PSY-510 Contemporary and Ethical Issues in Psychology
Research on Intimate Partner Violence and the Duty to Protect
Directions: In a minimum of 50 words, for each question, thoroughly answer each of the questions below regarding Case 4: Research on Intimate Partner Violence and the Duty to Protect. Use in-text citations, when appropriate, according to APA formatting.
APA, (2013). Ethical Codes of Conduct. American Psychology Association, http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx
- Why is this an ethical dilemma? Which APA Ethical Principles help frame the nature of the dilemma?
- The ethical dilemma is Dr. Yeung might be considering she is too personally involved and it is affecting obviously affecting her professional career especially if she considers the APA Ethics Codes after the client called her home phone. The fact that the client did not contact her at her office but at her home is clearly an ethical dilemma. Another ethical dilemma Dr. Yeung has is her client possibly an eminent danger to himself and others even though he has never acted upon his threats in the past. Dr. Yeung has an ethical dilemma if she decides to go to the clients home this will be construed as her being too personally involved and she may not be considered professional causing a harmful viewpoint of her physiological business. If she calls emergency services, this could be a false alarm since her client has not going through with his threats in the past. When Dr. Yeung is making her decisions, she must follow the APA Ethical Codes of Conduct without making her decisions seem personal towards the client.
- The APA Ethical Principles that may help frame her dilemma could be Standard 3.07 Third-Party Requests for Services only because her client is a parolee and she is being paid through federal funding. Also, Standard 2.01a the Boundaries of Competence allowing her client access to her home phone.
- Who are the stakeholders and how will they be affected by how Dr. Yeung resolves this dilemma?
- There are several stakeholders such as Dr. Yeung reputations and the perception of being too personally involved with her client’s case and her physiological business. The girlfriend and his parents who her client has made the threats against and could possibly follow through with the threats. Aiden as he could be sent back to prison for violating his parole. The emergency services if Dr. Yeung calls them not knowing what they may encounter when they arrive at the client’s home or the state of mind of the client.
- Does this situation meet the standards set by the Tarasoff decision’s “duty to protect” statute (see Chapter 7)?
- I do not think the client’s situation meets the protect statue of Duty to Protect or Duty to Warn. Since the client has made previous threats, however, the client has never follow through with harming anyone or himself. The probability of the client acting on his threat will not happen. The client does exhibit signs of addiction to alcohol and has experienced emotional abuse and in this case, he needs to be monitored in this case. Dr. Yeung having tried to contact her client and finds the phone is off she should contact emergency services to check on her client because one never knows when a client will carry out a threat.
- How might whether or not Dr. Yeung’s state includes researchers under such a statute influence Dr. Yeung’s ethical decision making?
- Dr. Yeung may have to consult other physiologists or researchers in making her decision only because if she perceives her client is in eminent danger to himself or others then she may need their assistance. Section 4.01 will allow Dr. Yeung to disclose his client’s case only because he is posing a danger to the girlfriend, his parents, and himself(Fisher, 2013).
- How might the fact that Dr. Yeung is a research psychologist without training or licensure in clinical practice influence the ethical decision?
- Since Dr. Yeung is not licensed she can chose to not follow the APA Ethnical Codes of Conduct, she is protected from following the codes, she can get involved personally and choose to go to the client’s home to speak with him. She may not have the proper training and license, however, she can make the ethical decision to go to the client’s home since she does know where is lives, so therefore she can act outside of these ethical standard principles that are enforcing the rules for the conduct of physiologists (Fisher, 2013).
- In addressing this dilemma, should Dr. Yeung consider how her decision may affect the completion of her research (e.g., the confidentiality concerns of other participants)?
- Dr. Yeung’s decision to confide in other physiologists and emergency services regarding her client’s state of mind may or may not affect her research. Because she is not licensed and did not violate any APA Ethical Codes of Conduct she can use this as a learning experience in her research. She still needed to be concerned with confidentiality of her client’s information and may have to reveal to other participants if faced with the same set of circumstances.
- How are APA Ethical Standards 2.01f, 3.04, 3.06, 4.01, 4.02, 4.05, and 8.01 relevant to this case?
- The Boundaries of Competence 2.01: With Dr. Yeung’s professional education she has the knowledge to make the best decision regarding he client and his threats Since she has been treating him professionally she understands the case and this gives her an advantage in the ethical dilemma she faces and what ethical codes to assist in her decision.
- Bases of Scientific and Professional Judgement 2.04: Since this standard is about the professional and scientific judgement this standard can be used by Dr. Yeung only because she has knowledge her client can harm others and himself.
- Avoid Harm 3.04: As a physiologist, it is the duty of Dr. Yeung to ensure her client does not harm himself or others. Under this standard, it is her duty to ensure minimal harm where it is foreseen and unavoidable (Fisher, 2013).
- Conflict of Interest 3.06: Since her client contacted Dr. Yeung at her home this can be misconstrued as a conflict of interest. Dr. Yeung may want to recuse herself from her professional duty when making her decision.
- Privacy and Confidentiality 4.01: The ethical decision Dr. Yeung has is the client’s privacy even though she has his personal address to go to his home she cannot show up anytime she chooses, therefore respect of her client comes into her decision.
- Informed Consent Therapy 10.01b: This is seen a primary means of protecting the self-governing and privacy rights of her client, however, in specifics this can be denied depending on the situation (Fisher, 2013).
- Which other standards might apply?
- Informed Contest 3.10: This standard applies to Dr. Yeung’s situation she is facing as a physiologist conducting her research and has enough knowledge regarding her client, she can use this in her ethical dilemma to contact emergency services to do a wellness check (Fisher, 2013). She can explain that she feels he is an eminent danger to himself and others.
- Personal Problems and Conflict 2.06: Because it is perceived Dr. Yeung is personally involved more than she should with the client since she called her home phone instead of the office phone. Dr. Yeung should consider this standard when making her decision.
- What are Dr. Yeung’s ethical alternatives for resolving this dilemma?
- Dr. Yeung does have the standard Duty to Warn if she feels her client’s threats are valid and could put the girlfriend and his parents in danger. This then will alert them to watch for her client should he arrive at their residence before the emergency services. The APA Ethical Standards 4.05 under Disclosure a physiologist can disclose personal information to protect the client, physiologist, or others from harm (APA 2013).
- Which alternative best reflects the Ethics Code aspirational principles and enforceable standards, legal standards, and obligations to stakeholders?
- Dr. Yeung’s best Ethical Standard to use would still be 4.05 Disclosure to protect the third-party stakeholders; meaning the girlfriend, the client’s parents, and the client himself. She can disclose information to them due to the threats and harmful nature of her client. Dr. Yeung can also consult with other physiologists to assist her in making ethical decisions if she perceives her client’s threats to be real.
- Can you identify the ethical theory (discussed in Chapter 3) guiding your decision?
- The ethical theory in my perception guiding my decision would be communitarianism only because it rejects the right of the individual over the rights of a group of individuals. This theory promotes the kind of community we want to live in instead of what is the greatest good for everyone like the utilitarianism theory (Fisher, 2013).
- What steps should Dr. Yeung take to implement her decision and monitor its effect?
- Dr. Yeung knows her client has the capability to harm himself and others she can exercise control over her client (Fisher, 2013). Knowing he has an addiction to alcohol and emotional distress she can arrange for her client to attend a rehabilitation facility to assist with these issues and develop ways to control the triggers of his drinking. Dr. Yeung can also contact her client’s parole officer to ensure he understands he must attend therapy and a rehabilitation facility or face returning to prison. By getting her client into a treatment and rehabilitative facility this will assist him in developing skills to keep his threating actions under control. Dr. Yeung should also consider recusing herself from her client’s case to keep from continuing to be personally involved.
Fisher, C. B. (2013). Decoding the ethics code: a practical guide for psychologists, 3rd Ed.
Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. Retrieved from
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