College of Education professor co-edits groundbreaking psychology resource book

Published: July 11, 2023

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Evelyn Hunter, an associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling, is working to reframe the perspective around remediation in psychology.

In her new book “Supporting Trainees with Competence Problems,” that came out in May, Hunter and her co-editors provide a closer look at how to support future practitioners who are struggling to meet the level of professional standard needed for their role.

Remediation takes place in training environments when a student or trainee is having difficulty and provides extra support to assist them in becoming more effective in professional work. While remediation has been historically looked upon as a negative thing, this book works to address these competency issues in a way that is more positive within the context of psychology.

“Our book is really about framing what we call a communitarian perspective,” Hunter said. “This means a perspective where we're working collaboratively as a professional community to understand that it is developmentally normal to sometimes not perform to expectation in the role of a psychologist. And from that understanding we can address what we do collaboratively as a professional community to help.”

With this approach, the focus is to create a positive framework on lifelong career development for trainees, and to view remediation as extra support to be more effective in practice, and create better clinicians. The book provides a one-stop-shop for resources, including published articles and practical examples.

“Dr. Hunter’s involvement in this project reflects her national reputation as a scholar and trainer. She is also viewed as an expert and leader on professional ethics in the psychology community,” said Jeff Reese, professor and head of the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling. “She has served on the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Committee for multiple years and has risen in the ranks to her current role of chair. This is a highly visible, important role.”

Hunter’s work on the ethics committee of the American Psychological Association helped solidify her notion that more conversation is needed on the topic of training, namely how to keep the important fundamentals while embracing new ways of learning and training that allow the industry to have competent and engaged psychologists.

“Psychology right now is in a place where we’ve done a pretty good job in recruiting diversity, but our culture has relatively stayed the same,” she said. “We’re very rigid in our training and very particular so, a lot of times, we see competence issues that are just clashes between a multicultural field trying to run up against a very traditional, westernized culture.”

Through this book, Hunter hopes developmental issues will be seen as opportunities for growth, opportunities to learn from each other and opportunities to shift the culture of the field of psychology.

Submitted by: MaryKate Hughes