Ethical Practice in Small Communities: Challenges and Rewards for Psychologists

Pages: 239
Item #: 4312005
ISBN: 978-1-59147-346-6
List Price: $19.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $19.95
Copyright: 2006
Format: Softcover
Availability: In Stock
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For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories


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.

Table of Contents



  1. Ethics in a Broad Context
  2. Development of an Ethics Code
  3. Current Concerns in Small Communities
  4. Rural Practice: Illuminating Dilemmas in One Type of Small Community
  5. Other Small Communities
  6. Strategies to Minimize Risk
  7. The Challenge and Hope of Small-Community Psychology


Author Index

Subject Index

About the Authors

Author Bios

Janet A. Schank, PhD, is a licensed psychologist in Minnesota and has been a member and chair of the Minnesota Psychological Association Ethics Committee. Her professional publications and presentations in Minnesota, other states, and nationally have focused on ethical practice in psychology.

Dr. Schank has directed mental health services in several settings, including a liberal arts college, a community mental health agency, and a large suburban school district. She has worked in small-community settings, including communities of color and a small private liberal arts college.

Dr. Schank maintains an independent therapy and consulting practice in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. She has consulted and presented over the past 20 years on ethical issues in psychology, small community practice, dual relationships, and professional boundaries.

Dr. Schank is a native of rural Nebraska.

Thomas M. Skovholt, PhD, is a professor of educational psychology at the University of Minnesota and a part-time practitioner. He is an APA fellow and board certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Dr. Skovholt has won awards for research, teaching, and practice. His authored or coauthored publications include The Resilient Practitioner, Evolving Professional Self, and Master Therapists.

Dr. Skovholt has been a Fulbright Professor in Turkey and has also worked in Singapore, Kuwait, Norway, and Korea.

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