The issues surrounding ethical dilemmas and ethical decision-making

The issues surrounding ethical dilemmas and ethical decision-making facing psychologists in professional practice are complex. Rarely is there one solid right answer. Yet, our guiding principle at every level is: “do no harm” and this goes for our clients, students, research participants, colleagues in the community, as well as ourselves.

The issues surrounding ethical dilemmas and ethical decision-making

The issues surrounding ethical dilemmas and ethical decision-making facing psychologists in professional practice are complex. Rarely is there one solid right answer. Yet, our guiding principle at every level is: “do no harm” and this goes for our clients, students, research participants, colleagues in the community, as well as ourselves.

There are, however, three things that are critical in making ethical decisions:

(1) Firstly, you need a solid, integrated professional ethical identity.

(2) Secondly, you need to have a clear reasoning process used to solve dilemmas.

(3) Thirdly, you need to have documentation of your thinking process in solving the dilemma.

Additionally, If ever questioned, this documentation will provide invaluable assistance in justifying or, if necessary, defending your decisions and actions.

Keeping these ideas in mind, please respond to the following questions in your initial discussion post.

1. Given the contents of the codes of ethics, how would you evaluate the ethics of a sexual relationship between a child counsellor and the parent of one of her clients? Would sexual contact several months after termination be considered ethical? (Page 220)

2. Please read Cases for Discussion: The Case of Portia on Page 252 in the course textbook, then answer the following questions in your initial discussion post.

In establishing a social relationship with a client six months after therapy, did Deborah violate the multiple relationship provision of the ACA code?
Did she violate any other provision?
What do you see as the ethical risks and benefits, if any, of Deborah’s action?

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