ETHICAL DILEMMA IN MODERN SOCIETY
Charles Frederick Tolbert EdD
Citizens for a Better America
Written by: Charles F. Tolbert Ed.D., Ed.M. Div.M., B.S. and retired Master Sergeant.
The purpose of this article is to pinpoint the improper behavior of Acts to Resolve Legal Conflict in any behavior by a Politician, Educator or Human Resource Department (HRD), that would cause conflict with the codes of ethics as outlined by American Psychology Association (APA, 2009) and increase public trust. Should the counselor’s ethical responsibility conflict with the law, they should resolve the conflict in a professional manner.
When an ethical standard is bridged it has to be identified as a violation and brought to the attention of an ethics committee to determine the legality of the enforcement of the conflict entrusted between the public servant and the general public. If there is no immediate harm to either, parts of the general population and this procedure does not violate ethical standards, determination on how to resolve the matter can be reviewed through legal counseling. Unfortunately, there can be a conflict which would not allow the client to fully disclose his or her emotional state.
The behavior which violates a chosen ethical standard when there is a legal conflict, can be a line finely drawn. Many HRDs are torn between ethical credibility and communication with their client, and the legal consequences. The general practices outlined in the code of conduct for psychologist under APA establishes standard, which should be adhered to and summarizes the intent of APA. By notifying the client at the beginning of the session and getting a written consent by the client that any information discussed which breaks any legal law or moral standard has to be reported, is the first step of avoiding conflict with the client and the legality of the law. The conflict of ethics and law changes dramatically, noted by (Ivey, Ivey & Zalaquett, 2010), when dealing outside the continental United States, may be legally correct in one country but varies drastically in other countries.
One of the issues we have in society today is; what is the responsibility of the HRD to society, and how is this society defined. If you were to pinpoint the improper behavior, you would find the ethical principle of social responsibility (Gobodo-Madikizela, 2008). Social responsibility extends beyond day to day work for the HRD. The humanitarian responsibilities should be reviewed as a primary task of social responsibility. Gobodo-Madikizela, (2008) wrote his articles to address the violence in Africa and how foreigners were affected by this violence. He also notes, that psychology cannot be a welfare profession and students that wish to help should do so through the social work department. The first line of defense for reducing Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) comes from education, social welfare and social reforms. Furthermore, the APA ethics codes are committed to the promotion of social welfare. The social responsibilities seen in Africa by (Gobodo-Madikizela, 2008) begins in rural areas, and to better the definition of rule (Werth, Hasting & Riding-Malon, 2010) wrote that a population outside the urban center and these rural areas are isolated from the availability of mental health professionals. In (Werth et al., 2010) article on rural ethics, showed lack of intervention by Psychologist that creates a void in the communities.
Ethical standards are being violated by individuals who wish to interfere with social reforms, which would enable the general population to overcome internal complex. It is unexplainable how nations who state that their form of government would lift the general population to a higher standard, but yet continue to cause chaos in the name of their god. According to (Werth et al., 2010) the lack of qualified mental care of these rural communities goes against the obligation and violates the principle of no harm.
According to (Gobodo-Madikizela, 2008), “the behavior of individuals in clinical physicians violates the ethical standard of social responsibility when it causes harm to other individuals.” It is important that HRD’s take responsibility, regardless of their location, to decrease human rights violation and human sufferings. No HRD should take this as an obligation, but should view this as a social responsibility to protect the general population. Psychologist, (Werth et al., 2010) notes, are viewing and helping individuals according to their own financial gains. In view of the lack of financial resources, the workers in HRD’s would be faced with a reduction of income when assisting individuals in the under populated area, and cannot provide themselves the same income as work being done in an urban area.
If Politician, Educator or Human Resource Department had viewed their social responsibility and approached behavior to avoid violation we could see a decrease in human suffering. “Using an online training program as per (Werth et al., 2010), reducing course of education psychology, and requiring that they spend a part of their career or training in these rural areas could have a positive impact.”
In each of the references that are provided clinical social workers, seem not to be a primary concern of psychologist, noting the decrease of clinics stated by (Werth et al., 2010). The implication referred to also by (Gobodo-Madikizela, 2008) under mining those who should work only in the social welfare established agencies rather than in their own practice would be improper behavior of a psychologist. When the U.S. military needed doctors and did not outsource, but provided funding for individuals to receive doctoral degrees with a four year commitment to the Department of Defense, we were better able to provide mental health care according to (Johnson, Grasso, & Maslowski, 2010).
One of the issues of the conflict between ethics and law and standards being violated is that many professionals were not able to separate Department of Defense regulation, and ethical standards versus those psychologists/HRD’s working outside the military.
The behavior that violates the clinical social workers is their inability to separate the legal conflict and apply the definition to military mental health. Clinical social workers that violate ethical standards regardless of where they are assigned creates a dilemma for those that are called to defend the country, but are not given the same consideration as those who do not serve in the Armed Forces. (Johnson et. al., 2010) The new APA policies prohibit psychologist from working in detention settings that are in violation of international law or the U.S. Constitution. Because the military deems itself beyond the legality of civil law and has its own system of discipline, this could be a conflict of APA standard.
According to (Johnson et al., 2010) a better approach to afford behavior violations would be an over sight committee, which would be able to govern the behavior of clinical social workers. Throughout this paper the areas of concern of legal conflict responsibility to society, social worker responsibility and ethical behavior, are directly related to mannerisms of responsibility of psychologist as noted by (Johnson et al., 2010).
Each reference used in this paper noted the improper behavior presented in the paper.
To ensure Politician, Educator or Human Resource Department behavior is not circumvented as the paper has noted, the standards established by APA cannot conflict with the law. The question, is the law written first, which prohibit psychology protecting the mental law of society, or is the mental health of the individual more important than abiding by the law that compromises APA standard? (Johnson, et al., 2010).
HRD’s have responsibility to speak out: At what point does the psychologist have a responsibility to speak out. According to (Barsky, 2011) most major corporations have a human resource department and yet people engage in unethical work behavior. It is easy to pinpoint the improper behavior by following current events over the last ten years. As long as Politicians, Educators or Human Resource Departments allow financial gain to take priority over moral issues we will continue to have corruption in the work place. It would be interesting to write a thesis of the beliefs of psychologist and why they do not take on the responsibility to speak out.
As noted by (Johnson et al., 2010), “the hierarchy precludes moral interventions therefore justifying improper behavior.” The lack of properly trained human resource departments that are to set ethical standards to ensure human rights are not violated, has to be separated from the hierarchy. ”The moral justification of improper behavior and the lack of psychologist speaking out are directly related to their earned income from the corporation. When Christians participate and educate themselves and are responsible, they can hold these psychologist, the Politician, Educator or Human Resource Department and organization to a higher standard. Unfortunately very few individuals have written on this subject or have spoken out against government intervention.
To avoid the violation of the lack of psychologist speaking out will take place when all denominations of all religions come together with an agreed upon group of individuals which becomes the standard for the code of ethics for all people. The article written by (Solbrekke, 2008), encompasses code of ethics conflict legality, responsibility, social behavior and speaking out. In this paper the author showed a correlation between educating the community and individuals taking standard of ethics to the work place. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the highest level is self actualization. This concept of recognizing your own personal endeavors in many cases breaks down ethical behavior.
Education does not begin in grade school, high school or college, but in fact begins with the parent, which brings the moral beliefs to the school, which in today’s society is circumvented by government regulations. Even though the paper by (Solbrekke, 2008) is directed to a novelist social worker, a student was concerned about the public debates in politics and the injustice in society. As noted by (Solbrekke, 2008) as professionals move into the work place, the student now has a position where clients have an expectation of their input to go along with their expected outcome. No longer do we see professional responsibility directed toward resolving, enforcing and implementing polices that protect the public.
In conclusion, what comes first, the income and well being of the psychologist, or the health and welfare of the client? The ethical dilemma is that government bureaucrats have established rules governing behavior according to the government standards, which in many cases circumvent standards of a church. The reasoning behind my writing this article is to intervene and to help those with Christian background to not change their course, but to follow God. Since my degrees are both in Education and Theology I am giving a Christian view point. The 1st Amendment granted freedom of speech, and the law was written so that the conflict in society was to speak out against unethical procedure however, many Pastors, and Christian Psychologist do not voice their disagreement for fear of reprisal.
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