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APA Ethics Code and Implications

Sexual harassment is an important issue. The APA Ethics Code specifically states that professionals should not engage in any type of sexual harassment, be it verbal or physical.

Imagine you are the clinical supervisor of a mental health/research center. One of your younger clinical employees, Jamie Johns (ABD), has come to you complaining that her supervisor, Dr. Worth, has crossed boundaries during their clinical supervision by asking Jamie about her sexual orientation. Jamie reports that Dr. Worth has made sexual comments to her while discussing cases.

Jamie states that Dr. Worth is going to tell you that Jamie was sexually involved with one of her clients. She has confronted Dr. Worth about this being a breach of the APA Ethics Code. She reports that Dr. Worth laughed at her for saying this and said that he knows that the clinical supervisor will believe him over a new student practitioner.

Jamie is very upset while reporting this to you. She explains that she has not done anything wrong and has followed the Ethics Code. She sees this not only as a personal attack, but also as a professional violation by Dr. Worth.

What is happening in this situation? Clearly identify and address some of the potential conflicts in this case study. You might want to look at multicultural issues, personal issues, and other human relation areas. Have you ever witnessed or heard about a similar occurrence? (Please remember to only share what you are comfortable with in an appropriate, anonymous manner.) Did you have any specific thoughts or feelings about the event? If so, how has the information learned in this unit changed that viewpoint? What would you have done differently?

Solution Preview

There are a number of factors to consider. Firstly, what is the pre-existing relationship between Jamie and Dr. Worth? Is there tension that extends beyond the alleged sexual harassment?

It is possible that personal conflicts have motivated either party to bring matters of sexual harassment to your attention. However, if there is truth to Jamie's claim that Dr. Worth asked about her sexual orientation, or that the claim that she is having sexual relations with a client are true, then there are definite and legitimate concerns regarding both sexual harassment and client-practitioner ethics.

It is possible that Dr. Worth finds ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses APA ethics code and implications.

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