Ethics Continuing Education: Protecting Patients From Harm
For professionals involved in the world of psychotherapy, ethics continuing education is vital to a thriving practice. Forgetting the codes that every therapist must adhere to is simply not an option for anyone who wants to continue to grow professionally. One mistake could lead to the loss of your license or a malpractice suit. There are clear lines when it comes to how patients should be treated and the ethical considerations that every therapist needs to adhere to. By furthering your learning in this area and keeping up with the latest in research and development, you can ensure that the line is never crossed.
As a matter of professional conduct, all psychologists will follow the APA’s guidelines for ethical considerations. As a professional, all ethics continuing education will at least touch upon the foundational base developed by the APA. These foundational aspects include striving for beneficence and nonmalfeasance in the treatment of patients, incorporating fidelity and responsibility into the therapy, integrity, a sense of justice, and an ongoing and unwavering respect for the rights of patients and other people. It is through further learning classes that a psychologist can understand what it meant by this code and how it applies to various situations that could arise in a practice.
Naturally any ethics continuing education class is going to have to address the issue of confidentiality, which is central to any therapist’s practice. Clearly, when a patient goes to see a psychologist, they expect that everything that is said will remain between themselves and their counselor. But this is an area many therapists struggle with. When there is a danger to the patient or another person, the therapist finds themselves in a tough position. The law provides for the breaking of confidentiality in those instances, but it can be difficult to determine when exactly that point has been reached. Many patients go to therapy feeling suicidal. Is the confidentiality pact already null and void? Where does it begin and end. These are the questions every therapist will have to address throughout their career.
As with any issues, ethics continuing education should enrich a professionals approach to their field and give them a wider base of knowledge from which to work. While required by certain states, even those therapists who are not required to seek the credits should do all they can to stay up on the latest news and research as it pertains to ethical considerations in their field.