PSY 570 5-4 Milestone Three - Applying the APA Code of Ethics

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Running Header: INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE? 1 Insane in the Membrane? Samantha Johnson Southern New Hampshire University
INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE? 2 Abstract Barney Bezerk murdered his family of four, due to hallucinations he had claimed he experienced. In this case, the witnessing forensic psychologist, Dr. O’Pinion, concluded Barney was clearly insane at the time of the multiple murders. Without adequate knowledge of this specific state’s statues, an ethical error was made. Dr. O’Pinion lacked the knowledge for this case, further finding out that the insanity claim is not defined by the psychological standard, but by the standard of law.
INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE? 3 Case Study Description Case study 17-7 can be found on page 465 of the Ethics in Psychology and Mental Health Professions by Koocher & Keith-Spiegel (2008) states, "Barney Bezerk was to stand trial for the axe murder of his family of four. His attorney was planning to use an insanity defense and hired Cruddy O’Pinion, Psy.D. to conduct an expert psychological evaluation. The evaluation revealed that Mr. Bezerk had a major thought disorder, poor impulse control, considerable unmodulated anger, and frequently expressed paranoid ideation. In particular, Mr. Bezerk’s auditory hallucinations had repeatedly warned him that alien beings had taken over the bodies of his family and were to embark on the conquest of Earth. Dr. O’Pinion cited all these findings and concluded his report with the statement that Mr. Bezerk was clearly insane at the time of the offense” (Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, 2008 pg. 465). The approach to analyzing the case study that I will be taking begins with analyzing what the psychologist did wrong. Unfortunately, Dr. O’Pinion was uninformed in what he was able to use and say in the court as an expert witness. The insanity claim is not to be determined by a psychology professional, but is actually defined by law. “Dr. O’Pinion can appropriately describe the defendant’s bizarre behavior, confirm his impulsivity and instability using test or interview data, explain how a lack of control might result, link these findings to the facts of the case, and provide other such expert commentary (Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, 2008 pg. 466).” As an expert witness certain information is to be gathered and evaluated to determine the patients mental state at the time of the crime. Once the psychology professional has given their summary of the patient’s mental state at the time of the crime, the jury and the judge then are able to determine whether or not the patient can legally claim innocent by reasons of insanity. “Too frequently, mental health professionals will neglect such caution in their testimony and may
INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE? 4 even find themselves encouraged to comment on ultimate issues by some attorneys and judges (Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, 2008 pg. 466).” The Ethical Conflict The central ethical conflict evident in this case study is inadequate knowledge of the

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