Standards – What are the Benchmarks?
The foundation consideration for any consultant, evaluator or practitioner lies in the licensing or national standard for the work they are performing. Fully respecting other disciplines, each discipline has its own guidelines or standards typically established with licensure or provided by publications from a national association. It is important to know that some licensing Boards may not require a thorough examination of an applicant or licensee’s training, supervision, or experience to do the work involved with assessments, consultations, or evaluations. Likewise, certain disciplines licensing Boards may not have requirements for conducting more specialized services. So, the consumer of forensic services, as well as those of other behavioral healthcare services, would do well to be informed about these guidelines, licensing requirements, and national standards, or, their absence…
After years of practice in Montana and noting concerns about the absence of a similar licensing process for other disciplines engaging in the work (see Open Letter from The Montana Psychologist), Dr. Bütz began prefacing any consultation or psychological assessment with a Consumer Notice.
In addition, and pertaining to more specialized services within the State of Montana, licensed psychologists also are required to adhere to the following statements on custody assessment or evaluations, or parenting plans; here properly referred to as Parenting Plan Evaluations under the Administrative Rules of Montana: http://www.mtrules.org/gateway/ruleno.asp?RN=24%2E189%2E801
At a national level the American Psychological Association has also provided important guidelines for two very different kinds of specialized work that licensed psychologists engage in, and in this example the aforementioned custody assessment or evaluations-parenting plans and Child Protective Services work. But, before providing those guidelines it is important that consumers are informed that it is generally recognized within the field of psychology that before one holds themselves out as a professional who provides these specialized assessments and/or evaluations that they have extensive background and training with child development, marital and family dynamics, and at least adult psychopathology. This takes many ‘years’ of training, supervision and experience beyond licensure; and, beyond the years of preparation to conduct specialized forensic services.
As one last set of considerations, and working with your attorney, it is important to consider the professional’s history of work in a particular area and/or their area of specialization. While consumer reviews provide one source of information (see Reviews/History page); there are others such as District and Supreme Court rulings for complex and involved cases. Several cases with which Dr. Bütz has been involved have required the Supreme Court’s review, and these include work on desk reviews, complex custody situations involving multiple providers, and detailed information about psychometric aspects of psychological assessments, as well as what has been increasingly referred to as Parental Alienation (note publications and presentations on the topic and related matters elsewhere in the website).
When sizing up Dr. Bütz’s capacity to be of assistance in your case or the case of your client, it is suggested to gauge what has been described above, as well as other information across this website and make knowledgeable comparisons. It is entirely appropriate to ask what licensing and practice standards a provider has, what method they will be using to make an assessment, consultation, and/or intervention or treatment. If the provider cannot offer a reasonable explanation or direct you or your client to similar licensing and national standards such as those described above this conspicuous absence should raise some concerns.