The Practice of Clinical Psychology Worksheet

University of Phoenix Material

The Practice of Clinical Psychology Worksheet

Answer the following questions. Your response to each question must be at least 150 words in length.

What are at least two legal issues associated with clinical psychology? Provide an example of a situation that could be legal but unethical. Explain your response.

Two legal issues in particular are obtaining written informed consent and the maintenance of confidentiality. Clinical psychologists must obtain written informed consent from a patient whenever treatments or experiments are to be implemented. A patient can withdraw informed consent at any given point and time during treatment and if that happens treatments and experiments must cease. In regards to maintaining confidentiality, clinical psychologists must maintain confidentiality and never disclose the records of a client or patient unless ordered to do so by law.

An example of an instance that is legal but unethical is a judge ordering a clinical psychologist to break confidentiality and provide information about a particular client or patient without the client’s or patients` prior consent. The Ethics Code prohibits a clinical psychologist from releasing the records of a client or patient without his or her consent. There can be lots of cases where ethics conflict with the law (with the law winning in nearly every case) but that doesn’t make it any less controversial.

What are at least two ethical issues associated with clinical psychology? Provide an example of a situation that could be ethical but illegal. Explain your response.

One ethical issue could be dual relationships which are an ethical issue of concern with clinical psychology; another ethical issue is competence. Dual relationships are an ethical violation that commonly occurs and can compromise a psychologist’s work in regard to effectiveness, and such relationships can also be exploitive to clients and patients. In regard to competence, a clinical psychologist has to maintain competence in his or her area of specialization and can only provide service for which he or she has appropriate training and license. A psychologist has to stay continually abreast in regard to any advances in his or her field.

An instance of an occurrence that can be ethical but illegal is not disclosing to law enforcement agencies that a client revealed that he or she was sexually abused. Similarly, not reporting child sexual abuse can be illegal but ethical because a psychologist maintained confidentiality.

Define professional boundaries, boundary crossings, and boundary violations. What effects do boundaries have on the therapeutic relationship?

Professional boundaries, boundary crossings, and boundary violations are critical concerns in regard to clinical psychology and can turn into issues for the psychologist and his client.

Professional boundaries are boundaries maintained and set between a psychologist and the patient which implies a strictly professional relationships of mutual beneficence for both parties (the psychologist does his job and gets paid and the client gets the help he needs). Boundary crossings occur as deviations in regard to and across professional boundaries that may be as errors or oversights. Boundary violations occur when psychologists become confused in regard to their needs with the needs of their clients, and may take advantage of the professional relationships with clients for personal gains.

Boundaries, when observed, allow therapeutic relationships to be effective to the therapy of clients. However, when boundaries are not observed therapeutic relationships become ineffective and can affect clients aversively, and then psychologists can be in danger of violations of ethical and legal standards.

The lines between professional boundaries, boundary crossings and boundary violations can be very blurry indeed and can be interpreted any which-way by the psychologist or the client. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the interaction (and particularly, if the client and psychologist are of the opposite sex), the room for legitimate error and ethical and law transgression is always there.

What are at least two cultural limitations associated with assessment and treatment? In your response, discuss the use or misuse of assessment instruments, therapy techniques, research results, or any other facet of clinical practice that could have potentially harmful, culture-specific implications.

Clients have varying cultural differences; therefore, clients have varying expectations and needs that can hinder assessments and treatments. Cultural differences can lead to cultural limitations associated with assessments and treatments; therefore, clinical psychologists have to possess a level of understanding and respect for such differences drawn from exposure and study of different cultures. For instance, according to the Western culture animals should be treated with respect and dignity afforded to human beings (even though, ironically, they don’t realize that their meat-eating is the grossest possible violation of that belief) and the cultural festivities in the Eastern part of the world associated with the killing of animals are signs of psychological and behavioral disorders and deviations (the Mexican tradition of sending the bulls free for instance).. However, other cultures may regard such behavior as a means of survival or expressing cultural beliefs so despite what may be ethically and morally correct, it is imprudent to discount all other opinions on the matter and focus strictly on the sort of cultural beliefs one was raised in. Also, cultural values and beliefs even differ between minority status individuals and individuals viewed as the majority of the population of society. Therefore, clinical psychologists have to develop appropriately culturally informed intervention techniques and strategies in regard to clients.

Without an understanding of cultural differences, psychologists are very likely to misuse therapy techniques and assessment instruments as well as falsify research results as a means of gaining biased results based on his or her beliefs or to promote their own viewpoint. Without an understanding of such vast cultural differences of various clients, such misunderstandings can hinder assessments and options of treatment and can lead to the inability of the psychologist to continue the treatment without bias and for the benefit of the patient.