Children and adults who are legally incompetent have the same right to privacy enjoyed by adults who are competent, though their rights will be mediated by a designated family member or a legal guardian.
There are federal statutes binding on all ASHA members who treat clients or patients, whether they work in health care facilities (where the HIPAA privacy and security rules apply), schools (which operate under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, as well as HIPAA), or private practice.
They are illustrative of the Code of Ethics and intended to promote thoughtful consideration of ethical issues.
These statements do not absolutely prohibit or require specified activity.
The facts and circumstances surrounding a matter of concern will determine whether the activity is ethical.
Professional persons in health care delivery fields (including those working in the public schools) have legal and ethical responsibilities to safeguard the confidentiality of information regarding the clients in their care.
Scholars and those involved in human research have legal and ethical obligations to protect the privacy of persons who agree to participate in clinical studies and other research projects.
Petitioner first argues that the Psychology Board erroneously concluded that he violated Principle 6(a) of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists. The psychology profession's prohibition against dual relationships is especially necessary in light of the well documented phenomenon of “transference.” “Transference is the term used by psychiatrists and psychologists to denote a patient's emotional reaction to a therapist․” Simmons v. The psychologist is expected to recognize and understand a patient's inappropriate and loving emotions directed toward the therapist as constituting transference. During the therapeutic process, the psychologist and patient develop a relationship analogous to that of a parent and child. The harmful consequences of a sexual relationship between a client and therapist are similar to those experienced by incest victims. The experts agree that sexual intimacies between a therapist and client constitute a misuse of transference. (quoting Stone, The Legal Implications of Sexual Activity Between Psychiatrist and Patient, 133 Am. Slaughter, Misuse of the Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege in Weisbeck v. Linda Jorgenson, Rebecca Randles, and Larry Strasburger, The Furor Over Psychotherapist-Patient Sexual Contact: New Solutions to an Old Problem, 32 Wm. Petitioner next argues that the Board's conclusion that he violated Principle 2(f) of the APA's Ethical Principles is not supported by the findings or the evidence. Principle 2(f) states: Psychologists recognize that personal problems and conflicts may interfere with professional effectiveness. Common sense and good judgment should also be guideposts for members of a learned profession trained to promote mental health.
Harkins, Jr., Atlanta, GA, for petitioner appellant. The psychologist who chooses to engage in such activity “bears the burden of demonstrating that there has been no exploitation, in light of all relevant factors․” Id. The revised code makes crystal clear that psychologists who engage in romantic relationships with former clients may no longer argue to professional review boards and courts that the term “client” is to be narrowly construed to apply only to current clients and not former clients. “The proper therapeutic response is countertransference, a reaction which avoids emotional involvement and assists the patient in overcoming problems.” Id. For these reasons, “[c]ourts have uniformly regarded mishandling of transference as malpractice or gross negligence.” Simmons, 805 F.2d at 1365.“[T]he factors which make sexual contact with a patient harmful and unethical do not appear to change when a professional relationship is terminated.” Molly E. Many patients continue to experience transference long after the formal termination of psychotherapy. At the time petitioner became involved with four of his former patients, the ethical code that existed gave “notice that sexual intimacy between a psychologist and a patient was improper.” Weisbeck v. We hold that under the circumstances of this case, the Board's interpretation of that principle was neither plainly erroneous nor inconsistent with the purposes of the regulation. There is no indication in this case that the Board acted in bad faith, unfairly, or without judgment.There are also stringent federal statutes governing the treatment of human subjects in medical and other forms of scientific research.Individual states also have statutes governing the confidentiality of patient and client information, the protection of data gathered in research, and the privacy of students. If engaged in such activity when they become aware of their personal problems, they seek competent professional assistance to determine whether they should suspend, terminate, or limit the scope of their professional and/or scientific activities. After a careful examination of the whole record, we find substantial evidence to support the Board's conclusion that petitioner violated Principle 2(f). How unfortunate when professional codes of conduct are used literally to define acceptable behavior. Under the Psychology Practice Act, the Board has authority to discipline any psychologist found “guilty of ․ unprofessional, or unethical conduct as defined in ․ the then-current code of ethics of the American Psychological Association․” N. Hess: A Step Backward in the Prohibition of Sexual Exploitation of a Patient by a Psychotherapist, 41 S. Accordingly, they refrain from undertaking any activity in which their personal problems are likely to lead to inadequate performance or harm to a client, colleague, student, or research participant. We are mindful that people who seek the counsel and guidance of psychologists are not sent home with “codes of ethical conduct.” Rather, they are expected to draw from their own morals, values, and religious teachings to determine right from wrong. Psychologists make every effort to avoid dual relationships that could impair their professional judgment or increase the risk of exploitation. Petitioner asserts that he did not violate the above provision because it did not explicitly prohibit romantic involvement with former clients.