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

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