Friday, May 25, 2012

Maintaining Competence: Continuing Education and Peer Review

Maintaining competence is an important component to ethical counseling (Remley & Herlihy, 2010) and one whose maintenance necessitates a dimensional approach. As Remley and Herlihy suggest, "competency is a complex construct with many possible levels along a continuum" (p. 165). Standard C.2.a. tells us we must not practice outside the boundaries of our knowledge and experience (ACA, 2005). One of the ways to do this is to work at continuing education as well as being involved with reading contemporary research and doing research. Although I look forward to counseling individuals, I am equally excited about doing research. As new research becomes available, new information for future exploration opens up, too.

The greatest personal challenge will be time. I can see time management and creating priorities will become even more important than it is now. Yet another reason to create reasonable professional and personal boundaries. I find both continuing education and reading peer reviewed literature as well as taking part in its production exciting. I also find that membership in psychological associations helpful, especially the information that comes from specialty groups.

For example, in the ACA, there are divisions such as Counselors for Social Justice and the National Career Development Association, which both supply readers with new research and contemporary thought within the specialty. Personally, I find the APA magazine helpful, informative, and stimulating for new ideas and research as well as reviews of new research about which I may not have heard. As Remley and Herlihy (2010) mentioned about peer review, these articles offer a well of information about a wide range of information that may be impossible to keep abreast of as a busy counselor. The publications refine a huge amount of information into readable bits to which one can direct extended exploration. For example, the APA's Journal of Counseling Psychology publishes new studies related to counseling in this quarterly publication.

American Counseling Association (ACA). (2005). 2005 ACA code of ethics [White Paper]. Retrieved from the ACA website:

Remley, T., & Herlihy, B. (2010). Ethical, legal, and professional issues in counseling (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Pearson Education.

Because I have recently been contacted by university instructors regarding their student's plagiarism of my work, I feel compelled to remind readers that using someone else's work is common (and good) practice, but please don't forget to give credit where credit is due.  If you use portions of my work, please reference it.  This blogsite comes up in plagiarism programs such as Turnitin, so for your own protection, please don't plagiarize!  This warning is, of course, for the very few individuals who have no interest in authentic scholarship.  Sadly, I must include this notice with every post.  

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