Problems of Professional Competence Among Counselor Trainees

New article just published:

Counselor Education and Supervision

Rust, J. P., Raskin, J. D., & Hill, M. S. (2013). Problems of professional competence among counselor trainees: Programmatic issues and guidelinesCounselor Education and Supervision, 52(1), 30-42. doi: 10.1002/j.1556-6978.2013.00026.x


Counselor education programs have a responsibility to ensure that individuals are competently trained, demonstrate understanding of ethical guidelines, and are free of observable psychological issues that may affect their ability to provide adequate counseling services. Counselor trainees who do not reach or maintain these professional standards may exhibit problems of professional competence (PPC). This position paper provides a review of the issues related to PPC among counselor trainees. It offers guidelines to counselor education programs for developing PPC policies and procedures. Future directions for research and training practice are discussed.

Ethics Chapter Published

New book chapter on ethics! Read it for free online. Printable electronic copies and hard copies can be purchased from the publisher.

Raskin, J. D., & Debany, A. E. (2012). The inescapability of ethics and the impossibility of “anything goes”: A constructivist model of ethical meaning-making. In S. Cipolletta & E. Gius (Eds.), Ethics in action: Dialogue between knowledge and practice (pp. 13-32). Milan, Italy: LED. Available in PDF format

From the introductory section of the chapter:

“In our understanding of constructivism, ethics is unavoidable because people are always embedded in ethical perspectives that infuse everything they do. ‘Anything goes’ is never an option, even if what goes varies by person. After distinguishing three versions of constructivist theory, we briefly summarize and counter various criticisms that portray constructivism as endorsing an ‘anything goes’ relativism. Then we outline a constructivist model of ethical meaning-making.”

Evolutionary Constructivism and Humanistic Psychology Article Published

Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical PsychologyMy article, “Evolutionary Constructivism and Humanistic Psychology,” was published in print form this week. Full reference and abstract below.

Raskin, J. D. (2012). Evolutionary constructivism and humanistic psychology. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 32(2), 119-133. doi:  10.1037/a0025158


An evolutionary constructivist approach combining Donald Campbell’s selection theory (also known as evolutionary epistemology) with constructivist theories is discussed as it pertains to four issues typically associated with humanistic approaches to psychology: (a) embodiment, (b) agency, (c) human science, and (d) becoming. Ways in which selection theory informs these four issues by adding a naturalistic approach to the usual humanities-oriented emphasis of humanistic psychology are presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Print Version of Essences Article Published

Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical PsychologyMy article, “On Essences in Constructivist Psychology,” was published in print form this week. Full reference and abstract below.

Raskin, J. D. (2011). On essences in constructivist psychologyJournal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology31(4), 223-239. doi: 10.1037/a0025006


The notion of essence in psychology is examined from a constructivist viewpoint. The constructivist position is summarized and differentiated from social constructionism, after which constructs are distinguished from concepts in order to position ontology and epistemology as modes of construing. After situating constructivism in relation to philosophical approaches to essences, the distinction between essences and kinds is examined and the presumed constructivist critique of essences in psychology outlined. It is argued that criticizing constructivism as an “anything goes” form of antirealism fails to grasp how constructivist psychology, by emphasizing structure and viability, does indeed place limits on the constructions people may hold. In applying a constructivist understanding of essences in general to those fundamental to human psychology, people can be seen as having three essential psychological qualities: they are closed systems, active meaning-makers, and irreducibly social beings. Yet a constructivist view also maintains that these psychological essences only hold while operating within and committed to a constructivist perspective. In other words, what counts as an essence always depends on one’s assumptions, or how one construes events. Finally, a personal construct theory model of essentialist and nonessentialist construing is introduced based on the assumption that everyone construes in both essentialist and nonessentialist ways at different times because doing so is pragmatically viable. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved)