Boundaries, Borders, and Multiplicities:
Ethics and Professionalism for Mental Health Practitioners
This program will explore ethical and professional aspects of boundaries and borders within the psychotherapeutic and mental health delivery contexts. The program will review standards in the Canadian and American Psychological Association Ethics Codes that are relevant to boundaries and borders in psychotherapy, and will then explore why these concepts are so deeply embedded in our ethical understanding of the work that mental health professionals do. This exploration will address how borders and boundaries take shape in a relational context where multiple dimensions of self-identity are at play, such as age, gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, disability and religion.
The focus of the program will be on values, process, and exploring ways to use ethics codes as guides and tools in ethical decision-making, rather than on simple and unreflective adherence to a set of legal and ethical obligations and prohibitions.
The program will offer a model for ethical decision making and provide a series of practice-oriented vignettes for discussion. The values underpinning the CPA and APA Ethics Codes will be stressed throughout the program and will be a point of special emphasis in discussing the vignettes.
- Know the ethical standards in the Canadian and American Psychological Association Ethics Codes that are especially relevant to borders and boundaries in psychotherapy.
- Grasp the values underpinning the CPA and APA Ethics Code that form the basis for ethical standards relevant to borders and boundaries in psychotherapy.
- Gain a process for ethical decision making that incorporates ethical challenges in practice settings.
- Understand how the CPA and APA Ethics Codes addresses aspects of identity such as age, gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, disability and religion.
- Understand how the CPA and APA Ethics Codes can be employed as useful tools in ethical decision making.
Dr. Stephen H. Behnke received his J.D. from Yale Law School, his PhD. in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan, and his M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School. In 1996, Behnke was made chief psychologist of the Day Hospital Unit at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, a position he held until 1998, when he was named a faculty fellow in Harvard University’s program in Ethics and the Professions. Dr. Behnke then directed a program in research integrity in the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School. In November of 2000, he assumed the position of director of ethics at the American Psychological Association. He holds an appointment in clinical ethics in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Behnke co-leads an ethics discussion group at the meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association.Dr. Behnke’s research interests focus on issues at the convergence of law, ethics, religion and psychology. He has written on multiple personality disorder and the insanity defense, on issues involving competence and informed consent to treatment and research, on forced treatment of the severely mentally ill, and on state laws relevant to the work of mental health practitioners.
Tentative Program Schedule
08:00 - Registration & Breakfast
09:00 - Workshop begins
10:30 - Break
12:00 - Luncheon (served on-site)
13:00 - Workshop continues
14:30 - Break
16:30 - Concluding remarks