Survey of ethics education in clinical and counseling psychology programs
Author(s)Vanek, Carol Ann
KeywordsHealth Sciences, Education
Education, Guidance and Counseling
Education, Educational Psychology
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AbstractThere is scant evidence regarding the nature of ethics education in APA-accredited clinical and counseling psychology training programs. Therefore, the purposes of this study were to examine the present state and future direction of ethics training, significant differences between the present and future direction of ethics education, and significant differences in ethics training between clinical and counseling sites.
A survey was designed and sent to training directors of 209 APA-accredited clinical and counseling doctoral training programs to be completed by the main person responsible for ethics instruction. The survey, comprised of various Likert scales, gleaned information on the (a) person responsible for ethics instruction, (b) structure, (c) instructional materials, (d) instructional methods, (e) goals, (f) content, and (g) evaluation indices of ethics education. For three mailings the total response rate was 62% (129).
Descriptive statistics for the present state of ethics training indicated that 69% of sites have formal ethics training as a required experience (96%), consuming more than 20 hours of instructional time (74%). Seventy-eight percent were positive on the influence of their ethics instruction on student ethical decision-making abilities. Main goals focused on sensitizing students to ethical issues, and promoting an ethical decision process. In the future, all sites felt ethics training should be offered as a formal (75%), required (99%) experience with more emphasis placed on present goals.
A paired t test for dependent samples indicated that all goals and content areas would be emphasized significantly more in the future than in current practice. In addition, there would be a definitive increase ethics instruction. A grouped t test for independent samples indicated that there were differences between clinical and counseling sites on (a) the time devoted to ethics instruction, (b) the reasons for having ethics, (c) goals, and (d) content areas.
The study concludes that ethics education is an essential aspect of doctoral training programs and suggests that more specific evaluations of ethics education interventions are needed.