Ethics in the Mental Health Profession

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In the mental health profession of counseling, therapy, psychology, psychiatric and social services ethical dilemmas are faced primarily on a daily basis. Being that mental health professionals are working with clients who are often fragile and vulnerable, they must develop an intense awareness of ethical issues. On the other hand, mental health professionals would never intentionally harm their clients, students or colleagues and others whom they work with. Unfortunately, good intentions are not enough to ensure that wrong doings will not occur and mental health professionals have no choice but to make ethically determined decisions. Depending upon the experience and expertise of the professional determines the outcome of the ethical circumstance. For example, if you were practicing mental health professional and had a friend who’s a licensed psychologist, who is invited to attend the wedding of a patient that she has been seeing in court-ordered therapy for a year; what advice would you give your friend? The advice you give to your friend is based upon your role as a mental health professional. Each mental health professional has a set of guidelines they must follow. Some guidelines overlap each other, while others remain stand-alone. Yet, sometimes an ethical issue is simply not predictable. Nonetheless, given the ethical principles of psychologists, if you decide to give advice to your friend, please advise them of conflict of interest, dual relationships and boundary violations. As a psychologist in a mental health profession, you should avoid conflicts of interest when providing any professional services to a client. Engaging in any activity with a client that makes the boundary between a provider and a client somewhat un... ... middle of paper ... ...h professional the advice you gave you friend who is a psychologist is solely based upon the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, your expertise and experience. Any advice advised to you, should be a foundation to formulating your own ethical opinion. However, be aware that many ethical dilemmas sneak up on you and you have to remember you role as a mental health professional. Yet, there are situations where dual relationships, boundary violations and conflicts of interest of unforeseen. Works Cited American Psychological Association (APA). (2002). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073. Bernstein, B.E. J.D., L.M.S.W. & Hartsell, T.L. Jr. (2008). The portable ethicist for mental health professionals: A complete guide to responsible practice (2nd ed). Wiley.

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