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You have worked so hard to get your clinical hours. For some of you, it’s taken you longer than expected, so many sacrifices. So, it’s a shame that in an instant of poor judgment, your professional career can be jeopardized. Some students might have struggled with ethical concerning behaviors throughout their clinical training, such as boundaries (dual relationship, inappropriate sharing, etc.), and for others, the incident in question is indeed a lapse of judgment (not their common practice). Typically, the students that are not granted licensure are those that have had some past questionable behaviors. So, what do you need to know to avoid not practicing what you have worked so hard for? Well first and foremost, you must be very familiar with what are the code of ethics and laws of your state. Take them seriously, as typically there are no excuses with today’s access to knowledge at your fingertips. Have them readily available (visible access). Second, when in doubt, seek consultation/supervision, never assume or minimize, refer back to the codes and your supervisor. As hinted earlier, certain behaviors can lead to a lapse of judgment, increasing your risk of unethical practices, such as poor boundaries, burnout, not consulting regularly on cases, or not keeping up to date on current research on cultures and diversities, laws and ethics. Moreover, be mindful to avoid, texting clients any potentially inappropriate messages, posting unprofessional behaviors and comments on social media, any potential dual relationships, or picking up clients calls outside of business hours (non-emergency calls), especially if you are in no condition to be professional (e.g., intoxicated).
So, in summary, the best practices are: exploring what you are feeling and thinking in the sessions and how that is informing your questions/approach, determine how your approach is appropriate and effective to the case, identify if need to make any changes in accordance to the research and clients' responses, and always consider culture and diversity implications of the clinicians and the clients accordingly.
Remember how easily you can lose your ability to practice know the codes of ethics and have them handy frequently consult with your supervisor understand culture and diversity implications never assume practice respect and sensitivity
Keep growing and empowering
Dr. Arias Shah
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