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Ethical Dilemma in Professional Psychology

Select an ethical dilemma in professional psychology.
IN FIRST PERSON:

Describe the following ethical dilemma:
SCENERIO
The defendants attorney is pressuring the forensic psychologist (expert witness) testimony to overstep the bounds of their professional knowledge; e.g., testifying in child abuse cases that the perpetrator is "cured" and that there is no chance of reabuse (crystal ball predictions). How do you proceed with the case? More alternative choices are in the discussion of alternatives I guess I could discuss how the testimony might sound so that it moves in the direction of meeting the attorney's needs without committing outright perjury.

Apply each one of the following first 14 steps in the ethical decision making process to your selected issue Steps in Ethical Decision Making
Step 1: Identify the situation that requires ethical consideration and decision making
Step 2: Anticipate who will be affected by your decision
Step 3: Figure out who, if anyone, is the client
Step 4: Assess your relevant areas of competenceâ?"and of missing knowledge, skills, experience, or expertiseâ?"in regard to the relevant aspects of this situation
Step 5: Review relevant formal ethical standards
Step 6: Review relevant legal standards
Step 7: Review the relevant research and theory
Step 8: *Consider how, if at all, your personal feelings, biases, or self-interest might affect your ethical judgment and reasoning
Step 9: Consider what effects, if any, that social, cultural, religious, or similar factors may have on the situation and on identifying ethical responses
Step 10: Consider consultation
Step 11: Develop alternative courses of action
Step 12: Evaluate the alternative courses of action
Step 13: Try to adopt the perspective of each person who will be affected
Step 14: Decide what to do, and then review or reconsider it

Explain the importance of ethical decision making in professional psychology.

Solution Preview

****This work is not intended to be hand in ready, and it is advised that the student use the material in this posting as guidance and information for their original work****

Ethical dilemma:

Step 1: Identify the situation that requires ethical consideration and decision making

The ethical dilemma is simply stated in the scenario given, the defendant's attorney is pressuring the forensic psychologist to commit to a diagnosis which is not possible and potentially perjure him or herself. Additionally, for the psychologist to make a diagnosis of "cured" the psychologist would have to play two roles. The governing rules for this type of situation are taken from American Psychological Association (APA) Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists:

6.02.01 Therapeutic-Forensic Role Conflicts

Providing forensic and therapeutic psychological services to the same individual or closely related individuals is considered a multiple relationship that may impair objectivity and/or cause exploitation or other harm. Therefore, when requested or ordered to provide either concurrent or sequential forensic and therapeutic services, forensic practitioners disclose the potential risk and make reasonable efforts to refer the request to another qualified provider.

13.01 Accuracy, Fairness, and Avoidance of Deception

Forensic practitioners make reasonable efforts to ensure that the products of their services, as well as their own public statements and professional reports and testimony, are communicated in ways that promote understanding and avoid deception. When in their role as expert to the court or other tribunals, the role of forensic practitioners is to facilitate understanding of the evidence or dispute. Forensic practitioners do not distort or withhold relevant evidence or opinion in reports or testimony. When responding to discovery requests and providing sworn testimony, forensic practitioners have readily available for inspection all data which they considered, regardless of whether the data supports their opinion, subject to and consistent with court order, relevant rules of evidence, test security issues, and professional standards.

Step 2: Anticipate who will be affected by your decision
The child who was abused as well as potential future children will be possible targets. The family members of the victim and abuser and the psychologist testifying would all be impacted.

Step 3: Figure out who, if anyone, is the client
The Client is actually the defense attorney as they would pay the fee but this fee would be conditional as stated below:

13.01 Accuracy, Fairness, and Avoidance of Deception... Forensic practitioners do not distort or withhold relevant evidence or opinion in reports or testimony. When responding to discovery requests and providing sworn testimony, forensic practitioners have readily available for inspection all data which they considered, regardless of whether the data supports their opinion, subject to and consistent with court order, relevant rules of evidence, test security issues, and professional standards. (http://www.ap-ls.org/links/92908sgfp.pdf)

Step 4: Assess your relevant areas of competenceâ?"and of missing knowledge, skills, experience, or expertiseâ?"in regard to the relevant aspects of this situation

Competency is not an issue because without the defendant's psychological history, profile, and psychological tests it would be impossible to make any conclusion especially one which determines recidivism. Additionally, the type ...

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