How can a psychology professional determine when a situation might require violating ethical principles?
Dr. Jones lives in and practices psychology in a small town. She began treating 52-year-old Mr. Albertson, who was suffering with depression. After only 5 sessions with Dr. Jones, Mr. Albertson suffered a serious concussion while at work. His impairment from his injury was quite noticeable; he had trouble understanding concepts and became easily confused during his next two sessions with Dr. Jones.
One of Mr. Albertson’s co-workers helped him find an attorney to protect his rights. Dr. Jones had Mr. Albertson sign a release so she could talk to the attorney and to the co-worker. The attorney called to say that workers’ compensation wanted to work out a settlement. The attorney, however, has no idea just how impaired Mr. Albertson is; they have never met face-to-face and have only communicated by e-mail and phone.
Mr. Albertson demonstrates multiple cognitive deficits. He needs assistance and monitoring with things like cleaning his house, shopping, transportation, paying bills, and understanding the settlement process. He will likely need to go into an assisted living facility. His family members all live some distance away and are unable to provide much help. Workers’ compensation refuses to pay for the services of an independent social worker, and attempts to find social service agencies that can help have not been successful. Further, Mr. Albertson does not appear to understand either his legal rights or the settlement process.
Before providing extra therapy support, Dr. Jones had Mr. Albertson sign a document explaining her fees for the additional services. She does not feel that he completely understands what is happening. Dr. Jones has been doing much of the case management work such as locating a long-time friend who is willing to help Mr. Albertson at home, referring him for neuropsychological testing, having long discussions with his primary physician, participating in conference calls with the attorney, and trying to find a guardian.
Respond to the following questions regarding the case study you just read. Applying critical thinking and support your responses with references to the APA code of ethics and your own research. Your paper should be at least 4 but no more than 6 pages, excluding the title page and reference page.
What are the potential ethical issues with this case?
What are the competing ethical principles?
Is Dr. Jones acting beyond the limits of her competency? Explain.
Is Dr. Jones practicing outside the scope of her license? Explain. (Tip: Look for state licensing and legal requirements in your own state.)
What are the possible implications that may occur as a result of Dr. Jones engaging in multiple roles in Mr. Albertson’s care? (Hint: Is there a conflict of interest? Are there possible issues involving confidentiality, legal, and so on?)
What suggestions would you make to Dr. Jones?
Be sure that you support your statements, explanations, and decisions with references to at least 3 scholarly or professional resources. Follow APA guidelines throughout your paper.
American Psychological Association. (2014). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx
The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing each assessment. They provide helpful information about the topics in this unit. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom.
The following resources are provided for you in the Capella University Library and are linked directly in this course. These e-books or articles contain content relevant to the topics and assessments that are the focus of this unit.
Kolmes, K. (2012). Social media in the future of professional psychology. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 43(6), 606–612.
Leach, M. M., & Oakland, T. (2010). Displaying ethical behaviors by psychologists when standards are unclear. Ethics & Behavior, 20(3/4), 197–206.
Gauthier, J. (2009). Ethical principles and human rights: Building a better world globally. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 22(1), 25–32.
Sude, M. E. (2013). Text messaging and private practice: Ethical challenges and guidelines for developing personal best practices. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 35(3), 211–227.
Barnett, J. E. (2008). The ethical practice of psychotherapy: Easily within our reach. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64(5), 569–575.
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