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 behavioral 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 (8thed.). CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Riggio, R.E. (2009). Introduction to industrial /organizational psychology (5thed). NJ: Prentice Hall.