Ethical Practice in Small Communities: Challenges and Rewards for Psychologists
Psychologists who practice in small and contained communities share special circumstances that both complicate and enhance their professional lives. Such settings include rural, military, law enforcement, or faith-based environments; communities of color; gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender clients; and students at small colleges. While these communities vary considerably, the psychologists who serve them encounter similar ethical challenges in their daily work. In these close-knit groups, psychologists’ professional and personal lives often overlap with those of their clients. Clients’ and co-workers’ expectations may run counter to psychologists' ethical standards, and issues associated with dual relationships, treatment boundaries, limits of competence, and multiple roles arise regularly.
This book explores how the life of a small-community psychologist differs from that of a colleague in a large urban center who is not part of a small community, highlighting common problems and concerns. Using the provisions of the APA 2002 Ethics Code as a reference point, the authors analyze dilemmas and advantages in small-community practice and suggest ways in which psychologists can evaluate their actions and make wise decisions. In this way, they can protect and serve both themselves and their clients. This thought-provoking book provides reassuring guidance for any mental health professional who serves a small community.