Are the state practice act, rules and regulations of the licensing board available online? Please note any problems of access (is the web resource consumer friendly?) and how they are incorporated (administrative regulation, state statute, etc.). Are the APA Ethical Principles incorporated into the rules of your board? (Please note whether the Ethical Principles are advisory or have the power of law.) If the Ethical Principles are not there, does the state or province have its own set of ethical principles? Please provide these and discuss their similarities or differences compared with the APA Ethical Principles.
Ignorance is No Excuse: Community Standards of Practice as Part of the Broader Profession of Psychology
This week we will continue exploring and discussing the foundations of psychological ethics. This material will assist in examining specific ethical behaviors in upcoming weeks. A key focus for this session is knowing what you need to know to practice within bounds. This includes various standards, rules, and ethical principles.
1. Become familiar with the resources available online from your state or provincial licensing board and the role of the APA ethics code in those resources.
2. Gain a global familiarity with the Ethical Principles and Standards of the American Psychological Association.
Knowledge is key. If you are not familiar with your state practice act (and perhaps the notion of Sunset legislation), the rules and regulations of the licensing board in your state, the applicable code of ethics (the APA code of Ethics is for APA members, it may or may not be part of the expectations of your licensing body), what the reporting laws are for mandated exceptions to confidentiality (child/elder abuse), what the laws are related to family disputes -particularly child custody, what the laws are related to sexual exploitation, and whether such major issues as duty to warn apply, then you are vulnerable to making a mistake because you did not know. The law takes a dim view of not knowing the rules when you are part of a professional body. You need to learn those things that directly affect you.
If you get sued for warning someone they are at risk based on a therapeutic communication, it can be proper in both directions. Your client had the reasonable assumption of privilege if that is what the state rules are, or what you told him, and you may be answering a higher call in warning someone they are at risk, but you still can get sued.
Complaints against psychologists are (more or less according to the jurisdiction occurring in the following order). 1) Sexual intimacies with clients; 2) negligence (failure to warn, improper supervision); 3) fraudulent practices (lying about work performed, diagnosis, price fixing, etc.). 4)criminal conduct; 5) impairment; and, 6) breach of confidentiality.
. Read
Bersoff, pp. 1-68
Fisher, pp. 7-12.
2. See Ken Pope’s website,; review Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards
3. On the web, find a copy of YOUR STATE’s licensing requirements.
(You can easily find this through:
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