Resolution of the Psychological Association of the Philippines on Gender-Based Violence and Violence Against Women (VAW)
Recent events have brought public attention to the continuing problem of gender-based dehumanization and violence against women in Philippine society. These include the documented sale of a t-shirt framing rape as a “snuggle with a struggle” in a large department store chain, the staging of a fashion show by the major retail brand featuring a male actor pulling a female model on an animal leash, and most recently, the violent death of a transgender woman from Olongapo City. In this resolution, we articulate the position of our national professional organization of Filipino psychologists, psychometricians, psychological researchers, and allied mental health professionals on the pressing problem of gender-based violence and its associated harms to mental health and well-being, especially for women.
Gender-based violence, particularly violence directed against women and girls, continues to be a widespread human rights violation and a public health concern globally and in Philippine society. VAW takes on many forms, including physical abuse, sexual assault, and psychological violence.
In the Philippines, recent national data indicate that one out of five women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Psychological violence, otherwise known as emotional abuse, is also common and includes acts like humiliating a woman, shouting at a woman for talking with men other than her spouse, insisting to know where she is at all times, preventing her from spending time with family and friends, threats to take away or destroy cherished material objects, and other controlling behaviors.
These forms of violence against women interact and may occur singly or in combination. And while violence and other forms of gender-based aggression are also experienced by men, violence targeting women — including young women, girls, older women, women who are heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender — is an especially critical issue because it is violence rooted in a broader social context of gender inequality and often serves to maintain this unequal status quo.
The Philippine context of gender inequality is reflected in daily life and can be reinforced by institutions such as families, the media, and the business sector. This everyday sexism includes imagery that trivializes rape and desensitizes women, men, and young people to the harms of sexual violence by framing it as affection, rather than as sexualized control and aggression against women. Depictions that reduce women and girls to sexual objects for the use of others, instead of as agentic persons with the capacity for independent thought, feelings, and decision-making, are another example of gender-based dehumanization and violence.
Not all survivors of VAW experience negative effects to the same extent, but the evidence for harm brought about by gender-based violence is clear. Sixty-four percent of Filipina women and girls who ever experienced sexual violence suffered some form of physical injury; 11 percent had eye injuries, sprains, dislocations or burns; 36 percent had cuts, bruises or aches; 8 percent lost their job or source of income; and 5 percent suffered deep wounds, broken bones, broken teeth or another serious injury. The harm to mental health is no less serious: feelings of worthlessness and low self- esteem, beliefs of being damaged, debilitating anxiety, symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, and in extreme cases, psychotic reactions. National data indicate that 57 percent of VAW survivors report depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, confusion, or feelings of isolation, and 16 percent attempted suicide.
Equally worrying is 38 percent of women who experience VAW never seek help and never tell anyone; less than 10 percent seek help from a professional like a counselor or psychologist.
The Psychological Association of the Philippines stands with international human rights bodies, civil society organizations, women’s rights groups, and the rest of the mental health professional community in recognizing the problem of gender-based violence, especially violence against women. The PAP Code of Ethics (2010) calls upon all Filipino psychologists to uphold human dignity of women and men (Principle I) and to act in accordance to professional responsibilities to society, rights, and well-being (Principle IV).
In order to eliminate gender-based violence, especially violence against women, the PAP resolves to support efforts to:
• oppose all public and private forms of gender-based violence, especially physical, sexual, and psychological violence directed toward women and girls;
• support legislation at the local and national levels that protect the rights and promote the welfare of women and girls, especially against gender-based violence;
• eliminate all forms of sexism and gender inequality, including content and practices that may legitimise or trivialize gender-based violence, in teaching, research, psychological interventions, assessment and other psychological programs;
• encourage psychological research that addresses the experiences and concerns of Filipina women and girls in the context of safety, gender-based violence, and sexual dehumanization;
• disseminate and apply accurate and evidence-based information about gender-based violence and its harms to mental health and well-being;
• design and provide psychological services that foster mental health and wellbeing of women and girls, address the harms of gender-based violence, and contribute to a culture of gender equality.
American Psychological Association Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. (2010). Report of the AP Task Force of the Sexualization of Girls. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/women/
Carandang, M. L. A. (2004). Self-worth and the Filipino Child. Pasig City: Anvil.
Jordan, C.E., Campbell, R., & Follingstad. (2010). Violence and women’s mental health: The im-
pact of physical, sexual, and psychological aggression. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 6, 1.1-1.22.
Krantz, G., & Garcia-Moreno, C. (2005). Violence against women. Journal of Epidemiological & Community Health, 59, 818-821.
O’Toole, L., Schiffman, J.R., & Kiter Edwards, M.L. (Eds.). (2007). Gender violence: Interdisciplinary perspectives (2nd ed.). New York: New York University Press.
Protacio-Marcelino, E. dela Cruz, M., Balanon, F. Camacho, A., & Yacat, J. (2000). Child abuse in the Philippines. Quezon City: PLAN International Philippines & UP CIDS.
Philippine Statistics Authority and ICF International. (2014). Philippines National Demographic and Health Survey 2013. Manila: PSA.
Psychological Association of the Philippines Scientific and Professional Ethics Committee. (2010). Code of ethics for Philippine psychologists. Philippine Journal of Psychology, 43, 195-217.
Watts, C., & Zimmerman, C. (2002). Violence against women: Global scope and magnitude. The Lancet, 359, 1232-1237.
Please find attached the Statement of the MLAC Institute on the Amendment to the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act and a copy of the earlier PAP Statement on this same act.
All the best,
Margaret Udarbe-Alvarez, PhD
External Relations Officer
Psychological Association of the Philippines
POSITION PAPER OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES ON THE AMENDMENT TO THE JUVENILE JUSTICE AND WELFARE ACT
The House Bill No. 6052, titled "An Act Strengthening the Juvenile Justice System in the Philippines," was approved in the House of Representatives of the Philippine Congress. Referring to "youthful offenders" and "children in conflict with the law," the bill seeks to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 years of age, provided that criminal responsibility attaches only when the minor "acted with discernment."
We in the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) are against this amendment and take the stand that the minimum age of criminal responsibility should NOT be lowered from 15 to 12 years old. We call for the strengthening of the juvenile justice system through the strict implementation of existing laws that prosecute adults who coerce children to engage in criminal behavior and protect and rehabilitate children in conflict with the law (CICL) through restorative means.
We present the following evidence and implications from Psychology research:
Scientific research on adolescent development and juvenile delinquency provide evidence that children and adolescents differ significantly from adults in decision-making, propensity to engage in risky behavior, impulse control, identity development, and overall maturity. The developmental immaturity of juveniles mitigates their criminal culpability. Although they may be able to discern right from wrong action, it is their capability to act in ways consistent with that knowledge that is compromised by several factors at this stage:
1. Deficiencies in Decision-making Capacity
• The adolescent brain is still under development. Significant changes in brain anatomy and activity are still taking place in the (prefrontal) regions that govern impulse control, decision-making, long-term planning, emotion regulation, and evaluation of risks and rewards. These abilities, which are involved in criminal behavior, do not fully form until young adulthood, making early and middle adolescents (ages 12-16) especially vulnerable to risky and reckless behavior.
• The adolescent is psychosocially immature compared to adults. Because of still-developing cognitive abilities and limited life experiences, adolescents are less able and less likely than adults to consider the longer-term consequences of their actions.
• Adolescents differ from adults in their assessment of and attitude towards risk. Compared to adults, adolescents place relatively less weight on risk, and give more weight to rewards. They also have different goals and values than adults. These may result in youth giving more importance to, for example, peer approval than safe behavior.
2. Heightened Vulnerability to Coercive Circumstances
• As minors, young people lack the freedom that adults have to assert their own decisions and extricate themselves from criminogenic settings. There is local evidence that children are often used and abused by adults to engage in criminal acts. Youth are powerless in such circumstances because they fear retribution, do not have or are not aware of alternative actions, or look up to or are emotionally attached to the criminal proponents.
• Adolescents are more susceptible to peer influence than are adults. Because of the desire for approval and belonging at this stage, adolescents’ choices reflect what they believe will merit the approval of their peers. Peers and adults serve as models for behavior that adolescents believe will help them achieve their goals. The fact that juvenile crimes tend to take place in groups or gangs points to the significant role of peer influence and pressure.
3. The Disadvantaged Environment and Profile of the Filipino Child in Conflict with the Law (CICL)
• The typical CICL is poor, lacking in education, a victim of parental neglect and/or abuse, and lives in a criminogenic environment. These clearly place the young person at a disadvantage, making deficiencies in decision-making and vulnerability to coercion all the more pronounced. To place such a young person, already victimized, into the hands of the criminal justice system further curtails his or her future prospects, and pushes them further towards a negative life trajectory.
The aforementioned characteristics of youth indicate that they are less capable than adults—even at age 15, but most certainly at age 12—to behave in accordance with what they may discern or know to be right versus wrong action. Although transitory, these developmental limitations are not under the volitional control of the young person.
Moreover, adolescence is still a time of self and identity development, and antisocial behaviors do not reflect “criminal identity” at this stage. Research indicates that most youth abandon antisocial behavior at the time that they exit adolescence, and that only a minority persists in criminal behavior as a function of pervasive neurological and environmental risk factors. In fact, exposure to the criminal justice system, where the child will be labeled a criminal and where he or she is exposed to criminal models, will more likely establish the “criminal identity” of the young person. Studies have shown that encounters with the adult justice system results in greater subsequent crime, including violent crime, for the juvenile.
The PAP reiterates its position against the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 years old. We urge the government and relevant stakeholders to implement restorative justice and appropriate interventions for CICL. CICL should experience sanctions in community and family settings whenever possible, especially for first and nonviolent offenses. They should be excluded from the adult criminal system and given full opportunities to develop into responsible adults who can make meaningful contributions to society.
References and recommended resources:
Adhikain Para sa Karapatang Pambata (2004). Research on the situation of children in conflict with the law in selected Metro Manila cities. Quezon City: Save the Children (UK)-Philippines.
Alampay, L.P. (2006). Risk factors and causal processes in juvenile delinquency: Research and implications for prevention. Philippine Journal of Psychology, 39(1),195-228.
Alampay, L.P. (2005). A rights-based framework for the prevention of juvenile delinquency in Philippine communities. Manila: United Nations Children’s Fund.
MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice: http://www.adjj.org/content/index.php
Steinberg, L., & Scott, E. (2003). Less guilty by reason of adolescence: Developmental immaturity, diminished responsibility, and the juvenile death penalty. American Psychologist, 58(12), 1009-1018.
Steinberg, L., & Haskins, R. (2008). Keeping adolescents out of prison. Policy Brief, The Future of Children, Vol. 18 No. 2, 1-7.
University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies-Program on Psychosocial Trauma and Human Rights and Consortium for Street Children. (2003). Painted Gray Faces Behind Bars and in the Streets, Street Children and the Juvenile Justice System. Quezon City: Author
Statement of the Psychological Association of the Philippines on Non-Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos continue to experience stigma, prejudice and discrimination in Philippine society. This stigma is manifested in actions such as: bullying, teasing and harassment of LGBT children and adolescents in families, schools and communities; media portrayal of LGBTs as frivolous, untrustworthy and even dangerous or predatory; denying transgender Filipinos entry into commercial establishments; pigeonholing LGBT Filipinos into particularly limited roles and occupations; or curtailing their rights to participate in the political sphere.
LGBT Filipinos often confront social pressures to hide, suppress or even attempt to change their identities and expressions as conditions for their social acceptance and enjoyment of rights. Although many LGBTs learn to cope with this social stigma, these experiences can cause serious psychological distress, including immediate consequences such as fear, sadness, alienation, anger and internalized stigma (Hatzenbuehler, 2009; Meyer, 2003). This anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination tend to be based on a rhetoric of moral condemnation and are fueled by ignorance or unfounded beliefs associating these gender expressions and sexual orientations with psychopathology or maladjustment.
However, decades of scientific research have led mental health professional organizations worldwide to conclude that lesbian, gay and bisexual orientations are normal variants of human sexuality. These include: the American Psychiatric Association in 1973, the American Psychological Association in 1975, British Psychological Society, the Colombian Society of Psychology, Psychological Society of South Africa, the Australian Psychological Society, and the International Network on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns and Transgender Issues in Psychology, among others.
The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) aligns itself with the global initiatives to remove the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with diverse sexualities and to promote the wellbeing of LGBT people. Moreover, the PAP Code of Ethics (2010) is clear in its stance against discrimination. Filipino psychologists are called upon to recognize the unique worth and inherent dignity of all human beings; and to respect the diversity among persons and peoples (Principle I, a and b). This means that Filipino psychologists should not discriminate against or demean persons based on actual or perceived differences in characteristics including gender identity and sexual orientation (Ethical Standard III-A and C; V-B.8).
In order to eliminate stigma, prejudice, discrimination and violence against LGBT, the PAP resolves to support efforts to:
• oppose all public and private discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression;
• repeal discriminatory laws and policies, and support the passage of legislation at the local and national levels that protect the rights and promote the welfare of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions;
• eliminate all forms of prejudice and discrimination against LGBTs in teaching, research, psychological interventions, assessment and other psychological programs;
• encourage psychological research that addresses the needs and concerns of LGBT Filipinos and their families and communities;
• disseminate and apply accurate and evidence-based information about sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to design interventions that foster mental health and wellbeing of LGBT Filipinos.
American Psychiatric Association. (1973). Position statement on homosexuality and civil rights. American Journal of Psychiatry, 131; 497.
Anton, B.S. (2009). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association for the legislative year 2008: Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council of Representatives, February 22-24, 2008, Washington, DC, and August 13 and 17, 2008, Boston, MA, and minutes of the February, June, August, and December 2008 meetings of the Board of Directors. American Psychologist, 64; 372-453.
Conger, J.J. (1975). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the year 1974: Minutes of the annual meeting of the Council of Representatives. American Psychologist, 30; 620-651.
Hatzenbuehler, M. L. (2009). How does sexual minority stigma “get under the skin”? A psychological mediation framework. Psychological Bulletin, 135; 707-730.
International Network for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns and Transgender Issues in Psychology (2001). Sexual orientation and mental health: Toward global perspectives on practice and policy. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/international-meeting.pdf
Meyer, I. H. (2003).Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129; 674-697.
Psychological Association of the Philippines Scientific and Professional Ethics Committee. (2010). Code of Ethics for Philippine Psychologists. Philippine Journal of Psychology, 43; 195-217.
PAP Letter of Support
7 August 2012
Cebu City Council
4F Legislative Bldg., Cebu City Hall
M.C Briones St. Barangay Santo Niño Cebu City
Dear Honorable Members of the Cebu City Council,
The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) is writing to express its strong support for the proposed Ordinance Prohibiting Discrimination in Cebu City on the Basis of Disability, Age, Health Status, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Ethnicity, and Religion.
Founded in 1962, the PAP is a national organization of psychologists in the Philippines committed to the promotion of excellence in the teaching, research, and practice of psychology as a scientific discipline. PAP works to advance psychology as a means of promoting personal and professional growth, humane service, and social transformation.
PAP takes a clear, strong stance against discrimination. The PAP Code of Ethics calls upon all Filipino psychologists to recognize the unique worth and inherent dignity of all human beings; and to respect the diversity among persons and peoples (Principle I, a and b). This means that Filipino psychologists should not discriminate against or demean persons based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status (Ethical Standard III-A and C; V-B.8).
These principles led PAP to adopt a landmark policy Statement on Non-Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression in October 2011. As expressed in this policy, not only is there no legitimate basis for discrimination against LGBT Filipinos, but also such discrimination is harmful to their mental health and the public good. Also, one course of action outlined in the statement is for PAP to support the passage of legislation that protects the rights and promotes the well-being of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions.
The proposed Cebu City ordinance lays a strong and comprehensive legislative framework as it recognizes the various contexts in which discrimination may operate, for example, in work, education, medical and health services, housing, transportation, and other public services. In addition, the ordinance explicitly outlines a discrimination prevention program via capacity-building and education, support for research on discrimination and stigma, and monitoring of incidents of discrimination.
We urge the passage of this ordinance as it serves Cebu City and promotes the rights and well-being of its good citizens. It is our wish that this laudable piece of legislation serves as a model for similar initiatives in other local government units in the country.
Statement of the Industrial-Organizational Psychology (IOP) Division of the Psychological Association of the Philippines on the Impact of RA 10029 on the Practice of IOP in the Philippines
The Philippine Psychology Act of 2009 (RA 10029) aims to regulate the professional practice of psychology in the country. It protects the public from pseudo psychologists by licensing only those with adequate training and experience to provide excellent service to clients—may they be individuals, groups or organizations. This is why the Psychological Association of the Philippines embraces its ideals and upholds its core principles.
In recent months, there have been a lot of concerns and misperceptions about the impact of such law on Industrial-Organizational psychologists. This is because there are areas of practice in IO that appear to be included in the law. Hence, there are questions about whether or not ALL IO psychologists need to be licensed. This statement seeks to clarify the stand of the IO Division of the PAP.
As an applied field, Industrial- Organizational or IO Psychology is concerned with how people think and behave in the world of work (Riggio, 2009). The education of IO Psychologists that is founded on the scientist-practitioner model provides training in social scientific research and practice (Muchinsky, 2006). Aside from the academe, IO psychologists in the Philippines have mostly practiced as Human Resource (HR) professionals in organizations (Hechanova, 2005). However, HR practice is not exclusive to IO psychologists. In organizations across the globe, HR practitioners handling various human resource management functions such as recruitment and selection, training and development, performance management and employee relations, to name a few, may have varying academic background and training (Hechanova, 2005). In fact, according to a study conducted by Lanuza in 2005 (as cited in Hechanova, 2005) only about 50% of HR practitioners in the Philippines were trained in the behavioural sciences; others were educated in areas such as management and communications.
Given the diversity of practice in IO Psychology, our stand is that licensure will be applicable to those involved in psychological counseling (such as industrial and career counseling as well as employee debriefing) and psychological assessment in the workplace (such as in leadership assessment and employee selection). Psychologists engaged in psychological assessment need to take “Examination Subjects for Psychometricians” and its corresponding required subjects. Psychologists doing psychological counseling, on the other hand, need to take the “Examination Subjects for Psychologists” and its required courses such as Advanced Abnormal Psychology, Advanced Theories of Personality, Advanced Psychological Assessment and Psychological Counseling and Psychotherapy.
The Psychology Act also covers psychological interventions such as coaching and group processes. However, the operative term here is ‘psychological’ hence we interpret this in terms of life coaching, group therapy and other clinical interventions. We do not believe the law covers workplace coaching (e.g. performance and career coaching which are normal functions of supervisors). We also do not believe that the law covers workplace training and development and employee relations programs given their diverse and multidisciplinary nature.
We reiterate our support for PAP and its aim to achieve excellence in the practice of psychology. We likewise uphold and promote the core principles of RA 10029. We are issuing this clarification in the hope that it will help the members of the Professional Regulatory Board of Psychology as they craft the Implementing Rules and Regulations.
Hechanova, M.R.M. (2005). State of Industrial/Organizational Psychology in the Philippines. Philippine
Journal of Psychology (Special I-O Edition), 38, 1-32.
Muchinsky, P. (2006). Psychology applied to work (8th ed.). CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Riggio, R.E. (2009). Introduction to industrial /organizational psychology (5th ed). NJ: Prentice Hall.
Statement of the Psychological Association of the Philippines about Maria Lourdes Arellano-Carandang
Posted May 25, 2011 by papnews
Tags: Ma. Lourdes A. Carandang, PAP
Recent events have put the work of psychologists in the public realm, in particular, the work of Dr. Maria Lourdes A. Carandang who is a Fellow, Certified Specialist in Clinical Psychology, Certified Specialist in Counseling Psychology, Certified Specialist in Developmental Psychology, and former President of the Psychological Association of the Philippines.
All members and certified psychology specialists of the Psychological Association of the Philippines are guided by the Code of Ethics for Philippine Psychologists and are called to uphold themselves in the highest possible levels of professionalism in their various functions as psychologists.
The Psychological Association of the Philippines acknowledges that Dr. Maria Lourdes A. Carandang is one psychologist who has adhered to the highest professional standards throughout her career that has spanned three decades. She has served the psychology community in many important ways over many years, and has been an advocate of continuing professional development of psychologists in the country. Aside from her contributions to the Psychological Association of the Philippines, she has also rendered service to various institutions, such as the Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines-Diliman, and Cardinal Santos Medical Center. She pioneered play and family therapy in the Philippines. She is the Founding Chair and Past President of the Philippine Association for Child and Play Therapy, and the Founding Chair and President of the MLAC Institute for Children and Families, Inc. Dr. Carandang has also served as a consultant to various government and non-government organizations and other national and international agencies on intervention projects and research for children and families, e.g., Australian-AID, International Catholic Child Board, International Labor Organization, UNICEF, and UN Office of Drugs and Crime.
Dr. Carandang has written 12 books on the situation of Filipino children and their families that have been used as important resources by practicing Filipino clinical psychologists and others who are in the helping profession as well as by parents. Among these are Filipino Children under Stress: Family Dynamics and Therapy (1987); Children in Pain: Studies on Children who are Abused and are Living in Poverty, Prison and Prostitution (2002); Self-worth and the Filipino Child (2004); The Path to Healing: A Primer on Family Violence (2004); and The Magic of Play: Children Heal through Play Therapy (2009).
For her various outstanding contributions to Philippine psychology, Dr. Carandang has been conferred the Outstanding Psychologist award by the Psychological Association of the Philippines (1988). She has been honored as a National Social Scientist by the Philippine Social Science Council (1995). The citation for the latter distinction states that the honor was being conferred on Dr. Carandang “for outstanding achievement in the discipline of psychology as demonstrated by her competence and ability at applying and translating scientific principles of psychology for the uplift of Filipino children in difficult circumstances; for her commitment and dedication to the community at large; …for enhancing family life through educational use of mass media and contributing to training of future psychologists.”
For the past three decades, Dr. Carandang has remained one of the most prominent and highly-esteemed clinical psychologists in the country. The Psychological Association of the Philippines is issuing this statement so that the public may know that Dr. Carandang has consistently embodied the highest levels of professionalism and ethical practice in her various functions as a psychologist in the Philippines. (PAP Statement, May 4, 2011)
Statement of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) on the Proposed Guidelines in the Conduct of Psychological Examinations for Overseas Work Applicants Pursuant to Administrative Order No. 2010-0022
Posted January 17, 2011 by papnews
Tags: Code of Ethics, DOH, PAP, psychological tests
We, the Board of Directors of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP),* would like to commend the efforts of the Department of Health – Bureau of Health Facilities and Services (DOH-BHFS) “to provide quality, effective and efficient psychological screening services to overseas work applicants,” thus making this “one of the basic minimum requirements for accreditation of medical facilities for overseas workers and seafarers” (30 November 2010 Draft of Working Document for the TWG). In the spirit of professional partnership, we would like to share our expertise in the area of psychological assessment to help meet the objective of delivery of quality psychological services to applicants. With this end in mind, we would like to clarify the standards regarding the use of psychological tests as articulated in the PAP’s Code of Ethics. Pertinent sections of the Code which we subscribe to in our practice of assessment are quoted below and are used as basis for our comments about some proposed guidelines.
Section VII.A.1. The expert opinions that we provide through our recommendation, reports, and diagnostic or evaluative statements are based on substantial information and appropriate assessment techniques.
Section VII.C.1. We judiciously select and administer only those tests which are pertinent to the reason for referral and purpose of the assessment.
We are not in agreement with the proposal to use only one objective personality test (i.e., the 16PF) to assess the applicants because this will not provide substantial information and, thus, goes against Section VII.A.1. A basic tenet of assessment is the selection of not one but several instruments to address a specific question (e.g., is the applicant fit for overseas work?). No single instrument can provide all the information needed to make an informed decision. We, therefore, recommend the use of a test battery which, at the minimum, should include two intelligence tests and two personality tests. The choice of intelligence tests (ideally, one verbal and one non-verbal) and personality tests should be based on the reason for assessment and on other variables like the position applied for, the educational attainment of the applicant, etc. (Section VII.C.1).
We are aware that Section 2.1 of the 30 November 2010 draft (Working Document for the TWG on “Formulation of Guidelines in the Conduct of Psychological Examinations for Overseas Work Applicants Pursuant to AO No. 2010-0022”) which states that “the medical clinic shall use the DOH minimum battery and, whenever applicable, additional appropriate psychological examinations which will assure the quality of psychological results” does provide for the possibility of using more than one intelligence test and more than one personality test. However, it is very likely that only the proposed minimum will be used given the cost that additional tests will entail. What we then recommend is essentially a change in the currently proposed minimum.
Section VII.C.3. We use tests that are standardized, valid, reliable, and have normative data directly referable to the population of our clients.
Section VII.C. 1 (as explained above) with Section VII.C.3 guides our professional practice and we recommend that this be used as basis for choosing the tests. In this regard, we would be interested to know about the reliability, validity, and normative data of the 16PF, especially its Filipino version. The question is not just for the 16PF but for any other test that might be considered as part of the test battery.
The proposal to take the 16PF online is related to the issue of validity. Do we get valid results when the test is taken online? Is it the same as answering the test in the clinic? How many in the population of overseas work applicants are conversant with the use of the computer? We then recommend that the advantages and disadvantages of this proposal be evaluated.
We are also alarmed by the statistics on the volume of applicants handled everyday at the clinics. The number surely has an effect on the quality of the assessment process. How can a few psychometricians or psychologists in a clinic do a comprehensive interview of all the applicants? Given the volume that undergoes psychological screening on a daily basis, one cannot help but arrive at the sad conclusion that psychological assessment is probably not given the importance it deserves. We hope that some measures can be put in place to address this serious concern. We are therefore heartened by the directive of the DOH-BHFS to work out a reasonable ratio of psychologist/ psychometrician to applicants in the medical clinics. In addition, we suggest a review of the scheduling of applicants who need to be assessed. We believe that psychology practitioners in OFW clinics aim for quality outputs, and a manageable psychologist/psychometrician: applicant ratio will help them achieve this objective.
Principle IV of our Code of Ethics states that “as a science and a profession, psychology has responsibilities to society. These responsibilities include contributing to the knowledge about human behavior and to persons’ understanding of themselves and others, and using such knowledge to improve the condition of individuals, families, groups, communities, and society.”
These responsibilities are even greater now because, while the Implementing Rules and Regulations of The Psychology Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 10029) are not yet in place, the PAP has been approved by the Professional Regulation Commission as the interim professional organization that oversees the practice of clinical and assessment psychology in the country.
We are aware of the complexity of the problems that are related to the assessment process, and we remain open to collaborative endeavors to meet the objective of DOH-BHFS to improve the delivery of psychological services to overseas work applicants.
This PAP Board position was arrived at in consultation with the PAP Public Interest Committee, the PAP Assessment Division Chair, and the five signatories of the September 20, 2010 position paper who were invited by DOH-BFHS as resource persons in drafting the guidelines for testing overseas work applicants.
PAP Board of Directors
03 December 2010