Terminating therapy, Facebook policies, Incorporating spirituality and treatment of LGBT clients & More: Dr. Celia B. Fisher addresses the ethical conduct of clinical psychology


Clinical psychologists can face ethical dilemmas on a daily basis as a result of the nature of their work: clients revealing confidential and sensitive information during each session. Questions such as how to ethically terminate therapy and avoid “abandoning” a client, or how best to ethically address religious and spiritual issues in psychotherapy involving LGBT clients arise regularly in practice.

In January, Center for Ethics Education Director Dr. Celia B. Fisher gave a webinar on the ethical conduct of clinical psychology for the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) addressing these, and other ethical issues that occur in the practice of psychology.

Other important ethical issued addressed include:

  • What type of email, Facebook and other electronic communication policies should I include in informed consent?
  • What are appropriate informed consent and confidentiality policies for clients in group and individual therapy?
  • What should I do when parents ask me to disclose confidential information about their child’s treatment?
  • What are my ethical obligations when an insurer refuses to extend coverage for a client?
  • Under HIPAA do clients or their health insurance company have a right to see my personal progress notes?

The primary purpose of this webinar was to provide a practical guide to the meaning and applicability of the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct to the professional practice of psychology. The webinar put into practical perspective the rational behind and application of ethical standards to the broad spectrum of professional roles and activities of psychologists using clear examples of behaviors that would be in compliance with or in violation of enforceable standards. 

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.