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Ethical Issues in Clinical Psychology

Psychological / March 4, 2018

Conducting research in clinical psychology requires special attention to ethical issues. Empirical studies focusing on interventions, therapy, assessment, diagnosis, and psycho-pathology are common to clinical psychology; research in clinical psychology is therefore often concerned with intimate, personal psychological information about a patient's life and has the potential to disrupt the lives of vulnerable research participants. Although always present to some degree in the past, recent initiatives in the field of clinical psychology have strongly promoted intervention research in an attempt to identify empirically supported psychological treatments ( Task Force on Promotion and Dissemination of Psychological Procedures, 1995 ). Unfortunately, with this enthusiasm there also lies potential to erode ethical standards in the desire to pursue a research agenda. The issues discussed in the present chapter are based on the previous and recently revised editions of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct ( APA, 1992, 2002 ), as this code is most applicable to clinical psychology research. It is worth noting that the APA ethics code has been recently revised, effective June 1, 2003, and is available in printed form ( APA, 2002 ) and online at . Other professional groups (e.g., social workers, physicians, licensed professional counselors) also