Ethical pitfalls that psychologists should minimize
- A psychologist is expected to be professional in their duty so as to avoid getting into trouble with their clients
- Ethics can be defined as doing what is right in situations when values conflict
- A psychologist can avoid pitfalls by understanding multiple relationships and also protecting the confidentiality of the clients
- As a professional, one should learn to respect the autonomy of the clients as they also stick to their supervisory roles
As a professional psychologist, one is expected to avoid getting into conflict with their code of ethics first of all through maintaining the confidentiality of their clients. Confidentiality may mean that certain information about the clients are only shared among the family members. Similarly, the information may only be shared with other healthcare professionals for purposes of offering treatment solutions. The code of ethics dictate that the information that is shared out should be as minimal as possible so that the client feels at ease during treatment. For instances, when obtaining payment from the client, very minimal details should be obtained from the client so that they do not feel intimidated. It is also important for the practitioners to discuss the limits to which the confidentiality should go to. Finally, the clients details can be safeguarded through by taking good care of their confidential records.
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It is also important that a professional respects the clients autonomy through getting only informed consent from the client. The consent should allow the patient to either agree to or reject any form of treatment from the psychologist. In the event that the patient does not have the capacity to make decisions, an authorized surrogate should act on their behalf.
As a supervisor, a formal introduction should be made to the client by mentioning the goals of the supervisory role. Additionally, the client should be made aware of the diagnosis and the treatment plan that is in place. Additionally, both the risks and the benefits should be explained to the client appropriately.
Ways of avoiding ethical pitfalls
- Pitfalls can be avoided when the acting professional knows when exactly to abandon or terminate the contract
- It is also important for proper documentation to be done on every step that the client is taken through to avoid future conflicts
It is important for a psychologist to document every detail as a way of keeping track of what may be a motivation or a non-motivation factor for the client. For instance, a client may decide to change a goal that he or she had already set earlier. In the event that the goal was not recorded then it clearly becomes a pitfall since the psychologists will not have records of what affects his client. In keeping the records, it is required that the contact logs are updated as frequent as possible. There should also be follow-up contacts to ensure that the details entered for the first time were accurate. Code of ethics also dictates that the professional should not alter the records after the facts have been entered. The only information that should be recorded is that which pertains to the treatment as well as the health services offered to the client.
The therapy session should only be terminated when the client gives the authority for the termination process to be initiated. Alternatively, it can be stopped at the point when it is realized that the client does not benefit from the therapy session. If the process may be harmful to the patient if it carried on to a future time then such a therapy has to be terminated. Finally, the psychologist should be able to know when the client has had enough therapy and does not need any more therapy.
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