Article Review Example: Psychology Ethics Education in a Peer-Facilitated Laboratory Setting

7 pages
1873 words
Carnegie Mellon University
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Article review
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Psychology is a profession that is taught, practiced and researched on at various levels and by people of different capacities. This is in an endeavor to add to and increase the body of knowledge in the psychology as a scientific field that seeks to understand the behavior of people, assist in making people understand themselves and at the tail end take advantage of this knowledge to improve individuals and organizations. Respect and human rights protection form a critical area in teaching, research and practicing psychology freedom. This follows that it is impossible to practice psychology without inquiry into people's being to achieve understanding. This inquires are for the sole purpose of assisting and supporting the decision-making process of the public so as informed judgments are arrived at and also the careful consideration is made at all levels in the choice of behavior.

Having outlined the roles and expectations of a psychologist, it goes without saying that ethics are part and parcel of what they do in supervision, educating, diagnosis, administration, witnessing, and in the areas of psychological therapy and consulting. Hence, the ethics code forms the skeleton from which psychologist develop, grow and nature their profession in the field while remaining within the acceptable limits of its application. This is made possible by the fact that ethics code is an informed and carefully articulated foresight into various encounters in psychology. As such the code is merely a means to look into the welfare of all manner of people in psychology from work-related issues in psychology, to education, membership to psychology professional bodies, discipline members and psychology client rights and privileges protection. As a result of this far-reaching dynamics of the ethics code in psychology, there is the need for lifelong adherence by any professional in the field and conscious consultative effort to remain ethical, promote and mentor ethical behavior among psychology students, employees, colleagues, and clients at large.

In summary, therefore, psychologist must consider ethics code in the practice of the profession as a whole over and above applicable laws of the land in there set up environment. This is achieved through the use of materials and guidelines arrived at after careful research and investigation to determine their applicability strengths and weaknesses. This are obtained from reputable psychology associations, organizations body and people with authority in any field in within psychology. Personal conscience and regular professional consultations and discussion in the face of difficulties in practice form also a strong source of ethical practice. In the event, the at psychological ethics code calls for a higher standard to adhere to than the local law requires then the ethics code prevails. Moreover, where the two conflict, the duty of the psychologist is clear cut in helping to resolve the dispute otherwise the human rights which are largely the unwritten law in such case prevails since psychology deals with people.

Psychology Ethics Education in a Peer-Facilitated Laboratory Setting is the article I have zeroed in for analysis and critic regarding psychology ethics code. The article proposes an interesting way for graduate students to be taught integrated professional ethical conduct in an ethics laboratory setup which includes students at master's and doctoral level so as there is the mutual benefit to both groups of students concurrently. This follows that ethics as a standalone course has not been part of formal coursework in psychology programs in the last 50 years (Tymchuk et al., 1979). The paper further retaliates that however ethics has become a commonplace course in the last decade which has yielded positive results according to many reviews carried out. For instance, there are reported positive approval ratings for pre-doctoral students who are on internship on their ability to handle successfully ethical issues Welfel (1992). This has been attributed in consequent studies to consciously looking and implementing agenda that have a keen focus on doctoral training of professional ethics in psychology.

It is however interesting to note that concerning ethics education in psychology the focus has now shifted to how to sufficiently qualify students with skills needed to become competent, ethical psychologist over and above the technical knowledge and self-awareness aspects required to be a qualified psychologist. This is in view that although there are standard psychological expectations developed over time case of indiscipline and professional malpractices still exist as evidenced by (Kirkland and Reaves 2004) that summarized the said occurrences about actions taken by various state ethical licensing boards. The reports indicate that the most frequent violations of the ethics code revolve around sexual relationships with patients, negligence, fraud, criminal conviction, record keeping, confidentiality lapse and lack or inadequate supervision to motion but a few.

It is, however, important to note that, the above violations scale is much smaller as compared to the number of practicing psychologist. Nevertheless, it is a clear indication that there is need to do something to make better and refine the guidelines with the intension to completely eradicate ethical misconduct in psychology.

Critique and solution

The article though perfectly executed and well researched, in my view had the overall goals set out for the ethical laboratory as an instruction method may have lead to profound shortfalls. The first goal which is geared toward the provision of space to discuss ethical issues that arise from practice by the students is not free from bias as a result of the non-solid experience in the clinical practice by the students. This follows that most of the master's and doctoral students have insufficient previous exposure to clinical psychology practice limiting their articulation of the issues at hand. Besides, it's very likely that these students if any have practiced the profession before did so in a controlled environment under a senior fellow who was generally in charge and thus made the call when need be. This, therefore, would develop uncontrollable bias in the small group discussions as the basis of the debates will be imagined scenarios that will also the handled by the book which is rarely the case in real life prates

The setup proposed in the group setting is also composed of students who are from different institutions for undergraduate studies, ethnic background, with different ideological structure and principles. While this rich diversity among the students in each team is very remarkable, it does not reach the purported threshold to assist the student in appreciating the ethics code in psychology. This is because the time frame available is too little for each student to understand each group member in depth to fully understand their points of view while engaging in the group discussions and sharing. As such in my opinion, it will introduce further confusions as a result of the group's dynamics deviating from its base intention.

The second goal of setting up the ethical laboratory groups is stated as reinforcing peer review and consultations while practicing psychology. While the intentions are apparent and cut out, its sustainability is not assured or rather is somehow overlooked, this is because the students will form bonds in the groups in the cause of their coursework but after graduating and moving out of the academic institution set up, the sheer distance from each other, variability in place or practice will weaken this bond. As a result, it will require reinvesting time and effort to establish a new cohort of peers which may take time and lead to noncompliance. This realization also may be detrimental to the group members also as they would participate in the groups not out of their volitions as dictated by the paper but solely for academic purposes and credits awarded. This will in my view neutralize the impact the ethic laboratory will have.

Finally, I find the ethics lab set up the goal of providing the doctoral students an opportunity to leading in discourses on strict ethical challenges not actually in line with the whole issues of impacting skills concerning ethics code in psychology. This follows that the student group can be said to be composed of highly academically placed fellows in matters psychology which is not typical of a general regular workplace set up the students will be looking forward to work in. This is because, in most group set up in workplaces the psychological assessment teams are mostly composed of professionals from different professions with a common end game of assisting in a challenging case and may not understand the limits of psychological ethics code, in that case the chief psychologist is the group is left to keep in check the group in matters ethics in psychology where he/she is deemed highly qualified. Thus the class groups may not portray a true picture of the actual environment the students will handle after graduating.

Validity and Bias

The explicitness of the study in answering the question revolving around ethical motivation and resoluteness is not clear. However, there is presumed measurable achievement among the participants where the probability of them being self-motivated toward ethical behavior and reaching at moral resolves in the course of their duties. This is attributed to the influence with the ethical lab group to act following the ethics code with psychology practice as professions (Haidts, J. 2001). However, about acting against standards following incentives were not critically looked at as the scope did not cover this yet a genuine and important aspect of psychology

Moreover, the laboratory ethics set up did not develop the students' confidence when handling ethical issues in the profession. I was more focused on awareness creation as to the existence of the ethics code and need to follow it. I that view, it became more academic that practicum as the scenarios used in the ethics lab was too complicated as such they seemed inappropriate and challenging compared to the simple examples used in typical class demonstrations. This may have emanated from the group leader biases, lack of professional exposure to understand that on paper ideals do not apply practically. This as a consequence may lead to false confidence which is frustrating in the real world despite the lab feel of composure with the handling of a given scenario (Goreczny, & Hamilton, 2009)

The paper also has used the preliminary result of just two years to conclude. Therefore the lack of patience to let the project complete its full cycle to deduct proven facts that are undisputable which would have incorporated a bigger number of participant lacked. As a result, I am of the opinion that the confidence level of the results is drastically eroded. Hence I would recommend continuation of the lab test to gather more data that would better qualify the test results.

Finally, the lack of pre-course exposure arrangement to at least gauge the knowledge levels of the student cohorts to participant in the lab test means that it is not possible to carry out a post-test evaluation. This would have been very useful in further qualifying impact made and to gain new insights when pre and post-test data are compared and contrasted.


Although the participants in the lab test would appreciate the accusation of knowledge and experience regarding ethics code in psychology in general, I desire that participating population be chosen more carefully. This will ensure that groups for the tests are made of members with higher or closely related levels of experience and expos...

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