Kaplan University:  Psychology / Applied Behavior Analysis

Kaplan University:  Psychology / Applied Behavior Analysis

PS499: Bachelors Capstone Course in Psychology


One original discussion post and two replies.



   The student is required to answer the questions below to make a new discussion post, then make a reply comment to two other student’s posts. So, one new original post, and two reply comments (one comment about Student 1’s post, and one comment about Student 2’s post).



Original post 300-450 words. 2 references. APA format.

Reply comments 150-250 words


Discussion Question:

Watch the video about an ethical issue and respond to the scenario:



There are many ethical problems with this scenario; identify as many of these as you can. Once you have described what the professional did wrong, provide suggestions for better ways to handle this situation.

Considering your concentration and desired profession (Applied Behavior Analysis), discuss an ethical issue you are likely to encounter. Some suggested considerations are confidentiality, dual or conflicting relationships, payment, advertising of services, and competence. Then discuss what actions you could take to prevent or successfully navigate the issue.


Suggested References to be used for this assignment:

·         APA Ethical Code: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx

Source: Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct: APA. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx

·         Behavior Analyst Code of Conduct: http://bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/160321-compliance-code-english.pdf

Source: BACB Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts: BACB. Retrieved from http://bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/160321-compliance-code-english.pdf



Student 1’s post (Martha) :


There are many ethical problems with this scenario including confidentiality, respecting people’s rights and dignity, doing no harm, and responsibility. Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility, “Psychologists establish relationships of trust with those with whom they work” (APA, 2016). The therapist’s client should be able to trust her therapist to respect her rights, privacy, and confidentiality which brings up the next ethical violation. Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity, “Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination” (APA, 2016). The therapist clearly violated this principle because she identified her as a client multiple times. The client has a right to confidentiality as a client receiving services and the therapist should know that and respect that. The therapist could also be violating the Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence, “Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm” (APA, 2016). The client’s family may not even know that she is receiving services, and by the therapist disclosing that, she could’ve caused turmoil in the client’s family. The therapist should avoid harming her client where it could have been avoided. The therapist could also be violating boundaries of competence because she should have known better than to point out the client in public because it is her job to be aware and knowledgeable of the ethical code of conduct. The best thing the therapist could have done is not acknowledged the client unless the client acknowledged her first. Even if the client had waved or greeted the therapist first, the therapist still should not disclose to anyone that she is a client.


In the field of addiction counseling, there are many ethical issues that may arise. I currently work as a peer support specialist and meet with every new substance use client that is admitted to the office. Rarely, someone will come into the office to receive counseling and I let my supervisor know that I cannot work with that client due to a conflict of interest because I know them personally. Also, if a client starts to develop a romantic interest in myself, I have to transfer him to another therapist. As a counselor, I may still run into this issue. I often see clients at recovery events out in the community and I cannot approach them and talk to them unless they approach me first. I cannot break their confidentiality and tell anyone that they are a client.


American Psychological Association. (2016). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved on December 15, 2016 from: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/



Student 2’s post (Kaitlin) :

Good evening Professor and class,


The video shows a few ethical concerns. The one that stands out the most seems to be confidentiality. Although intentions were good, there was a lack of respect for the client’s privacy. Protecting client’s rights to privacy is your responsibility when working in the field of psychology. The therapist should not have approached the client and certainly should not have told her husband that she was a client. It was irresponsible and careless. The therapist also violated the client’s rights to respect and dignity. Had the client approached her, then it would be a slightly different scenario. Certainly she would not have to ignore the client, but she could follow her lead.

Another ethical concern from the video is competence. The therapist did not seem to pick up on any of the social cues the client was sending showing how uncomfortable she was bumping into her outside of a scheduled session. She should be aware of the ethical codes of conduct and should have been more professional when handling this situation.

There is also the ethical concern of beneficence and nonmaleficence. It is a therapist’s duty to not only benefit their clients but to do no harm unto them. The client’s family may not be aware that she is seeing a therapist, and this carless and unprofessional interaction has the possibility of causing harm to the client.


My concentration is in ABA and I plan on becoming a behavior specialist. One of the ethical issues I will likely encounter are issues with confidentiality. Working directly with families may cause professional lines to blur, sometimes families want to welcome you as one of their own. And that it is a wonderful feeling, but you need to remember that they are clients and that once you walk out that door you are not to discuss any information with anyone outside that home. Working one on one with children can lead to some funny and heartwarming stories, but identities of the child and their family are to always remain strictly confidential.





American Psychological Association. (2016). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved on December 15, 2016 from: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/

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