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Decoding the Ethics Code

Decoding the Ethics Code
A Practical Guide for Psychologists

Fourth Edition
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June 2016 | 568 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Revised to reflect the current status of scientific and professional theory, practices, and debate across all facets of ethical decision making, this latest edition of Celia B. Fisher’s acclaimed book demystifies the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. The Fourth Edition explains and puts into practical perspective the format, choice of wording, aspirational principles, and enforceability of the code. Providing in-depth discussions of the foundation and application of each ethical standard to the broad spectrum of scientific, teaching, and professional roles of psychologists, this unique guide helps practitioners effectively use ethical principles and standards to morally conduct their work activities, avoid ethical violations, and, most importantly, preserve and protect the fundamental rights and welfare of those whom they serve.
Part I: Introduction and Background
Chapter 1: A Code of Ethics for Psychology: How Did We Get Here?
The 2010 Amendments: The Controversy Over Psychologists’ Involvement in Inhumane Military Interrogations  
Format and Distinctive Features of the APA Ethics Code  
Chapter 2: The Introduction and Applicability Section, Preamble, and General Principles: What Do They Mean?
Understanding the Introduction and Applicability Section and the Preamble  
What Is the Relevance of Specific Language Used in the Ethics Code?  
How Is the Ethics Code Related to APA Ethics Enforcement?  
How Is the Ethics Code Related to Sanctions by Other Bodies?  
How Is the APA Ethics Code Related to Law?  
General Principles  
Chapter 3: The APA Ethics Code and Ethical Decision Making
Ethical Commitment and Virtues  
Ethical Awareness and Moral Principles  
Ethical Awareness and Ethical Theories  
Ethical Absolutism, Ethical Relativism, and Ethical Contextualism  
Ethical Competence  
Steps in Ethical Decision Making  
Doing Good Well  
Part II. Enforceable Standards
Chapter 4: Standards for Resolving Ethical Issues
1. Resolving Ethical Issues  
Chapter 5: Standards on Competence
2. Competence  
Chapter 6: Standards on Human Relations
3. Human Relations  
Chapter 7: Standards on Privacy and Confidentiality
4. Privacy and Confidentiality  
Chapter 8: Standards on Advertising and Other Public Statements
5. Advertising and Other Public Statements  
Chapter 9: Standards on Record Keeping and Fees
6. Record Keeping and Fees  
Chapter 10: Standards on Education and Training
7. Education and Training  
Chapter 11: Standards on Research and Publication
8. Research And Publication  
Chapter 12: Standards on Assessment
9. Assessment  
Chapter 13: Standards on Therapy
10. Therapy  
Appendix A: Case Studies for Ethical Decision Making


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  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
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“This book is to be praised for emphasizing a working decision-making model as opposed to the ‘What should you do if…?’ hypothetical approach that can create a false sense of security. It is gratifying to hear students approach ethical questions in this way. . .”

Dr. Tom J. Brian
The University of Tulsa

“I have continued to use the Fisher text because I find it clear, succinct, current, and accessible. Student reviews have been consistently positive about the text over the years.”

Richard P. Halgin
The University of Massachusetts Amherst

“I think [the Hot Topics and Need to Know sections] are very attractive components of the text, especially given the organizational structure of walking step by step through the code.”

Jeff Ashby
Georgia State University

“The Hot Topics and Need to Know boxes are excellent additions. They bring in the most relevant practice changes in the field.” 

Dr. Ida Dickie
Spalding University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 5

Chapter 13

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ISBN: 9781483369297