 

We appreciate you contacting the College, and encourage you:
  • to review the document Self-Regulation in the Profession of Psychology
  • as a member of a self-regulated profession, please consult a colleague and contact the PAA to obtain practice-related advice through their practice advisor program. The practice advice is available only to members of PAA
  • you may always contact a colleague with relevant background and experience to help support you making ethical decisions
  • document your thoughtful, thorough and reasoned analysis with your client

Did you know?

  • 11 April, 2017

    When does a regulated member retain records for longer than recommended by legislation (Limitations Act)?


    The limitations act is suspended when a client has disclosed sexual abuse or assault. The client’s file should be retained for the life of the client.

 

  • 11 April, 2017

    What does a regulated member do with client files when closing a practice or going on sick leave, or otherwise unanticipated absence from practice?


    As part of the informed and ongoing consent process, a regulated member should indicate who will have access to the client’s file in the event of an unplanned absence or emergency. For example, prior to meeting with the client, a written professional services package in which the answers to “what happens in the event of an unplanned emergency?” could be provided to the client. This sets the stage for a discussion about who would have access to the client’s personal identifying information and the expected actions following such an emergency. Planning for the unexpected so as to prevent harm to the client is an ethically sound practice, which supports continuity of care.

 

  • 20 March, 2017

    Can a psychologist practice as a Professional Corporation?


    No, a psychologist may incorporate, but under the Health Professions Act, Professional Corporations are reserved for Chiropractors, Dentists, Lawyers, Physicians, and Optometrists. Professional Chartered Accountants are also able to operate as Professional Corporations. It is ethical practice, as a self-regulated professional, to collaborate and consult with a professional in the area of specialized knowledge and, in this case, with a business lawyer or accountant for more specific practical advice.

 

  • 18 January, 2017

    What is an information management and sharing agreement?


    Electronic client records are required to have safeguards in place, as outlined in an information management and sharing agreement, in order to protect the security and confidentiality of personal identifying information. For example, a psychologist who does not have direct custody or control of an electronic record shall have an organizational policy that addresses collection, use, and disclosure of information associated with applicable privacy legislation [example, FOIP (public bodies), HIA (health services), PIPA (private practice), and PIPEDA (federal)]. Alberta Health Services’ collection, use, and disclosure of personal identifying information policy is one example of an organizational policy that meets this requirement of an information management and sharing agreement.

    Source: Standards of Practice (7.6, 7.7, 7.8)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The College has developed a frequently asked questions and answers document related to common queries the College receives annually. Click here to access a copy of the FAQ.

Still have Questions?

Contact the professional guidance department for more information

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