Due 3/14/2021Using the information in Box 11-1 (Wrightsman),…

Due 3/14/2021 Using the information in Box 11-1 (Wrightsman), choose one area of forensic psychological practice within civil law. Delineate one or more ethical dilemmas or difficulties that mental health professionals working in this area would have to face. Describe the difficulty or conflict. Add recommendations about how the professional should proceed.



Ethical Dilemmas in Forensic Psychological Practice within Civil Law

Forensic psychological practice within civil law involves the intersection of psychology and the legal system, particularly in areas such as family law, personal injury cases, custody evaluations, and competency assessments. Mental health professionals working in this field often encounter various ethical dilemmas or difficulties, which require careful consideration and professionalism to navigate. This essay will discuss one area of forensic psychological practice within civil law and outline possible ethical dilemmas or difficulties that mental health professionals may encounter. It will also provide recommendations on how professionals should proceed in addressing these challenges.

One Area of Forensic Psychological Practice: Custody Evaluations
Custody evaluations are a common area of forensic psychological practice within civil law. These evaluations aim to assess the best interests of the child when parents are involved in a dispute over custody arrangements. Mental health professionals conduct comprehensive assessments, including interviews with parents and children, psychological testing, and observation of parent-child interactions. These evaluations require professionals to make recommendations to the court regarding custody and visitation arrangements.

Ethical Dilemmas or Difficulties:
One ethical dilemma in custody evaluations is the tension between being an advocate for the child’s best interests while maintaining objectivity. Mental health professionals must balance their duty to the court with their responsibility to promote the welfare of the child involved. This conflict arises when a professional’s recommendation may not align with the wishes or desires of a particular parent. The professional may face pressure to satisfy the desires of the client or to cater to the preferences of the court, which can compromise the objectivity of the evaluation.

Another difficulty is the potential impact of cultural biases on the evaluation process. Mental health professionals must be aware of their own biases and ensure that they do not influence their assessments or recommendations. Cultural factors, such as religion, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, can inadvertently affect professionals’ judgments and lead to biased recommendations. Furthermore, ensuring cultural competence and understanding diverse family dynamics can be challenging, particularly in cases involving immigrants or individuals from marginalized communities.

To navigate these ethical dilemmas and difficulties, mental health professionals working in custody evaluations should adhere to a set of best practices. These recommendations include:

1. Maintaining objectivity: Professionals should strive to remain impartial, relying on evidence-based assessments and avoiding biases or undue influences.
2. Promoting the child’s best interests: The paramount consideration should always be the welfare and well-being of the child. Professionals should prioritize the child’s safety, mental health, and stability when making recommendations.
3. Continuous self-reflection and cultural competence: Professionals should engage in ongoing self-reflection to identify and address biases. They should also seek training and education to enhance cultural competence, ensuring fair and unbiased evaluations for diverse families.

Academic Sources:
1. Johnston, J. R., & Roseby, V. (1997). In the name of the child: A developmental approach to understanding and helping children of conflicted and violent divorce. Springer Science & Business Media.
2. Cashmore, J., Parkinson, P., & Single, J. (2007). Outcomes for children of different types of formal care. Children and Youth Services Review, 29(5), 547-569.

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