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Lecture 3

Abnormal Psychology Lecture 3.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Hywel Morgan

Lecture 3: Ethical and Legal Issues Sept 26, PSY240  Ethical and Legal Issues  In what environments do psychologists [profess]?  In a clinical one, as a clinician  There are also a sister psychology: counseling psychology  Not so interested in pathologies, more so issues in things like marriage, relationships, etc.  In a research environment  Researchers have a similar code of ethics and legal principles  Still practice psychotherapy, but with no focus on pathologies  In a teaching environment  The aftermath of WWII affected how psychology as a profession was practised  Nazis conducted experiments on people in concentration camps against their will  These were conducted in Nierenberg (N. trials)  Affected how professionals interact with patients behaviourally and medically  The key issue that came out of trials was the concept of informed consent  From this, people were given the right to deny participation  The difference between ethics and laws:  Law is a written law that you have to do, you have no choice  Ethics are guidelines of how we should  Clinical psychologist behavior: The #1 guideline is that you are not supposed to sleep with your clients  APA says you should have at least 3 years of a non-relationship (no treatment) before a relationship is “allowed”  However, there are no legal ramifications!  Informed Consent:  When I interact with you, I tell you what this interaction will be and you consent to it  The central aspect of ethics in this profession  Psychologists informs what his qualifications are, what his training is in, and what can be expected of him  Risk/harm  #1 clinical psychologist rule: “I will not harm my client”  What constitutes harm?  Confidentiality  Everything discussed in confidential  This is a LEGAL issue. In legal terms, it’s called “privilege  5 relationships that legally ‘enjoy’ privilege: lawyers, clinicians, psychologists, clergy, spouse  Ontario supreme court has only upheld two: lawyers and spouses  The age of psych consent is 10, but best to get parental consent till the client is 18  There are limits to confidentiality!  Client must be informed of the limits  Most important circumstance in which a psychologist can/must tell the authorities:  Child abuse – this is a legal issue. Any licensed medical professional and you learn of a potential case of child abuse [true or only potential], they are required to tell the authorities  Reporting and following up are not the same; you must report it  This applies to verbal abuse  An ethical gray area: do you report if there’s a hint but no direct admission to child abuse?  Threatening to harm themselves or others  When there’s a patient that has a tendency to say these things but generally or probably don’t mean it. There was a clear admission of the intent to harm themselves or others, so do you report it?  If they’ve thought of a way to kill themselves, then that’s when they need to get help  Any harm done in the past (murder, etc.) canNOT be reported. The line is drawn at ongoing or future behaviours  NOTE: your legal obligations are only to your client  The Tarasoff case: (Tarasoff v. State of California) 1974, S. Court decision in ’76  Tatyana Tarasoff was a young university student that befriended a foreign exchanged student  He misread her affection for him (she kissed him on the cheek)  He was suffering from a type of mood disorder (he was seeing a psych)  She went away on her own exchanged program and he stopped seeing a psych  When she returned, he murdered her  Over the months in which she was gone he began to feel angry at her. He said this to the psychologists  The admission was so violent that the psychologist did inform the campus police (even though there was no law at the time)  The authorities did follow up, but decided he was not an immediate threat to Tatyana  Tatyana’s parents were angry that the psychologist did not inform Tatyana and her parents of the danger  They took this to the Supreme Court, who sided with the parents  *Doesn’t apply in all provinces+ If a psych becomes suspicious that a client is not fit to drive, it is a legal obligation to tell the Ministry of Transportation  If you break consent, you will lose your job; if you act as a psychologist without a license, you go to jail  Who
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