This paper seeks to define, compare and contrast a host of terms used in ethics and law.
Professional Association and Professional Regulatory Body
Many professions nowadays are governed by professional bodies and associations. A professional association is charged with the policy making role; a good example is the American Psychological Association (APA) (Pope & Vasquez, 2010). Likewise, a professional regulatory body is charged with the policy making role, but the difference between the two is very slim. A professional association makes rules policies, but serves the interest of its members. On the contrary, a professional regulatory body is answerable to the public and the government. A professional regulatory body protects the interests of the public from professional malpractices.
Legislation and Ethical Codes
Psychologists’ actions are expected to have ethical responsibility (Pope & Vasquez, 2010). Ethics determines not only what is right or wrong, but also what is moral or immoral, and good or bad. However, such actions must be engraved in ethical codes. In line with this, ethical codes spell out what is right or wrong, good or bad, and moral or immoral with respect to the profession of psychology (Pope & Vasquez, 2010). On the other hand, legislation refers to the process through which such ethical codes and other policies governing the profession of psychotherapy are enacted. For instance, the American Psychological Association takes charge of legislation governing the profession of psychology. With respect to the ethical codes, psychologists are prohibited from releasing client’s test data to unqualified persons.
Scope of Practice and Standards of Practice
Any professional must have standards of practice: these standards define the quality of service and what is expected of professionals (Pope & Vasquez, 2010). In other words, standards of practice set the benchmark for service delivery. On the other hand, scope of practice illuminates the boundaries of service provision (Pope & Vasquez, 2010). For instance, with respect to the scope of practice, a psychologist cannot give pathological diagnosis of a non-psychological disorder.
Conflicting Principles and Conflict of Interest
Professional associations and bodies provide guidelines or policies that cage conflict of interest. In this case, this policy outlines conflicting principles that are likely to cause conflicts between professionals, professionals and the government or public (Pope & Vasquez, 2010). For instance, American Psychological Association outlines in its ethical codes policies that prohibit psychologists from giving false or deceptive statements or in-person solicitations. Such statements or conflicting principles can cause conflict of interest between psychologists and APA or psychologists and the government or public.
Risk of Harm and Fiduciary Responsibility
Psychologist, like other professionals, have a fiduciary responsibility (Pope & Vasquez, 2010). In other words, they are custodians of clients’ wishes and needs. Fiduciary responsibility is associated with standards of practice. Psychologists have the duty to meet their client’s expectations health or psychological-wise (Pope & Vasquez, 2010). In their line of duty, psychologists or other professionals encounter various risks of harm For instance, psychological trauma. A psychologist at time can be overwhelmed by their client’s predicaments.
Personal Responsibility and Professional Liability
Pope and Vasquez (2010) contend that a professional liability occurs when a psychotherapist/counselor is likely to be sued following their actions. In this case, a professional liability refers to actions or factors associated with one’s career that are likely to subject a psychologist or counselor to legal charges (Pope & Vasquez, 2010). In this case, it is paramount for practitioners to be acquainted with professional liabilities so that they can stay on the safe side of the law. On the other hand, personal responsibility refers to one’s actions that may cause them to fall prey to professional liability. In this case, it is important for the affected professional to take responsibility for actions: accept and apologize. Professional liability may occur, for instance, when a therapist is sued by a client who spent handsomely on their therapy, but they did most recover fully. Personal responsibility may occur when a therapist negligence hurts a client.
Pope, S. K., & Vasquez, M. J. (2010). Ethics in Psychotherapy and Counseling: A Practical Guide. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.