Autism Spectrum Disorder and Mental Health Problems
Respond/Give feedback to four discussion posts
1. Spending many years in the ABA field, and now pursuing a BCBA certification, I find myself incredibly passionate about everything surrounding autistic individuals. Various biases could be present, especially regarding ABA. The first that comes to mind is the idea that the same strategies and interventions that work with one individual, will work with another. When in reality, that is not the case.
2. I tend to focus on the topic of homelessness and mental health and how past trauma can affect them. When speaking about this topic before it is certainly a broad question and some people may not feel as though homelessness is due to mental illness but possibly laziness on that individual’s part. I think I also have this passion because unfortunately my brother is homeless and we did go through a lot as children. To hide feelings from the past he began drinking and doing other things which lead him to be irresponsible. I took care of him for a while but felt like I was enabling him. Thereof course on my bed would be that personal biased. If ones personal opinion is put into this research it should be supported by factual evidence.
3. The situation overheard by the observer is entangled with a host of ethical, multicultural, and legal issues. The first issue introduced is the sharing of information about a client, which violates numerous codes in Section 4: Privacy and Confidentiality of the APA (2017) Code of Ethics. Subsection B of 4.04 Minimizing Intrusions on Privacy is violated as the conversation does not appear to be for a scientific or professional purpose (APA, 2017) and as Jim’s secretary, it is not germane for Sara to know the specifics of what is occurring in the sessions in the way of the client’s anxieties and preferential activities, as those do not influence her work, nor can Sara likely provide reciprocal information that can aid concerns of any issue; this continues as a violation of 4.05 Disclosures, without knowledge of the client’s consent we must assume she doesn’t know this is occurring, should only be occurring for service, consultation, protective, or financial reasons (APA, 2017). None of what Jim and Sara discuss directly attaches to one of those categories. Even if it did, any Sara could feasibly be consulted about this client, the specific detail of the client being a disabled cross dresser is information that could quickly lead to client identification, violating 4.06 Consultations (APA, 2017). As Jim is not seeking any information from Sara, not asking questions about the cross-dressing community or the type of disability the client has to aid Jim’s competency, this level of detail in consulting is not ethically appropriate.
The rest of the main ethical issues in this case are also legal issues, namely the release of a protected psychological test to a client without the necessary qualifications, and the sexual relationship indicated at between Jim and Sara, which could introduce a host of legal issues regarding sexual harassment or questions regarding employment law. Releasing the protected test to his client exposes Jim to a violation of 9.02 Use of Assessments as he is going against the known application of the test (APA, 2017) in a way that could impact the results. It also violates 9.07 Assessment by Unqualified Persons, as he has given the client enough materials that she could use the techniques to complete the assessment without the necessary education or supervision (APA, 2017); 9.09 is also violated as Jim holds the responsibility for appropriate test application (APA, 2017) which is no longer possible due to his release of the test information prior to testing. Finally, Jim blatantly violates 9.11 Maintaining Test Security as he violates the security of the test and it’s qualification levels in sending it home with the client, completely eradicating a pretense of reasonable protective efforts (APA, 2017). Legally, psychological assessments are created and published with qualification levels, which determine the necessary education or training needed to safely evaluate the test and it’s results (Pearson, 2021). Any test that is a qualification B or C level requires a level of training that is at least at Master’s level competency or that equivalence (Pearson, 2021) to allow purchase and use. Jim is deliberately side stepping this level by giving the client the test. While this wouldn’t be considered colluding or upcoding (Fisher, 2017) as the client isn’t part of this and as of yet the test hasn’t determined any diagnosis, the questions of harm raised are quite similar as Jim is interfering with assessment and diagnosis of this client by giving her a chance to review and prepare for an assessment when that is not mentioned by Jim to be part of the tests design.
Introducing a sexual or intimate relationship into the workplace, particularly when the business is co-owned by a married couple, violates 2.06 Personal Problems and Conflicts, as the relationship was initiated knowing Jim was married and shared the business with his husband, knowing that could damage the business (APA, 2017). Additionally, a romantic relationship between Jim and Sara could impact completion of work-related activities (APA, 2017) which is already demonstrated in Sara asking for time off so she can buy lingerie to wear for Jim. While Sara is a coworker and not a client, 3.05 Multiple Relationships could still be argued to be violated as she and Jim are both in a professional role with each other as well as another role (APA, 2017) in their out-of-work engagement. As Jim owns the business, it could also be considered that his engagement with Sara, whose job he controls, could be deemed exploitative, violating 3.08 (APA, 2017). Legally, questions of sexual conduct and harassment in the workplace have been notably highlighted in recent years as the #MeToo movement has accelerated (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2021). As not only a superior but the business owner, the line regarding relationship appropriateness between Jim and Sara would have been blurry even before considerations of his marriage. As sexual favoritism (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2021) may be clearly demonstrated by Sara’s leaving work in order to purchase lingerie, there are already legal lines of office discrimination due to sexual favor that have been demonstrated and violated in this problem based scenario.
There are several multicultural considerations and concerns involved, for both the Observer if they wish to report, as well as in the details presented overall. A primary focus for multicultural considerations in the case is the gender impact of the sexual relationship between Jim and Sara. Khan, Jianguo, Usman, & Ahmad (2017) show in their study that workplace romances have stronger, though indirect, influences on males work performance than for females. Given that Jim is the one directly interacting with clients regarding psychological health, the impact of the relationship on his work performance may be more significant than it would have been if Sara was the psychologist business owner and Jim the secretary. Additionally, as Jim is a social minority as both a man of color and as a bisexual, the Observer may have to approach any accusations with care, as her position as a white person, particularly when approaching her boss about his sexual relationship, may be perceived to play on stereotypes (Carter, 2015) if she is not careful in her approach and considerations.
4. The case scenario provided is full of multiple ethical violations. One of the main ones that was noticed is the breaching of confidentiality, which is a direct violation of the APA Standard 4.06. Standard 4.06 states that when colleagues are speaking with each other and consulting, there should be no sharing of information that could identify the client and they only share information relevant to the reason for the consultation (American Psychological Association, 2016). Jim (the male professor) uses his clients first name, dispels information regarding her mental health, and private information about her religious beliefs. The religious beliefs being mentioned also lead into the cultural violations that Jim made. Jim specifically stated that he knew that she would not want to take the copy of the test home if she knew about it being inappropriate/not allowed. He continued to bring the test option up, despite knowing it was against her beliefs/morals. This was shown in the way that he spoke about her beliefs following. Finally, the legal issues present are that Jim could lose his license. All it would take would be for the new hire to report him to the APA and that would continue with the process of evaluating him as well as potentially losing his license. Jim acted beyond inappropriately in a short amount of time. It is expected that if he acts so freely in public, there is probably other inappropriate activities.