What are ethical atrocities in Psychology or Therapy?
All therapist do not elicit unethical behavior, however the following are observed true witnessed situations by this examiner:
In the eighties hospitalizing your acting out adolescent or teenager was vogue. With the academy award winning movie “Ordinary People” it clearly had a trickle effect to get treatment for the normal stage of development when teenagers are trying to find out who they really are. I am not referring to severe mental illness here, but the acting out child where parents who are both working, did not have the time and possibly not the skills to parent. Individuals were frequently seen by the psychologist or psychiatrist for fifteen minutes or less and the insurance company was billed for a 150.00 session. Of course that price has gone up since then. Make sure you are getting your time with your therapist.
Medication: All psychiatrists prescribe medication. Medication has been the quick answer for a variety of illness in the psychiatry/psychological field. There are times that medication is very beneficial; however being a consumer you are at the mercy of the degree and the diagnosis. Medication has been used as a quick fix, especially since the vast majority of psychiatrists are not trained in “talk therapy” or “counseling.” Be cautious, the most over-diagnosed diagnoses currently are PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Why? The government has dropped the ball , now there is an overcompensation occurring. ADHD, commonly over diagnosed in children. Many individuals do not want to spend the time with the child and do a correct assessment let alone focus on parenting issues. A great book on this topic by an ADHD survivor ” Poems, Pathways and Peace by Ron Weckerly available through Amazon.
One of the most common ethical violation in therapy is milking the sessions. Keeping the patient in therapy longer then they need be. This is a common abuse at anywhere from one-hundred to two-hundred and fifty dollars for a forty-five to fifty minute session. So how do you know when you are done with therapy? It is not like your fever has subsided, or your rash is gone. When your external life outside of therapy is moving along at a more peaceful state. You are handling conflicts and stress more effectively, and in session there is dead time and/or the discussion is superficial, the therapist may even begin talking more about current topics then your issues. Be alert to these please.
For intense issues like unresolved grief, acute life trauma ie: rape, abuse, murder, sudden death of a loved one and severe psychosis sessions may need to be two times a week with group work or more frequent in the beginning. Be alert to the situations where the therapist is pushing for sessions twice or three times a week. This translates into more cash flow.
Psychological testing. Many times testing is invaluable. In the eighties I observed a barrage of testing. Some necessary some not. This is one area where only psychologists do testing. Social workers and psychiatrists do not. Testing can range from evaluations for the courts to evaluate the degree of dangerousness to the public, to looking for the lethality of suicidal behavior, assessing for ADHD, or just to get a better handle on where one is going in therapy. This also is invaluable to rule out dementia, and other severe organic brain diseases. Psychologists burnt their bridge in the eighties with insurance companies. Many over charged, and at times the psychological test battery went upwards to around two thousand dollars. Insurance companies finally said enough is enough, now the insurance company many times dictates what tests we can use. As inappropriate as that may be, there is no one to blame but the unethical psychologists. Ask for an itemized bill for testing, and why specifically they want to do the testing. It is your right as the consumer and the patient.
In closing the vast majority of therapists are ethical and do a great job. In any profession there is unethical behavior. This is not to elicit paranoia, not to elicit hyper-vigilance, but to educate, and help one be aware if any unethical behavior is occurring with your treatment.