Ethics / Lecture Discussion 401    

Joanna Petrides, PsyD, Courtney Barry, PsyD, Heather Martens, PsyD    

The practice of psychology, more so than in any other healthcare profession, requires the establishment of a strong, supportive patient-provider relationship that facilitates open, honest, and vulnerable communication. This type of communication is necessary for behavioral health treatment since it offers providers unique opportunities to better understand, observe, impact, and educate patients, and experience the successes and setbacks of their patients right along with them. Despite the provider’s commitment to the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct or the American Medical Association Code of Ethics, the risk of overstepping boundaries in the process of delivering meaningful treatment to patients is still an ongoing risk because of the depth of the relationship established with the patient. This presentation aims to review common and uncommon scenarios in which behavioral health providers and physicians are at risk of engaging in unethical behaviors stemming from the strong, deeply personal relationship shared with patients. The presenters will break down each scenario and the risk of violating the ethics code. Discussion regarding possible approaches and solutions for managing ethics risks will be facilitated by the presenters. The audience will have an opportunity to discuss the presented cases, present their own scenarios, and participate in open discussion of the risks associated with ethics violations and how best to resolve real and potential violations to the ethics code on an individual and organizational level. 

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