Ethical Decision-Making in Psychotherapy: On Being Moral, Ethical and Professional

Online Course Materials:    ArticlesArticles    AudiosVideos   ArticlesArticles   

All materials are available as audios with transcripts.

Developed by Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

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Course fulfills the California and other states' ethics and law requirements. Course may qualify for insurance discount. Check with your insurer

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This course is offered as part of a Boundaries in Psychotherapy Certificate Program of 57 CE Credit Hours.

General Course Description

This intermediate level course discusses issues of morality, ethics, rights, virtues, values and responsibility. It outlines the processes of ethical decision-making and critical thinking. It takes participants on a journey starting with the general theoretical issues involved in moral reasoning through the practical considerations all the way to ethical decision-making in psychotherapy. It goes beyond the most common approaches to ethics, which are What are the laws, codes and rules? How to avoid being sued or How to comply with the rules and regulations. The course invites participants to explore a wide range of fundamental questions of ethics, such as What should I do? or How should I act? What is good? and the heart of ethics which is What moral principles should I follow? Culturally and professionally, there seems to be an increase in focus on rules, principles and dos and don’ts at the dangerous expense of ignoring the fundamental component of ethics — virtue. Defensive medicine often takes precedence over critical thinking, soulfulness and care. The moral life is not simply a matter of rigidly following rules. The moral life is a matter of trying to determine the kind of people we should be and of attending to the development of character within ourselves and our communities. After covering the broader concerns with ethics, virtue, morality, cultural relativism, etc., the course focuses on ethical decision-making in psychotherapy and the importance of the moral principles of autonomy, non-malfeasance, beneficence, justice and fidelity. The course then introduces a theoretical and conceptual framework for ethical decision-making. The course also looks critically at how professional, ethical guidelines, publications and the code of ethics themselves are influenced by professional, cultural and other forces, including self-serving influences. Lastly, it gives updates of laws and ethical concerns and exemplifies how to apply ethical decision-making in dual relationships situations.

The course consists of eight articles and one audio with transcript. The first is a series of excellent short articles that provide the reader with the theoretical, philosophical and conceptual background for ethical decision-making. The second audio, Ethical Decision Making proposes a comprehensive, ethical decision-making process for psychotherapists, and the third article, Implementing Ethical Decision-Making Models compares nine different available ethical decision-making models. The fourth article details the ethical decision-making and the fifth article provide an historical review of forces and trends that contribute to the belief in the depravity of dual relationships. The sixth article provides the reader for details ethical-clinical practice guidelines on areas, such as confidentiality, fees, risk-management, termination, touch, record keeping, subpoenas, bartering, dual relationships, etc. The seventh article provides a unique updates of trends and recent ethical-clinical areas of psychotherapy and counseling, which include TeleMental Health and E-Therapy, HIPAA, Confidentiality, Record Keeping, Risk Management, Dual Relationships, Releasing Test-Data, Therapeutic Boundaries (self-disclosure, bartering, touch, etc.), Child Custody, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Subpoenas, Repressed Memories, Treatment of Borderline Personality Disordered Patients, Neuropsychology and Treatment of Trauma, Psychopharmacology, DSM Update and What Happened to PDM? Duty to Report, Danger to Others, Tarasoff & Ewing, Google Factor: What Clients Can Find Out about their Therapists Online. Finally, the last article introduces the reader to a special set of dual relationships circumstances where state laws have imposed dual relationships on psychotherapists. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Educational Objectives:

    This course will teach the participant to

  • Define and apply construct, such as morality, virtue, ethics, rights, fairness and justice.
  • Identify different ethical decision-making models in psychotherapy.
  • Apply ethical decision-making processes to their practices.
  • Apply ethical decision-making to dual relationships situations.
  • Explain the forces that contribute to our attitudes toward dual relationships.
  • Review the general changes regarding dual relationships in psychotherapy in the recent APA code and relevant states’ law.

Course Syllabus:

  • Framework for ethical decision-making
    • What is Ethics? Can Ethics Be Taught?
    • Common Good Conscience and Authority
    • Ethical Relativism and Virtue
    • Everyday Ethics
    • Justice, Fairness, Rights
  • Ethical decision-making
  • Comparison of ethical decision-making models in therapy
    • Comparing Nine Different Ethical Decision-Making Models
  • Thinking ahead about ethical dilemmas
    • Informed Consent & Assessments
    • Multiple Relations in Rural Practice
    • Third-Party Services & Competence
  • APA Code of Ethics
    • Highlights of the Changes to APA Code of Ethics
  • Avoiding exploitive dual relationships: A decision-making model
    • Assumptions
    • Power Relationships
    • Process of Decision-Making
  • Ethical decision-making and dual relationships
  • Manufacturing consent about dual relationships
    • Chomsky Model
    • Core Group of Gate Keepers
    • How Consensus has been Achieved
  • Law imposed dual relationships
    • Child, Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Mandate Reporting
    • Sex with a Former Therapist & Duty to Warn Situations
    • Psychological Assistants and Interns & California Laws and Regulations
CE Badge Created with Sketch. 6 CE

Cost: $59.00

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