Legal Aspects of Professional Psychology

Topics: Psychology, Psychotherapy, Therapy Pages: 5 (1669 words) Published: July 17, 2011
Legal Aspects of Professional Psychology
George T. Jackson,
University of Phoenix
Psych 545
Survey of Professional Psychology
Dr. Christi Moore, Facilitator

Legal Aspects of Professional Psychology

There are many areas of professional psychology that are protected, and governed by legal aspects. It is these legal aspects that help to keep every psychologist/therapist working on an honest and even plane, as he or she can provider each client the courtesy, respect, safety, and well being which he or she deserves and expects when entering a professional relationship with a highly qualified, licensed psychologist. This paper will explore the legal aspects of professional psychology and the individuals which are affected by them. To complete this assignment there are various aspects will be discussed, and they are: analyze the legal issues relating to informed consent and refusal, evaluation of the legal issues that are associated with assessments, testing, and diagnosis in professional psychology, explain the importance of maintaining confidentiality in the therapeutic relationship, evaluate the influence of legislation on professional psychology, and finally explain the role of competence in professional psychology.

Legal Issues and Informed Consent
Informed consent is an essential part of the treatment process in psychology. Legally it protects both the psychologist and the individual who will be receiving professional services. According to Pope and Vasquez (2007), informed consent provides the client and the therapist the opportunity to understand his or her legal rights and that they each have an equal vested interest in the treatment process. Pope and Vasquez (2007) also stated that informed consent is a decision making-process that gives the client the right to state whether he or she wants to participate in these assessments and treatments, whether he or she wants to start the treatment at the present time or delay it, and whether he or she wants to pursue these treatments with this particular psychologist or seek out another psychologist which he or she believes is more qualified to meet his or her psychological needs.

Legal Issues Associated with Assessments, Testing’s and Diagnosing
In the treatment process there are different types of assessments, test, and diagnosis important in psychology that relates to each client receiving the level of quality care that he or she deserves and expects to receive when he or she enters psychotherapy. Every client deserves the professional courtesy, and he or she has the legal right to be informed of the outcome of any test, assessment, and the diagnosis that he or she will receive. Pope and Vasquez (2007) states that every medical professional has a legal responsibility to inform his or her client what the results can be after an assessment procedure, what dangers make be connected to any test that is administered and what may be the best course of action to take in regard to the diagnosis that he or she make receive as a result of the test and assessments. It is important for every client to know that he or she has the right to know the results of these assessments, test, and diagnosis, and according to Guide to Psychology (2011), the consumer has a right to know the purpose of the testing; to know the names of, and rationales for, the test used; to know the results of the testing (he or she even has the right to read the psychological report itself); to determine, through signed release of information, who will access to the testing information (interview information, raw scores, test reports) in his or her chart. The law makes it possible for the client to know that he or she has a right to decide if he or she would undergo...

References: American Psychological Association (2010). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct: Retrieved June 10, 2010, from: Http://
A Guide to psychology and its practice (2011). Retrieved June 10, 2011 from: Http://www.guideto/
Pope, K. S., Vasquez, M.J.T. , (2007). Ethics in psychotherapy and counseling: A practical guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass/Wiley.
Schultz, L.R.G., (2009). Confidentiality, privilege, and child abuse reporting. Volume 2, 1990. Retrieved June 10, 2011 from: Http://
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