The Ethical Dilemma of Playing Both a Therapeutic and a Forensic Role: the Difference

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The Ethical Dilemma of Playing both a Therapeutic and a Forensic Role: The difference Amal Long-Labaar
Argosy University
Professional & Ethical Issues in Forensic Psych
Dr. Andria Hernandez
April 20, 2013

There are specific differences between forensic psychologists and counseling psychologists/therapists. Not just the obvious differences such as the forensic psychologist being retained by the courts, prosecution, or defense, and the counseling psychologist performing therapeutic treatments and sessions to help the client/patient heal, but other ethical differences that enable the forensic psychologist to disclose his/her finds to the entity that has retained him/her to assess, interview and test the defendant/examinee. In this paper, the ethical dilemma that is discussed is dual relationships, confidentiality and informed consent. A counseling therapist or psychologist cannot disclose information about his/her client without their written consent and a court order if needed. For the forensic psychologist, it is unavoidable to disclose his/her findings in an open court, it is contractual. So these two professions, however, similar, they are opposite when it comes to the ethical boundaries that they must abide. It is the hypothesis of this paper that the two fields cannot ethically coincides without doing harm to the client/patient/examinee.

The Ethical Dilemma of Playing both a Therapeutic and a Forensic Role: The difference One must first understand the definition of what a forensic psychologist does in his profession. For the sake of education and information, the definition of a forensic psychologist according to Psychology Today’s Dr. Marisa Mauro, forensic psychology is combining the field of psychology and the law. The duties of a forensic psychologist differ depending on his/her area of expertise. They perform specific duties asked of them by the hiring entity such as the court, prosecution or in some cases the defense. A...
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