Ethics reflection


The role of experts in many court cases has proven to be the bone of contention in many court cases, especially forensic psychologists who at times compromise their ethical values for money advances. Conflicting opinions have led to biases and prejudices coming from forensic experts who most of the work lies as asserted by Shipley & Arrigo (2012) especially dealing with crucial cases that call for no interferences. Integrity is another principle that dictates what most researchers must uphold in carrying out their activities and should deviate from cases of manipulation, fraud, fabricating results, and any form of misconduct that can be detrimental to the outcome of the results. Although the reasons might be genuine enough, the potential benefits act as a stampede to the investigations hence lead to most psychologists to reconsider their steps and probably resort to hiding some information that might cause explicit harm (Shipley & Arrigo, 2012).

Another area that might pose a challenge in the area of privacy and confidentiality due to the interactions with clients or patients under their care. Sometimes keeping the limits of the conversations can be an uphill task since information is based on consultations and in-depth intrusions. It becomes extremely difficult, especially when probing clients who give a full account of an incidence yet expect the opposite of what they have given to be stated in the court. The documentation of findings and opinions of a given case poses a challenge to forensic psychologists who are burdened with the responsibility of ensuring that whatever they argue out is in the true interest of the client as pertains to the testimonies (Shipley & Arrigo, 2012). Equally, inadequate documentation and failure to recognize the need for meticulous notes serves as a measure of failure for a forensic psychologist. As a strategy to be up to task forensic experts should ensure that every note or rather detail has been captured and that it is given the full attention that it deserves in terms of critical evaluation.

In a bid to avoid conflicting opinions according to Gunn & Taylor (2014) communication should be instigated between the attorneys and the forensic psychologists to avoid any misunderstandings. This way ethical issues can be mitigated through continual education and consultations with key consideration for supervision coming from colleagues. Moreover, forensic psychologists can avoid the problem of being biased by seeking to work single-handedly with minimal relationships such as expert witnesses and consultants or therapists.

The competence of forensic experts is one area that which forensic professionals are required to maintain competence. This however possess a threat in terms of failing to complete the education credits as the standard requires. In many instances, however, forensic professionals often compromise with the set standards in making judgments that do not adhere to an ethically consistent manner. The duty to delegate and solve personal problems as well as conflicts acts as a huge flaw that many professionals overlook in the course of performing their duties (Gunn & Taylor, 2014). Additionally, confidentiality is also a challenge, especially where the clients are infected with chronic ailments and it becomes the duty of the forensic psychologist to keep the secrets. This brings in ethical dilemmas such that it almost becomes uncomfortable to bear such news and somehow might spill to the public and thus prove detrimental to a particular case.

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  1. Gunn, J. C., & Taylor, P. J. (2014). Forensic psychiatry: Clinical, legal and ethical issues. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.
  2. Shipley, S. L., & Arrigo, B. A. (2012). Introduction to forensic psychology: Court, law enforcement, and correctional practices. San Diego: Elsevier Academic Press.
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