Reviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, PsyD (Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book elaborates on the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, last revised in 2002. It provides fictional vignettes which highlight the standards and give examples of exemplary or substandard professional behavior. The previous edition of this book was published in 1994.
Purpose: According to the author, this book "represents a rendition, in plain English, of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (hereafter the Ethics Code), with illustrative fictional case vignettes. The first edition of this book has been revised in form and structure to be used as a companion piece with the most recent (2002) revision" of the Ethics Code. The author's intention "was to create a vehicle for conveying the essence of each ethical standard by means of a case vignette. Although fictional, the vignette relates a brief but plausible account of a psychologist's conduct, fleshing out the necessarily dry and precise language of the ethical standard. By studying fictional examples of both sound and questionable judgment on the part of psychologists encountering various dilemmas in their everyday work. I hope readers can gain an appreciation of the ethical standard under consideration as well as how it could be applied." The book definitely meets the author's worthy objectives.
Audience: According to the author, "although somewhat less precise than the original standards, it is my hope that the vernacular version might be more memorable to, and more easily taught and learned by, teachers and students, neophyte and experienced psychologists, and consumers of a broad array of psychological services." The author is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford and provides psychological services and ethical consultation to psychologists, attorneys, educators, and consumers.
Features: The book goes through each standard of the APA Ethics Code, providing a fictional vignette showing either exemplary or questionable professional behavior by a psychologist. The thumbs-up or thumbs-down graphic reveals what type of conduct the vignette is trying to explain. Each vignette is followed by a series of discussion questions. The book is easy to read and makes the standards come alive. The vignettes are wonderful and the discussion questions help readers probe deeper into the salient issues. Appendixes provide other useful resources such as books on ethics and APA practice guidelines references, along with web links.
Assessment: The author has written a wonderful book, useful for both professionals and students. It is crucial for psychologists to thoroughly understand the Ethics Code and this book goes a long way toward achieving this task. It makes you think about your work and how to closely adhere to the standards. The vignettes and discussion questions are great for learning. You will not be disappointed by this one. It is a book that all students should definitely have, and psychologists would benefit greatly from it as well. It is easy to read but hard to put down.