I have the honor of sponsoring Senate Bill no. 3498 under Committee Report No. 722, entitled “An Act to Regulate the Practice of Psychology, Creating for this Purpose a Professional Regulatory Board of Psychology, appropriating funds therefor and for other purposes.”
The practice of psychology consists of the delivery of psychological services that involve the application of psychological principles and procedures for the purpose of describing, understanding, predicting and influencing the behavior of individuals or groups, in order to assist in the attainment of optimal human growth and functioning. For purposes of this measure, the delivery of psychological services includes the following: psychological interventions, psychological assessment, and lastly, psychological programs.
The State recognizes the legitimacy of psychological services, as evidenced by the presence of psychologists in many government agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, and in various government hospitals and military organizations. The existence of numerous state-administered tests, like the neuropsychiatric tests for military and police recruits and for overseas contract workers, exemplifies the significance of the role of psychologists in our society. Moreover, media reports also indicate increasing incidences of situations requiring psychological interventions, such as natural and man-made calamities, adjustment problems in OFW families, and drug-related problems, among others.
In recent years, there have been several policy developments recognizing the need for psychological services, yet the State has failed to define who is legally qualified and competent to deliver such services. Despite the application and use of psychology in our every day lives, no law exists to regulate the practice. It is precisely this type of environment that creates opportunities for abuse and exploitation.
The current demand for psychological services in the country equally calls for the proper regulation of the profession in order to protect the public. It is deplorable that such a highly specialized field of medicine remains unregulated by the government especially considering its varied specializations and the diverse array of clients it caters to. To allow the practice of psychology to remain unbound by consolidated rules is detrimental, and in some situations even life-threatening to the Filipinos. The State as the general overseer of public affairs has to ensure that only those who are qualified, competent, and morally upright are allowed to practice this profession.
Senate Bill No. 3498 seeks to address the vacuum existing between our present state policies and the current demands of psychology, both as a profession and as a state service, by providing for the following important provisions:
* Creating a regulatory board overseeing the management and practice of psychology and psychometrics;
* Defining the scope and nature of psychology and psychometrics in the country;
* Setting the standards for administering licensure examinations and other educational standards in practicing the profession;
* Granting the protection of privileged communication for any communication or information disclosed and/or acquired in the course of giving psychological services; and
* Imposition of penalties for violators of this act.
The essence of this proposed measure lies in the professionalization of the practice of psychology by strengthening its requirements and by having a uniform system of regulation. The immediate approval of this act will standardize the practice, reinforce competence and credibility in the profession, and provide protection not only for the public but for the practitioners as well.