Psychology's proactive approach to conscience clause court cases and legislation

Erica H. Wise, Kathleen J. Bieschke, Linda Forrest, Jessye Cohen-Filipic, William L. Hathaway, Louise A. Douce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Since 2010, psychology leaders in education and training associated with doctoral programs in professional psychology have been monitoring court cases and state-level legislation that assert students' rights to religious freedom during professional training. Such court cases and legislative actions put at risk educators' ability to ensure the competence of graduates to effectively serve a diverse public. In response to these legal challenges, the APA Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) appointed an 11-member Virtual Working Group on Restrictions Affecting Diversity Training in Graduate Education to develop a thoughtful, proactive position. Through ongoing discussions that occurred over 18 months, members of the Working Group developed an enhanced understanding of the intersection of graduate students' First Amendment Rights with professional psychology's commitment to graduate competent psychologists who have the capacity to serve a wide and diverse clientele. The Working Group identified five core tenets that informed their development of resources to support educators and trainers of professional psychology graduate programs. This article provides a brief history of the court cases and legislativeinitiatives, articulates the core tenets, describes the products developed by the Working Group and approved by the APA BEA, and ends with a brief description of dissemination and implementation activities and plans for next steps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-268
Number of pages10
JournalTraining and Education in Professional Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Psychology


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