The JDP is committed to training that ensures 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 JDP will utilize a developmental training approach designed to support the acquisition of professional competence. We support our students finding a belief- or value-congruent path that allows them to work in a professionally competent manner with all clients/patients.

For some students, 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 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 patient/client populations or refuse to develop professional competencies because of conflicts with their attitudes, beliefs, or values.

Related to this, our training clinic and our practicum sites are committed to providing inclusive and welcoming environments for all members of our community. Consistent with this commitment, our policy requires that faculty and students do not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status in the services provided at either our training clinic or our practicum sites.

From time to time, tensions may arise for a student due to differences between the student’s beliefs or values and those of their patients/clients. Because the student will have to navigate these sorts of clinical situations in their future careers, the JDP has a responsibility to prepare students to do so safely and ethically. The JDP will work with students as they learn how to practice effectively with a broad range of clients.  As a result, students should expect to work with patients/clients that may present challenges for them at some point in training. If a student does not feel comfortable or capable to provide competent services to a patient/client because doing so conflicts with the student’s beliefs or values, it is the student’s responsibility to bring this issue to the attention of their supervisor. Because patient/client welfare and safety are always the first priority, decisions about patient/client assignment and reassignment are the responsibility of the faculty/supervisors.

Note: The general content of this policy statement was developed in January 2014 by the APA BEA Working Group on Trainee Conflicts Serving a Diverse Clientele. It was written to be consistent with the APA Ethics Code (APA, 2010) and the Guidelines and Principles for the Accreditation of Professional Psychology Programs of the APA’s Commission on Accreditation (APA, 2012).