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Ethical and Legal Considerations of Virtual Assessment of Seminary Candidates

Total Credits: 1 APA Self Study Credit

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Dr. Shannon Mullen-Magbalon, Ph.D., CSAT-S
1 Hour 04 Minutes
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Pre-seminarian evaluations have become the standard practice for dioceses in the United States and abroad.  Many dioceses seek to find a Catholic psychologist trained to complete these specialized evaluations, which also require expertise in assessing sexual behavior and various dimensions of the human person understood in Catholic anthropology.  Bishops also seek to employ an assessor who understands the culture of the Catholic Church and the elements and stages of formation for Catholic clergy and religious.  Due to the limited number of such specialists, Catholic psychologists are being asked to take on referrals from outside their region.  Virtual or remote assessment options have been utilized to address the clinical need and match an appropriately trained assessor with the candidate in need of evaluation.  There are various considerations for licensure jurisdiction, data security, and validity of test results which require informed consent and adjustments to the assessment process.  This workshop will explore those considerations and prepare the psychologists to make better-informed decisions while attending to the legal and ethical concerns inherent in virtual assessment approaches. 

Learning Objectives:

  • List the ethical and legal considerations of virtual evaluation approaches for seminary candidates.  
  • List three potential benefits of telehealth evaluation for seminary candidates as an alternative to in-person assessment.

Target Audience: 

Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, MFTs, Counselors, Substance Abuse Counselors, Missionaries, Evangelists, Pastoral Counselors, Coaches, Spiritual Directors

Level of Content: Intermediate





Shannon Mullen, Ph.D., CSAT, is the current Ethics Committee Chair for CPA and the lead author of the ethics code for the organization.  She has more than 20 years of experience in assessment and treatment.  She also carries multiple licensures, including Georgia and Florida, and is a PSYPACT Psychologist who regularly completes virtual evaluations of seminary candidates for dioceses in several states in the US and abroad.  

There is no conflict of interest or commercial support for this program. 
This program does not qualify for NBCC credits



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Shannon Mullen, Ph.D., CSAT-S, is a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist and Supervisor by the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals. She has more than 20 years of experience in assessment and treatment and is considered an expert in sexual behavior and trauma recovery. Dr. Mullen is EMDR trained and is an IFS therapist as well. She regularly teaches and supervises other professionals in this work.