Multiple Relationships Revealed

Multiple Relationships RevealedA female psychologist works with a male patient for about one year in a suburban area. They agreed to meet weekly for the first four months of psychotherapy, and then they agreed to meet twice per month. They developed a good therapeutic alliance. During the course of their work, he discussed significant facts about his troubled past, numerous details about failed past relationships, and sexual fantasies. The main therapeutic issues are depression and loneliness.

During the current session, the patient related having made a new female friend. As social isolation, loneliness and depression are regular themes in treatment; the psychologist frames this as positive progress.

As the conversation continues, the psychologist is surprised to learn that the patient’s new friend is the ex-wife of the psychologist’s husband. The patient reveals that he became aware of that information after several dates and recently felt comfortable revealing this to the psychologist. He also indicated that the relationship is taking on a more serious tone.

The ex-wife moved back to the area about six months ago. The psychologist knows that the ex-wife had been struggling with isolation and loneliness as well. The psychologist, her husband, and his ex-wife are on good terms. They see her regularly for informal family events and do holidays together with their adult children and grandchildren.

After the session is over, the psychologist has time to reflect on her concerns. The psychologist feels stuck and overwhelmed by her present situation. She calls you for an ethics consult.

  • What are the ethical issues involved?
  • What would you suggest that she does?
  • With whom does the psychologist discuss the multiple roles?
  • With only the patient?
  • With the patient and the ex-wife?
  • With her husband, the patient and the ex-wife?
  • Can the psychologist continue the treatment relationship with the patient?
  • Even if they terminate therapy, how does the psychologist cope with family gatherings since she knows significant details about her patient’s life?


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Contemporary Play Therapy – Only 2 Left!

Contemporary Play Therapy

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6 Hours CE for only $79!

This highly practical book presents current developments in play therapy, including innovative applications for particular problems and populations. Contributors first discuss the latest ideas and techniques emerging from object relations, experiential, dynamic, and narrative perspectives. Next, research evaluating the effectiveness of play interventions is reviewed in detail. The book’s third and largest section demonstrates creative approaches for helping children deal with a variety of adverse circumstances: homelessness, family problems, sexual abuse, social aggression, natural disasters, and more. Throughout, rich case illustrations enhance the book’s utility for clinicians. Guilford | 2008 | 338 pages | Course #60-76

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Ethics in Therapy: Quick Tips I

Ethics in Therapy

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This new online CE course addresses a variety of ethics topics in the form of seven archived articles from The National Psychologist and is intended to provide psychotherapists of all specialties with a set of brief, practical tips for dealing with ethical dilemmas that present themselves in everyday practice.

Topics Include:

Office ‘Bookstore’ Should Not be for Profit
By Jeffrey E. Barnett, PsyD, ABPP

Psychologists frequently make recommendations to clients for books to read, workbooks and CDs to use, and even movies or television shows to view. In fact, bibliotherapy, the integration of such media into ongoing psychotherapy is a widely used and often highly effective addition to psychotherapy. Learn the issues involved to avoid crossing any boundaries.

Ethical, Effective Marketing for Your Private Practice
By Susan Giurleo, PhD

Many psychologists are cautious, confused and unsure of how to market their work. Many worry that marketing is unethical and something that we should not consider as we pursue a private practice career. Learn effective, ethical marketing techniques you can use to market your practice.

Law Impacts Psychology
By Richard Lawlor, PhD, JD

Over the past several years many articles have appeared in this newspaper for practitioners dealing with various aspects of psychology and the law. Some dealt with a substantive area of psychology and its impact on the law, for example research on children’s memories and the implications for interviewing children and using them as witnesses. Discover the areas of law that psychologists need to be aware of, and understand.

Duty to Warn is Now Duty to Protect
Review by Milton F. Shore, PhD, ABPP

Book review of: The Duty to Protect: Ethical, Legal and Professional Considerations for Mental Health Professionals by Werth, J.L., Welfel, E. and Benjamin, G.A.H. (Eds.) 2009. Washington, D.C. American Psychological Association.

Test Givers Must be Qualified
By Jeffrey E. Barnett, PsyD, ABPP

As a busy professional, it makes great sense to utilize others when it is appropriate to do so. This can be a much more efficient way to work than doing everything yourself. But, the situation is more complex when clinical activities are involved. Learn the ethical issues, laws and regulations for use of non-licensed subordinates in the provision of clinical services.

To Collect or Not to Collect?
By Ofer Zur, PhD

In today’s economy and financial difficulties the questions regarding fees and debt collection from clients seem to be more frequent and more relevant. In times of economic crisis, many people who have lost their homes or jobs understandably seek psychotherapy to better cope with stress due to mounting debt and loss. Explore the relevant professional, relational, clinical, ethical, legal and unintentional consequences aspects of this issue.

Duty to Warn, Protect Differs in HIV Cases
By Jeffrey E. Barnett, PsyD, ABPP

The situation where a client who is HIV-positive or who has AIDS reports having unprotected sex with another person or having done so in the past raises a number of ethical challenges. Explore the relevant issues of informed consent, confidentiality and exceptions to confidentiality, laws concerning the duty to warn and protect when threats of dangerous behavior are made and case law that may impact these areas.

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