legal and ethical issues in psychology

The next question is what are the ethical responsibilities of the forensic psychologist and the lawyers when a system has inadequate assessment, diagnostic and treatment resources for mental health and addictions? If the reliance on the forensic psychology expert increases as expected, maintaining the public confidence requires facing significant ethical questions for the psychologists and attorneys who work in the justice system. Whenever it is possible, researchers must explain as far as possible the nature of their research and obtain the unpressured consent of participants who understand it. Even from just these three examples, it is obvious that legal decisions have had considerable influence on the practice of professional psychology and will continue to do so. As a starting point, my recent book — “Science, Ethics, and Justice” — asks many questions about how science might ethically inform law and policy. Depression, disorientation, or other symptoms of a medical condition could affect the patient’s judgment. Ethical Issues in Psychology Psychologists often work with vulnerable individuals in sensitive situations. (2010). Anticipation of ethical pitfalls and consultation with colleagues are key to preventing practitioners' most common ethical dilemmas, noted speakers from APA's Ethics Committee and Committee on Legal Issues (COLI) at APA's 2003 Annual Convention. Informing the patient is not enough. Indian J Med Ethics. There are many resources available outlining legal and ethical guidelines to follow in certain situations, but they may not cover every possibility. Nothing could be further from the truth. The act of refusing a recommended treatment alone does not indicate that the patient is incompetent to make a decision about his or her own medical care. Many issues in psychology involve both legal and ethical considerations and lawsuits were instrumental in the development of regulations pertaining to informed consent and confidentiality. This can be done by continuing to develop knowledge of advances made in psychology in addition to legislative changes that apply to issues that could affect therapy and treatment. Legal issues regarding assessment, testing, and diagnoses can refer to the qualifications of the persons performing these services or the delivery of the services, tools used, process of evaluating the results, or any combination of these elements. In his reports for the different kinds of courts, highly respected researcher, Douglas B. Marlowe, JD, PhD, sets out the importance of the quality of treatment for the success of such programs. Over the last week we have discussed a number of court cases in class that have influenced changes in the practice of professional psychology. Indian J Psychiatry: IPS Clinical Practice Guidelines. The ability to think rationally and apply general ethical principles to specific situations is vital. [Electronic Version]. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/principles.pdf, Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. That trust allows the therapist to build a relationship with the client where in the client is comfortable enough to share intimate details about his or her life with the therapist so he or she can attempt to resolve any issues. If a person fails to get clean and sober with inadequate or inappropriate treatment, should the courts punish them and should they be adjudicated as habitual offenders? As my studies continued I discovered that there was far more to it then I thought. To a certain degree both of these are needed to be considered professionally competent. Informed consent laws require that the psychologists take whatever reasonable steps are necessary to communicate any relevant information to the patient. Another example is the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) that was formed in 1947. 750 First St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, Telephone: (202) 336-5500. A reasonable conclusion is that Michigan has a court structure that supports treatment approaches but the coverage of the courts does not speak to the adequacy of the treatment available to the court population. A core ethical responsibility to clients is the promotion of beneficence: doing good on the client's behalf. The extent of the coverage of courts using a treatment model varies wildly from state to state. This could be done in a number of ways, including discussions, reading materials, or in some cases using other resources like the Internet or videos (Sabatino, 2012). Significantly better outcomes have been achieved. What should be the minimum qualifications for the forensic psychologist to be considered an expert? An important step in becoming a mental health professional or consumer of psychological services is to be aware of the ethical issues faced by psychologists. Retrieved from http://www.abpp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3341, American Psychological Association. Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 21, 2014: Well-organized; well-written; not an easy thing to do about a difficult and complex subject. Ethics refers to the correct rules of conduct necessary when carrying out research. Jennifer L. Black (author) from Normal, Il on March 21, 2014: Thank you. Chapter 10 discusses the ethics codes that school psychologists are expected to follow irrespective of their level of educational attainment. Drug Courts are proven to retain offenders in treatment considerably longer than most other correctional programs when Drug Courts adopted standardized, evidence-based treatments. In short, the success of the justice reinvestment efforts, the therapeutic courts and other specialty court approaches will be determined by the public's perception of the success of the treatment ordered by the courts. Running Head: LEGAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES IN PSYCHOLOGY Legal and Ethical Issues in Ethical challenges for psychology in the justice system . It is notable that those who research justice system programs for alcohol misuse, drug addiction and mental illness note clear caveats in their writing about the need for quality of treatment. From starting the first court alcohol treatment program to be certified by the Indiana Division of Addiction Services through the last 40 years, this writer has worked to advance the relationship between treatment providers and the courts. The role professional competence plays in psychology is a very important one. According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (2010) being competent only indicates that he or she meet the minimum requirements to perform at an acceptable level. As a division of the APA, the society likely has access to resources beyond its own members. It is designed to protect information that identifies a specific individual. It is to the guidelines that one must look for the ethical guidance for the individual psychologist. According to them “Professional competence is the habitual and judicious use of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, emotions, values, and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of the individual and community being served” (pg. With informed consent also comes informed refusal (Sabatino, 2012). Issues of privacy, informed consent, access to hospitalized or residential care patients, access to medical records or inclusion in conferences with healthcare staff, competency and decision making about care, especially end-of-life care may lead to complex, ethical conflicts or … Generally, confidentiality and any applicable exceptions should be discussed at the onset of the professional relationship. There are many reasons patients may refuse care even though it is needed and they understand the possible consequences of their decision. Someone who has had a bad experience with one therapist may not seek help from another one even when he or she desperately needs it. A larger systemic question is why should someone have to go to jail and court to get treatment for a health condition? Ethical dilemmas faced by forensic psychologists in the criminal justice system. Forensic practitioners strive for accuracy, honesty and truthfulness in the science, teaching and practice of forensic psychology and they strive to resist partisan pressures to provide services in any ways that might tend to be misleading or inaccurate. This case led to extending the privilege information rule to clinical notes taken during therapy. While laws may differ from state to state, ethical considerations … In Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California (1976) confidentiality was also addressed, but from a different angle. In his “Research Update on Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts,” Marlowe reports: It would seem that youthful substance-abusing offenders may be unusually intolerant of weak or ineffective efforts. Ethical issues may arise when proper procedures for per-forming assessments are not carried out. Another case, Schloendorff v. Society of New York Hospital (1914) a patient sued the doctor and hospital for performing a surgery that he did not authorize. A specialty is a distinct focus in the field of psychology that indicates superior abilitydeveloped through formal education, training, and experience (American Board of Professional Psychology, 2013). 2007;53:30-31. In that case the therapist was a social worker who disclosed confidential information when requested by the court. Summary of the HIPAA, Privacy Rule. Dr Leemon McHenry examines ethical issues in pharmacology. Choose from 500 different sets of legal ethical issues abnormal psychology psychopathology flashcards on Quizlet. Testing and assessments conducted by someone not adequately trained could lead to improper diagnoses and be cause for legal action. Is any order for needed treatment or care that does not adequately address the person's needs and help that person correct a deficit an ethical order? There is widespread agreement (at least in theory) that it is desirable for the courts to use assessments and recommendations for addiction and mental health related decisions. The ethical issues in psychology will help discover the various areas in the field that should be tread upon with sensitivity. Blog. Now, after years of fits and starts by drug courts and other specialty courts, the lack of adequate treatment that is specific to the individuals' needs, culturally appropriate, and both geographically and economically accessible, the possibility looms that the public may rebel at the justice systems' failed attempts to use the power of the courts to “cure” people. Legal, Ethical and Policy Issues & Trends in School Psychology PSYC 615, Section 001, 3 Credit Hours Wednesday 9:00-11:45 111 Kinard Hall Fall 2016 Dr. Antigo Martin-Delaney 114-A Kinard martina@winthrop.edu Phone: Ext 2629 Office Hours: Monday (1:00-4:00) & Wednesday (2:00-4:00); other times by appointment only American Academy of Physicians Assistants. The more important and relevant question is whether there is appropriate treatment that is reasonably accessible and available to all of the justice system population. (2013). Ethical and legal issues which are likely to be encountered in practice; like record keeping, confidentiality, boundary crossings and violations, medical negligence and other practical issues have been examined in this chapter. If a person who has impaired vision is ordered to obtain a lens that is cheaper and easier to obtain than a prescription lens that would properly correct the vision is injured or causes an injury because of poor vision, do we say they failed and do not want to see? Critical steps are screening, assessment, treatment, aftercare and monitoring. Are there enough adequately trained psychologists to staff the justice system to provide adequate training and supervision of the probation and parole staff in conducting needed screenings? The use of expert psychological testimony in both state and federal courts has the potential to advance the public confidence in the justice system as being safer, fairer and more humane. Positive ethics, risk management, and defensive practice. At times it can be difficult to ensure that you are not developing a personal relationship with a patient. Not only can that trust be damaged by a lack of competence, it would also be unethical to attempt to provide a service without the proper training. Informed consent is not a recent development in the medical field. 1). The specialty courts are accessible to 97 percent of Michigan's population. Ethical Issues in Assessments with Infants and Children Margarita M. Posada Fordham University When conducting assessments with infants and children it important for psychologists to be mind-ful of the ethical issues that may arise. Informed Consent. Indeed, the very first responsibility for the forensic psychologists is on point to the ethical questions confronting both the justice system and the professional. Informed consent. COMPETENCE, provide significant guidance for determining who is competent to provide psychological testimony for sentencing and parenting decisions by a court. Regardless — whether the lawyers, the psychologists or both address the issues — it is likely that ignoring the questions will not improve the success of treatment in the justice system nor improve public perception of treatment. There are many legal issues that could arise in the process of informed consent and informed refusal. These law and policy changes are moving the courts from punitive sentences to treatment approaches. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (2012) developed The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, also known as the Privacy Rule, which initiated national standards designed to protect confidential health information. In 1891 the Supreme Court ruled that people have the right to self-determination and in Schloendorff v. Society of New York Hospital (1914) the judge decided in favor of a patient who sued his doctor for performing a surgery that he did not authorize. The psychologist must verify that the patient completely understands the information. However, only about 2.5 million people received the specialized treatment they needed in the previous 12 months. Reasonable explanations could include the purpose of t… Nov. 21, 2020. Another issue that could arise is if the doctor informed the patient, but failed to ensure the patient understood everything clearly. Issues in one or more of these areas can result in legal actions taken by the client, including class action lawsuits by groups of individuals who believe that they were not being treated fairly or were singled out based on their race, gender, or ethnicity. Gratitude in the workplace: How gratitude can improve your well-being and relationships An attempt still needs to be made to inform the patient even if he or she is not able to give consent (Sabatino, 2012). Once again an ethical decision would need to be made regarding what is the right thing to do in this type of situation and what can legally be done. What is visual communication and why it matters; Nov. 20, 2020. If forensic psychologists and treatment options are in short supply in many parts of the U.S., the first question arising from the section 1.01 Integrity is whether it is ethical for the forensic psychologist “expert” and the proponent of the expert's testimony to recommend treatment because it is available, geographically or economically while knowing that the treatment does not specifically address the patients' needs? TDD/TTY: (202) 336-6123. Some may not be interested in addressing the larger systemic ethical questions or decide that those concerns should be someone else's responsibility. Possessing general training in the field of psychology does not mean that a therapist is qualified in every situation that could arise. Standard nine of the APA’s Code of Conduct (2010) addresses issues related to assessments. While it was determined that therapy provided by a social worker was covered under confidentiality laws, the social worker was found to have given out more information than was required because she gave out additional information when it was requested. Issuesrelated to informed consent, assessment, and confidentiality are addressed in the ethical guidelines developed by the American Psychological Association (2010), as well as other organizations, but court rulings have also played a large part in designating appropriate actions in these areas. 41 for permission to reproduce any of this web content. Organic This includes information about an “individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition, the provision of health care to the individual, or the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual and that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify the individual”. 12). The rule of law is threatened when the science used by the courts is biased, arbitrary or otherwise unreliable. Pope, K. S., & Vasquez, M. J. T. (2011). The agreement includes the premise that courts should order people to treatment based on the "expert" testimony or accept agreements based on an expert's report. A: Confidentiality is the ethical, and in most states, the legal duty of psychologists to not disclose information about a client (see APA, 2002, Standards 4.01, 4.02). Ethical science as evidence is an area which needs significant discussion and forensic science as a collection of disciplines has only taken baby steps. Confidentiality is an essential part of any … The client may attempt to bring a malpractice suit against the psychologist which could in turn cost the psychologist more than the amount owed. The definition of professional competence has changed over the years to encompass not only acquiring specialized knowledge but also to include the way that knowledge is used. Do you have the experience and training needed to conduct valid forensic assessments in the justice system in order to recommend treatment plans to the courts? © 2020 APA Div. Avasthi A, Grover S. Ethical and legal issues in psychotherapy. Retrieved from http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/summary/index.html. If the doctor determines that the patient is not capable of making an informed decision about his or her treatment, whoever is authorized to make medical decisions will be responsible to do so (Sabatino, 2012). AP-LS Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists, Call for Papers/Proposals/Nominations (13). In his “Research Update on Family Drug Courts,” Marlowe reports a number of studies that highlight the need for quickly available and accessible treatment in these courts. This case focused more on the acceptable reasons to disclose confidential information and eventually led to laws that allowed notifying intended victims of a threat. Informed consent and confidentiality overlap in some cases, which is why it is essential that both are understood and the legal and ethical guidelines concerning both are followed (Sabatino, 2012). Sabatino, C. (2012). Many issues in psychology involve both legal and ethical considerations and lawsuits were instrumental in the development of regulations pertaining to informed consent and confidentiality. But if it is not the experts who work with the system who will explain the needs, who will? If the public perceives treatment as not working, demands for changes to the justice system may imperil treatment efforts. The decision was instrumental in developing laws concerning informed consent. It is better to get legal advice to ensure there is not a problem rather than putting oneself in risk of a malpractice suit. Defining and Assessing Professional Competence. They provide oversight by verifying psychologists have finished the education, training, and experience required for their specialty, including examinations designed specifically to evaluate the abilities necessary to deliver quality services to their patients. An informed patient understands his or her condition, treatment options, risks, and benefits of those treatments, what course the condition will take without treatment, the doctors recommended treatment, and any possible problems related to each of these features. ASPPB also assist with the career development process for psychologists by providing training material, a database of state-by-state certification requirements and can help in the process of transferring licensure for psychologists across different jurisdictions (Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, 2013). Retrieved from http://tchin.org/resource_room/c_art_18.htm, United States Department of Health and Human Services. Google Scholar | Crossref. By releasing the legally allowed information to a third party for debt collection purposes the psychologist did not break any confidentiality laws although the client may feel otherwise. In Jaffee v. Redmond Supreme Court ruling (1996) the concept of privileged communication was clarified, which ties in with confidentiality. The most common ethical issue faced by mental health professionals is maintaining boundaries. This is a part of the informed consent process, discussed earlier. This is one of the most important issues in psychological research. Ethical and legal decision-making for clinical psychologists is an _1_ process of applying _2_ ethics in your work, relying on your ethical __3__ and your ___4_ skills. Psychologists are required to maintain their professional competence, not only by staying up-to-date on changes in the field of psychology but by maintaining awareness of any revisions to laws or regulations that could affect them and their practice. For example, if a defendant has poor eyesight, should the court order the defendant to go to the dime store because it was closer or cheaper than an ophthalmologist? Medical Decision Making: Informed Consent in Pediatrics and, Pediatric Research. Interestingly, couple and family therapy is quite commonly practised by therapists with little or no specific training. Learn legal ethical issues abnormal psychology psychopathology with free interactive flashcards. Of those, about one-third of adults (33.2%) did not seek professional help during the previous 12 months. Whether one is a forensic psychologist or a lawyer, any failure to insure that psychological testimony provided is ethically produced and ethically explained, harms the entire justice system. Psychology is a very sensitive field and ethical concerns are likely to arise when carrying out research and prescribing any method of treatment to an individual. Researchers Must Maintain Participant Confidentiality. Thus, it is obvious that The American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) is situated to have a significant role in the improvement of justice system's use of psychological science. There are many laws in place addressing these issues as well as guidelines developed through different organizations. 1. The 2014 NSDUH data also show that 21.2 million Americans ages 12 and older needed treatment for an illegal drug or alcohol use problem in 2014. By back loading significant treatment resources into the justice system we are stealing resources from community based treatment providers. The basis of informed consent lays in whether or not the patient is of sound mind. It states that “Psychologists administer, adapt, score, interpret or use assessment techniques, interviews, tests or instruments in a manner and for purposes that are appropriate in light of the research on or evidence of the usefulness and proper application of the techniques” (pg. The relationship between a therapist and client is based on trust. An important step in becoming a mental health professional or consumer of psychological services is to be aware of the ethical issues faced by psychologists. This decision led to the concept of informed consent that allows adults capable of making an informed decision the right to decide if they want to receive medical treatment (Whitstone, 2004). 5). In some cases the patient’s refusal of treatment could harm others, for instance, if he or she had a communicable disease. Those conditions include if it is needed to provide required services, obtain a consultation, protect someone from harm, or to get paid for provided services (American Psychological Association, 2010). Ethical responsibilities of the courts are beyond the scope of this column, but AP-LS might be the appropriate body to undertake a cross disciplinary examination of the practice of blanket orders to treatment. Who is setting standards for qualifications to conduct an assessment or make a recommendation for treatment to be ordered by the court? One of the problems one encounters when conducting psychological research is considering the extent to which the research depends upon being unethical. Is it ethical for forensic psychologists to recommend makeshift and inadequate treatment solutions when informing the courts on addictions or mental health needs? Some of the most significant changes in the practice of psychology came about because of legal decisions. With a relatively narrow margin for error, it is incumbent upon JDTC practitioners to ‘get it right' by honing their skills and targeting their interventions most effectively from the outset…. AP-LS members have the opportunity to engage in such a process by starting with education of the legal profession about its guidelines. Another case in point would be if the person making the decision is someone other than the patient, a parent for example, and his or her decision is not in the best interest of the patient. In section 4.02 Discussing the Limits of Confidentiality it goes on to say that “Psychologists discuss with persons…and organizations with whom they establish a scientific or professional relationship…the relevant limits of confidentiality and…the foreseeable uses of the information generated through their psychological activities” (pg.7). Found in the practice of clinical psychology enough adequately trained could lead to improper diagnoses be... Court ruling ( 1996 ) and Tarasoff v. Regents of University of.! Be ordered by the court training in the field that should be taken to address these types of directly! Reflected in a number of court cases in class that have influenced in... Why it matters ; Nov. 20, 2020 different angle the specialty courts, Michigan would be informative agencies. These law and policy changes are moving the courts on addictions or mental health needs using flawed is... In this field are equally required to adhere to the medical field the opportunity to in... 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For a health condition what it entailed to do so 41 for permission to reproduce any this. Punitive sentences to treatment approaches the decision was instrumental in developing laws concerning informed consent consistent throughout the profession specific... Important the issue under investigation psychologists need to remember that they have treatment! Society likely has access to resources beyond its own members treatment model varies wildly from state to state setting! A certified specialist with informed consent process, discussed earlier to ensure psychologist have the required and... Many resources available outlining legal and ethical guidelines to follow in certain situations but... Abnormal psychology psychopathology with free interactive flashcards, 2014: Thank you decision Making: informed process... Considered an expert the concept of privileged communication was clarified, which in! Is designed to protect research participants certain degree both of these are to. 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