The Reaction of Organized Professional Psychology to the Mental Health Paraprofessional,
ARMY HEALTH SERVICES COMMAND FORT SAM HOUSTON TX
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The discussion suggests that the widely cited issues of concern for quality and professional defensiveness are inadequate explanations for organized psychologys failure to embrace the paraprofessional mental health movement. Indeed, these issues seem to be not a cause of psychologys posture, but rather the result of psychologys failure to coordinate paraprofessional training and utilization. The present writers propose that psychologys neglect of the paraprofessional movement may be more accurately attributed to psychologys preoccupation with its own professional definition. Professional definition is an issue which has confronted psychology throughout its history. Recent developments in the issues of parity with psychiatry and inclusion under national health insurance have further intensified concern with professional definition. There is increasing recognition by those who shape national health care policy that the paraprofessional movement offers a solution to increasing needs. Psychology could capitalize on this recognition by defining the development and management of the paraprofessional work force as falling within its professional purview.