APA ethics workshops, offered at a variety of venues nationwide, are also available to state associations-giving those groups a way to earn some revenue, says Stephen Behnke, JD, PhD, director of APA's Ethics Office.
"Good law, good ethics and good clinical care go hand in hand," says Behnke, who promotes that message when he leads the sessions from New York to California.
Although the workshop program is now in its fourth year, Behnke says he wants to make sure state associations know about its availability. The workshops are part of a larger effort by APA's Board of Directors to strengthen ethics-education programs, says Behnke, who conducted 33 workshops last year. Besides offering workshops, the Ethics Office presents ethics programs at APA's Annual Convention, consults with members on specific ethical questions and adjudicates ethics complaints.
To encourage participation, Behnke presents vignettes drawn from real-life situations and sets out ethical questions for psychologists to discuss. The vignettes address such ethical issues as confidentiality, multiple relationships, boundaries and duty to protect, Behnke says. Behnke applies APA's Ethics Code, as well as relevant state laws, to the situation. While making the workshops available to state associations is a priority, sessions are also available to undergraduates and graduate students in psychology programs, and are flexibly conducted in a half-day or full-day format on weekdays or weekends.
In addition to providing continuing-education credits and ethical questions, the sessions help state associations generate revenue by charging fees to participating psychologists, says Behnke, who emphasizes that other than assistance in covering local expenses, there is no other expense to the hosting association.
The Connecticut Psychological Association has held APA workshops for the past two years, says association president Jan Owens-Lane, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Hamden, Conn. "The biggest value is that psychologists need to be kept up to date, in terms of what's required of us in our practices, and helping us be vigilant in maintaining our ethical code," she says.
State association officers and psychology departments wishing to host a workshop can contact Ethics Office manager Rhea Jacobson.
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