Harm and Competence

1. Harm

When conducting psychological research and conducting psychological evaluation, one must always be fully aware of the individual’s safety. It is highly important to remember that harm may come in different forms and ways. There is emotional harm but there is always physical harm caused to clients. As one conducts research with client who have been harmed or abused in the past, it is of high important to remember the sensitivity of the case and avoid furthering such harm by discussing situation with a client unless client is willing to discuss.  There are steps that one must follow in order to insure the safety of the client.

Evaluating the environment and creating an environment where the client feels at ease when in the presents of the psychologist is highly important in order to receive the best possible evaluation end results.

Establish trust – No person will automatically trust their psychologist to be fully honest or compliant prior to establishing common trust and respect.

Evaluate the client’s state of mind and determine their mental capability. This will prevent the client from recalling past events that could cause harm.

When considering such steps a researcher or a psychologist will be able to work comfortably with the client/clients. However, in the event a psychologist expects harm is being caused to the clients, they should stop the research or evaluation and create a safety zone for the individual to prevent further harm. If the harm has already established itself, as a professional, one should insure the safety of the client prior to release. Meaning, if trust was established speak to the client and find out what has caused such emotional hurt that could possibly lead to harming self or others. In such a case a client should remain in the custody of the research center or hospitalized until a licensed professional states it is okay for him or her to be released.

2. Area of Competency

After years of experience psychologist, social workers, or other mental health practitioners, find themselves conflicted working in the field of their work. Such confusion leads to a want or need for change of direction. Hence, others like Dr. Martin will seek to expand their practice and involve themselves in field of practice such as child psychology.  Dr. Martin’s ethics are in question on weather or not he should be advertising himself as a child psychologist. The answer is simple; Dr. Martin should not advertise himself as a child psychologist if he did not have the proper training in treating children. As a mental health specialist, one feels competent in his or her practice; however, one must properly be trained in treating each individual.

Furthermore, as a professional licensed mental health practitioner, Dr. Martin feels competent in treating children based on his experience with other clients. However, an adult mind and a child’s mind function completely different, therefore, as a doctor, Dr. Martin should not treat children without being certified by the state he practices in, otherwise his practice can and will be viewed as unethical, leading to suspension of license or termination of practice. Each department within psychology or social work as different requirement that require trainings and certifications in order to practice. Hence, Dr. Martin may expand his business and claim child psychology treatment if he has employed a child psychologist who is fully competent of what is required in treating a child. Under the supervision of a licensed child psychologist, Dr. Martin may train, practice and become certified and then he may call himself or advertise himself as a child psychologist.

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