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Ethics and Professional Issues

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2016
Prothro-Yeager Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times


Fall 2016


Instructor: Dr. Teresa (Terri) Tempelmeyer              Email:

Mobile phone: 940-220-8097                                      Class Meeting Times: 12:00-1:20 M/W

Location: OD 102




Koocher & Keith-Spiegel (2016) Ethics in Psychology and the Mental Health Professions: Professional Standards and Cases (4th Edition). Oxford University Press.


Seay, Hayes, & Edwards (2012)  Texas Law and the Practice of Psychology.  Houston, TX. Texas Psychological Association. Available at





Licensing Boards

Licensed Psychological Associate

Professional Counselors

Marriage and Family Therapists




Course Objectives


This course is designed to accomplish the following objectives:


  1. To familiarize students with the standards of practice and ethical principles and codes of conduct which have a direct bearing on ethical and legal issues in clinical psychology;

2.    To critically evaluate these principles/codes and apply them to “real” and potential ethical dilemmas;

  1. To examine the reasoning behind various applications of the principles/codes;

4.    To provide students with skills and resources for ethical decision-making and to explore the moral values/assumptions that underlie these decisions;

  1. To critically examine emerging professional issues in clinical psychology; and
  2. To increase student awareness and knowledge of diverse perspectives and the role of their personal value systems in understanding and applying the ethics principles/codes.




Preparation for Course


As another adjunct to the class, I will be using Desire2Learn for posting grades and other course materials.  You can log in to D2L through the MSU portal. Please make sure your email address is updated in the system and that you set up D2L to forward email to your preferred address.



Assignments and Grading


Examinations:   There will be three exams.  Each exam will be composed of objective multiple choice and true/false items, as well as a few short essay questions requiring you to respond to a given scenario.  Each test is worth 20 points for a total of 60% in calculating your grade.  The 3rd exam will be given during the final exam period and will include material only from that unit.


Mini-Assignments: Three assignments will be given over the course of the semester.  There will be two options for the 3rd assignment. They will each be worth 10 points each for total of 30 points. 

1)    Chapter 2 Mini-Assignment – Ethical Decision Making:   Read and consider the case examples in Chapters 1 and 2 and outline your thoughts regarding one of the cases provided, following the ethical decision making strategy outlined in the chapters.  For each step, explain what factors you would consider and how you would implement that step.  You are limited to three pages for this assignment.

2)    Chapter 5 Mini-Assignment – Informed Consent/Therapy Contract: Develop an informed consent/therapy contract and explain why you chose to include or exclude the various possible elements (see K & KS pp. 63). You are limited to three pages so part of the challenge is to decide what elements you will include and to write the contract in concise language that would be understandable to a typical client.

3)    Choose one of the following (you are limited to three pages for each assignment so be concise):

A.    Chapter 9 Mini-Assignment - Do It Yourself Testing: Find a test that measures some kind of psychological phenomenon on the Internet, take it, and report on what you think of its reliability, validity, and potential for good or harm to those who take it seriously.

B.    Chapter 15 Mini-Assignment – Self-help Books: Go to a bookstore or library and look in the “psychology” or “self help” sections.  Pick out a book, not written as far as one can tell by a licensed mental health professional, that purports to offer great benefit to those suffering from some problem.  (Unfortunately this criterion is hampered by the fact that many authors list diploma mill degrees, giving the appearance of credibility.)  Answer the following questions:

(a)  Is there evidence of a factual or research base? 

(b)  Does the author make up words and symptoms? 

(c)   Is the advice common sense? 

(d)  Does any of the advice cause concern?

(e)  Would there be any harm done if an individual who self-diagnosed him or herself as having the relevant problem?

(f)    Would that individual be disadvantaged if this book was the only assistance sought?


Begin drafting papers as early as possible and take advantage of the MSU Writing Center, located off the 2nd floor atrium of Prothro-Yeager! Tutoring is available Monday through Thursday from 9am to 4pm; you can also find a tutor at the satellite location in Moffett Library Honors Lounge, Sunday and Thursday from 6pm to 9pm.  Writing tutors will not edit your papers for you, but they will provide support and feedback at every stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to drafting, revising to proofreading.






To learn the most from this course, you must read the readings prior to the class for which they are assigned and be prepared to discuss the material.  The class meetings will focus on discussion and activities designed to promote integration and deeper understanding of the material.  To encourage preparation and participation, you will be graded on this aspect of your performance.


Participation will be graded daily, using the criteria below. The criteria focus on what you demonstrate and do not presume to guess at what you know but do not demonstrate. I will use these daily grades to calculate a final grade for participation at the end of the semester.  Participation grades can be lowered by poor listening, disrespectful, rude or insensitive comments, working on the computer on areas not relevant to the class, or attempting to dominate class discussions.





C (2)

  Present, not disruptive.

  Tries to respond when called on but does not offer much.

  Demonstrates very infrequent involvement in discussion.

B (5)

  Demonstrates adequate preparation: knows basic reading facts, but does not show evidence of trying to interpret or analyze them.

  Offers straightforward information (e.g., straight from the reading), without elaboration or very infrequently (perhaps once a class).

  Does not offer to contribute to discussion, but contributes to a moderate degree when called on.

  Demonstrates sporadic involvement.

A -/B+ (7)

  Demonstrates good preparation: knows reading facts well, has thought through implications of them.

  Offers interpretations and analysis of material (more than just facts) to class.

  Contributes well to discussion in an ongoing way: responds to other students' points, thinks through own points, questions others in a constructive way, offers and supports suggestions that may be counter to the majority opinion.

  Demonstrates consistent ongoing involvement.


  Demonstrates excellent preparation: has analyzed material exceptionally well, relating it to readings and other material (e.g., readings, course material, discussions, experiences, etc.).

  Offers analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of the material, e.g., puts together pieces of the discussion to develop new approaches that take the class further.

  Contributes in a very significant way to ongoing discussion: keeps analysis focused, responds very thoughtfully to other students' comments, contributes to the cooperative argument-building, suggests alternative ways of approaching material and helps class analyze which approaches are appropriate, etc.

  Demonstrates ongoing very active involvement, but does not try to dominate class discussions.







Final Grades



Available Points

% of total grade

3 Exams









Total Points




Once points are calculated, grades will be assigned as follows:



90% = 90+


80% =  80-90


70% =  70-80



Schedule of Readings and Assignments







Aug 29


On Being Ethical

K & KS Ch 1


Aug 31


Competence, Personal Fitness, Qualifications, and Training Issues

K & KS Ch 2


Sept 5


Labor Day - No Classes!



Sept 7



K & KS Ch 2

Chapter 1 Mini Assignment Due

Sept 12


Psychotherapy I:  Ethical Obligations of Psychotherapists

K & KS Ch 3


Sept 14



K & KS Ch 3

Ch. 2 Mini Assignment Due

Sept 19


Psychotherapy II:  Ethical Issues in Psychotherapeutic Techniques and Related Controversies

K & KS Ch 4


Sept 21





Sept 26


Ethical Challenges in Working With Human Diversity

K & KS Ch 5


Sept 28


Confidentiality, Privacy, and Record Keeping

K & KS Ch 6

Ch. 5 Mini Assignment Due

Oct 3


Psychological Assessment:  Testing Tribulations

K & KS Ch 7


Oct 5





Oct 10


Exam 1 – K & KS 1-7



Oct 12


Nonsexual Multiple-Role Relationships

K & KS Ch 8


Oct 17


Attraction, Romance, and Sexual Intimacies with Clients

K & KS Ch 9


Oct 19


Relationships with Colleagues, Supervisees, Students, and Employees

K & KS Ch 10


Oct 24


Self-Promotion in the Age of Electronic Media

K & KS Ch 11


Oct 26


The Mental Health Business:  Money and Managed Care

K & KS Ch 12


Oct 31


Happy Halloween!

Mental Health Practitioners in the Legal System:  Tort and Retort

K & KS Ch. 13


Nov 2



K & KS Ch. 13


Nov 7


Exam 2 – K & KS 8-13



Nov 9


Mental Health Professionals in Academia

K & KS Ch 14


Nov 14


Challenging Work Settings: Juggling Porcupines

K & KS Ch 15


Nov 16




Ch. 15 Mini Assignment Due

Nov 21


Scholarly Publications and the Responsible Conduct of Research

K & KS Ch 16


Nov 23


Happy Thanksgiving!  No classes



Nov 28


Making Ethical Decisions and the Responsible

K & KS  Ch 17


Nov 30


Ethics Codes, Regulations, and Enforcement

K & KS Ch 18


Dec 5


APA Ethics Code

Bring a copy to class by hard copy or computer so that we may discuss sections of the Code

Dec 7


Texas Law and the Practice of Psychology, O. Seay, J.R. Hays, C, Edward

Texas Law and the Practice of Psychology, O. Seay, J.R. Hays, C, Edward; Texas Psychological Association




Exam 3 – K & KS, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, APA Ethics Code, Texas Law and the Practice of Psychology, O. Seay, J.R. Hays, C, Edward;




Students with Disabilities:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil protections for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment which provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. In accordance with state and federal law, MSU provides academic accommodations to students with documented disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact Disability Support Services (DSS) in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center (phone 940-397-4140). The instructor is under no obligation to offer accommodations for students with disabilities who are not registered with DSS.


Cell Phones and Pagers: Please turn all cell phones and pagers off (no sound) during class. DO NOT text message during class. DO NOT answer your cell phone in class. Exceptions include emergency calls (e.g., birth of child, family member in hospital). Students who are unable to comply will not be allowed to attend class.


Cheating Policy: Any evidence of cheating on exams or quizzes will result in dismissal from this class with a grade of “F”. To avoid questions of cheating, mark Scantrons clearly, use a No. 2 pencil, and erase completely. Errors due to a poorly marked Scantron will not result in a grade change.


Travel Plans: Please do not make travel plans during finals week. The final will be given when the university has scheduled it as per the schedule of classes. Early finals will only be offered to graduating seniors with honors.



Dr. Teresa Tempelmeyer (view Profile)


Submission Format Policy Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at