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Unread July 26th, 2004, 11:03 AM
William Reid William Reid is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 105
Default Re: What defines a collegue as "unethical'?

I like that answer, Loftus75. I might add three points that are sometimes overlooked by people reporting or concerned about professional ethics.

1. For purposes of any kind of enforcement, the ethical guidelines of organizations (such as the APA [both of them], NASW, AMA, or state professional organizations) are limited to members of those organizations, and the enforcement parameters are limited to what the organization can do to the member (e.g., kick him or her out of the organization). Ethics are not laws, and licensed clinicians who don't belong to a professional organization are not, by definition, bound by the organization's ethical guidelines (except perhaps morally).

2. In general, state licensing of clinicians is completely separate from membership in professional organizations. Thus lots of physicians who have completed psychiatry residencies and practice psychiatry are not members of the APA. (The same principle applies to other clincial professiona.) Those people may be quite ethical (or may not), but the professional organization has no "jurisdiction" over them when it comes to ethics complaints.

3. Sometimes state laws or licensing rules adopt some of the ethical guidelines of professional organizations. In those cases, everyone with a license is bound by the law, but that's because it's the law, not because it's an "ethics" matter.

Finally, just as ethics are not directly a legal/licensing concept, they are not necessarily part of malpractice law. The big exception is that "malpractice" is closely related to whether or not a clinician's practices are consistent with the "standard of care" for similar clinicians. Unethical behavior may well suggest a practice outside/below the standard.

WHR
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