Ethical Practice and Legislation

Ethical Practice and Legislation
Codes of ethics fulfill three major objectives: to educate professionals about sound ethical
conduct, to provide a mechanism for professional accountability, and to be a catalyst for
improving practice. In this way, they provide a foundation for professional competency and
In a 3-4 page paper (excluding references and title page), discuss how the APA Ethics Code
fulfills these objectives. As ethical issues in the mental health professions are also
influenced by legislation, discuss how you believe legislation could likewise contribute to
the fulfillment of these objectives. Discuss the most significant ways you believe legislation
and ethical codes can affect your future professional practice. To support your ideas, cite
one or more landmark court cases from our readings addressing responsible ethical and
legal professional practice and discuss implications for ethical and responsible practice.
This paper should reflect an integration of your knowledge of ethical practice, ethical
codes, and legislative influences on professional practice. In addition to the required
readings, cite at least two scholarly references.

Ethical Practice and Legislature

In almost all professions there is a requirement for professionals to adhere to ethical
standards. Codes of ethics therefore act as a guide and are aimed at ensuring achievement of
three major objectives of educating profession on sound ethical practices, ensure accountability
and as a catalyst of improving practice to enhance competency and integrity. This paper discuses
on how APA ethics Code fulfills the above objectives, how legislation contribute to adherence of
ethics and supports the argument with various landmark cases.
APA codes of ethics fulfil these objectives in various ways. Ethics require that
practitioners maintain high level of competence when executing their mandate. The principle
acknowledges the fact that inadequate level of competencies may compromise on the execution
of roles (American Psychological Association (APA), 2012). Therefore, workers should render
services that they are qualified for through training, education, and experience. The workers
should also endeavor to acquire more education to be proficient in their service delivery. APA

codes of ethics also require workers to promote integrity in their work. In rendering service,
workers should remain honest, fair and respectful. For instance, when conducting a research, the
professionals should always endeavor to state the correct information. Understanding individual
belief systems and values helps to enhance the level of integrity.
The workers should also respect other people rights and privacy (APA. 2012). Other
people require respect and they require autonomy when dealing with them. Appreciating their
differences in ideologies, cultures and religion, sexual orientation, language and gender are very
important in promoting ethical standards. It is also important to be concerned and contribute to
other people welfare especially those that one interacts with in their profession. The welfare of
for example of patients, clients, students, researchers and students and workers should be
considered. Therefore, they should endeavor to maintain positive relationship and avoid
exploitation or misleading others during or after professional relationships (APA. 2012). The
workers and professionals have as well social responsibility to the community and the society.
They must be accountable to the society and as well help the society by influencing them
positively. Therefore, APA codes of ethics helps in promotion of accountability, education about
professional on sound ethical conduct and acts as a catalyst in improving practice.
Legislation furthermore, can help in the fulfillment of the three objectives related to
codes of ethics. Legislations are aimed at restoring order in the society by restricting people from
participating in certain behaviors (Bratcher et al., 2010). Therefore, they help to ensure that
people remain accountable when they act contrary to the law. For instance, legislation that deters
people or public officers from engaging in corruption is aimed at promoting accountability.
Therefore, such legislation promotes integrity and competency as people are forced to abide by
the same. Contravening such legislation leads to persecution (Badzek, Henaghan, Turner &

Monsen, 2013). Furthermore, legislation can also help in educating professionals about sound
ethical practices through statutory that guide how they should handle their duties. For instance,
laws that requires two parties to agree on a certain aspect through writing or documentation helps
in ensuring that the parties are bound to the agreement. It ensures that the two parties remain
committed hence promoting transparency and making decisions without having to lean on one
Therefore, legislation works parallel to the ethical codes as it ensures that certain behaviors
believed to be bad are restricted.
It is apparent that ethical codes and legislation may affect ones future professional
practice in many ways. One of the ways is by denying one an opportunity to study. The laws
require that students take exams by themselves without copying. Copying is also unethical as it is
dishonest. Such students if caught may be denied the opportunity to advance in their careers
hence affecting their professional studies. At the work place, workers may also be disciplined
and terminated from their employment for breaching the codes of ethics such as integrity and
failure to adhere to the rules. Decisions that people may take during their lives and careers may
also affect their professional practice.
There are number of landmark cases in the previous years that address the question of
ethics and legislation. One of the cases regard end of life decision making in the Rudolpho
Torres case (Haugen, 1997). Treatment was withdrawn triggering the case to be taken to the
Minnesota Supreme court. Torres was suffering from cardiopulmonary arrest and when
resuscitated, he again suffered massive brain damage and the physicians made a decision that it
was of no use to keep his ventilators (Haugen, 1997). The court, in the case, made a ruling that
the wishes of the patient should be respect during end of life decision. Another case which stirred

debate about physician liability in end of life care was in Minnesota where two patients in
Hennepin County died after their ventilators were withdrawn in 1989 (Haugen, 1997). The two
expressed their interest to end their life but the physicians in charge were taken to court. The
reason that arose in the case concerned ethics as well as their actions’ legality. Even though, it
was ethical for the physicians to respect the wishes of the patients, they failed to address the legal
requirements of documenting the agreement. Therefore, this case shows that in some instances,
the ethical codes relates and go side by side with the legal professional practice
In conclusion, ethical practice and legislation are very critical in any profession. The
ethical codes guide the professionals in their workings as they relate to one another. Similarly,
legislation is crucial in helping the professionals avoid behaviors that are not expected in the
society such as bribes. The three objectives of codes of ethics therefore are very important as
exemplified by the APA codes of ethics and the legislations. Therefore, it is important that
professionals at all times adhere to ethical practices as well as legislations to be in a position to
render quality services to the people.



American Psychological Association (APA). (2012). ethical principles of psychologists and code
of conduct,

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