Essay Sample: Why is this an ethical dilemma?

Published: 2023-08-10
Essay Sample: Why is this an ethical dilemma?
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Discrimination Students Medicine Diversity Ethical dilemma
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1417 words
12 min read

Why is this an ethical dilemma? Which APA Ethical Principles help frame the nature of the dilemma?

Leo has consistently portrayed his clients' growth, and he has managed to convince both supervisors that he is committed and responsible toward his clients. These majorities are from ethnic minority communities. Dr.Vaji has received complaints from other students that Leo has portrayed signs of bias when interacting with persons from the ethnic minority community, the same groups of people Leo claims to care for. After reviewing the evaluation remarks from both supervisors and listening to other student complaints in addition to Dr. Vaji's observation, an ethical dilemma comes up. The dilemma here is should Dr. Vaji rely on Leo's portrayed results to the supervisor, which are promising results, or should he reprimand Leo's behavior based on other student complaints and class-represented behavior towards minority community students during role-playing. Dr. Vaji is facing an ethical dilemma on which option to pursue based on the provided information.

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Dr. Vaji's dilemma can be defined by ethical principles, which are integrity principle and Beneficence & Non-Maleficence principal. According to the integrity Principal, psychologists are supposed to promote honesty, accuracy, and truthfulness in their psychology practice (Knapp, 2012). Leo is supposed to be truthful, honest, and responsible towards his client, but he is manipulating results to pass his intern program. Therefore Leo fails to promote honesty and accuracy in his inter-program. Dr. Vaji is consequently supposed to ensure the non-minority student clients' needs are well addressed with no biases by reprimanding Leo’s behavior, this will help the minority student client feel represented equally with no preference.

Besides, psychologists should abide by the Beneficence & Non-Maleficence principal. Psychologists such as Dr. Vaji has a responsibility to ensure those working and practicing in the field of psychology are protected (Knapp, 2012). Dr. Vaji can make Leo comply with psychology ethics, but it is also his role to protect Leo from outside biased forces. Although people accuse Leo of unbiased actions against minority community people, Dr. Vaji is expected to protect Leo's reputation. Therefore, he is left in a dilemma on whether to protect Leo reputation or to hold Leo accountable

To what extent, if any, should Dr. Vaji consider Leo’s ethnicity in his deliberations? Would the dilemma be addressed differently if Leo self-identified as non-Hispanic White, Hispanic, on non-Hispanic Black?

A person who wants to be a psychologist should be race and ethnicity unbiased. Race should not be a factor of consideration when practicing psychology. Therefore Leo should be punished per the profession ethic standards. Dr. Vaji should, therefore, not consider race and ethnicity in his deliberations. If Leo were a member of the minority group, he would understand the plights of the minority and strive to improve and respect them. However, this does not mean the biased behavior would be welcome to people of the same race. Leo is aware of psychology principles to adhere to, and he is aware of how to treat every person in practice regardless of gender, race, culture, and financial differences. The deliberations would therefore not be different; the punishment is the same for being biased whether he associated with the minority oar not

How are APA Ethical Standards 1.08, 3.04, 3.05, 3.09, 7.04, 7.05, and 7.06 relevant to this case? Which other standards might apply?

The named ethical standards are all critical in defining the foundation of psychological ethics and principles, and from them, the competence of psychology lies. They are relevant in this case study dilemma because they help define and identify critical premises the case study touch, which include discrimination, accountability of ethics for self and others in psychology fields, multiple relationships, supervisory training, and feedback and evaluation.

Other standards to apply include 2.06 Personal Problems and Conflicts and 4.03 Recording. Leo has proved dishonest in his interaction to ensure professionalism; all sessions should be recorded for preview by the supervisors ensuring that Leo adheres to set ethical standards. Also, Leo inflicts personal interests and feelings in his work. Therefore he should be warned to refrain from initiating particular interests and actions, harming clients, and hindering preferred outcomes (Gilfoyle, 2008).

What are Dr. Vaji’s ethical alternatives for resolving this dilemma? Which alternative best reflects the Ethics Code aspirational principle and enforceable standard, as well as legal rules and obligations to stakeholders?

Leo's case is challenging to solve because he managed to portray two different personalities. Leo deceivingly convinced the supervisors that he is aware of his client and his role. In the presence of the supervisors, he represents an understanding of the minority group's difficulties and possible solutions to their problems. However, in the class setting and real life, Leo continues to offend and abuse the minority groups he assigned to help, protect, and safeguard their rights and privileges.

Peer review from students and clients is an effective alternative to use when addressing the dilemma. Although the supervisors were in charge of evaluation, the students and clients have real-time experiences with Leo. Dr.Vaji should use students to test Leo's competence and credibility in his work through peer reviews. If most students give negative reviews of Leo, that should call for closer supervision of his work, integrity, and compliance with ethical standards

To solve Leo’s problem, Dr.Vaji should put Leo’s integrity to the test. Dr.Vaji should stop role-playing in class to test if Leo has a personality disorder or he is dishonest. The role-playing could be giving Leo ideas to use against his client, or else he could copy some of the behavior during role-playing to real-life settings and during sessions with the client. If role-playing is stopped and Leo's biased behavior continues, that will mean he lacks integrity and has no personality problems.

Another ethical alternative will be the introduction of session recording during all intern client contact hours. The records will later be used to review Leo's behavior toward his clients. If other students record the behavior changes and no complaints, Leo can be deemed dishonest in his practice. The use of recording will make Leo more productive with no prejudice, which is suitable for clients. When handling clients, Leo's real-time behavior will be measured per the session recordings and evaluated in line with the ethical psychology standard.

Leo should serve his stakeholders without any form of bias. The most effective alternative to asses Leo's credibility would be to stop the class role-playing. If the role-playing is stopped and the negative critics from students continue yet Leo portrays candid behaviors to the supervisor, then Leo can be rendered as unprofessional and one with a lack of integrity.

What steps should Dr. Vaji take to implement his decision ethically and monitor its effects?

Dr. Vaji holds the overall supervisory position, and his final decision has an impact on the psychology field and practice. Dr. Vaji's role is to ensure all students meet the professional standard of the field. Being the leader, Dr. Vaji can decide to give Leo an easy pass since he is his student, or he can reprimand Leo ensuring that he abides by the psychology ethics standards, molding him to a future practical psychologist.

Although other students complain of Leo’s unprofessionalism, Dr. Vaji should closely monitor Leo's behavior, identifying the issues raised against him. He should also present his concerns objectively to the other off-site supervisor and have him review Leo's behavior. Together they should sit and review their independent evaluation of Leo. This will help identify Leo hidden unprofessional actions that need addressing before the end of the course and program.

If Leo depicts cases of verifiable inconsistency during monitoring by both supervisors, Dr. Vaji should assemble all students in the program and revisits the psychological, and ethical code of conduct. The purpose of this is to remind the students of their role as professionals, and why they should treat their clients with integrity and dignity. The process should serve as a warning to those who fail to hind by the Ethical codes.

If Leo continues with the behavior after the warning, Dr. Vaji can fail Leo at the end of the course. Leo will be forced to redo the program and strictly abide by the set standards.


Knapp, S. J., Gottlieb, M. C., Handelsman, M. M., & VandeCreek, L. D. (Eds.). (2012). APA handbooks in psychology®. APA handbook of ethics in psychology, Vol. 1. Moral foundations and common themes. American Psychological Association.

Gilfoyle, N. (2008). The legal exosystem: Risk management in addressing student competence problems in professional psychology training. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2(4), 202.

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