Ethical Issues in Treatment

Ethical principles, which define society’s perception of right and wrong, are a guiding rubric of professional behaviors for physicians, psychologists, counselors, clergy, law enforcement, and for any other person who is responsible for protecting the interests of the public good. This entry discusses ethical principles as they apply to different disciplines, as well as the training and accountability methods used to enforce these principles.

The Basis of Ethical Treatment

The foundation for the ethical codes for mental health professionals was influenced by Scottish philosopher W. D. Ross and identified a moral rubric for ethical behavior that included autonomy, beneficence, fidelity, justice, and nonmaleficence.

Autonomy requires that helping professionals respect the rights and independence of the individuals with whom they work. Beneficence dictates that helping professionals practice in ...

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