Psychology is one of the most developed among the human-related disciplines. It involves a range of domains which are geared towards the understanding of the cognitive process as well as the overt human behavior (Durand & Barlow, 2005). There are a number of braches in the field of psychology.
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They include educational, clinical, biological, abnormal, community, cognitive, and forensic psychology. Each branch aims to study psychology from a specific perspective and how the findings can be used to understand and improve these areas. The report focuses on the legal issues related to the licensed and unlicensed professionals in the field of abnormal psychology.
Those who are in the field of abnormal psychology are mainly interested in investigating behavior which is not common with an aim of describing, predicting, explaining, and making attempts to alter the abnormal behavior manifestations. Professionals in this field study abnormal behavior in order to diagnose and offer treatment options for the mental disorders.
The knowledge obtained from the study of psychopathology is quite useful in the other branch, clinical psychology, which deals mainly with treatment of psychotic patients and others with similar mental problems. The challenge that is experienced in this field is the difficulty in distinguishing between normal and abnormal psychology. It is usually believed that abnormal behavior manifestations have significant impacts on the normal functioning of an individual that may call for clinical and research attention (Durand & Barlow, 2005).
However, professionals in the field of abnormal psychology experience numerous legal issues, both the licensed and the unlicensed professionals. First, it is quite demanding to become a recognized psychologist. It takes a very significant amount of time to acquire a license in order to legally practice psychology on an independent dimension.
If an individual dealing with abnormal psychology is not licensed, he/she is not free to operate a personal shop or clinic (Neale & Davison, 2005). When one is licensed, he/she can work on his own schedule, set the rules and guidelines, determines the fees to be charged for service, and other factors. This implies that if one is not a licensed psychologist, even if he/she is a practicing clinician, the person is restricted on offering services on psychological disorders.
In the United States, there are several state and federal regulations that every psychologist must abide by if one is to preserve his/her career. Clear regulations have been set for every field of specialty in the field of psychology. Any violation by an individual dealing with abnormal psychology may be detrimental to one’s future anticipation in the field (Durand & Barlow, 2005).
Licensed individuals in the field of abnormal psychology who may wish to conduct research are expected to strictly observe the ethics and morals in their practice. In fact, patients with mental disorders have a right not to be forcefully involved in a given experimental research (Neale & Davison, 2005). For those who participate in the research, they are free to live or terminate their involvement in a research when they wish. This applies particularly to those who can still make their choices freely.
For patients with severe mental disorders, psychologists may be forced to take actions without the consent of the patients. Those who are potentially dangerous to self or to others must be treated as such. The challenge, however, that is facing psychologists dealing with mental disorders is the ability to accurately assess and predict the dangerousness of the behavior (Neale & Davison, 2005).
In general, both the licensed and the unlicensed professionals in the field of abnormal psychology face numerous legal challenges associated with mental disorders. This particularly as far as the stated legal rights and patient protection is concerned.
Durand, V. M. & Barlow, D. H. (2005). Understanding the essentials of abnormal psychology (4th ed). Cengage Learning
Neale, M. J. & Davison, G. C. (2005). Abnormal psychology: legal issues (8th ed). John Wiley and Sons