Psychology 802

PSYC 802: Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Psychology

Prerequisites: Admission into Psy.D. program or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

This course will include examination of (a) the past and present forces that have affected psychology and counseling psychology; (b) training and practice guidelines; (c) professional ethics, including the American Psychological Association ethics code, foundational meta-principles, morals, values, virtues, and decision-making; (d) mental health law and related legal issues; and (e) current issues that affect the practice and training of professional psychologists in a multicultural society.

Detailed Description of Course

This course may include the following topics:

I. History and Future of Counseling Psychology
II. Ethics Background
        A. Historical developments
        B. Future issues
        C. Feminist ethics
        D. Cultural considerations in ethics
        E. Ethical dilemmas
        F. Decision-making models
III. Legal Background
        A. Common issues
        B. Important cases
        C. Virginia Law and Regulations
IV. Morals and Values
        A. Professional and personal values
        B. Social justice
        C. Virtue ethics
V. American Psychological Association Ethics Code
        A. General Principles
        B. Standard 1: Resolving Ethical Issues – Decision-Making Models
        C. Standard 2: Competence
        D. Standard 3: Human Relations
        E. Standard 4: Privacy and Confidentiality
        F. Standard 5: Advertising and Other Public Statements
        G. Standard 6:  Record Keeping and Fees
        H. Standard 7: Education and Training
        I. Standard 8: Research and Publication
        J. Standard 9: Assessment
        K. Standard 10: Therapy – Informed Consent and Termination
VI. Other Issues
        A. Technology
        B. Managed Care
        C. Professional Impairment
        D. Prescription Privileges for Psychologists
        E. Evidence Based Practice in Psychology

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will provide students with a solid foundation in ethical, legal, and professional issues faced by psychology students and psychologists. The course will include a significant amount of reading and writing along with experiential activities, a final exam, and group discussion. It will primarily be conducted as a seminar with an emphasis on student participation.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

At the end of this course the student should:

1. Be able to describe documents published by the APA to assist psychologists in questions of ethics and professional behavior;
2. Be able to identify and discuss relevant values and principles that form the basis for sound ethical behavior  when confronted with actual hypothetical cases involving ethical dilemmas;
3. Be able to resolve (or make responsible professional choices concerning ethical dilemmas by applying the values and guidelines supported by psychologists;
4. Be familiar with important legal principles and court findings that are relevant to the practice of psychology;
5. Be familiar with the ethical dilemmas/issues with which the profession is currently grappling;
6. Be knowledgeable about several issues of current interest to psychologists and the APA, possibly including but not limited to, prescription privileges, managed care, use of technology, and evidence based practice;
7. Be able to integrate cultural and social justice issues into considerations of all the preceding goals.

Assessment Measures

Students will be assessed using several measures, which may include grades on written assignments, for participation in group discussion and experiential activities, and performance on the final exam.

Other Course Information


Review and Approval

December 2007