9-1 discussion | Psychology homework help

Sep 13, 2023

Module Overview19.html

Contemporary Ethics Topics and Human Rights

A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.

—Albert Camus

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
9-1 discussion | Psychology homework help
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

Human rights and ethics

Figure 9.1 (wyndhamworldwide.com)

We study ethics in order to integrate our understanding of personal and professional morality as applied to serving people in specific settings such as counseling, research, consulting, teaching, and advising.

Module Nine explores two main themes. We take a look at technological advances and ponder our ethical stance on the future-based ability to engineer morality and other behaviors. Can or should we attempt to change the way people are? Is this at the core of what psychology is about? Additionally, we will take a look at the risks involved in being a professional in the field of psychology. There are very real risks associated with working in the field of psychology. There are personal risks that come by way of compassion fatigue, burnout, and secondary posttraumatic stress. Psychologists can be stalked, assaulted, and murdered. There are professional risks such as loss of a license to practice. And, there are combinations of risks that affect the psychologist, personally and professionally, such as malpractice lawsuits.

Let’s take a look at some examples of advances that began with an innovative thought. Keep in mind that many ethical mistakes began with a great idea. Those great ideas garnered support and in no time the energy to finish a pursuit overrode the potential perils to human beings or other animals. We seek innovation, we aspire toward greatness, and yet we must consider all ethical ramifications over innovation, prestige, status, and greatness. Take the case of the atomic bomb dropped by the United States on Hiroshima, Japan during World War II. Many of you are likely familiar with the
Manhattan Project. Albert Einstein (from Nazi Germany) and Enrico Fermi (from Fascist Italy) were two scientists who fled their countries of origin. They were aware of the development of atomic technology in Germany and feared the Germans would bring the atomic bomb into fruition. After migrating to the United States, they and others worked in a think tank that was collectively referred to as the Manhattan Project. In time the atomic bomb, by way of the innovation of nuclear fission, became a viable and dangerous weapon. Einstein later regretted steps he took toward the development of the bomb, indicating that he would not have let the United States know of preliminary atomic technology had he known a bomb would be developed and used for the destruction of people. Sometimes innovation in technology, although a brilliant step for science, becomes a stain on humanity and ethical choice.

Behavioral Therapy

The beginning of behavioral therapy involved what was known as behavioral modification. In order to extinguish an unwanted behavior in a human being, there were steps taken therapeutically to effect change. These included positive and negative reinforcement and the presence of punishment. This punishment could assume the form of restraints, electric shock, ridicule, and denial of basic needs. Behavioral modification has evolved since its origin around 1911 and is now the cornerstone of popular cognitive behavioral therapies. In the beginning, however, behavioral therapy was highly controversial. Some examples of historical and contemporary ethical controversy resulting from this therapy include:

  • Sexual aversion therapy was developed for use with homosexuals. It was determined to be dangerous and yet was used until the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) removed homosexuality as a disorder in 1974. This
    1973 APA position statement discusses the DSM II and homosexuality.
  • Aversion therapy was and is still used with children and teens labeled as sexually deviant. Methods such as olfactory aversion, which involves smelling noxious scents such as ammonia, were popular forms of treatment. Skim through this
    1970 research abstract and this
    2012 research abstract and note the use of electrical aversion therapy in each study.
  • Shock collars were developed for use with dogs to teach obedience to commands. Animal-rights groups have protested this form of control as well as choke collars. There have been instances of parents abusing children by placing the dog-designed shock collars on them. This Huffington Post
    article provides a short history of how shock collars have been used on humans.

Technological Advances and Medicine

In medicine, the development of the drug Antabuse was seen as a miracle for the treatment of alcoholism as an addiction. If an individual drinks alcohol while on Antabuse, he or she will become violently ill. A link to a
1970 journal article on alcohol aversion therapy is provided. Notice the cavalier attitude about the use of harm and aversion. Antabuse is still being used today for the treatment of alcoholism.

Shock aversion therapy was developed for use with pedophiles and anyone who was determined to be a sexual deviant. Throughout time, the definition of who is a sexual deviant has changed. Herein lies one of the problems. The
penile plethysmograph was developed as a device that fits over the penis. The “offending clients” would be shown images of a pornographic nature. If they became aroused, it became grounds for belief the deviant would engage in re-offending behavior.

Political and Governmental

Interrogation and torture of detainees in jails, prisons, and at the Guantanamo Bay detention center make for shocking news. The rationale often used, which does not follow the eight-step model we discuss in this course, is that hurting a few in order to protect thousands justifies the inhumane treatment.

In summary, we will continue to consider what new technologies have to offer our field. Our job as psychologists is to stay current in developments in our field and allied fields. We welcome innovation, but not at the cost of eroding our ethical beliefs or our moral compass. It is an honor and challenge to work within the field of psychology. It is a profession that offers hope, brings inspiration, and creates trust and healing. It is also a field of work where any significant misstep can have enormous human ramifications. Lives can become altered, lives may be lost, suffering can be counted by emotional scars, and generations later necessary healing may not have taken place. You are encouraged to go forward with mindfulness as you consider your professional and personal choices, while also considering the choices of others.

Recent Posts