Review of Applications for Membership or Affiliation in APA by the Ethics Committee

Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I asked to identify on the APA application form whether I have ever been convicted of a felony or sanctioned by any professional ethics body, licensing board, other regulatory body, or any professional or scientific organization?

APA’s Association Rules require that membership forms collect “information sufficient to establish the applicant's ethical and technical qualifications for membership.” The Ethics Committee is the body that reviews all applications identifying preadmission unethical conduct to determine whether they are ethically qualified for membership/affiliation.

What happens when I say yes to that question on the form?

If you identify prior unethical conduct on your application, the Membership Office will forward your application to the Ethics Office for review. The Ethics Committee is responsible for making a recommendation concerning your application. You will receive a letter from the Ethics Office requesting additional information needed to make a determination on your application.

Is answering “yes” an automatic bar to membership/affiliation?

Past difficulties are not an automatic bar to membership/affiliation. The Ethics Committee considers each application and supporting information thoroughly and carefully when making its recommendation.

What information does the Ethics Committee review?

The membership application file consists of your application to the Membership Office, including any attachments you submitted, the Membership Office letter to you indicating that they were referring the matter to the Ethics Committee, correspondence from the Ethics Committee, internal Ethics staff/Ethics Committee correspondence, and any information sent in by you or by someone else on your behalf. If you are reapplying after having left APA by a resignation under ethical investigation, stipulated resignation, expulsion or a voided membership, your previous ethics file will also be included.

What additional information will the Ethics Committee want from me?

You will be asked to submit copies of the court or licensing board documents outlining the charges, decision, and final resolution of the ethics problem, including proof that you have completed any probation or other requirements. You will also want to include an explanation of the behavior and a description of any steps you have taken to avoid the problem in the future. The Committee has found it helpful in almost all cases to also have a copy of your current resume, including a description of your formal education; any supervised clinical education, and any continuing education.

If you are reapplying after having left APA by a resignation under ethical investigation, stipulated resignation, expulsion, or a voided membership, you are also encouraged to include information concerning completion of education and training focused on remediation of the problem leading to loss of membership (including workshops, seminars, supervised experience, and/or reports from therapists) and whether you have a current license.

Can I send in additional information?

This is your opportunity to respond and provide additional information to the Ethics Committee. You may send in letters of support or other documentation that you believe will be helpful to the Ethics Committee in understanding your situation. The information or documentation which you provide will be included in your file and considered when making a determination concerning your application.

What if I am still on probation?

It is best to apply after you have completed any requirements of the court or licensing board and are off probation. The Ethics Committee has a policy that it will automatically recommend denial of an applicant still completing such requirements.

What happens after the Ethics Committee reviews the information?

Once the Ethics Committee reviews your file, it will either recommend to the Membership Board that your membership/affiliation be granted or to the Board of Directors that your membership/affiliation be denied. (If you are reapplying after having left APA by a resignation under ethical investigation, stipulated resignation, expulsion, or a voided membership, the recommendation for admission or denial will go to the Membership Board.) You will receive a letter notifying you of the Ethics Committee's recommendation.

What happens if the Ethics Committee recommends that my application should be denied?

If the Ethics Committee recommends that your application be denied, you will be provided the rationale for that recommendation. You will be given an opportunity to forward additional information to the Board of Directors before that Board makes the final decision on your application.

If you are reapplying after having left APA by a resignation under ethical investigation, stipulated resignation, expulsion, or a voided membership, the Membership Board will likely accept the Ethics Committee’s recommendation for denial without further process.

Where can I find more information on the Ethics Committee’s process?

Part III of the APA Ethics Committee’s Rules and Procedures governs this ethics review process.