You have reviewed some of the principles and standards provided on the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct Web page, as well as an overview of some of the ethical concerns specific to the practice of psychotherapy and research. When there may be no easy answers to ethical issues, ethical standards can provide a decision-making framework for psychologists.
Jane is a licensed psychologist in private practice. In addition to her private therapy practice, she has been working as an instructor at a local college. She enjoys teaching and sharing her expertise with her students.
On the first evening of the Introduction to Psychology course she is teaching, she is surprised to see Carlene, a former client. After two years, Carlene had abruptly ended her therapy sessions approximately six months earlier.
When Jane sees Carlene in class, she does not acknowledge knowing Carlene, doing so to protect her former client’s privacy. She treats her no differently than any other member of the class. After class, Jane wonders if she should talk to Carlene or talk to the chair of the psychology department to decide whether or not Carlene should continue in her course. She decides not to talk to the chair or Carlene and hopes for the best.
Carlene is excited to see that her former therapist is her teacher. It helps her to feel comfortable in the class, and she hopes that it might also give her a special place in the class because she knows the teacher. However, Carlene is confused about why Jane does not acknowledge her. When Carlene receives her first assignment grade, she is surprised by how low it is. She is upset with Jane, believing she has not treated her with the special considerations that she believes she deserves because of their therapy work.
Jane notices that Carlene, who at first participated actively in class, now appears to be withdrawn and not engaged in class discussions.
Think about the APA guiding principles or standards that would have helped Jane know what to do in this situation. Describe how these principles or standards are applicable.
To help guide you in your discussion and support your thinking on the areas of ethical concern, use the APA’s “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct” and the chapter by Nagy, “Thinking Critically About Ethics” from this unit’s studies.
Your post to the discussion dilemma should include the following: