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Clinical Psychology Discussion

Clinical Psychology Discussion


Ethical Limitations: In the context of correctional or forensic psychology, the primary goal is often not solely the well-being of the individual being evaluated, but rather a combination of public safety, legal requirements, and the needs of the criminal justice system. This can conflict with the traditional principle of maintaining full confidentiality that clinical psychologists adhere to. Due to the nature of their work, correctional and forensic psychologists are often obligated to share information with relevant parties, such as law enforcement, legal professionals, or correctional authorities. This is done to prevent harm, ensure safety, and uphold the legal process.

Situations and Limitation Application:

  1. Risk Assessment: When evaluating individuals for parole or release, psychologists need to assess the risk they pose to society. While respecting the dignity of the individual, psychologists might need to share pertinent information with parole boards or correctional authorities to make informed decisions.
  2. Safety Concerns: In situations where an individual expresses intent to harm themselves or others, psychologists have a duty to take appropriate actions to ensure safety, which might involve sharing information with relevant parties.
  3. Legal Proceedings: Correctional and forensic psychologists often participate in legal proceedings, such as competency evaluations or expert witness testimony. In these cases, information shared with the court might not be fully confidential.

Demonstrating Respect:

  1. Transparency: Correctional and forensic psychologists can demonstrate respect by openly discussing the limitations of confidentiality with their clients before starting therapy. This informs the individual about the circumstances in which confidentiality might be breached and sets realistic expectations.
  2. Empowerment: Psychologists can involve the individual in the decision-making process whenever possible. This involves respecting their autonomy and involving them in discussions about information sharing when safety concerns arise.
  3. Informed Consent: Obtaining informed consent from the individual is crucial. They should understand that while their privacy might not be fully protected, the psychologist is committed to minimizing unnecessary disclosure of information.
  4. Cultural Sensitivity: Being culturally sensitive and respectful of the individual’s background, values, and beliefs is paramount. This can foster a therapeutic alliance and a sense of respect even in a context where confidentiality is limited.
  5. Focus on Rehabilitation: Emphasizing rehabilitation and assisting the individual in making positive changes can demonstrate a commitment to their well-being, even within the constraints of their situation.

In summary, while correctional and forensic psychologists face ethical challenges in terms of maintaining confidentiality, they can still demonstrate respect to the individuals they work with by being transparent, empowering them in the decision-making process, obtaining informed consent, being culturally sensitive, and focusing on rehabilitation. Balancing the needs of the justice system with the well-being of the individual requires a delicate ethical balance, and practicing these principles can help maintain the dignity and respect of those involved.

Clinical Psychology Discussion

Question Description

I’m studying for my Psychology class and need an explanation.


Both correctional psychologists and police psychologists are typically either clinical or counseling psychologists. The text discusses ethical issues that are specific to these two fields and in conflict with the “usual” role of the clinical psychologist. Saint Leo University has adopted six Benedictine Values as part of its liberal arts education. The value of Respect has been identified by the psychology faculty as particularly relevant for this course. Considering the ethical issues facing correctional or forensic psychologists, how can they still demonstrate respect to the examinee or individual involved in therapy, yet not grant full confidentiality? Discuss the ethical limitations, situations in which these limitations apply and suggest ways one can still show respect.

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