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Essential Ethics for Psychologists: A Primer for Understanding and Mastering Core Issues

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-08-15
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association

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Supplemental Materials

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Many students and emerging psychologists struggle to understand the APA Ethics Code because they don't understand the bigger picture of ethics in psychology. How do psychologists identify and address ethical issues? What are the most important ethical concepts, and how do they apply to specific settings? This one-of-a-kind book acculturates the reader into ethical practice in psychology by enhancing critical thinking skills. Rather than explain each of the 80+ standards of the APA Ethics Code, the book examines the code's underlying principles. The book begins with a basic introduction to the code, including a brief history and an overview of general concepts. Next, it explores in depth four ethical concepts applicable to all psychologists: (1) competence, (2) informed consent, (3) privacy and confidentiality, and (4) avoiding harm and exploitation. Finally, it shows how these key concepts apply to specific psychologist roles, including assessment, treatment, research and publication, and teaching and supervision. Numerous case studies show how ethical concepts are applied, and a supplemental website provides discussion questions, a reading list, and extensive other materials to enhance the reader's learning. This book is essential reading for psychology students in high school, undergraduate school, and graduate school, as well as licensed psychologists who want to improve their ethical decision-making skills and reduce their liability in professional practice.

Author Biography

Thomas F. Nagy received his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Champaign–Urbana in 1972. He is currently in independent practice in Palo Alto, California, and is a staff psychologist at the Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine, Stanford, California. He also is an adjunct assistant clinical professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, and teaches a seminar on ethical and legal issues for the psychology postdoctoral students in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
For the past 35 years Dr. Nagy's nonclinical professional activities have focused on ethical issues for psychologists. In addition to giving annual workshops and presentations, he has served as chair of the Illinois Psychological Association Ethics Committee (1982–1986), was a member of the APA Ethics Committee (1985–1987), served on and chaired the APA Ethics Committee Task Force that revised the Ethical Principles of Psychologists (1986–1992), was a member of the California Psychological Association Ethics Committee (1988–1993), and is currently a member of the Ethics Committee of Stanford University Hospital and other professional associations. He was an oral examiner for the California Licensing Board for 10 years and has participated in forensic work as an expert witness and consultant to attorneys for many years.
Dr. Nagy provides psychological services and ethical consultation to psychologists, attorneys, educators, and consumers. He is a fellow of APA's Divisions 29 (Psychotherapy) and 42 (Independent Practice) and is also a fellow of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. He is also a recipient of the Illinois Psychological Association's Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession of Psychology (1986).
Dr. Nagy authored Ethics in Plain English: An Illustrative Casebook for Psychologists (two editions) and coauthored Ethics for Psychologists: A Commentary on the APA Ethics Code (APA, 1994). He lives in Stanford, California, with his wife, Kären, where he does wood turning, plays the piano and bass guitar, plays squash, studies astronomy, and spends countless wondrous hours learning about the things that really matter from his grandchild Elise.

Table of Contents



I. Introduction to Ethics in Psychology and the American Psychological Association Ethics Code

  1. Thinking Critically About Ethics
  2. A Brief History and Overview of the APA Ethics Code
  3. The General Ethical Principles of Psychologists

II. General Ethical Concepts Applicable to All Psychologists

  1. Competence
  2. Informed Consent
  3. Privacy and Confidentiality
  4. Avoiding Harm and Exploitation

III. Ethical Decision Making in Practice, Research, and Teaching

  1. Approaches to Ethical Decision Making
  2. Ethics in Psychological Assessment
  3. Ethics in Psychotherapy
  4. Ethics in Research and Publication
  5. Ethics in Teaching, Training, and Supervision



About the Author

Supplemental Materials

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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