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Professional Psychology from Legal Aspects Essay

Legal Issues related to informed consent and refusal

For any therapeutic measure to be carried out, a psychiatrist must obtain informed and voluntary consent from the client. Therefore, a client is entitled to the right of not only permitting the psychiatrist to carry a therapeutic procedure but also to be accorded the right information concerning the inherent risks involved, the guarantee of benefits, and the diversity of other medical and psychological avenues that may be harnessed.

In the event that the client is incapable of making informed therapeutic choices, it is within the legal jurisdiction of the client’s attorney to allow a surrogate individual with close ties to the patient to make the informed choice on behalf of the patient (Charles, 2007, p. 1).

The medical and therapeutic rights accorded to adults of a sound physical and mental standing to steer their medical and psychological undertakings spell the principle of informed consent as one of the key pillars in the ethical and legal practice of psychology. Informed consent is implemented through a mutual interaction between the psychiatrist and the client, in which case, a diagnosis of the current medical status of the client is done, an exploration of alternative treatment therapies with the accompanying risks is done and the psychiatrist gives a professional opinion as to the most effective choice (Charles, 2007, p. 1). Documentation of such a pact is necessary for the formal signature of both the psychiatrist and the client.

The right to informed refusal is equally important in any psychiatric scenario to that of informed consent; it follows as an alternative to informed consent after the client weighs all the pros and cons involved in the psychiatric operation. For instance, contrary to the expectation of many, one may opt not to take mental therapy even when it can serve a useful purpose.

Legal Issues Associated with Assessment, Testing, and Diagnosis in Professional Psychology

The psychological assessment encompasses a holistic integration of all or most of the client’s psychological features, trends, strengths, and inclinations. Primary catchment areas for psychological assessment include the results from former psychological tests on intelligence, potential, dispositions (Duncan, 2010, p. 1). Moreover, professional performance, medical records, and one’s family life are also incorporated in assessment tests with an aim of identifying the most effective therapeutic/treatment measures.

The establishment of a psychological test is firmly grounded on the evaluative component of the inherent (latent variables) of an individual’s personality against some standardized outcome (norm group response). Given that the administration of the psychological test is fair for all the clients, then there is an improvement in the dual mechanisms of validity and relevance of the therapeutic test.

Based on the test results, diagnosing the psychological status, condition or challenge follows from keen evaluation and analysis of the test outcomes.

An established legal framework is in force to govern, monitor, and effect a proper code of ethics in the administration of psychological tests, it is thus within the legal dictates that these services should only be provided by licensed practitioners, who have the professional competence in the psychological domain. As such, the client’s legal provisions for making informed consent and refusal choices should be the center of focus of all care providers, needless to mention the sensitive legal directive of maintaining confidentiality in all therapeutic relationships.

On the other hand, the psychological tests should not be exposed to the public, but rather, all the stakeholders must uphold copyright rules by disseminating the tests to the desired target only. This move not only enhances test authenticity and effectiveness but also keeps the secrecy behind each psychological examination (Duncan, 2010, p. 1).

The Importance of Maintaining Confidentiality in Therapeutic Relationship

It is necessary for psychiatrists to safeguard the information of their clients by adhering to the laid-out rules and regulations concerning the maintenance of confidentiality in all therapeutic relationships. Such information is not just limited to the personal issues of the client but also includes safe custody of the medical records of all clients.

The maintenance of confidentiality has many positive attributes to both the client and the psychiatrist, For instance, in keeping a client’s medical and psychological state secretive, the psychiatrist not only boosts the client’s self-esteem but also accommodates and encourages openness in each interactive session with the client (Jeffrey, 2009, p. 1). Thus while on one hand, the maintenance of confidentiality preserves the integrity of the client it also provides an avenue for successful therapeutic exercises on the other.

It is a well-known fact that most patients suffering from psychological problems have their mental challenge as the main precipitator of the entire psychological trauma. It is therefore needless to stress the positive impact with which the maintenance of confidentiality bears to the mental environment of the patient, ultimately culminating in quick recuperation (Lens, 2000, p. 1).

As the custodian of the medical records of a client, a psychiatrist through maintaining a good confidentiality profile earns the professional credit of an outstanding, trustworthy and reliable service provider and thus attracts clients as a certified service provider in the psychological domain (Jeffrey, 2009, p. 1). That notwithstanding, in keeping secret the records of the client, the psychiatrist is in a better position to track the therapeutic progress of the client and thereby give noble and effective prescriptions to avert whichever psychological challenge afflicting the client.

Evaluate the Influence of Legislation on Professional Psychology

The established legal framework governing, monitoring, and ensuring a proper code of ethics in the administration of psychological tests serves a wide range of purposes to both the public and professional psychology practitioners. Therefore the legal framework safeguards the public against scrupulous individuals who purport to be professional psychology practitioners by providing proper and strict rules that govern the vetting process of licensing professional psychology practitioners (Douglas, 2010, p. 1).

Strong, persistent, and consistent enforcement of these rules has cushioned the populace from falling prey to deception from an unscrupulous individual, most important still is the conducive environment for conducting legal psychological practices upheld by the law. Thus legislation has reduced unnecessary competition for psychological services by barring unqualified practitioners from entering the market, which has not ensured the only competency in service delivery but has also provided a proper mechanism of monitoring the distribution of psychological services to all the states (Douglas, 2010, p. 1).

As such, the enforcement of the established legislation on professional psychology has provided a clear roadmap into the progress and development of psychological practices. This has in turn boosted public confidence in care service providers and their services; for there has been a heightened public sensitivity, awareness, and enlightenment on the services provided and the threshold performance of psychological practices (Paul, 2009, p. 1).

In this perspective, legislation has not guarded only the clients against financial exploitation by scrupulous psychology practitioners by providing cross-cutting policies on the rates charged for psychological services, but it has also accorded the populace quality assurance services in the psychological front (Stanley, 2003, p. 1).

Role of Competence in Professional Psychology

Competency in professional psychology describes the primary ownership of prerequisite abilities and skills that qualify one to practice psychology in a standardized manner – a manner generally acclaimed by other psychologists. At an individual level, it involves the acquaintance with one’s strengths and limitations in the practice of psychology and the inherent consistency in keeping oneself abreast of the upcoming psychological innovations, practices, trends, and policies (Barry, 2005, p. 1).

The heightened flexibility of the prevailing personal attributes, cultural settings, and practices demand a progressive metamorphosis in the practice of psychology. A competent practitioner of psychology is therefore well versed in himself and in the standard maxims of the psychological domain (Cynthia, 2007, p. 1).

Professional competency in psychology is the key to legal sensitivity, which accords an easy time for the practitioner as the care provider adheres to the required legislative protocols. Such a success in legislative observance is evident in honoring clients’ rights of informed consent and refusal, fair administration of psychological tests, and in maintaining a proper confidentiality profile in all therapeutic relationships; the necessary marks of quality assurance in the practice of psychological practice (Barry, 2005, p. 1).

As such, a competent psychologist offers satisfying services to the clients even at a personal level; for the care provider is conscious of all ethical variables which may derail active client participation in the open forums of psychological therapy.

Reference List

Barry, D. (2005). Letter on Competency for Psychologists. Web.

Charles, S. (2007). Informed Consent. Web.

Cynthia, D. (2007). Board Certification in Health Psychology. Web.

Douglas, E. (2010). . Web.

Duncan, J. (2010). Survey of Professional Psychology. Web.

Jeffrey, B. (2009). . Web.

Lens, V. (2000). Protecting the Confidentiality of the Therapeutic Relationship. Web.

Paul, B. (2009). . Web.

Stanley, G. (2003). Cultural Competence and Professional Psychology Training: Creating the Architecture for Change. Web.

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