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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

School Psychology in Rural Contexts: Ethical, Professional, and Legal Issues

Lynn M. Edwards, Amanda L. Sullivan
Journal of Applied School Psychology 
Vol. 30, Iss. 3, 2014


Delivering psychological services in rural communities presents a number of unique challenges for practitioners relative to their peers in urban and suburban communities. In this article, the authors describe the current context of rural schools and examine the ethical and legal issues school psychologists may face when practicing in rural educational settings. They link these issues to the field's ethical guidelines and educational policy and offer practical recommendations for resolving potential dilemmas. Implications for practice, training, and research are discussed.


As in any professional context, it is important that rural practitioners engage in ongoing self-reflection of their competence, well-being, and ethical conduct. Our focus was on professional issues for rural practitioners, but these issues apply to small communities generally, including those located within more densely populated locations where similar social dynamics operate (e.g., ethnicity/cultural communities, a lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community, universities, or military communities; Schank et al., 2010). For school psychologists practicing outside of schools (e.g., private practice), other ethical issues related to the provision of mental health services and social justice may be more salient than the topics addressed herein (see Bradley, Werth, & Hastings, 2012, for discussion). In general, practicing in tightly bound communities requires recognition and responsiveness to the distinct professional context created by social and geographic parameters in order to ensure the provision of ethical, effective services.

The entire article is here.