This post is the first of several that will describe what we do as part of the Ethics Committee. In the distant past, one role of the committee was to adjudicate ethics complaints lodged against PPA members. We no longer conduct ethics investigations. The Pennsylvania Psychological Association refers individuals with ethics complaints to the State Board of Psychology and/or the American Psychological Association.
As a committee, there are plenty of other goals and activities related to ethics and ethics education. The Pennsylvania Psychological Association provides our mission via the bylaws. Part of our mission is:
The committee shall provide information to the membership and to the public about the formal ethical principles and the evolving standards of practice of psychologists. Such information shall be distributed regularly and proactively as well as in response to inquiries.
PPA, through its Ethics and other committees, works to help members understand and fulfill their ethical mandates.
- PPA’s Continuing Education Committee sponsors workshops and home study ethics CE courses. Also, Ethics Committee members and PPA staff sometimes present ethics CE programs for agencies or local psychological associations in the state. Using mostly articles published in the Pennsylvania Psychologist, PPA offers a certificate of completion to psychologists who complete a sequence of home study ethics courses.
- Members of PPA’s Colleague Assistance Committee often present at CE programs to promote self-care and provide referrals for psychologists in distress.
- Members of PPA’s Child Custody Committee often present at CE programs to promote high ethical standards in psychologists who provide services to divorcing families. In addition to having its own e-group, where committee members can consult with each other on issues related to custody, its members have participated in several interdisciplinary conferences with attorneys, judges, psychiatrists, and other professionals involved in child custody determinations.
- Members of the Ethics Committee regularly write or solicit articles for PPA’s publication, the Pennsylvania Psychologist. Many of these are then placed in the “Members Only” section of the PPA Web site and have been combined into home studies or online CE courses. Members of other committees, such as the Colleague Assistance, Forensic and Criminal Justice, or Child Custody Committees, may also write articles on ethics related to their specific concerns.
- PPA publishes Pennsylvania Law, Ethics, and Psychology (Knapp, VandeCreek, Tepper, & Baturin, 2010) which reviews the laws and ethics codes relevant to Pennsylvania psychologists. It is now in its fifth edition and is often used in ethics courses in psychology doctoral programs.
We also view this blog as an extension of our goal to educate the public and our members about ethics and ethical principles.
More to follow.