PSY570 Southern New Work Settings with Special Ethical Challenges Discussion

Read Chapter 15 in the text (attached).

As you consider potential places of employment for the future, think about work settings that might require special ethical considerations.

Describe three work settings that present special ethical challenges. Explain why they are particularly challenging.

To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document (attached).



Some potential work settings that may require special ethical considerations would be if you were counseling inmates in prison and an inmate discloses to you that there were plans for a gang to jump another inmate. Maybe they specifically name the inmate target or maybe they don’t. The ethical consideration would be the duty to maintain confidentiality vs safety. Would there be a difference if the target had been identified? What would the implications be for the therapy, prison safety, or your safety if you chose to report it? There’s always the chance that the inmate could be playing mind games with you, with there being no actual threat in an attempt to test you to further exploit you in more nefarious ways based on something you had said in a previous session maybe. How would you be able to tell what was real and what wasn’t?

A second example would be if you were the only psychologist at a community health clinic in a rural area and you are constantly being sent referrals for patients with problems that you have little to no experience/training in. However, you are the only psychologist within 100 miles and your patient population is low income. What would your duty be to provide care vs practicing within the scope of your education, experience, and training? Is some treatment better than none?

The third example is if you were a neuropsychologist and received a referral for a Native American or Hispanic client to conduct a neuropsych on, but you have no culturally appropriate norms. Would you use what are considered to be Caucasian norms, Native American norms, or Hispanic norms? Basically, what is your duty to provide culturally sensitive and competent services? Would it be better to evaluate the client imperfectly, potentially leading to misdiagnosis which could lead to the wrong type of treatment? Or, would it be better to choose not to evaluate them at all, leading to no treatment?


One setting where I think the professional would need to consider special ethical considerations would be as a school psychologist. I believe this would be especially tricky mainly because there are more factors to consider in these situations than just the student. Many times, there are circumstances at home which contribute to whatever the issue the student either brings up or is exhibiting at school. This is most difficult because how does the school psychologist help the student without helping the home life and parents as well? The psychologist is then tasked with navigating appropriate ethics not only with situations like this but also with student confidentiality.

Another difficult workplace setting would be with marriage and family counseling/psychology. This job would also be tricky for similar reasons in that confidentiality would be very important and in marriage counseling, you’re essentially counseling three parties, one person, the other and then the couple. With so many factors, it can make it extremely difficult for the professional to ensure ethics are being upheld.

Lastly, social workers, I feel would have an ethically difficult job. When growing up, I always wanted to be a social worker only to later find out I have a huge heart for children and would not necessarily be able to ethically work in that field. If, for example, the social worker didn’t feel housing or the necessities were adequate for the child but yet there wasn’t anything that the social worker could do to help the child, it would potentially create a risky ethical dilemma for the social worker. Does the social worker help the child with whatever necessary or complete their job as the state and boss says to? It’s one job that I don’t think I could handle personally and I would want to save every child even though I know I couldn’t.