Ethics for Psychologists

Course #67264 - $48 -


General ethical concepts applicable to all psychologists regardless of setting include competence, informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, and avoiding harm or exploitation. This course provides specific information regarding each of the areas and how they apply to psychologists in a variety of settings with a variety of professional relationships. Psychologists also must be able to understand and differentiate the complex relationships between the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, the ethics codes of various state psychological associations, regulations of state licensing boards, institutional policies and procedures, state and federal law, and community and local standards of practice. Common ethical issues and complaint procedures are also reviewed.

Education Category: Ethics - Human Rights
Release Date: 07/01/2023
Expiration Date: 06/30/2026

Table of Contents


This intermediate course is designed for all licensed psychologists in all practice settings.

Accreditations & Approvals

Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibility for the content of the programs. NetCE is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). NetCE complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognized internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices. As a result of this accreditation, NetCE is authorized to issue the IACET CEU.

Designations of Credit

NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 6 credit(s). NetCE is authorized by IACET to offer 0.6 CEU(s) for this program.

Course Objective

The purpose of this course is to provide psychologists with an understanding of ethical issues common to their practices and tools necessary for effective ethical decision making.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Define general concepts at the core of an ethical psychology practice.
  2. Outline the history of psychology and ethics in the United States.
  3. Discuss the principle of competence and its significance in psychology.
  4. Identify key aspects of informed consent.
  5. Review the principles of privacy and confidentiality and the psychologist's responsibilities when protecting clients' privacy.
  6. Describe the impact of technology and exploitation on the psychologist-client relationship
  7. Outline components of ethical decision making and the process for complaints.


Margaret Donohue, PhD, is a psychologist in Los Angeles, California. She received her doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles. Her clinical and forensic practice focuses on the areas of health and medical psychology especially complex psychological and neuropsychological assessments. She is licensed in both California and Nevada.

In addition to her private practice, Dr. Donohue currently teaches at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles. She is actively involved with the California Psychological Association's Office of Professional Development as a Third Reviewer for courses for continuing education for psychologists. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, and the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology.

Dr. Donohue has frequently provided ethical consultation to colleagues in the area of professional boundaries, ethics and psychological assessment, and ethics in professional practice. Her public speaking events have included being a panel presenter in the January 1987 Los Angeles conference on ethics and boundaries for lesbian therapists. She has also presented for the California Psychological Association on the personal impact of head injuries in neuropsychologists with Jonathan Greene, PhD, in 2006.

Dr. Donohue has published articles on Tarasoff notification and racism; quality evaluation in health care; benchmarking access to outpatient services in managed health organizations; treatment of anxiety in young children; and the development of assessment techniques in evaluations of young children and assessing organizational productivity and quality.

Faculty Disclosure

Contributing faculty, Margaret Donohue, PhD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Director of Development and Academic Affairs

Sarah Campbell

Director Disclosure Statement

The Director of Development and Academic Affairs has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

About the Sponsor

The purpose of NetCE is to provide challenging curricula to assist healthcare professionals to raise their levels of expertise while fulfilling their continuing education requirements, thereby improving the quality of healthcare.

Our contributing faculty members have taken care to ensure that the information and recommendations are accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The publisher disclaims any liability, loss or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents. Participants are cautioned about the potential risk of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into practice.

Disclosure Statement

It is the policy of NetCE not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

Technical Requirements

Supported browsers for Windows include Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 and up, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and up, Opera 9.0 and up, and Google Chrome. Supported browsers for Macintosh include Safari, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and up, Opera 9.0 and up, and Google Chrome. Other operating systems and browsers that include complete implementations of ECMAScript edition 3 and CSS 2.0 may work, but are not supported. Supported browsers must utilize the TLS encryption protocol v1.1 or v1.2 in order to connect to pages that require a secured HTTPS connection. TLS v1.0 is not supported.

Implicit Bias in Health Care

The role of implicit biases on healthcare outcomes has become a concern, as there is some evidence that implicit biases contribute to health disparities, professionals' attitudes toward and interactions with patients, quality of care, diagnoses, and treatment decisions. This may produce differences in help-seeking, diagnoses, and ultimately treatments and interventions. Implicit biases may also unwittingly produce professional behaviors, attitudes, and interactions that reduce patients' trust and comfort with their provider, leading to earlier termination of visits and/or reduced adherence and follow-up. Disadvantaged groups are marginalized in the healthcare system and vulnerable on multiple levels; health professionals' implicit biases can further exacerbate these existing disadvantages.

Interventions or strategies designed to reduce implicit bias may be categorized as change-based or control-based. Change-based interventions focus on reducing or changing cognitive associations underlying implicit biases. These interventions might include challenging stereotypes. Conversely, control-based interventions involve reducing the effects of the implicit bias on the individual's behaviors. These strategies include increasing awareness of biased thoughts and responses. The two types of interventions are not mutually exclusive and may be used synergistically.