Assignment: Psychology Ethics Essay
The purpose of this assignment is for you to understand and apply aspects of the American Psychological Association Code of Ethics to a specific ethical dilemma. You will choose from one of a series of “ethical dilemmas,” which are provided on Ulearn. In the essay, you will take on the role of “prosecutor” or “defense” and argue for or against the behavior of the fictional psychologist in the case, based on the APA code of ethics.
You will select one of the providedethical cases, and write a 3-4 page paper in which you explore the issues presented and take a position on the actions of the psychologist described in the scenario. This will require you to review the APA code to find relevant ethical codes/principles, briefly summarize the relevant codes that pertain to the case, and offer an informed opinion about the topic.
Whichever topic you choose, your paper should include the following sections:
Overview of the topic – what is the ethical dilemma (or dilemmas) that appear to be present in the case? What is the conflict here in this situation? [about 1 page]
Argument for or against the behavior – this is the largest part of the paper, in which you will evaluate the actions of the psychologist based on the APA code of ethics. You will take on the role of a “prosecutor” if you believe that the psychologist acted unethically, or the “defense” if you believe that the psychologist acted appropriately. Be sure to clearly and thoroughly explain why you are arguing for or against their actions, based on the APA ethical code or ethical principles, citing specific codes that illustrate appropriate behavior. You must also cite any sources from outside the code. [1-2 pages]
Conclusion – briefly summarize your arguments for or against the psychologist’s behavior, and if you argued “against” the psychologist, suggest what they should have done instead, OR if you argued “for” the psychologist, give some suggestions as to how they might prevent similar situations in the future. [about 1 page]
References – include a References list (in APA style) of the credible sources you used to learn about this topic. You must include the APA code of ethics (see Ulearn) as a source for the paper. Credible sources might include journal articles, news reports, or textbooks. Websites may be acceptable, as long as you can establish where this information is coming from and can explain why this perspective is trustworthy.
Note: Your paper must be in APA writing style (check Ulearn for APA style references and tutorials if you are not familiar with APA style). Most importantly, the paper MUST contain a References page, as well as in-text citations. Failure to cite sources may constitute plagiarism. Points will be deducted for more than 5 APA style errors.
Scoring Rubric (15 points total)
[5 pts]hical codes relevant to the situation described.
[5 pts] Writer makes a reasonable argument for or against the psychologist’s behavior, appropriately using the APA code of ethics to explain why the behavior was appropriate or inappropriate.
[2 pts] Sources cited are credible and accurate reflections of the issue discussed.
[3 pts] Paper is written in clear and professional language, with no more than 5 APA style errors.
Ethical Dilemma #1 – Working with Thomas
Dr. Smythe, a therapist, has been working with Thomas, a 22 year old male, for about 6 months at the college counseling center where you are employed as a counselor. Based on his report and past records Dr. Smythe has received, Thomas has an autism spectrum disorder. At times, Thomas behaves in ways that are inappropriate for typical college students – he has called professors at home late at night to ask questions, he has appeared at University offices outside of his regular appointments and demanded to be seen, and has a habit of regularly calling his therapist between appointments to seek reassurance for his anxiety.
Thomas is aware these behaviors are inappropriate, and with Dr. Smythe’shelp he has made some small progress in reducing them. He has never been physically threatening toward the therapist, or anyone else at the college as far as Dr. Smythe can tell; however, Thomas’ large stature and difficulty with self-control have made some staff and students frightened of him and reluctant to work with him. He is an average student, and receives substantial assistance from your school’s Disability Services office.
One day the counseling center director approaches Dr. Smythe and asks if she will attend a meeting with the director and with other University staff who work with Thomas, for the purpose of planning and “figuring out what to do” with Thomas. Dr. Smythegets the sense that this meeting will occur whether she attends or not, and she concerned about what may happen as a result of the meeting, so she agrees to go.
At the meeting, Dr. Smythe sits down with the counseling center director, the Dean of Student of the college, and a member of the Disability Services staff. The Dean plays some voicemails he received from Thomas late at night, in which Thomas expresses high anxiety and furiously demands that the Dean call him right away. The Dean also has a voicemail in which Thomas called back later that evening and apologized for calling the Dean so late at night. The Dean looks to Dr. Smythe as the therapist, asking “what should we do about Thomas?”
Dr. Smythe gives some general information about Thomas’ diagnosis, and the work they have been doing, but declines to share her notes about the case with the Dean or the Disability Services staff member. Dr. Smythe suggests that the Dean give Thomas some firm limits about when he can or cannot call the Dean, and expressed hope that if people can be consistent with their limits, eventually Thomas will learn to abide by them. Dr. Smythe speaks with the Disability Services agent about coordinating their work together, and they tentatively agree on some ideas for making these behavioral limits clear to him.
In your essay, you will evaluate Dr. Smythe’s actions, and argue for or against her decision. Make sure to follow the assignment instructions, and include all necessary sections of the essay!
Ethical Dilemma #2 – Teaching Tara
Dr. Rudy, a psychology professor, has been teaching and supervising a graduate student, Tara, for about one year, since she began the Psychology doctoral program where he works. Tara is a bright and enthusiastic student, though at times she confides to Dr. Rudy that she has a lot of “personal issues” that sometimes get in the way of her graduate work, but she declines to give more detail than that.
In the classroom, Tara is usually an active and dedicated student, and completes her work on time (or ahead of schedule). Dr. Rudy appreciates the work she does in class, and in addition to giving her high grades consistent with her work, he regularly praises her in class.
As time goes on, as part of Tara’s work on her thesis, she often spends hours each week meeting with Dr. Rudy in his office at the University, discussing the project and her work progress on it. From time to time, Tara and Dr. Rudy will have a meal together, either in his office or at a nearby diner, so they can continue their work. Dr. Rudy usually pays for the meals, as he knows that as a graduate student Tara probably does not have much money.
One December afternoon, after completing their thesis meeting for the day, Tara asks for a ride home rather than having to wait for a bus or ordering a ride service. Noting that it isalready getting dark, and that it is beginning to snow outside, Dr. Rudy agrees and drives Tara the 10-minute trip to her apartment. Tara thanks him for the ride and they do not mention it again.
As the new school term begins in January, Dr. Rudy notes that Tara’s work has declined somewhat. She still completes her assignments, but often will turn them in late. The quality of work is still generally good, but not to her same level as before. Knowing that Tara has “personal issues,” Dr. Rudy continues to give her high grades, hoping that eventually things will get back to normal.
Dr. Rudy privately expresses some concern about Tara to Dr. Cline, another faculty member in the program, who teaches Tara in another class. Dr. Cline says that Tara seems to be completing her work in this other class just fine (and on time), and has not mentioned any personal issues or concerns to her. Dr. Cline gently suggests that Dr. Rudy might be giving her “too much leeway” and that he should consider spending less time with Tara to “get a clearer perspective.” Dr. Rudy is shocked by this suggestion, but agrees to consider it. When he returns to his office, Dr. Rudy sees an email from Tara in which she asks for a meeting “over lunch” the next day and states that she has some things she needs to tell him about. Dr. Rudy is unsure how to respond, and decides to put off responding to the email until the next day.
In your essay, you will evaluate Dr. Rudy’s actions, and argue for or against his decisions. Make sure to follow the assignment instructions, and include all necessary sections of the essay!