Ethics of Media Interactions for Mental Health Professionals

Course materials are available as articles, audio with transcripts, and video with transcripts.

Mental health professionals are increasingly offered opportunities to interact with the media. For example, you may be asked to appear on a podcast or television show, interviewed by a reporter about a current event, socially advocate for a cause by signing an online petition, promote your latest research through social media sites, or even write an ongoing blog. Although there are many important benefits of media engagement for mental health professionals, such interactions also come with some unique ethical dilemmas that require consideration and deliberate action.

In this beginning level course, Dr. Warren is interviewed by Dr. Marks and discusses ethical issues and concerns that arise when considering whether and how to respond to media requests. Dr. Warren provides guidelines and specific actions every mental health professional needs to be aware of before participating in media interactions. She also discusses the ethics of seeking out interviews and letting news sources be aware of one’s expertise. Sample Media Policies are offered by Dr. Warren but are not included in the posttest.


  • American Psychological Association (2017). Ethical principles of
    psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved from
  • Basken, P. (2016). A challenge for mental-health experts: Should they
    weigh in on Trump. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from
  • DeAngelis, T. (2018). 8 ways to advocate for Psychology. Monitor on
    Psychology, 49(3). Retrieved from
  • Levin, A. (2016). Goldwater Rule’s origins based on long-ago
    controversy. Psychiatric News. Retrieved from

Educational Objectives

  • Assess the key benefits of media interaction for mental health professionals
  • Discuss primary ethical issues that may emerge during media interaction that are relevant to mental health professionals
  • Utilize practical recommendations for mental health providers who want to engage with the media


  • Primary benefits of media interaction
    • Educate
    • Comment
    • Advocate
    • Enhance Reputation of the profession
    • Clarify misconceptions
  • Key Ethical Challenges
    • Clarifying your role
    • Commenting on issue vs person
    • Competence to comment
    • Payment and conflicts of interest
  • Recommendations
    • Have a policy
    • Minimize appearance of therapy
    • Avoid dual relationships
  • Tips for increasing media interactions