July 13, 2009

Diagnostic reification in court

Good psychologists think in shades of gray. But the inside of a courtroom is painted black and white. One side wins, the other loses. Here, I discuss an ethical dilemma posed by this disjuncture between scientific uncertainty and the law's pull for absolutes. This dilemma concerns diagnostic labeling in court.

So begins my new "Ethics Corner" column in the July/August issue of the California Psychologist, available HERE.


RazorsEdge said...

Why would any intelligent person debate the difference in "education/qualifications" between a Master's level of education, and that of a Doctorate? Does the debate include people who actually know the difference between these two levels of education?. Of course they are different. One is a doctor with that level of education, one is a Master's with this level. Where is the problem?
I hope that whoever is confused about the difference takes some time to read the wonderful resource material included in statutory licensing laws of their state. Why would the state encourage social workers to practice psychology without a license (or vice versa). There are clear laws against that. Are you saying that social workers are ‘pretending’ to be doctors? I think most states take exception to that. Or are you saying as a doctor, that you are practicing as a social worker? Again, that is against state law. Why is there confusion about this? I would suggest that the "BEST" qualified person is the one who is legally licensed to practice that particular aspect within the scope and extent of their license.
If confusion really exists, then congratulations to the management of the department for grappling with what appears to be a sloppy execution of clinical practice. Any discipline, be it a psychologist or social worker who thinks they can do the same thing as another discipline is not only breaking the actual laws, but is a clear and present danger to the patient in not understanding the boundaries of their license.

Karen Franklin, Ph.D. said...

Perhaps you meant for this comment to go with a different post? If so, feel free to re-submit it, to the applicable blog post.