Multidisciplinary Teaming: Enhancing Collaboration through Increased Understanding

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Authors: Danielle L. LaFrance, Mary Jane Weiss, Ellie Kazemi, Joanne Gerenser, and  Jacqueline Dobres


In an effort to provide clarity about the unique contributions of several professions within the context of multidisciplinary treatment, we reviewed the definitions, philosophical underpinnings, and national requirements pertaining to both scopes of practice (i.e., model licensing acts, legislation, and regulatory boards) and training (i.e., task lists, accreditation standards and course requirements, and exam blueprints) of 4 behavioral health professions. The professions we selected (behavior analysis, psychology, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy) are likely to provide treatment alongside one another and often to the same clients. In a review of documents pertaining to scopes of practice and training for each profession, we found overlapping content. However, the similarities between professions diminished when we reviewed more specific guidelines such as learning objectives, educational requirements (i.e., coursework), supervised clinical experience (e.g., internships), and national examinations. This was especially true when considering each profession’s underlying approach to treatment (i.e., philosophical underpinnings) and, hence, service activities. We discuss our findings in light of service overlap and make a call for greater collaboration between professions, as related to the separate content knowledge and expertise of professionals in each field and the impact on client outcomes.

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