Setting boundaries when working with clients

Prior to beginning work on this week’s discussion, please review Standard 3: Human Relations in the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Please also read the Asay and Lal (2014) “Who’s Googled Whom? Trainees’ Internet and Online Social Networking Experiences, Behaviors, and Attitudes with Clients and Supervisors,” Harris and Robinson Kurpius (2014) “Social Networking and Professional Ethics: Client Searches, Informed Consent, and Disclosure,” and Taylor, McMinn, Bufford, and Chang (2010) “Psychologists’ Attitudes and Ethical Concerns Regarding the Use of Social Networking Web Sites” articles.

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For this discussion, you will examine ethical issues encountered by clinical and counseling psychologists in the digital age. Begin by reviewing the cases of Dr. Arnold and Dr. Washington listed below and selecting one of these ethical dilemmas for analysis.

Case 1
Dr. Arnold is a clinical psychologist who specializes in child and adolescent issues. From time to time, she provides consultation on high lethality cases within the juvenile court system. Recently, she was referred a case involving a 15-year-old male who has a history of aggression, angry outburst, destructive behavior, and cyberstalking.  Concerned for her safety and well-being, Dr. Arnold input the client’s name into a search engine, which yielded the client’s social network page. Dr. Arnold is uncertain whether or not to look at the client’s social network page.

Case 2
Dr. Washington is a counseling psychologist who specializes in trauma and self-harming behavior. Recently, he received a “friend request” from a former client who he provided individual therapy to six months ago. Dr. Washington opted not to accept the “friend request,” but considered sending a private message to the client with the social networking policy from his informed consent.  Dr. Washington is uncertain whether or not to send the private message to the client.

In your initial post, assume the role of a colleague to the doctor named and analyze the ethical issues encountered in your chosen case. Given the situation described in the case study, recommend how your colleague should proceed. Provide support for your response by citing the required articles for this discussion. Consider the current and potential actions of your colleague and explain whether or not he or she is currently, or potentially will be, in violation of the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Provide support for your explanation by citing Standard 3: Human Relations in the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Explain how your colleague might avoid this type of ethical dilemma in the future. Describe what policy or policies you might put in place if you were your colleague.

Guided Response: Review several of your colleagues’ posts and respond to at least two of your peers who chose a case study different from the one you selected by 11:59 p.m. on Day 7 of the week. You are encouraged to post your required replies earlier in the week to promote more meaningful interactive discourse in this discussion. 

In your responses, evaluate the recommendations suggested by your peer. State whether you agree or disagree with your peer’s recommendation to the doctor on how to proceed. Suggest other ethical implications your peer may not have considered in this case. What follow up questions might you ask your peer to aid in the ethical assessment of the case? In addition to the suggestions provided by your peer, what recommendations might you make to the doctor so that he or she might avoid these types of dilemmas in the future? What additions or changes might you make to the policy or policies suggested by your peer?

Continue to monitor the discussion forum until 5:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST) on Day 7 of the week and respond to anyone who replies to your initial post.

Carefully review the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate this Discussion Thread.

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