Elizabeth M. Altmaier
Impairment is the inability to practice in congruence with professionally defined and accepted standards of care. Impairment among trainees and professionals is a problem within psychology and counseling. Surveys have revealed that up to 10% of professional psychologists reported difficulties with depression, alcohol and other substances, relationship problems, and physical illnesses, all of which significantly interfered with their carrying out their responsibilities with their usual level of skill and ability. Ethical codes of counselors and psychologists mandate that professionals practice with the highest levels of care and obtain supervision or intervention when their own concerns and difficulties interfere with meeting this standard set by the codes. It is important to distinguish between distress and impairment in considering the topic of impairment. Many psychologists and counselors experience difficulties in their own lives that, while distressing, are not of sufficient impact to negatively affect their work. Impairment, however, typically denotes a O'Connor ...