WK3Dis.Setting Boundaries When Working With Clients
Prior to beginning work on this week’s discussion, please review Standard 3: Human Relations Links to an external site.in the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Please also read the Asay and Lal (2014) “Who’s Googled Whom? Trainees’ Internet and Online Social Networking Experiences, Behaviors, and Attitudes with Clients and Supervisors,” Harris and Robinson Kurpius (2014) “Social Networking and Professional Ethics: Client Searches, Informed Consent, and Disclosure,” and Taylor, McMinn, Bufford, and Chang (2010) “Psychologists’ Attitudes and Ethical Concerns Regarding the Use of Social Networking Web Sites” articles.
For this discussion, you will examine ethical issues encountered by clinical and counseling psychologists in the digital age. Begin by reviewing the cases of Dr. Arnold and Dr. Washington listed below and selecting one of these ethical dilemmas for analysis.
Dr. Arnold is a clinical psychologist who specializes in child and adolescent issues. From time to time, she provides consultation on high lethality cases within the juvenile court system. Recently, she was referred a case involving a 15-year-old male who has a history of aggression, angry outburst, destructive behavior, and cyberstalking. Concerned for her safety and well-being, Dr. Arnold input the client’s name into a search engine, which yielded the client’s social network page. Dr. Arnold is uncertain whether or not to look at the client’s social network page.
Dr. Washington is a counseling psychologist who specializes in trauma and self-harming behavior. Recently, he received a “friend request” from a former client who he provided individual therapy to six months ago. Dr. Washington opted not to accept the “friend request,” but considered sending a private message to the client with the social networking policy from his informed consent. Dr. Washington is uncertain whether or not to send the private message to the client.
In your initial post, assume the role of a colleague to the doctor named and analyze the ethical issues encountered in your chosen case. Given the situation described in the case study, recommend how your colleague should proceed. Provide support for your response by citing the required articles for this discussion. Consider the current and potential actions of your colleague and explain whether or not he or she is currently, or potentially will be, in violation of the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Provide support for your explanation by citing Standard 3: Human Relations Links to an external site.in the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Explain how your colleague might avoid this type of ethical dilemma in the future. Describe what policy or policies you might put in place if you were your colleague.
Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct (apa.org)
I have selected case 1, Dr. Arnold, for analysis.
The ethical issues encountered in this case include informed consent, confidentiality, and boundary issues. According to the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, psychologists must respect the privacy and confidentiality of their clients and obtain informed consent prior to collecting information about them (Standard 4.01). In this case, Dr. Arnold has not obtained informed consent from the client to search their social network page, which is a violation of ethical principles.
Additionally, by searching the client’s social network page, Dr. Arnold may have crossed a professional boundary and compromised the trust and safety of the therapeutic relationship. As stated in Standard 3: Human Relations, psychologists must be aware of the potential impact of their actions on clients and take steps to minimize any harm (APA, 2017).
To proceed, Dr. Arnold should refrain from looking at the client’s social network page and instead address her concerns through appropriate professional channels, such as consulting with a supervisor or discussing the situation with the client in session. She should also ensure that informed consent policies are in place for all clients, which clearly outline the extent and limits of client information that may be collected and used.
To avoid this type of ethical dilemma in the future, Dr. Arnold might implement a policy that prohibits searching clients on social media without informed consent. She might also consider providing training to herself and her staff on the ethical principles and guidelines related to technology and social media.
It is crucial for psychologists to be mindful of the ethical implications of their actions and to adhere to the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. In this case, Dr. Arnold should avoid searching the client’s social network page and instead address her concerns in a professional and ethical manner.