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Lasa: Working Ahead

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LASA: Working Ahead

Bonique Sauls

FP6500 Professional and Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology

Dr. David Arena

Argosy University

The ethical decision making model designed by Bush, Connell, and Denney is an eight step process that helps Forensic Psychologists to avoid ethical violations.

          According to Bush, the eight steps of the model include:“1) Identifying the issue, 2) considering the context and setting, 3) identification and using ethical and legal resources, 4) taking personal beliefs into consideration, 5) find solutions for the issue, 6) consider consequences for the decision made, 7) implement a course of action, 8) implement changes and an outcome assessment”(Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006). This exact order is not required to use the model, steps may fall out of order throughout the decision making process (Bush, Connell, & Denney,2006).


          Problem identification is described as difficult because of the diversity amongst behaviors (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006). Forensic Psychologist must keep this in mind when implementing a course of action (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006). Clarifying the problem produces the need to differentiate between professional, moral, legal and ethical perspectives and analyzing (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006). Due to the nature and degree professional etiquette, considering the significance of the context and setting is very important (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006). It is important that the psychologist is competent in the area of which the problem is presented (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006). The decision itself and potential consequences should be considered by the psychologist as well along with internal or external repercussions (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006).

          The most challenging step within this process is identifying and using ethical and legal resources (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006). This step warrants the execution of the general rule to a specific case (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006). Forensic Psychologists should fully understand the code of ethics and laws under regulations in order to choose the appropriate course of action (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006).  The goal for Forensic Psychologists is to weigh the principles and benefits of the greater good which may prove strenuous as the course of action is chosen because there may be a minor adverse reaction present (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006). Biases should be identified and considered when psychologists consider personal beliefs and morals. Focusing on personal beliefs as opposed to ethics can decrease neutrality and impartiality. Forensic Psychologists should be aware of bias and should not proceed because according to Bush, moral reasoning prohibits impartiality.


          When creating solutions for the issue,  it is imperative to identify all possible solutions (Chisum & Turvey, 2013). However,  It is also important for psychologist to remain unbiased when choosing solutions that is very beneficial and low risk for the client (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006). Positive and negative outcomes for each possible solution should be established after solutions have been identified (Chisum & Turvey, 2013) . When determining the most positive and ethical approach to address the issue, it is important to evaluate the risk and benefits (Chisum & Turvey, 2013). Sometimes the risks are described as more beneficial, which overall  creates an ethical solution (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006). The last steps within this process include establishing the chosen solutions and implementing the warranted changes (Bush, Connell, & Denney, 2006).



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