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PCSOT and ethics

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Author Topic: PCSOT and ethics
rnelson
Member
posted 08-24-2007 06:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rnelson Click Here to Email rnelson Edit/Delete Message
The new APA board has not yet met, but information is already being circulated that Mr. Eric Holden has been appointed to chair the PCSOT committee. I learned this from Elizabeth, who also informed me that she is the vice-chair of the committee. Kim English was also informed of the decision, as was Chuck Slupski, so it appears there is some confidence or veracity about that information, as least to whomever has heard the early news.

If this information is accurate, then I have an ethical problem with this, and I've spoken is as clear and assertive terms as I can with Mr. Sosnowski about that. Mr. Sosnowski expressed to me that the new board does not meet until Saturday and that nothing had yet been decided. My concern about appointing Mr. Holden to the role of committee chair is three-fold: 1) Mr. Holden has clear and outspoken opinions about PCSOT matters, all of which are probably supported by his invaluable experience, though many of which are not supported by empirical data; 2) Mr. Holden communicates in a rather dominant manner which, while it makes for entertaining conference presentation and effective indoctrination of less experienced minds, but does not always facilitate the most democratic and effective committee process; and 3) Mr. Holden is central to one of the factions in disagreement among circles of PCSOT professionals. While I do think of Mr. Holden as a competent professional, I do not automatically have any confidence in his ability to suspend personal opinion long enough to entertain and process through the varying opinions of all the persons who are stakeholders and interest-holders in how that blasted PCSOT model policy turns out. Moreover, last I heard, both Mr. Holden and Mr. Lundell are PCSOT trainers who have a dog ($) in the fight. It would be more ethically sound to me to appoint a committee chair (discussion referee) who is completely neutral, doesn't have any particular alliance with either Mr. Holden or Mr. Lundell, and is capable of facilitating a democratic exchange and development of ideas in the far-less-than-certain conceptual space that is PCSOT.

If this information is accurate, then I am most dismayed by Mr. Sosnowski, especially after our mandatory Monday session on professional ethics (a great presentation by Chase Foster). So, we have one party who is central to a disagreement, who is now named to referee the discussion. This would be the ethical equivalent of fixing a fight. We need a committee chair who will function without becoming some form of bully-pulpit. I do not expect Mr. Holden to suspend his professional convictions to do that. I would rather observe the argument with him as a participant, and find a solution that includes his position and the wisdom and experience of others.

PCSOT matters. It matters to those of us who work in PCSOT. It matters to our communities, and it matters to the APA. I don't doubt the contributions of Mr. Holden, Mr. Lundell or anyone else who has been around for as long as them. But even they must realize that they do not and cannot have their fingers on the local/jurisdictional pulse of every judicial district, and that some practices necessarily exist in response to the attitudes and expectations of the local bench (which are sometimes different than those in Texas or Oregon). The only way a model PCSOT policy can achieve the objectives of the entire membership of the APA, and best serve all of our communities is to guarantee a more effective PCSOT committee process than the one that occurred during the past year. If the new APA board wants a predetermined solution, then this is the way to go. If not then we need a committee formed of all concerned, interested and willing participants, with leadership that is neutral and unbaised, and representative of something more than one-sided convenience.


r

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sackett
Moderator
posted 08-25-2007 06:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for sackett Click Here to Email sackett Edit/Delete Message
Ray,

one already exists; the ASTM! Ultimately, APA, AAPP, etc will need to conform to those standards, so join them and have an input to standardization of our profession...

Best regards,

Jim

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Ted Todd
Member
posted 08-25-2007 07:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Ted Todd Edit/Delete Message
Ray,

For once, Sackett is correct. ASTM IS the future of our industry. You would be a welcome addition and could make a world of differnce. Give it some thought!

Ted

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sackett
Moderator
posted 08-25-2007 09:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for sackett Click Here to Email sackett Edit/Delete Message
Ted,

for once, you're wrong.... I've been right about polygraph "stuff" at least twice in the past. The posts are printed and framed in my bedroom, I'll scan and fax them to you later..... LOL


Jim

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rnelson
Member
posted 08-26-2007 09:28 AM Click Here to See the Profile for rnelson Click Here to Email rnelson Edit/Delete Message
Ted and Sackett,

Just look at how many people respond to this important topic, and you will know that this PCSOT committee is the elephant-in-the-livingroom of this dysfunctional family for the moment - everyone is afraid to notice and pretending not to, trying to go on about their business like nothing is wrong, afraid to ask "why the hell do we have an elephant in our livingroom."

You guys are correct about the importance of ASTM.

The APA PCSOT model policy matters too. At present, decisions appear to be made according to some concern other than what is good for the long-term health and well being of our profession. I'm not sure what, but it certainly makes no sense to engage one-sided solutions in a field of uncertainty.

Variability in PCSOT exists at two different levels: 1) what examiners do in the field, and 2) what they are taught in the PSCOT course. Ideally they would be the same, but they are not. There is a great deal that we know already, and probably still more that don't know yet, concerning things like contribution to desired outcomes, and target selection for risk assessment and risk monitoring purposes.

The larger or probably more important concern to the APA is probably the one about what people are taught in the PCSOT course. This is not a matter that should be decided by the strength of someone's personality or charisma. It should be informed by experience, sound theory (that is consistent with other risk assessment, diagnostic, and testing sciences), and by data.

So, I've volunteered once again to help with the PCSOT committee.

We'll see.

r

------------------
"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room."
--(Stanley Kubrick/Peter Sellers - Dr. Strangelove, 1964)


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Ted Todd
Member
posted 08-26-2007 08:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Ted Todd Edit/Delete Message
Seeee.....

We smack Dan around a little bit and he disapears. We tap R on the nose with a little stick and he says "Bring it on!"

I say....You go R!

As for me, three up and three out on the LEPET schedule for today. Time for ZZZZZZZ!

Ted

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skipwebb
Member
posted 08-27-2007 08:06 AM Click Here to See the Profile for skipwebb Click Here to Email skipwebb Edit/Delete Message
Raymond, I totally agree with you on the need to have a disinterested (non-PCSOT Camp) party chair the committee. The opposing camp problem has been around since the beginning of PCSOT testing. The committee needs a strong chair person, willing to moderate the differing views and reach an agreement among the parties. I'd rather see someone with polygraph experience who doesn't even do PCSOT testing take on that role than someone with a "dog in the fight". I disagree with the ASTM comment from my good friend Mr. Sackett, however. I have a problem with about 50-60 people setting any polygraph standards much less the PCSOT standards where many of the members of ASTM dont even do them.

I'd like to see a committee develop all the standards that can be mutually agreed upon by both factions and then when all the discussion and dust settles, put the contentious points out to a vote of all APA members holding a PCSOT certificate. Once voted, the resulting policy could be submitted to the ASTM folks for "tweaking".

I think the world of Rick (Eric) Holden. Hes a long time friend. Im sure once the dust settles he and others would teach and fully support the resulting product. I dont know Mr. Lundell as well as I do Rick but have found him to be a very reasonable and affable person as well.

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rnelson
Member
posted 08-27-2007 01:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rnelson Click Here to Email rnelson Edit/Delete Message
Thanks Skip,

I think we share the same concerns about the need for objectivity, and the need to avoid the free-for-all/chaos method of committee work.

The PCSOT committee needs structure, and it needs leadership. Just look at the present progress, and you'll see what happens when those are insufficient.

The PCSOT committee also needs inclusion of persons with expertise in PCSOT. I don't think anyone doubts, and certainly everyone should appreciate the important contributions of Mssrs. Holden and Lundell. A really effective PCSOT committee would include both of them, along with other PCSOT experts with policy and committee experience in various jurisdictions.

Some things should probably be simply decided by a committee of experts, while other things may deserve a more inclusive vote (not sure what those things are at this point, but a committee's goals include both inclusion and efficiency). There are times when both methods are inadequate to the challenge of accounting for the certainty/un-certainty of our present knowledge.

Of course, the absence of data does not relieve policy makers of the need to make policy and define SOPs.

In some legal proceedings, the concept of "weight" is employed regarding different pieces of information or evidence. In a PCSOT model policy, that might mean we clarify a hierarchy of model policy statements based on data from research, sound theory, and the wealth of field experience. Neglecting to be thoughtful about this could result in policy statements that are overstated in terms of the strength of our understanding - and that leads to trouble with defensibility.

Consider the absolutely absurd assertion that a PCSOT test is not a mixed issues test, as long as one does not cross the time barrier. Whaaat?????? I heard it myself, in a session at the recent APA conference. We've got work to do.

Unfortunately, we thick-skinned examiners tend to get our feelings hurt rather quickly, and you will see all kinds of people become both antagonistic and defensive about all kinds of concerns that affect the business of PCSOT polygraph.

In philosophy, we sometimes say there are only 5 questions in the whole universe. In PCSOT, there are 2 questions: 1) how much, and 2) how long?

Just watch for a moment, and you'll notice that examiners who argue about how many tests and how long they have to be are about as productive as dogs chasing their tails.

I believe Sackett is correct in part, in that the APA PCSOT model policy is at risk for being ignored for badly written silliness - unless we can formulate a committee that can be much more thoughtful than the previous committee.


r

------------------
"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room."
--(Stanley Kubrick/Peter Sellers - Dr. Strangelove, 1964)

[This message has been edited by rnelson (edited 08-27-2007).]

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