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Inappropriate Behavior: Student/Trainee Abuse

Ethical behavior is not just an expectation between professional and client, there are also ethical considerations related to training and supervision of forensic psychology professionals. In some forensic settings graduate students of forensic psychology may receive training and supervision provided by established forensic psychology professionals. Like other professional areas in Forensic Psychology, supervisor-supervisee relationships are governed by codes of ethics and specific forensic psychology guidelines. Offering training to aspiring professionals of forensic psychology creates recruitment opportunities for institutions and agencies associated with forensic psychology. As with any professional setting, ethical challenges may arise for supervisors as well as for students in training. It may seem obvious that supervisors are obligated to provide their supervisees with thorough ethically-based training but it is important to note that students too must practice ethical behavior in their professional relationships with both clients and their supervisors. Failure for all parties to act ethically may lead to ethical breaches with consequences for all involved.

Review the case study: Case Study
Approximately half way through a one year internship student X was informally counseled by her supervisor and the Chief Psychologist for, among other things, calling her supervisor "honey" and "sweetie" when addressing him in public. She discontinued this practice for a short while following her informal counseling by her two supervising psychologists on boundary issues. From time to time, she would "slip up" and call her supervisor "sweetie", only to quickly retract her statement. Several months later and prior to her supervisor getting married, student X asked her supervisor if she could take him out one evening for a "bachelor's party." The supervisor once again told student X that this was boundary crossing and that her invitation was inappropriate. He would not go to any bachelor's party.
Student X appeared hurt and had minimal contact with the supervisor from that point forward. However, when the supervisor was on his honeymoon, student X wrote a letter to an Associate Warden, the Chief Psychologist's supervisor, accusing both her supervisor and the Chief Psychologist of misusing institution funds, being partial to other interns, being afraid of her supervisor (without a specific reason), time and attendance fraud, and the misuse of institution computers. Due to the seriousness of the allegations, an official investigation was conducted. Seemingly inappropriate files tied to the supervisor were found on an institution computer to which everyone in the psychology department had access. However, the files were time/date stamped on the same day student X wrote her letter of allegation against her supervisors. The supervisor's passport showed that he was out of the country and could not have created the documents. Student X was removed from under the supervisor's authority at the request of the supervisor and a psychologist from another location was appointed as the intern's supervisor for the remaining two months of her 12-month internship.
Student X provided no clinical services for the last two months of her internship and received supervision by her newly appointed supervisor for one hour per week. The requirement of the internship called for at least three hours of supervision per week and 2,000 hours of time spent on the internship with 80% of an intern's work hours directed at clinical services. Student X also took 200 hours throughout the year for vacation and sick leave. At the end of the internship year, student X's original supervisor was directed by the institution's non-psychology administration to sign the interns certificate of completion, verifying that she had met all the requirements of the internship program. He refused to sign her certificate. However, the newly appointed supervisor signed the certificate of completion and later verified her hours on an official licensing board application.

a description of at least one ethical obligation and one dilemma that you identified in the case study. Cite or reference specific codes/guidelines that you might apply to the obligation and the dilemma you chose. Finally, explain how you might respond to the ethical obligation and the ethical dilemma as a forensic psychology professional.

Solution Preview

Dear Student,
Hi. As always, I suggest making it simple and to the point with an outline like this:

1. Quick case overview, ethical obligation and dilemma - 150 words
2. Applicable codes - 100 words
3. Response - 150 words

This outline should yield 400 words which should cover what you need. Just let me know via the feedback section if you need further clarification. You can also use the listed resources to further explore the topic. All the best with your studies.

AE 105878/Xenia Jones

Case Review: Inappropriate Behavior

The case under review refers to the behavior of graduate student under training as a forensic psychologist wherein the student appears to have behaved abusively and inappropriately towards her supervisor, crossing the line from professional to personal, in what appears to be behavior befitting that of a student 'crush', the psychologist under training behaves irresponsibly after being turned down and reminded of her duties and the professional line in her training arrangement with the supervisor she has set her advances on. The ethical obligation of the student is to behave professionally, to ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advice in tackling the task (see above) on the topic of doing a case review related to training/supervision abuse. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic.