Case Study Seven Worksheet

Case 7. Handling DisparateInformation for Evaluating TraineesRashid Vaji, Ph.D., a member of the school psychology faculty at a midsize university,serves as a faculty supervisor for students assigned to externships in schools. Thedepartment has formalized a supervision and evaluation system for the extern program.Students have weekly individual meetings with the faculty supervisor andbiweekly meetings with the on-site supervisor. The on-site supervisor writes a midyear(December) and end of academic year (May) evaluation of each student. Thesite evaluations are sent to Dr. Vaji, and he provides feedback based on the site andhis own supervisory evaluation to each student. The final grade (fail, low pass, pass,high pass) is the responsibility of Dr. Vaji.Dr. Vaji also teaches the Spring Semester graduate class on “Health Disparities inMental Health.” One of the course requirements is for students to write weeklythought papers, in which they are required to take the perspective of therapy clientsfrom different ethnic groups in reaction to specific session topics. Leo Watson, asecond-year graduate student is one of Dr. Vaji’s externship supervisees. He is alsoenrolled in the Health Disparities course. Leo’s thought papers often presentethnic-minority adolescents as prone to violence and unable to “grasp” the insightsoffered by school psychologists. In a classroom role-playing exercise, Leo “plays” anethnic-minority student client as slumping in the chair not understanding the psychologistand giving angry retorts. In written comments on these thought papersand class feedback, Dr. Vaji encourages Leo to incorporate more of the readings onracial/ethnic discrimination and multicultural competence into his papers and toprovide more complex perspectives on clients.One day during his office hours, three students from the class come to Dr. Vaji’soffice to complain about Leo’s behavior outside the classroom. They describe incidentsin which Leo uses derogatory ethnic labels to describe his externship clientsand brags about “putting one over” on his site supervisors by describing these clientsin “glowing” terms just to satisfy his supervisors’ “stupid liberal do-good”attitudes. They also report an incident at a local bar at which Leo was seen harassingan African American waitress using racial slurs.After the students have left his office, Dr. Vaji reviews his midyear evaluation andsupervision notes on Leo and the midyear on-site supervisor’s report. In his ownevaluation report Dr. Vaji had written, “Leo often articulates a strong sense of dutyto help his ethnic minority students overcome past discrimination but needs additionalgrowth and supervision in applying a multicultural perspective into hisclinical work.” The on-site supervisor’s evaluation states thatLeo has a wonderful attitude towards his student clients . . . Unfortunatelyevaluation of his treatment skills is limited because Leo has had less cases todiscuss than some of his peers since a larger than usual number of studentshave stopped coming to their sessions with him.It is the middle of the Spring Semester, and Dr. Vaji still has approximately 6weeks of supervision left with Leo. The students’ complaints about Leo, while moreextreme, are consistent with what Dr. Vaji has observed in Leo’s class papers androle-playing exercises. However, these complaints are very different from his presentationduring on-site supervision. If Leo has been intentionally deceiving bothsupervisors, then he may be more ineffective or harmful as a therapist to his currentclients than either supervisor realized. In addition, purposeful attempts to deceivethe supervisors might indicate a personality disorder or lack of integrity that if leftunaddressed might be harmful to adolescent clients in the future.Ethical DilemmaDr. Vaji would like to meet with Leo at minimum to discuss ways to retain adolescentclients and to improve his multicultural treatment skills. He does not knowto what extent his conversation with Leo and final supervisory report should beinfluenced by the information provided by the graduate students.

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