MLAC message at the Oath Taking of the First Batch of Licensed Psychologists and Psychometricians

The Practice of Mindfulness and Integrity (OR The Science of Human Beings)

Ma. Lourdes A. Carandang, PhD
Oath Taking of First Batch Licensed Psychologists and Psychometricians July 19, 2013, Sofitel Hotel, Manila

Isang magandang hapon sa ating lahat. A beautiful afternoon to all of us.

A special good afternoon to our Honorable Commissioner Atty. Jennifer Manalili of the PRC and to our own PRB for Psychology: Our chairperson Honorable Dr. Miriam Cue and Board member—Honorable Dr. Emy Villar

Thank you for all the hard work you have been doing these past months, for making this momentous event possible.
Hard work is an understatement indeed.

Congratulations to my fellow Psychologists and Psychometricians (now said with more meaning). Congratulations to us!

I have been tasked to give the response on behalf of the licensed Psychologists and Psychometricians here today. This will be short so we can have more time to enjoy the afternoon together.

Just a few main points about psychology as a discipline:

Psychology is a complex and diverse discipline with many different areas of interest and specialization, such as assessment, developmental, educational, clinical, industrial, counseling, social psychology and teaching. Most of us start in the academe.

As expected, the reaction to the Psychology Law was also diverse.

Let me just present another version of the story of the Psychology Bill & Law. There are different versions of a story. This is what I remember: It doesn’t contradict Emy’s version but rather gives added information.

During the 1982 PAP convention, one of our founding fathers, Fr. Jaime Bulatao, S.J. asked me as, then PAP President, to call an emergency meeting to sound the alarm that we needed to draft our own bill, to protect our practice from the medical profession and to regulate and professionalize psychology and to make sure that only the qualified can practice.
I remember that we then formed a Committee to draft the bill. Naty Dayan, Nena Alcuaz-Reyes and myself were joined by Mila Catabona of Letran College, Virgie Panlasigui of Veterans Medical Center, Grace Cabanos of the National Mental Hospital, and Noemi Catalan of FEU.

In the discussions that followed there were many points of controversy, such as “the members of the Licensing board “will be appointed by the President of the Philippines.” We had to add “from a list provided by the PAP.”

Another issue was the licensing of Psychology teachers. Most of us believed that those teaching Psychology must be regulated by their respective universities who have their own well- developed, systematic procedure for screening, hiring, promoting and dismissing their professors. There is also the issue of academic freedom.

Because of the many issues, the committee decided to have more time for reflection and discussion so they decided to lie low in terms of filing the bill. But when the Guidance Law was passed, it affected the psychologists in the schools and other areas of work. A group led by Dr. Lucy Bance along with former PAP President Miren Intal (and later, PAP presidents Allan Bernardo, Jay Saplala and Caring Tarroja) took up the challenge and filed the bill, meeting with the lawmakers who sponsored the bill until it became the Psychology Law RA 10029.

In my keynote speech at the PAP Annual convention a couple of years ago, I urged all of us to “Practice with Mindfulness and Integrity”.

This afternoon, let us be reminded of the following:

– In the Psychology Law, the state recognizes that the science of Psychology is important and is actually vital to the life of our nation.
– The Law also ensures that the standards of practice are excellent and globally competitive.

– We are also aware that the number of young people attracted to psychology has greatly increased and continues to increase, as psychology continues to draw more people. They need role models they can emulate and be proud of. We must be the role models for these young psychologists.

– Now that we have a legal personality, we must be more MINDFUL. Being mindful means paying total and full attention to what we are doing and observing ourselves as to how and why we are doing what we are doing. It means being more careful and reflective, rather than careless and in a hurry.

– We must take time to practice, do research and formulate concepts and theories from our own people, our own experience in our own culture, and doing our own thinking as an independent and diverse but united discipline. We can then share these with the global community in friendly exchange.

– We need to practice with full attention and care but also….always with INTEGRITY. Integrity doesn’t just mean honesty, but also respect and compassion. It means having solid core values to anchor on whenever a decision has to be made.
In the field of medicine, medical schools are now looking at trained doctors who are not only skilled but are also compassionate. As present, I have been asked to give talks in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, by large business corporations on how to build a culture of integrity.

If medical science and business corporations are concerned about compassion and integrity, shouldn’t Psychology be even more so?

Let us start by honoring our Code of Ethics. As Psychologists and Psychometricians (as we can legally and proudly call ourselves now), we must always walk with DIGNITY as we uphold the dignity of those we serve ALWAYS, AT ALL TIMES, EVEN IN THE WORST CIRCUMSTANCES.

And lastly but most important of all—let us use our science of human behavior and mental processes for the WELL-BEING of all human beings. For what good is a science of human being if it will not promote the well-being of all human beings?
Let us practice with a DEEP RESPECT for ourselves…. and for all persons.

Thank you and Congratulations!

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