Are Clinical Psychologists Bound by Ethics as Most People Assume Ethics To Mean?
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Are Clinical Psychologists Bound by Ethics as Most People Assume Ethics To Mean?

Ethics in the clinical psychology arena. Do you know to whom you are talking?

The meaning of ethics must be understood by both the clinical psychologist and his patient. Most patients who visit a clinical psychologist just assume that their revelations to their psychologists are protected by medical boards and medical standards. The facts are that revelations of a serious crime might not be kept priviledged by the psychologist. Beginning a relationship with a new client might mean getting to know each other and what can be said that would be covered by client doctor confidentiality and what the psychologist might have to reveal if he wants to keep his license. An interesting point is that a psychologist is not a psychiatrist. Both might be called doctor but each has their own disciplines set of ethics that might be discussed if the client has some very troublesome issues to work out.

In the course of any practice, one who works in psychology clinics or offices that do psychological testing, finds that most clients are naturally hesitant to spill their hearts out to their psychologists and talk in terms of generalities and answer questions as clinically as possible if in for testing.

The fact that being ethical as a clinical psychologist is very important doesn't really seem to mean much in the real life world of clinical psychologists and for people who have to go to see a clinical psychologist for testing or other concerns like competency. A clinical psychologist is usually involved with testing students in schools or in other institutions. A clinical psychologist may have to devise a test for judging the effectiveness of workplace psychological stressors. The fact that all of these job features includes, of course, dealing with people who might also have other mental issues should not come as a surprise to anyone, including the clinical psychologist. If the clinical psychologist is testing a supervisor who passes the test for workplace effectiveness but also shows signs of other unstable mental issues, is it ethical to keep him from keeping his job? The line between ethical administration of his work described duties and his psychologically trained intuition is something that each clinical psychologist has to work out for himself and should really follow the guidelines of the profession especially those guidelines that dictate his legal responsiblities and obligations and liabilities.

Of course, the importance of ethics for clinical psycholgists is understood if clinical psychologists wish to continue to have the trust of the public that has come to take their credibility and the validity of their opinions for granted.  The fundamental point that I wish to make here is that there are various branches of psychology and of the mental health profession and the public should be aware of the consequences when dealing with members of the profession by asking their professional contacting mental health professional what ethics they are bound to follow as regards personal and possibly damaging personal information.  . 

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