Ethical Issues

Assignment 1

Ethical Issues

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For the following testing scenario, identify specific ethical considerations or potential violations committed by Dr. Jefferson as discussed in your textbook and online course material. From an ethical perspective, please consider what Dr. Jefferson has done well and what she could have done differently. If there is a violation of the Canadian Psychological Ethical Guidelines for Psychologists, provide recommendations for a more ethical practice (i.e., what advice would you give to Dr. Jefferson?)

Dr. Jefferson lives and practices psychology in a rural area. She has been a registered psychologist for 5 years (Ph.D. in Child Psychology) and her area of specialization is anxiety disorders and depression. She began to provide psychotherapy to Mr. Giles, a 42-year-old, who was dealing with depression. After three sessions, Mr. Giles suffered a significant head injury while at work. His impairment is noticeable by Dr. Jefferson without any type of testing, although she administers the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery, just in case.

Mr. Giles’s co-worker, Cynthia, helped him find an attorney so that his rights are protected, especially since the incident occurred at work. Dr. Jefferson had Mr. Giles sign a release to talk with the attorney as well as Cynthia. From a phone call with the attorney, WSIB (Workers Compensation) wants to work out a settlement, but the attorney has little understanding regarding Mr. Giles’ level of impairment.

Mr. Giles demonstrates a variety of cognitive deficits. He needs assistance and monitoring with daily tasks, such as home care, shopping, transportation, understanding the settlement process, reading his mail, and paying his bills. He will likely need to go into an assisted living facility. His family lives three provinces away and provides minimal help, both emotionally and financially. Mr. Giles doesn’t appear to understand his legal rights or the settlement process.

Prior to providing extra-therapy support, Dr. Jefferson had Mr. Giles sign a document explaining her fees for the additional services. She is not sure that he completely understands what is happening or her version of informed consent for the additional services. The psychologist has been doing much of the case management work on her own, such as locating a long-time friend who is willing to help him at home, engaging in lengthy discussions with his primary care physician and neurologist, participating in multiple conversations with the attorney, and trying to find a guardian or power of attorney. Over dinner and beers, she has also spoken at length to her partner, a neuropsychologist, about how best to serve her client.

This assignment should be approximately four (4) pages, double spaced. It will be graded on your ability to correctly identify the ethical violations (e.g., refer to specific CPA ethical principles), recommendations for more ethical behaviour, and writing style.  Use APA format for referencing.  Examples of this can be found online at, such as Owl Purdue’s Online Writing Lab.

I would suggest that students using APA should also follow the following format in the creation of their work:

  1. Introduction to the case overview and what ethical standards are according to the Canadian standards for Psychologists.
  2. Discussion of Principle 1
  3. Discussion of Principle 2
  4. Discussion of Principle 3
  5. Discussion of Principle 4
  6. Recommendations
  7. Conclusion


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