As psychology has developed, the efforts to provide consumer protection have promoted the establishment of specific rules, principles, and standards.
In particular, the present set of standards and ethical issues has created the ground for analyzing the difference between consumer protections in such settings as assessment/testing and therapy/counseling. These settings undertaken by psychologists have certain differences and similarities with regard to consumer protection.
The APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct is a set of rules and standard aimed at sustaining favorable relationships between a psychologist and a patient/client and introducing the basis for customer protection.
Discussing the field of psychotherapy/counseling, all roles and aspects of psychologists’ services are based on treating patients with regard to informed consent.
In this respect, all clauses presented in the standards are aimed at minimizing the conflicts between a patient and a psychologist. Psychologists should inform their clients about all possible treatment techniques and methods to avoid ambiguity in future.
In addition, they are prohibited to be engaged in sexual relationships to establish an objective ground for the course of therapy. The primary concern of a therapist, therefore, is to take reasonable efforts for supporting client’s privacy and objectivity of treatment (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 2010b).
All these measures are created for preserving confidentiality and eliminating conflicts. Finally, the clauses related to the termination/interruption of therapy are designed for eliminating conflicts with the clients and minimizing the risk of confidential information leakage.
Apart from similarities, there are some differences between consumer protections for therapy/counseling. The major difference in assessments lies in a number of clients resorting to professional help. In particular, if a psychologist involves one person in the course of therapy, he/she should not be engaged in several setting and roles.
The main goal of a psychologist, therefore, is to choose an individual approach and ensure his/her client for quality of the treatment techniques. It should also be stressed that the number of people involved into treatment also identifies the extent of risk to be taken by a patient.
In particular, the therapist should be aware of all nuances of relationships and the major aspect for assessing the conflict. Furthermore, psychologist should be able to identify the type of relationships he/her should have with each person (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 2010b).
Finally, the differences in number of patients participating in similar therapeutic sessions also influence the circumstances under which psychologists should terminate the treatment. It involves such aspects as duration, nature of a problem, and techniques used for conducting a therapy.
Discussing similarities between consumer protections for assessment/testing, all clauses are aimed at discussing the level of credibility and validity of methods, techniques, and information applied for the process of treatment. In particular, the aspects of validity and reliability are discovered through empirical, theoretical and evaluative evidence obtained in the course of therapy and through limits they created for a client.
In other words, all data available for analyzing, testing, and assessing have been viewed through the prism of limitations and implications for a patient in terms of therapy efficiency, patient’s satisfaction, and appropriateness of techniques applied.
The similarity is explicitly viewed when referring to first passages of clauses 9.01 and 9.02 where the first one states that “…psychologists documents the efforts they made and the result of these effort, clarify the probable impact of their limited information on the reliability and validity of their opinions, and appropriately limit the nature and extent of their conclusions or recommendations” (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 2010a).
Similarly, clause 9.02 (b) reveals, “[p]sychologists use assessment instruments whose validity and reliability have been established for use with members of the populated tested.
When such validity or reliability has not been established, psychologists describe the strengths and limitations of test results and interpretation” (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 2010a).
The major difference between consumer protections for assessment/testing setting lies in the nature and character of information obtained from the client. This aspect greatly affects the results and further process of treatment.
In particular, depending on the type of information received (either qualitative or quantitative), a psychologist makes use of different approaches for analyzing and assessing information and making further assumptions and opinions.
Hence, “…the purpose, norms, validity, reliability, and applications” are clearly identified as soon as the information has been processed and classified (Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 2010a).
It is also worth noticing that the previously established similarities of emerging limitations during the case will also be different if the character of collected data is different as well.
Defining the differences and similarities between consumer protections for such broad settings as assessment and therapy plays a significant role in identifying the major aspects of clients’ care and treatment.
In particular, it enables psychologists to identify and classify the received information, instruments and techniques needed for facilitating the course of therapy and sustaining the principles of customer protection.
Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct: Standard 9: Assessment (2010a). American Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx
Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct: Standard 10: Therapy (2010b). American Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx