Ethics Issues Related to Healthcare

406 words | 2 page(s)

As with all health care fields, psychology also must recognize the significant ethical issues associated with it. In the case under discussion, the psychologist is treating a minor child for depression, as well as self-injurious behaviors (cutting). The father is the custodial parent; however, the mother is requesting to be involved in the treatment. The father refuses. She has an on-going drinking problem.

There are multiple issues to be considered. First, there is the legal issue. The psychologist must determine if the father has the legal right to refuse this; this may be reflected in the custody arrangements. Secondly, the psychologist must also consider what is in the best interests of the patient. If the patient’s issues stem in part or in whole because of the mother’s behaviors, this must be addressed. The proper place to address these issues would be in a joint session between the patient and the mother. Additionally, different states have different laws regarding minor consent (Behnke & Warner, 2002). This is a known issue for therapists. One option for the therapist is to allow the judge in the parents’ divorce assist (Benitez, 2000).

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My position would depend upon the minor’s age. If the minor was a teenager or a pre-teen, I would recognize that the patient likely had a position on this as well. The patient may want to confront one or both of the parents in therapy. The patient may recognize that this is an opportunity to deal with many issues. The patient may also not want the mother in the room. If the child is a young child, my answer would likely be to want the mother in the room on occasion. This would allow the child to foster a healthier relationship with the parent. It may also encourage the mother to stop drinking for the child. This would result in a healthier situation for the child on average (American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2011).

  • American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry. (2011, November). Children of alcoholics. Retrieved February 19, 2014, from: http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Children_Of_Alcoholics_17.aspx
  • Behnke, SH. & Warner, E. (2002). Confidentiality in the treatment of adolescents. American Psychological Association. Retrieved February 19, 2014, from: http://www.apa.org/monitor/mar02/confidentiality.aspx
  • Benitez, BR. (2000). Consent for treatment of minors with divorced parents. The Therapist. Retrieved February 19, 2014, from: http://www.camft.org/ScriptContent/CAMFTarticles/ConsentIssues/Consent_Treatment.htm

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