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Ethical Excellence in Assessment Centres

The Practitioners Guide to Ethical Acculturation

A four-hour workshop on 15 March 2023 from 13:00 - 17:30 SAST

Psychological assessment plays an important role in the work of psychologists working in an organizational context. The outcome of assessment processes in the organisational context has potentially life changing consequences for the people being assessed. The ethical dilemmas involved in psychological assessment in general and assessment centres, in particular, are plenty. The complexity of psychological assessment contribute to a high-risk psychological practice area that require advanced ethical competencies and a systematic decision-making process, especially Post-COVID when more practitioners have come to rely on virtual assessment processes. The potential harm that can be done with unreliable and invalid assessment methods requires a high level of understanding of risk-mitigating measures that protect the interests of clients and practitioners. This workshop aims to increase awareness of ethical dilemmas and equip participants with strategies to improve the quality of ethical decision-making. Participants will identify the main ethical challenges encountered in the two case studies and will apply it to the context of the assessment centres they use. The facilitator will present a stepwise decision-making process to be used to identify ethical pitfalls and to generate different strategies to prevent or deal with ethical issues. She will address different regulatory frameworks to consider in the decision-making process. A matrix of four norm systems will be applied to the two case studies involving multiple methods of assessment.

This will be followed by a risk assessment model of assessment practices with a specific focus on how different assessment processes potentially violate clients' integrity and autonomy, the potential risk-benefit ratio of these practices and considerations to ensure administrative justice in the assessment process. The two case studies will be used to apply risk management measures in the elimination, or control of risks during the design, implementation and monitoring of assessment tasks. The workshop will conclude with small group discussions generating alternative strategies to deal with ethical dilemmas that participants in their assessment centre practices encounter in their practices.

Henriëtte van den Berg, PhD, has been registered as a Counselling Psychologists since 1986 and has been working in different work contexts including a hospital, private practice and university for the last thirty years. She is passionate about talent development and optimal professional performance. As part of her work at university she gained valuable experience teaching, conducting research and mentoring young professionals. She graduated 22 PhD students (Psychology and Interdisciplinary degrees) and 46 Masters students. She has extensive experience in ethics training for health professionals, trauma therapy and resilience building for adolescents and adults. She has been involved with the training of registered psychologists for 30 years and provides mentoring and supervision for registered psychologists, young and mid-career professionals and healthcare workers. She served as Director of the Postgraduate School (University of Free State) from 2012 until 2017 and embarked on a career as a free-lance capacity development specialist in March 2017. She also continues working part-time in a private practice as a psychologist supporting females through the diagnoses and treatment of breast cancer. She currently manages a mentoring program for academic staff at University of Free State where she runs a comprehensive skills development program addressing the training and growth needs of the group. She completed her PhD in Psychology in 200, focussing on occupational health and well-being of career women (UFS, 2001) and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Ethics in 2018 at Stellenbosch University (Cum Laude).



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