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Roles and competencies of the clinical psychologist in adult diabetes care-A consensus report.

AIMS: Psychological care is recognised as an integral part of quality diabetes care. We set out to describe the roles and competencies of the clinical psychologist as a member of the multidisciplinary adult diabetes care team, focused on secondary care.

METHODS: The authors are clinically experienced psychologists involved in adult diabetes care, from Australia, Europe and North America, and active members of the international psychosocial aspects of diabetes study group. Consensus was reached as a group on the roles and competencies of the clinical psychologist working in adult diabetes secondary care, building both on expert opinion and a selective review and discussion of the literature on psychological care in diabetes, clinical guidelines and competency frameworks.

RESULTS: The clinical psychologist fulfils multiple roles: (1) as a clinician (psychological assessment and therapy), (2) as advisor to the healthcare team (training, consulting), (3) as a communicator and promotor of person-centred care initiatives and (4) as a researcher. Four competencies that are key to successfully fulfilling the above-mentioned roles in a diabetes setting are as follows: (a) specialised knowledge, (b) teamwork and advice, (c) assessment, (d) psychotherapy (referred to as STAP framework).

CONCLUSIONS: The roles and competencies of clinical psychologists working in diabetes extend beyond the requirements of most university and post-graduate curricula. There is a need for a comprehensive, accredited specialist post-graduate training for clinical psychologists working in diabetes care, building on the proposed STAP framework. This calls for a collaborative effort involving diabetes organisations, clinical psychology societies and diabetes psychology interest groups.

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