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    Why is this an ethical dilemma? Which APA Ethical Principles help frame the nature of the dilemma?

    Information for Evaluating Trainees

    Rashid Vaji, Ph.D., a member of the school psychology faculty at a midsize university,

    serves as a faculty supervisor for students assigned to externships in schools. The

    department has formalized a supervision and evaluation system for the extern program.

    Students have weekly individual meetings with the faculty supervisor and

    biweekly meetings with the on-site supervisor. The on-site supervisor writes a midyear

    (December) and end of academic year (May) evaluation of each student. The

    site evaluations are sent to Dr. Vaji, and he provides feedback based on the site and

    his own supervisory evaluation to each student. The final grade (fail, low pass, pass,

    high pass) is the responsibility of Dr. Vaji.

    Dr. Vaji also teaches the Spring Semester graduate class on “Health Disparities in

    Mental Health.” One of the course requirements is for students to write weekly

    thought papers, in which they are required to take the perspective of therapy clients

    from different ethnic groups in reaction to specific session topics. Leo Watson, a

    second-year graduate student is one of Dr. Vaji’s externship supervisees. He is also

    enrolled in the Health Disparities course. Leo’s thought papers often present

    ethnic-minority adolescents as prone to violence and unable to “grasp” the insights

    offered by school psychologists. In a classroom role-playing exercise, Leo “plays” an

    ethnic-minority student client as slumping in the chair not understanding the psychologist

    and giving angry retorts. In written comments on these thought papers

    and class feedback, Dr. Vaji encourages Leo to incorporate more of the readings on

    racial/ethnic discrimination and multicultural competence into his papers and to

    provide more complex perspectives on clients.

    One day during his office hours, three students from the class come to Dr. Vaji’s

    office to complain about Leo’s behavior outside the classroom. They describe incidents

    in which Leo uses derogatory ethnic labels to describe his externship clients

    and brags about “putting one over” on his site supervisors by describing these clients

    in “glowing” terms just to satisfy his supervisors’ “stupid liberal do-good”

    attitudes. They also report an incident at a local bar at which Leo was seen harassing

    an African American waitress using racial slurs.

    FOR THE USE OF UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY.

    NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION, SALE, OR REPRINTING.

    ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

    Copyright © 2013 by SAGE Publications, Inc.

    Appendix B——365

    After the students have left his office, Dr. Vaji reviews his midyear evaluation and

    supervision notes on Leo and the midyear on-site supervisor’s report. In his own

    evaluation report Dr. Vaji had written, “Leo often articulates a strong sense of duty

    to help his ethnic minority students overcome past discrimination but needs additional

    growth and supervision in applying a multicultural perspective into his

    clinical work.” The on-site supervisor’s evaluation states that

    Leo has a wonderful attitude towards his student clients . . . Unfortunately

    evaluation of his treatment skills is limited because Leo has had less cases to

    discuss than some of his peers since a larger than usual number of students

    have stopped coming to their sessions with him.

    It is the middle of the Spring Semester, and Dr. Vaji still has approximately 6

    weeks of supervision left with Leo. The students’ complaints about Leo, while more

    extreme, are consistent with what Dr. Vaji has observed in Leo’s class papers and

    role-playing exercises. However, these complaints are very different from his presentation

    during on-site supervision. If Leo has been intentionally deceiving both

    supervisors, then he may be more ineffective or harmful as a therapist to his current

    clients than either supervisor realized. In addition, purposeful attempts to deceive

    the supervisors might indicate a personality disorder or lack of integrity that if left

    unaddressed might be harmful to adolescent clients in the future.

    Ethical Dilemma

    Dr. Vaji would like to meet with Leo at minimum to discuss ways to retain adolescent

    clients and to improve his multicultural treatment skills. He does not know

    to what extent his conversation with Leo and final supervisory report should be

    influenced by the information provided by the graduate students.

    Discussion Questions

    1. Why is this an ethical dilemma? Which APA Ethical Principles help frame the

    nature of the dilemma?

    2. Who are the stakeholders and how will they be affected by how Dr. Vaji

    resolves this dilemma?

    3. What additional information might Dr. Vaji collect to provide him with a

    more accurate picture of Leo’s multicultural attitudes and professional skills?

    What are reasons for and against contacting Leo’s site supervisor for more

    information? Should he request that Leo’s sessions with clients be electronically

    taped or observed?

    4. Is Dr. Vaji in a potentially unethical multiple relationship as both Leo’s

    externship supervisor and his teacher in the Health Disparities class. Why or

    why not?

    FOR THE USE OF UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX STUDENTS AND FACULTY ONLY.

    NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION, SALE, OR REPRINTING.

    ANY AND ALL UNAUTHORIZED USE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

    Copyright © 2013 by SAGE Publications, Inc.

    366——DECODING THE ETHICS CODE

    5. To what extent, if any, should Dr. Vaji consider Leo’s own ethnicity in his

    deliberations? Would the dilemma be addressed differently if Leo self-identified

    as non-Hispanic white, Hispanic, or non-Hispanic black?

    6. Once the dilemma is resolved, should Dr. Vaji have a follow-up meeting with

    the students who complained?

    7. How are APA Ethical Standards 1.08, 3.04, 3.05, 3.09, 7.04, 7.05, and 7.06 and

    the Hot Topics “Ethical Supervision of Trainees” (Chapter 10) and

    “Multicultural Ethical Competence” (Chapter 5) relevant to this case? Which

    other standards might apply?

    8. What are Dr. Vaji’s ethical alternatives for resolving this dilemma? Which

    alternative best reflects the Ethics Code aspirational principles and

    enforceable standards, legal standards, and obligations to stakeholders?

    Can you identify the ethical theory (discussed in Chapter 3) guiding your

    decision?

    9. What steps should Dr. Vaji take to implement his decision and monitor its

    effect?

    Suggested Readings

    Allen, J. (2007). A multicultural assessment supervision model to guide research and

    practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 38, 248–258.

    Boysen, G. A., & Vogel, D. L. (2008). The relationship between level of training, implicit bias,

    and multicultural competency among counselor trainees. Training and Education in

    Professional Psychology, 2, 103–110.

    Dailor, A. N. (2011). Ethically challenging situations reported by school psychologists:

    Implications for training. Psychology in the Schools, 48, 619–631.

    Gilfoyle, N. (2008). The legal exosytem: Risk management in addressing student competence

    problems in professional psychology training. Training and Education in Professional

    Psychology, 2, 202–209.

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