Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dilemma 18: Co-authorship with a Former Patient

Dr. Jordan is a psychologist who typically works with a wide variety of patients.  At the end of the day, he listens to voicemail messages to learn that a former patient is reaching out to him for a request. 

Prior to returning the call, Dr. Jordan reviews the patient’s chart.  The patient had been in treatment for about 10 months on a weekly basis.  The treatment notes indicate that she dropped out of therapy about one year ago.  She stopped therapy because her insurance changed and Dr. Jordan was not an in-network provider.  The therapy focused on depression and anxiety related to work-related issues, interpersonal limitations, and relationship difficulties.  Some of the sessions focused on a sexually abusive relationship between a basketball coach and the patient when she was age 13 to 16.    

Dr. Jordan returns the phone call.  After the initial greetings, the former patient indicates that she has finally started to write down more thoughts, memories, and recollections about her abusive experiences.  She stated that Dr. Jordan recommended that she write down her memories.  She recalled that he agreed that it could make a good book.  She stated she wanted to include some education around sexual abuse and tell her story in a healthy, therapeutic manner.

When attempting to clarify the request, the former patient is not asking to return to therapy, but to have Dr. Jordan become the co-author or a consultant for the book.  Dr. Jordan thanked her for the compliment and indicated that he needed to think about the request.  He promised to call her back within a week.

Dr. Jordan calls you on the phone for an ethics consultation.

What are the ethical issues involved in this case?

What are some possible suggestions for Dr. Jordan?

If you were Dr. Jordan, how would you feel about this request?
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