By Stephen Behnke
The Monitor on Psychology
July/August 2015, Vol 46, No. 7
Print version: page 84
APA members contact the Ethics Office on a daily basis to discuss the ethical aspects of their work. Receiving these calls is both interesting and gratifying, and educates the office about how psychologists across the country frame the ethical questions they encounter. One of the most frequent topics is multiple relationships. During the Ethics Code revision process that ended in 2002, the Ethics Code revision task force made clear that not all multiple relationships are unethical. The task force wrote a test for determining when a psychologist should refrain from entering a multiple relationship:
A psychologist refrains from entering into a multiple relationship if the multiple relationship could reasonably be expected to impair the psychologist's objectivity, competence or effectiveness in performing his or her functions as a psychologist, or otherwise risks exploitation or harm to the person with whom the professional relationship exists.
The language of ethical standard 3.05 requires the psychologist to determine when a particular relationship would impair the psychologist's objectivity, competence, or effectiveness in doing the work of a psychologist, or would otherwise risk exploitation or harm. The standard thus illustrates clinically driven ethics.
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