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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book helps psychologists to interpret and apply the APA's (American Psychological Association)"Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct". It is a positive approach because it emphasizes striving toward high standards as opposed to avoiding punishment. A positive approach encourages the reader to apply these principles in their professional lives, going beyond minimum standards.
Purpose: According to the authors, "in this book, we review the disciplinary codes as they apply to psychologists who deliver health care, teach, conduct research, or otherwise engage in professional activities. Although we recognize the need for disciplinary codes, we keep sight of the benefits of studying ethics as a way to help psychologists fulfill their highest ethical ideals" (p. 4). Those are worthy objectives. The book definitely met the authors' objectives.
Audience: The authors do not exactly say whom the target audience is. However, it is clear from the title (and blurb on back cover) that they are addressing psychologists. In my judgment, both psychologists and graduate psychology students would greatly benefit from this volume. The authors are very credible authorities in the subject matter of the book. According to his autobiography, "Dr. Knapp is the director of professional affairs for the Pennsylvania Psychological Association" (p. 289) and has authored numerous books and articles. The other author, Dr. VandeCreek, "is a professor in the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University" (p. 289) and is also a prolific writer.
Features: The book begins with defining the difference between remedial and positive ethics, and the foundation for ethical behavior from a philosophical standpoint. The remainder of the chapters talks about applying ethics to professional behavior including but not limited to the following areas: 1. Competence 2. Multiple relationships and Professional Boundaries 3. Informed Consent or Shared Decision Making 4. Confidentiality, Privileged Communications, and Record Keeping The book includes numerous clinical vignettes and how to apply positive ethics. It is very easy to read and extremely practical. Graduate students and psychologists will gain much knowledge because it goes beyond the remedial approach, which most books emphasize (i.e. avoiding punishment, following the letter of the Code of Conduct). Chapter Six on multiple relationships is wonderfully written, providing so much insight to sometimes very difficult issues. There are no shortcomings in this book.
Assessment: Psychologists should read this book at least once a year, to remind themselves of their obligations and responsibilities. It should be required reading for graduate psychology students in classes emphasizing ethics and/or professional development. The authors answer clearly questions students have, in terms of working with clients. And the positive approach is so refreshing because it is liberating, not restricting. As a training director in a predoctoral clinical internship site, I will definitely teach this material as part of our professional development training. I am thrilled with this book, worth every penny.