Part III_1[1]

Part III_1[1] - Part III Professional Ethics Although...

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Part III Professional Ethics Although psychology as a discipline is over 120 years old, and APA was founded shortly thereafter, the formal development of ethical codes did not occur until the second half century of the organization’s existence. At first, when the field was small and informal consultation with colleagues was readily available, the ethical code was brief and relatively general. Just as the international research atrocities generated the development of the Nuremberg Code, and controversial research studies in the field of psychology led to increased specificity in research guidelines for psychological research, the development of the sections of the ethics code devoted to the applied (professional) roles of psychologists resulted from questionable situations encountered by the increasingly growing number of practicing psychologists. It was not until the 1981 revision of the code that specific professional standards were incorporated. Interestingly these came as a result of controversial issues raised during the previous decade. Two of these controversial issues—the limits of confidentiality and the appropriate relationship between therapist and client—will be briefly addressed here. Until the 1970s, it was assumed by those familiar with the psychotherapeutic relationship that the content of therapy sessions would remain confidential. It was further assumed that such confidentiality allowed clients to freely divulge their thoughts and feelings to therapists in order to enhance the progress of “talking” therapy. Laws supported this belief by granting “privileged communication” (privilege refers to the right to withhold information from the courts) to the relationships of the major psychotherapy groups (i.e. psychiatrists, psychologists). Though there were certain circumstances under which some therapists had divulged information to others, the situations in which that was appropriate remained unclear.
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All that changed as a result of the famous Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California (1974-76) case. Tatania Tarasoff had been murdered by a spurned suitor and her family sued the therapist (who had earlier learned of her suitor’s intentions) and the university for failure to alert them that she was in danger. For details of the case and a more in depth discussion of it see Privacy and Confidentiality in Psychotherapy (Everstine, 1990). Though initially dismissed by the lower courts, the suit by the Tarasoff
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This note was uploaded on 02/05/2011 for the course PSY 301 taught by Professor Unknown during the Spring '11 term at CSU Long Beach.

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Part III_1[1] - Part III Professional Ethics Although...

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