Issues and Ethics in Abnormal Psychology

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Informed consent is a legal document which serves as an agreement for treatment, non-treatment, or for an invasive procedure that requires physicians to disclose the benefits, risks, and alternatives to the treatment, non-treatment, or procedure (1). In order for informed consent to be considered valid, the client must be competent and the consent should be given voluntarily. For individuals who are legally incapable of giving informed consent, psychologists need make sure to provide an appropriate explanation, seek the individual's approval, consider his or her preferences and best interests, and obtain permission from a legally authorized person, if such substitute consent is permitted or required by law. If one were to create an informed consent document, one would need to include a number of things. This document needs to start out by explaining the purpose of the intended treatment or therapy, expected duration, and any procedures that they follow to make it know to the client exactly what will be happening throughout their time with the psychologist. An Informed consent document also would need to include the right to decline or withdrawal from treatment along with the possible consequences not participating in therapy or treatment, and reasonably foreseeable factors that may be expected to influence his or her willingness to participate such as potential risks, discomfort, or adverse effects. Any prospective research benefits, limits of confidentiality, incentives for participation, would also be very important elements to an informed consent document because they also provide the opportunity for participants to ask questions.

To increase the chances of providing effective assistance to culturally different clients, the therapist have to have cultural competence. Cultural competence is achieved by identifying and understanding the needs and help-seeking behaviors of individuals and families (4). The therapist has to be aware of the client’s cultural...
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