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Ethical Decision-Making in Psychology

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By FrannieJo
Words 2319
Pages 10
The Complexity of Ethical Decision Making

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart remarked, "Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do." In parsing out a virtuous ethical identity, psychologists strive to embrace several American Psychological Association [APA]-worthy overarching principles, to apply the enumerated guidelines within the Code of Ethics, and to cultivate personal and professional integrity in their quest to serve others. Furthermore, making an ethical commitment to placing the well-being of clients above one’s own personal feelings is paramount in providing effective therapeutic services that clients seek. However, the gentle human interplay of dependency, power, and will; the uniqueness and unpredictability of autonomous human beings; and the complexity of personality, behavior, and the inimitable experiences of each individual clearly drive and complicate the process of ethical decision-making. In espousing the “very highest ethical ideals of the profession (Hill, 2008),” eventually every psychologist must find a way to merge her purely objective, linear, and rational ethical catechism with her own intuitive responses to best reflect and balance her style, therapeutic orientation, and professional belief system with the needs of each distinct client. Conversely, a purely sensate approach to ethical decision-making, it seems, relies too heavily on subjectivity, whimsy, and emotions. An effective and client-centered therapist hopes to eventually develop the nuanced sophistication and knowledge to blend impressions, self-exploration, and reflection with a step-by-step explication of each dilemma that both upholds the lofty standards of a well-schooled clinician with satisfactory outcomes that ensure unconditional support and relief for each client. To that end, Susan’s...

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