New York State Professional Ethics For Psychologists

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

While ethics forms the foundation of professional activity for psychologists, too often important details are misunderstood, and risk management concerns override sound clinical judgement. In this course, an overview of the most important features of ethical practice is provided along with a thorough discussion of how conflicting demands influence decision making.

This intermediate level course is comprised of three parts, each containing written text with audio versions. In the first part of this course, a definition of ethics is provided along with a review of relevant content in the three governing aspects of ethics; Standards of care, the American Psychological Association Code of Ethics, and Federal and New York State laws. Part two begins with a discussion of why ethical conflicts arise with a discussion of some of the most common ethical conflicts psychologists face. Part two continues with guidelines and recommendations when conflicts arise and ends with a case study involving APA’s involvement with interrogation techniques highlighting many of the complications arising out of complex issues. Part three contains an article discussing ethics complaints brought against one of the military psychologists involved in interrogation techniques and his critique of the outcome.


  • Part 1
    • What constitutes professional ethics
    • What do psychologists in New York State need to know
      • Standard of care
    • Compliance with the standard of care
    • Ethical Code of APA
      • General Principles
      • Ethical Standards
    • Federal Regulations
      • HIPAA
        • Privacy Rule
        • Security Rule
        • Breach Notification Rule
    • New York State Regulations
      • Privacy laws
      • Licensing and oversight
      • Competency
      • Licensing requirements
    • Evidence Based Practice
  • Part 2
    • Why do ethical issues arise?
    • Examples of ethical conflicts
      • Risk management
      • Giving a patient money
      • Social Media
      • Texting
      • Self-disclosure
      • Notes
    • Managing ethical conflicts
    • Ethics as it pertains to professional organizations
    • A Case Study
      • APA’s involvement with interrogation techniques utilized by the military
  • Part 3
    • “No Cause for Action”: Revisiting the Ethics Case of Dr. John Leso

Educational Objectives

  • Identify the three fundamental components that define ethical practice.
  • Analyze possible sources of ethical conflicts.
  • Differentiate the role of risk management from ethical standards in decision making.
  • Identify the standards in New York state regarding empirically validated treatments.
  • Discuss the importance of context in evaluating ethical standards.