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Ethics

Posted by Margaret Donohue on June 28, 2015 at 10:20 AM

I'm increasingly concerned about professionals posting about standards of ethics that have nothing to do with the ethical standards of the profession.  In many cases the professional has a specific theoretical orientation they adhere to that proscribes how to do psychotherapy.  In other cases they are applying standards they learned from a supervisor for their professional practice in that setting.  In these cases these professional approach ethics as if situations are either ethical or not.  Ethics is not that simplistic.




There are basic ideas woven into the ethics codes of a variety of mental health professions.   Among these are concepts of not harming people, knowing what we are doing when we provide treatment, not taking advantage or having undue influence on someone, being fair, being honest and being respectful.  These are complex ideas that are not black and white.  They resist being put in boxes in a simplistic fashion.  While simple yes it's ethical or not it's not ethical ideas are easier, they are often incorrect.  What's required is a discussion about the principles and about what is in the best interest of the patient and the profession and society at large.   So the next time someone says something isn't ethical, ask them to cite the ethics code section that idea comes from.  What is any competing ethical code?  Have the dialogue.  There are few situations that are black and white.  Most are shades of gray.  Have the discussion.

Categories: Ethics

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