Challenges in addressing graduate student impairment in academic professional psychology programs

Ethics and Behavior 19 (2):91 – 102 (2009)
Abstract
Given the prevalence of emotional and psychological problems among professional psychologists, a primary concern to the field is impairment, or problems of professional competence. Graduate students, in particular, are an especially vulnerable subpopulation of mental health care professionals. Despite graduate students' heightened risk of impairment, relatively little attention has been paid in the literature to the handling of impairment in graduate students in academic training programs. Recommendations for a proactive approach to addressing impairment in trainees are discussed with respect to students, supervisors, and training programs. As graduate school is the first major milestone in a therapist's development, psychologists as gatekeepers of the field of psychology must accept an ethical responsibility to appropriately monitor, acknowledge, and manage impairment among trainees.
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