Course Case Studies

Ethics for Psychologists

Course #67263 - $36 • 6 Hours/Credits

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  • Participation Instructions
    • Review the course material online or in print.
    • Complete the course evaluation.
    • Review your Transcript to view and print your Certificate of Completion. Your date of completion will be the date (Pacific Time) the course was electronically submitted for credit, with no exceptions. Partial credit is not available.
Learning Tools - Case Studies

Case Study

A psychologist decides to treat a family in therapy. The parents of two minor children decide at some point in treatment to get a divorce. Records are requested for a court hearing regarding custody of the children, and the therapist is asked to testify on behalf of the wife and to separately evaluate the children regarding custody.

There are a number of issues regarding competence in this scenario. The psychologist has been acting as a therapist, and attempting to transition to the role of impartial evaluator in a forensic setting requires expertise above what is routine for a treating therapist. The blurring of roles and boundaries suggests the family may not understand what is appropriate in the situation and how the role of a forensic evaluator in a custody case differs from the role of a treating family therapist. Records of the family may have been kept on each person individually or on the family as a whole, making the release of records, if indicated, problematic. Knowing how to keep records appropriately is an issue of competence. Finally, the therapist is being asked to testify on behalf of the wife in the divorce and custody proceeding. The relationship of the therapist at the start of the treatment clarifies to all parties the areas in which the therapist is competent. To enter into a separate relationship with just the wife will raise issues of boundaries and role clarification and may highlight areas that were not competently addressed at the outset of treatment.

  • Back to Course Home
  • Participation Instructions
    • Review the course material online or in print.
    • Complete the course evaluation.
    • Review your Transcript to view and print your Certificate of Completion. Your date of completion will be the date (Pacific Time) the course was electronically submitted for credit, with no exceptions. Partial credit is not available.