Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Diverse Nature of Psychology

          The field of psychology is a scientific discipline of human motivation, emotion, cognition, and behavior. Plante (2011), “it can be subdivided into many different specializations, some of which are concerned primarily with psychological science (experimental psychology) and others of which are concerned with both psychological science and the application of that science to real-world problems outside of the research setting” (p. 5). The evolution of psychology began from philosophical roots and evolved into a discipline of science separate from philosophy in 1879, with the creation of the first psychological laboratory by Germany psychologist, Wilhelm Wundt. Today, the American Psychological Association (APA) lists 54 unique divisions of psychology, which provides a clear indication of psychology’s diversity (Hergenhahn & Henley, 2013). Psychology’s diversity is also evident by evaluating the influence on its major concepts. Within the field of psychology are several sub-disciplines and subtopics of such sub-disciplines that are of interest. Such sub-disciplines and subtopics can apply to particular areas outside of psychology. These sub-disciplines and subtopics also compare to a personal theoretical perspective. Also, education in psychology will provide contributions to society in the future.
The Influence of Diversity on Psychology's Major Concepts
            As mentioned before, the APA lists 54 divisions of psychology, which represent focuses on specific areas and numerous sub-disciplines of psychology (Hergenhahn & Henley, 2013). Such sub-disciplines of the field of psychology display vast diversity by covering diverse areas of inquiry; such as with how abnormal psychology, which investigates abnormal behavior and how biological psychology investigates how evolution and genetics contribute to influencing behavior. However, the diversity of psychology expands beyond individual sub-discipline’s area of inquiry, and extends to and influences psychology’s major concepts. The major concepts of psychology emphasize varying aspects of human behavior influenced by the sub-disciplines of psychology, which reflects the diverse nature of sub-disciplines of psychology.
Sub-disciplines within Psychology, and Subtopics of those Sub-disciplines
            Indeed, psychology is a diverse field with sub-disciplines such as abnormal psychology and biological psychology but because of such diversity numerous other sub-disciplines exist such as clinical psychology and industrial and organization psychology (I/O). Clinical psychology and industrial and organization psychology (I/O) are two particularly interesting sub-disciplines of psychology.
Clinical Psychology
          In its use of psychological principles, clinical psychology makes an attempt at alleviating, predicting, and understanding aspects of human functioning; such aspects include behavioral, social, psychological, biological, emotional, and intellectual aspects. Clinical psychologists perform assessments and treatments for behavioral, emotional, and mental disorders and problems. Certain clinical psychologists focus on treating specific disorders and problems, such as clinical depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); while, other clinical psychologists focus on particular populations, such as adolescents and young adults. One subtopic of clinical psychology is assessment. Clinical psychologists use assessments to clarify client’s diagnosis, and for help when planning services or treatments.
Industrial and Organizational Psychology (I/O)
          Plante (2011), “I/O psychology is an eclectic field that has borrowed concepts, ideas, techniques, and theories from many other disciplines” (p. 4). I/O psychologists work within organizations by applying research methods and psychological principles to the workplace with the intention of improving the quality of work life and productivity (Landrum & Davis, 2010). One subtopic of I/O psychology is employee testing. I/O psychologists use employee testing to help organizations determine if a potential employee has the appropriate behavior and workplace skills to foster organizational objectives and goals.  
Practical Application of Sub-disciplines
            The diverse nature of psychology is evident by means of the implications of psychological discovery providing a variety of applications in various venues in contemporary society. For instance, the application of I/O psychology is a means of studying the effects of workplace stressors on individuals in regard to how such effects hinder individuals’ abilities to perform to and meet standards set forth by the organization. Also, such an application of I/O psychology promotes and fosters the well-being of employees by means of assessing employees and reporting such findings to officials of the organization; thereby, enabling such officials of an organization to implement workplace changes to promote and foster the well-being of employees and a healthy work environment. Thereby, allowing officials of an organization to improve employee socialization, performance, retention, and morale. Which is just one instance of the practical applications of one sub-discipline of psychology, but because of the diverse nature of psychology, there are numerous applications of various sub-disciplines.   
Comparing Subdisciplines and Subtopics to Personal Theoretical Perspective
            My personal beliefs about psychological theory are similar, if not the same as theories of cognitive psychology or as in cognitive perspectives. To understand the behavior of individuals, and why behavior occurs, one must understand the mental processes of individuals or what occurs in an individual’s mind. Therefore, by applying measures of clinical psychology as a clinical psychologist, in my future such as analyzing and treating psychological and behavioral disorders and problems I can try to enhance the well-being and health of clients. Therefore, through means of using integrative evidence-based approaches of contemporary clinical psychology I can affect the well-being of clients by means of understanding, addressing, treating, and possibly preventing human psychological disabilities.
Contribution to Society
            My contributions to society, as a result, of my education in psychology occur today, by means of how I approach and treat other individuals because I have an understanding of why behavior occurs and what affects an individual’s behavior. My future contributions to society will occur as a clinical psychologist by way of assessing, treating, and using psychotherapy to help clients who suffer from psychological and behavioral disorders and problems. Thereby, affecting or improving the well-being and health of clients and significantly affecting well-being of society.      
          Psychology is a diverse field of science, and such diversity has a significant influence on the major concepts of psychology. Psychology also has numerous sub-disciplines and thereby, subtopics of such sub-disciplines that can apply to various venues in contemporary society, and the sub-discipline of cognitive psychology is similar to my personal theoretical perspective by means helping me understand why behavior occurs. Also, this sub-discipline and its subtopics allow me to apply the measures of another sub-discipline that is clinical psychology to contribute to society in the future.

Landrum, E. & Davis, S. F. (2010). The Psychology Major: Career Options and Strategies For Success (4 ed.). Pearson Education.

Plante, T.G. (2011). Contemporary Clinical Psychology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

By diversity in psychology, I'm referring to the many diverse subdisciplines in the field, not cultural diversity. Why should it be considered a strength or a challenge?

          Diversity in the field of psychology can be considered a strength and a challenge. Having diverse subdisciplines in the field of psychology allows students to gain critical knowledge, abilities, and skills in regard to having a successful career in psychology. That is, being beneficial in regard to assessing, testing, and treating clients. As well as in regard to performing research and teaching, and such knowledge, skills and abilities can be very impressive and desirable for potential employers (Landrum & Davis, 2010). Also, diverse subdisciplines give individuals or students ample careers opportunities, that is, in regard to a diverse choice of subdisciplines to concentrate on or more than one subdisciplines to concentrate on. However, learning from and about diverse subdisciplines can be a challenge. There is an enormous amount of knowledge to gain and retain.  
Landrum, E., & Davis, S. F. (2010). The Psychology Major: Career Options and Strategies For Success (4 ed.). Pearson Education.

How is the field of psychology similar to other sciences? How is it different? Do you believe that psychology should be classified as a science? Why or why not?

          The field of psychology is similar to other sciences by means of using similar methods when conducting research, such as empirical studies and the scientific method. However, psychology differs from other sciences because psychologists focus on mental processes and behaviors. Therefore, indeed I do believe that psychology should be classified as a science. Psychology is a scientific discipline that uses the scientific method to investigate psychological phenomena, and for arriving at scientific truths in regard to the causes and treatments for psychological and behavioral disorders and problems. Therefore, psychology uses the scientific method to study mental processes and behaviors. Also, when psychologists conduct research they embrace scientific values when gathering and analyzing data quantitatively is by using statistics.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Practice of Clinical Psychology Worksheet

1.         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.
          In clinical psychology, numerous legal issues exist, and clinical psychologists must abide by and adhere to legal standards. Two legal issues in particular are obtaining written informed consent and maintain confidentiality. Clinical psychologists must obtain written informed consent when from a client or patient whenever treatments or experiments involve a client or patient. A client or patient can withdraw informed consent at any given point and time during treatments or experiments; therefore, once a patient or client withdraws informed consent, treatments and experiments must cease. In regard to maintaining confidentiality, clinical psychologists must maintain confidentiality and never disclose the records of a client or patient unless ordered 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 patient’s consent. The Ethics Code prohibits a clinical psychologist from releasing the records of a client or patient without his or her consent (Plante, 2011).

2.         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.
          Dual relationships 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(s) of specialization (Plante, 2011). Therefore, a psychologist can only provide service(s) for which he or she has appropriate experience and training. Also, a psychologist has to stay continually up-to-date, in regard to any advances in his or her field(s). Staying up-to-date needs to occur in order to make sure he or she possess skills that are state-of-the-art, and this may include ongoing efforts in seeking continued education (Plante, 2011).
          An instance of an occurrence that can be ethical but illegal is not disclosing to law enforcement agencies that a client who is a reviled that he or she was sexually abused. Not reporting child sexual abuse can be illegal, but ethical because a psychologist maintained confidentiality.  

3.         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 psychologists, and can become problems for psychologists, and turn into issues in regards to a psychologist and his or her client(s). Professional boundaries are boundaries maintained and set between, for instance, a psychologist and clients; whereas, a psychologist does not abuse his or her power as a means of taking advantage of his or her relationships with his or her clients (Plante, 2011). 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 in regard to the therapy of clients. However, when boundaries are not observed therapeutic relationships become ineffective and can affect clients aversively, and then psychologists become in danger of violations of ethical and legal standards.     

4.         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. Cultural values and cultural beliefs are cultural limitations associated with assessments and treatments. For instance, in Western cultural beliefs in regard to killings of domesticated animals, such behavior is seen as possible signs of psychological and behavioral disorders and problems. However, other cultures regard such behavior as a means of survival or expressing cultural beliefs. 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 (Plante, 2011). 
          Without an understanding of cultural differences, psychologists may misuse therapy techniques, assessment instruments, and falsify research results as a means of gaining biased results based on his or her beliefs. Without an understanding of such cultural differences of clients, such misunderstandings can hinder assessments and options of treatment.
Plante, T.G. (2011). Contemporary Clinical Psychology (3rd ed). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc

What are the most common ethical violations in clinical psychology? What do you think contributes to a clinician acting unethically?

          Psychologists, no matter the professional field are expected to and must maintain the highest professional ethics in any activities one takes part in or conducts constantly (Plante, 2011). Within psychology, psychological professionals must adhere to adopted ethical guidelines more so greatly than laws; especially when conducting research on individuals and treating clients. Ethical guidelines became of a greater concern when the formation of the ethics committee occurred by the American Psychological Association (APA) in the 1930s, and more so of a concern when the first set of ethical principles were developed in 1953, by the APA (Plante, 2011). The most common ethical violations in clinical psychology committed by psychologists involve patient confidentiality, and numerous occurrences of these violations occurred when psychologists broke confidentiality with disregard for the permission of patients. Also, when legally and ethically required, psychologists refuse to break confidentiality in the instances of reporting child abuse to state child protective services or the police (Plante, 2011).
          Other common ethical violations include insurance/fee misbehavior, nonsexual dual relationships, and sexual misconduct or sexual relationship with a patient (Plante, 2011). When ethical violations occur, clients or patients are put at risk which can have an aversive affect in regard to treatment(s). However, behavior abiding by professional or ethical guidelines occurs with the majority of clinical psychologist. It may be difficult to determine why a minority of clinicians act unethically; each clinician that does behave in such a manner has his or her own reasons. However, I believe that what contributes to a clinician acting unethically unresolved problems that occur in a clinician's life that they do not seek help for which affects them in a aversive manner and cloud their judgment.
Plante, T.G. (2011). Contemporary Clinical Psychology (3rd ed). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

What is multicultural counseling? How important is this approach in today’s society?

          There can be and are numerous and varying difficulties of racial and cultural minorities in regard to mainstream cultures that multicultural counseling is a means of addressing; however, multicultural counseling is an approach of counseling that is more complex and broader than addressing these issues. Ivey, Ivey, and Simek-Morgan (1997), "multicultural counseling as a metatheoretical approach that recognizes that all helping methods ultimately exists within a cultural context (p. 134). The assumptions of mainstream culture discriminatory practices against racial and cultural minorities are what multicultural counseling is based on. Relatively, multicultural counseling is a new approach that offers practical methods developed for enhancing practices that can be integrated into current approaches.
          Multicultural counseling has numerous issues it can address and has numerous goals in regard to clients, such as reconciliation, helping clients to avoid marginalization and further marginalization, addressing cultural and racial discrimination, issues of cultural and racial identity development, attaining higher levels of development, and coping with post-traumatic stress (Nelson-Jones, 2002). As well as assisting clients to manage close cross-cultural relationships and intergenerational conflict, with long-stay transients, expatriates, gender role and gender equality issues, acculturation and assimilation, and assisting with long-stay transients and expatriates (Nelson-Jones, 2002). As the society becomes more interconnected, addressing such issues and achieving such goals makes multicultural counseling increasingly important for society and clients. In today's society new approaches of counseling are of importance because society is continually changing. Therefore, changes that adhere to or go along with the continual changes of society can often be beneficial.
Ivey, A.E., Ivey, M.B. & Simek-Morgan, L. (1997). Counselling and Psychotherapy: a Multicultural Perspective, (4th Ed). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Nelson-Jones, R. (2002). Diverse Goals for Multicultural Counselling and Therapy. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 15(2), 133-143.

Professional Interview and Response

Interviewee: Dr. George Ritchie Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
• In what setting do you practice? How long have you been practicing?
Dr. Ritchie shares a practice with two other clinical psychologists. He has been a practicing clinical psychologist since 1985; however, he taught as a professor for five years while building a private practice with two other clinical psychologists.
• What are your specialties or areas of clinical focus?
Dr. Ritchie specializes in clinical psychology, clinical child & adolescent psychology, adult psychology, and behavioral and cognitive psychology.
• What are the most common disorders you treat?
Common disorders Dr. Ritchie treats are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), adjustment disorders, depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
• Do you have any special certifications or training beyond your original graduate coursework?
Yes, certifications or training: the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) certification, applied suicide intervention skills training (ASIST), and continual training in cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT)
• How do you approach therapy or treatment? Do you use specific modalities, techniques, or interventions?
Dr. Ritchie believes in the importance of connecting with his patients in a means that will promote the processes. He believes in using evidence-based treatments proven as effective means for the conditions he treats; as well as Gottman's marital therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Dr. Ritchie takes a caring yet direct approach with his clients.
• What ethical and legal issues do you think are the most challenging or common?
For Dr. Ritchie, ethical and legal issues that he thinks are most challenging or common is maintaining a client’s confidentiality; especially, when clients are children, adolescents, and young adults.
• Do you have an opinion on where you think the field of psychology is heading?
Yes, Dr. Ritchie believes that the field of psychology is heading in a growing direction that is ever expanding in regard to treating clients and patients for varying backgrounds. Also, he is glad to see psychologists are starting to look less like him (a resemblance to Sigmund Freud), and that more resembles society.
• What do you enjoy most about your work?
Dr. Ritchie enjoys most when clients accept and enjoy who they are and are able to reestablish functional relationships with friends and family. Also, he enjoys helping clients make positive changes in their lives.
• What advice would you provide an aspiring psychologist or therapist?
Dr. Ritchie advises that aspiring psychologists or therapists should also find a psychologist to see to lessen the burden of the interactions between themselves and clients or patients, and in regard to how providing empathy and compassion for clients or patients can be overwhelming.

Interviewee: Johanna Covault, Johanna holds a master's degree in social work
• In what setting do you practice? How long have you been practicing?
As a social worker and rape crisis volunteer coordinator, Johanna works in human service agencies, such as domestic violence centers and hospitals. She has been working as a social worker for 14 years.
• What are your specialties or areas of clinical focus?
Johanna’s specialties are working with survivors of child abuse, sexual violence, and domestic violence.
• What are the most common disorders you treat?
The most common disorders that Johanna encounters are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
• Do you have any special certifications or training beyond your original graduate coursework?
Yes, certifications or training: Certified Domestic Violence Counselor (CDVC), Certified Forensic Counselor (CFC), Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist (CSOTS), domestic violence education, and victim advocacy.
• How do you approach therapy or treatment? Do you use specific modalities, techniques, or interventions?
Therapy or treatment approaches occur through family, couples, and individual counseling, trauma-informed counseling, post-traumatic stress debriefings, and play therapy for children. Johanna uses techniques such as support groups, safety planning, and continuing support.
• What ethical and legal issues do you think are the most challenging or common?
The most challenging ethical and legal issues that are most common for Johanna involve courtroom and victim advocacy; whereas, Johanna helps victims and the local police department prove cases of rape and abuse.
• Do you have an opinion on where you think the field of psychology is heading?
Not exactly, but Johanna believes the field of psychology has an important role in terms of her helping and counseling victims.
• What do you enjoy most about your work?
What Johanna enjoys most is being an advocate for women and children of domestic violence and abuse.
• What advice would you provide an aspiring psychologist or therapist?
Gain experience through volunteering before beginning graduate work to help determine the appropriate career path.

Similarities and Differences of Approaches of treatment and Settings
          As for the professional interviewees’ approaches to treatment in their settings, there are varying similarities and differences. In regard to the professional interviewees, one being a clinical psychologist or doctor in a particular field of psychology, and the other being a social worker; there are similarities and differences of approaches to treatment, and the settings where treatment occurs.
Similarities and Differences
            Some similarities exist between how a clinical psychologist and a social worker approach the treatment of a client and in what settings treatment occurs; that is in regard to therapy and the empathy and compassion that clients receive. However, numerous differences exist. Differences of approaches to treatment, and the settings where treatment occurs is a result of differing educational backgrounds, and the differences between the roles of a clinical psychologist and social worker. It is easy to suspect that differing educational backgrounds will lead to differences in approaches to treatment; but, there can also be similarities. However, clinical psychological background provides a clinical psychologist a means of using and applying psychological principles and approaches to treatment. Psychologists receive training or education in psychological principles and approaches that focus on the connections between the brain and disorders and behavior, methods of treating psychological and behavior disorders and problems, and research.
          Whereas, a social worker can have some background in psychology but not as a concentrated background in psychology as a clinical psychologist; therefore, approaches may not always stem from a psychological stance. Important Role of Social Workers (2012), “social work is based on humanitarian and egalitarian ideals and is dedicated to helping individuals, families, groups and communities improve or enhance their social well-being” (p. 1). Social workers receive training or education in helping individual cope with and solve problems that affect their lives and well-being. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Ritchie approaches treatment in a clinical and private practice setting by applying interviewing techniques, psychological testing, and assessments to determine what if a client is suffering from any psychological and behavioral disorders and problems (Plante, 2011).
          Once uncovering any psychological and behavioral disorders and problems, Dr. Ritchie applies approaches such as cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness-based, and acceptance and commitment therapies as means of treatment. As a social workers, Johanna Covault approaches treatment in public human service agencies by assessing the problems of clients. With a historical involvement in psychotherapy social workers such as Johanna Covault use therapies such as family, couples, individual, and group therapies to help clients heal from psychological or mental, psychical, and sexual abuse (Lieberman, 1987). Similar to one of the functions of a clinical psychologist; however, a clinical psychologist has an invested interest in diagnosis and treatment along with therapy (Mitchell, 1919).  
          While some of what these two professionals do in regard to approaches to treatment is similar in nature along the lines of therapy and empathy and compassion for clients, there are also distinctive differences.

Lieberman, F. (1987). Psychotherapy and the Clinical Social Worker. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 41(3), 369-383.
Mitchell, D. (1919). The Clinical Psychologist. The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 14(5), 325-332. Retrieved from

Plante, T.G. (2011). Contemporary Clinical Psychology (3rd ed). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.