Problem Consultation

Problem Consultation

APPIC Problem Consultation

PLEASE NOTE: Questions about APPIC Services (e.g., Match, AAPI Online, APPA CAS)
should be directed to the appropriate individual listed on the "Contact" page

 

APPIC has established both an Informal Problem Consultation process and a Formal Complaint process in order to address issues and concerns that may arise during the internship or postdoctoral selection process or training year. Applicants, current and recently-graduated interns and postdoctoral residents, Directors of Clinical Training (DCTs), internship and postdoctoral Training Directors, and training program faculty/staff are welcome to utilize these services. APPIC requires that programs and/or trainees (interns and postdocs) must notify the APPIC Chair before final action (termination/withdrawal) is taken. APPIC acknowedges there is a formal match agreement and wants assurance that all policies including due process have been completed. Contact information for the Chair of APPIC can be found on the APPIC "CONTACT US" page.

 

APPIC policies state that concerns MUST first be brought to the Informal Problem Consultation process before a formal complaint is filed.


Informal Problem Consultation

Purpose of Informal Problem Consultation

The goal of the Informal Problem Consultation (IPC) process is to provide guidance, consultation, and assistance in navigating or attempting to resolve the broad array of challenges that may be encountered by concerned parties involved in psychology training. IPC involves discussion of the consultation question with an APPIC IPC consultant, which may include the APPIC Executive Director, APPIC Match Coordinator, or a member of the APPIC Board of Directors.  Students and trainers have often found this process to be an effective and efficient mechanism for handling issues that arise regarding various aspects of internship and postdoctoral training.

Here are some examples of situations in which an individual (or group of individuals) may find the IPC process useful:

  • A current intern attending an APPIC-member internship program has potential to not attend, leave, withdraw, or be terminated from the internship program.*
  • An intern or postdoctoral resident and/or an internship or postdoctoral Training Director would like guidance in handling issues related to medical concerns, pregnancy, child/elder care, family hardships, disability, etc.
  • An internship or postdoctoral training director has concerns about a student's competence or unethical/unprofessional behavior and wants to consult about possible options or solutions.
  • A current intern or postdoctoral resident is concerned about their training experience and wants to consult about options or potential solutions.
  • A Director of Clinical Training is concerned about a student's internship experience and wants to consult about options or potential solutions.
  • An applicant or trainee believe they have been treated in an inappropriate, disrespectful, or discriminatory manner and wants to consult about possible options or solutions.
  • An internship applicant or internship training director experiences what they perceive to be a violation of APPIC Match Policies.
  • A current intern or postdoctoral resident believes their internship or postdoctoral program is not in compliance with APPIC membership criteria.
  • An individual is considering the potential of filing a formal complaint against an APPIC-member program; note that engaging in the IPC process is required prior to filing a formal complaint (see ASARC - https://www.appic.org/Forms/APPIC-Standards-Review-ASARC-Complaint-Form).

*Note that the results of the APPIC Match constitute binding agreements between applicants, internship programs, and APPIC. The Match Agreement may not be reversed without APPIC's consent. In situations where an individual or program wishes to terminate or withdraw from this agreement (e.g., student not attending or leaving an internship, internship program terminating an intern, doctoral program removing a student from the Match commitment), APPIC must first be contacted before final action is taken.

 

IPC & Confidentiality

The initial IPC consultation is confidential within the APPIC Board of Directors, APPIC Central Office staff, and the Match Coordinator, within the bounds of relevant legal/ethical reporting mandates. A record for each IPC is maintained by the APPIC Executive Director for Quality Assurance and training purposes. Your information will not be shared except in accordance with applicable ethical and legal mandates. During the initial confidential consultation confidentiality, and limits, will be discussed.

In some instances, the IPC consultant interacts only with the individual seeking consultation; in other cases, when the individual seeking consultation grants permission, the IPC consultant may talk with other parties to seek additional information or attempt to negotiate a resolution. In the event that the person(s) seeking consultation requests/grants permission for the IPC consultant to contact or engage in advocacy with other relevant parties, confidentiality expectations may be modified and confidentiality is not necessarily guaranteed.  For example, the IPC consultant may learn additional information that requires some action on the part of APPIC (e.g., identification of evidence that an agency may not be in compliance with APPIC membership criteria or policies). As stated above, the consultation will remain confidential within the bounds of relevant legal/ethical reporting mandates if the individual requesting consultation elects for the consultation to remain between only the IPC consultant and the person seeking assistance.  If options for involving other parties are considered during the initial confidential consultation, the IPC consultant will discuss potential limits to confidentiality to aid the decision about whether or not to grant permission for involvement with other parties.

 

IPC Request Process

To initiate the IPC process, complete the online IPC Request Form, which is sent to the APPIC Executive Director, Dr. Jeff Baker. You should receive a response within two business days.  The Informal Problem Consultation will then be assigned to an APPIC IPC consultant, which may include the APPIC Executive Director, APPIC Match Coordinator, or a member of the APPIC Board of Directors.  The IPC consultant will then contact the requesting party to address the matter.


Formal Complaint Process

Sometimes, after completing the APPIC Informal Problem Consultation process, a serious problem cannot be adequately resolved and there may be concerns that an individual or a training program is not following APPIC Policies and procedures.  For these situations, a formal complaint may be filed with the APPIC Standards and Review Committee (ASARC).  ASARC does NOT reverse decisions of training programs though that may occur, ASARC puts the focus on program policies and procedures to insure they meet and follow APPIC membership criteria.  Programs may be removed from membership if they are unable to make those changes or do not provide evidence that they have made changes to insure they follow APPIC membership criteria.

The purpose of ASARC is: (a) to investigate alleged violations of APPIC policies and procedures, (b) to recommend an appropriate response to the APPIC Board of Directors upon determining that a policy violation has occurred, and (c) to serve in a consultative or educative role when queries are made regarding APPIC policies and procedures. In response to a complaint filed with ASARC, the APPIC Board may decide to impose sanctions on individuals or training programs that violate APPIC policies or appear to need to have immediate action taken (e.g. remove from the APPIC Match). APPIC expects these actions will increase quality, keep trainees (or patients) safe and that this action will provide an opportunity for quality improvement and insure competency of trainees.  Programs that are non responsive will be deemed withdrawn from APPIC if they do not respond to complaints within the time lines provided.

While the ASARC process may not resolve an individual's or training program's immediate concerns, this process helps ensure the APPIC policy and procedures are consistently enforced regarding future trainees either by policy revision or corrective action.

For more information on the formal complaint procedures, please see the ASARC Procedures for Handling Grievances and Violations of APPIC Policies. Please note that there are time limitations on the filing of formal complaints; see the full ASARC Policy for specifics. In addition, APPIC policies state that concerns MUST first be brought to the Informal Problem Consultation process before a formal complaint is filed.  Any formal or informal complaint that involves a legal action (hired/obtained or is represented by an attorney) APPIC ASARC will not be involved in the mediation until legal issues are resolved (election of remedies) where legal action would supercede any intervention by APPIC.

Questions about the formal complaint process may be directed to Dr. Ellen Teng, Chair of APPIC's Standards and Review Committee, eteng@bcm.edu.

If you have COMPLETED an Informal Problem Consultation (IPC) with APPIC and the issue was not resolved, the next step to consider is filing a FORMAL COMPLAINT. Complaints should be filed ONLINE:

ASARC Complaint Form

Submit any additional attachments as uploads in the form itself.

 

(Alternative to Online Submission)

Submit by email to APPIC:

Attention: Chair, APPIC Standards and Review Committee
APPIC
appic@appic.org

APPIC Match Release Request

AFTER the IPC has been completed, either the program or the psychology intern will need to file a Match Release Request. It is a short form that will provide APPIC with the necessary information for consideration for a release from the APPIC Psychology Internship. The form can be obtained from APPIC (normally the person that managed the IPC). The final release from the APPIC Match must be approved by the APPIC Chair.

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