George T. Jackson,
University of Phoenix
Survey of Professional Psychology
Dr. Christi Moore, Facilitator
Ethical Decision Making Paper
In this paper I will examine the relationship of a school psychologist and the relationship of his client and how boundaries were crossed when the school psychologist entered a sexual relationship with his minor client. To complete this assignment, the ethical dilemma will be discussed, the 14 steps in the ethical decision making process will be applied, further I will briefly discuss the importance of ethical decision making in professional psychology.
A psychologist working in the Baltimore City Public School System with middle school students in the Promoting Respect Integrity Discipline Education (PRIDE) Program starts to develop sexual feelings toward one of the young male student’s. At first the psychologist could resist his temptations for wanting to engage in sexual activities with the young man, but the more time he spent with the student the stronger his desires became. The psychologist finds ways to meet with the student alone and he builds a trusting relationship with him and his mother. He accomplishes this by offering to be a mentor/big brother to the student because the mother is a single parent. The mother was appreciative that the psychologist was spending time with her son, by helping him with his homework, taking him to the movies, and helping to purchase school supplies. The psychologist convinced the mother to allow him to give the boy a cell phone claiming that the boy and his mother could stay in contact because the mother worked overtime, and the child would be home alone. The mother agreed to this, not thinking there was anything to the relationship. The psychologist continues to buy his client gifts and take him out to dinner and to the movies.
The school psychologist finds that the boy loves dogs and asks the boy if he wanted a job after-school and on the weekends walking his dogs, he convinced the boy by taking the job they could spend more time together. The boy tells his mother about the job and the mother agrees to this and finally the psychologist asks the mother if he could take the boy on a weekend camping trip, which the mother agrees. It was on the camping trip the psychologist expresses his feelings toward the boy and the boy shares his feelings toward the psychologist and he and the boy engage in sexual relations. The sexual relationship continues the rest of the school year and throughout the summer. When the new school year begins the psychologist is still engaging in sexual relations with the student, begins to develop feelings for another student and starts spending less time with the first young man, as a result of this the boy starts acting out in class, not doing his homework, failing his test, fighting with the other students, and he becomes aggressive toward the psychologist. As a result of the boy’s acting out behaviors a parent conference is scheduled, the boy reveals that he and the psychologist have been engaging in sexual relations for the past seven to eight months. A formal investigation is conducted and it comes out that the psychologist has been spending time with the young man outside of the school, the young man spent several nights at the psychologist home, the boy told how the psychologist took him to Delaware for a weekend trip when the mother thought the boy was staying the weekend with his grandmother. The psychologist even allowed the young man to drive his car on several occasions. When the psychologist was confronted with these allegations, he broke down and confessed that he and the young man were in love and that the sex was...