APA Handbook of Ethics in Psychology
Discussions of ethics in psychology often focus primarily on misconduct, punishment, and legal sanctions, and too often ignore aspirations, values, principles, and virtues. The net effect of this unbalanced approach creates an atmosphere in which psychologists have viewed ethics as unpleasant and frightening, instead of inspiring and uplifting. Psychologists naturally must be concerned about laws, codes, and regulations, but these documents do not constitute the beginning and end of the conversation on ethics.
The editors of this 2-volume reference propose that ethics is best viewed as a striving toward the highest ethical ideals, not just as an injunction against rule violation—a perspective they refer to as "positive ethics" or "active ethics"—and they encourage psychologists to elevate their ethical observance above the minimal standards found in law and enforceable ethics codes.
Against this backdrop, handbook contributors investigate the complexities of ethical behavior in clinical, educational, forensic, health, and "tele-" psychology. Several chapters zero in on the teaching of ethics and on ethically minded research relevant to professionals working in experimental psychology.
By comparison with many ethics textbooks, this two-volume handbook covers a wider range of subjects and pursues them in greater detail. For instance, it reflects important recent advances in research and technology that present new opportunities and challenges for practice and scholarship. Also, it takes a serious look into some burgeoning new areas such as life coaching and providing services over the Internet. These are just two examples of developments that present fascinating, novel ethical questions that deserve attention.
Significant perspectives presented in the handbook include:
- Ethics is more than the knowledge of the laws, rules, and regulations that govern the profession and discipline of psychology.
- Competent psychologists rely on overarching ethical theories, as well as laws and regulations, when they live up to their highest ethical ideals.
- Attention to ethical issues is especially important as psychologists move into new and increasingly complex areas of practice.