Psychologist as well as other professionals that work in the psychology field often find themselves questioning a situation and deciding how to make an ethical decision to resolve the issue. A psychologist should refer to the APA ethics code, and to their state laws to help them make the ethical call that their client is entitled too. Talking with other professionals and fellow psychologist can also be a big help in guiding you on making ethical choices. In this paper I will review a Dilemma that another Psychologist has been faced with before. This predicament is focusing on the rights of a noncustodial parent. The psychologist must make their decision with support from the APA ethical principles of psychology and code of conduct, advice from other psychologists/professionals, state laws where they practice, and their own critical thinking skills.
Dilemma at hand
Envision you are a Psychologist treating a minor child. This child is being treated for depression and minor cutting. The child’s parents are currently divorced and the custodial parent is the father. You acquire treatment consent from the father since he has full custody of the male child. You then receive a call from the mother and she states she wants to be involved in her son’s treatment as well. The father is strongly against this as the mother has a drinking problem. The father explains to you that he divorced her because of her drinking and that she still has a drinking problem. Now the Psychologist must make the decision whether to let the mother be involved in the child’s therapy or not. What a dilemma!
Decision made by Psychologist
As the Psychologist in this situation, I would first review the APA ethical principles of psychology and code of conduct. I would then research the state laws for Florida since that is where I would be practicing. Lastly, I would talk with the child privately and see what he thinks about his mother being involved. After completing my research I would decide that the mother should be involved with the child’s treatment. I would explain to the father that I made this choice in the best interest and well being of his son.
Reasoning behind the decision
In the state of Florida the law states that noncustodial parents have a right to have access to medical, dental, and school records unless a court order distinctively withdraws these rights (The 2014 Florida Statutes 61.13). After reviewing this case, I find that the courts have not terminated the mother’s rights to medical information. Still being unsure what to do, I consulted with a colleague of mine who suggested talking with the child and clarifying his views on the situation. I was careful to not disclose confidential information regarding my patient when asking for advice (APA, 2010, Standard 4.06). When I spoke to the child regarding his mother’s drinking problem he expressed to me that his mother’s alcoholism first introduced itself a year after the boy started engaging in self injurious behavior. The boy also communicates that he would