The psychology profession brings practitioners into intimate contact with the individuals with which they work. Because of the resulting vulnerability this engenders, it is imperative that psychology students and professionals practice ethical decision-making strategies for ensuring boundaries when resolving conflicts related to multiple relationships.
For this Application, read the following case study:
You are in your sixth year teaching undergraduate psychology. You teach abnormal psychology course every term, and through students’ reflective papers, you learn a great deal about their backgrounds. Every year, it seems that a particular student becomes attached to you, frequently attending your open office hours and lingering to talk to you long after the official open office period is over. This year is no different. One young lady, Laura, frequently comes to you after class to ask questions about Applications. One afternoon, she suggests that you go to a restaurant to continue the conversation. Against your better judgment, you agree. Soon, Laura has had several adult beverages. She begins to cry and tells you details about her personal problems. She says she has been depressed, is having trouble with her parents, and is failing other classes. You recall that one of her first papers mentioned a suicide attempt and you start to panic. You did some role-playing in crisis counseling years ago in your master’s program but you never pursued licensure or clinical training. You suspect that Laura is telling you these things because she views you as an expert and feels she needs professional help.
The Case Study allows you to apply ethics to real-life situations and demonstrate your understanding of the decision making needed to resolve such conflicts. It is rare for an ethical dilemma to involve only one issue, so you should take the time to reflect on the complications that present themselves in the situations described in the Case Study.
For this week’s Application, review the overview of the five ethical decision-making models that can be found in the Learning Resources section.
- Koocher and Keith-Spiegel’s nine-step ethical decision-making model
- Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists: The 10-step ethical decision-making process
- Rest’s four-step ethical decision-making model
- Jones’s four-step intensity-contingent ethical decision-making model
- Fisher’s eight-step ethical decision-making model
For this week’s Case Study, a 3- to 5-page paper that includes the following:
- An explanation of the ethical dilemmas you perceive to be involved in the Case Study.
- A description of what you might do in response to the dilemma. Include the following in your explanation:
- A step-by-step application of one of the decision-making models provided above.
- An explanation of the possible outcomes for each individual in the Case Study.
- An explanation of any benefits and limitations of the model you selected.