General Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

How much leeway do mental health workers have in how they help others?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (24661points) May 19th, 2023

Does a career in psychology/social work make one preprogrammed, or does one have the freedom to use ones judgment in helping others?

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7 Answers

seawulf575's avatar

I discovered the hard way that psychologists in Ohio are bound by a set of ethics. There are rules on what how they are to behave and what they can and cannot do. The downside is that the only way you can file a formal complaint is to spend possibly thousands of dollars to have your complaint ignored. The only complaints that are absolutely required to be addressed by the state board (which will not cost you anything) are complaints brought by one psychologist against another. And that is something they will not do. So basically, short of raping or killing someone, they can do whatever they want and there are no repercussions.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Everyone I know basically customizes to the individual’s needs. I’d say they have leeway based on their education, as mental health has a wide variety of manifestations.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

There are many different kinds of mental health professionals. They have various requirements to get their jobs. They all require some education.

They all have a code of ethics they must abide by. That’s very important.

Within the constraints of their code of ethics, there is a large amount of freedom to help clients.

All healthcare professionals share one rule: first, do no harm.

jca2's avatar

I can tell you that psychologists, along with teachers, school administrators, doctors, nurses, dentists, therapist and others have certain rules that they must abide called “Mandated Reporting.” If a child tells the professional that they are abused or neglected, the professional must report it to the State Central Registry. The professional cannot investigate it themselves, they must report it.

Also, if a client/;patient reports to their therapist or psychologist or psychiatrist that they are considering suicide or homicide, the professional is obligated to report that to try to mitigate the circumstances (perhaps the person will be brought to a psychiatric hosppital for evaluation, is one outcome that may occur).

All professionals (doctors, dentists, etc.) must abide by HIPAA laws, which means they cannot reveal diagnoses and other information to anybody except the patient, without the patient’ s consent. For example, if you tell your boss you were out for the day because you were sick, if the boss contacts the doctor that you said you went to, the doctor cannot say “yes, he was here yesterday for a visit.”

LostInParadise's avatar

People who do psychological work are trained in recognizing and treating psychological disorders. My guess is that diagnosis of psychological disorders is less clear cut than for other disorders and that psychologists have more leeway in making a diagnosis and consequently in prescribing a treatment.

canidmajor's avatar

Your use of the word “preprogrammed” is loaded and a bit inflammatory. Of course there are ethical guidelines, and the training includes methods by which one can recognize and respond to different types of situations and mental health issues, but it is more fluid than a cast-in-stone set of answers on a page.

Of course judgement is involved. Judgement is involved in just about any profession/job/activity that anyone participates in. There are good practitioners and not-so-good practitioners, and the defining difference between them is often measured by the quality of judgement employed.

Cupcake's avatar

There are different approaches taught, such as family systems, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma-informed, etc. But mental health clinicians use their professional judgment to decide which approaches to use and when with each client. It’s really not possible to teach clinicians how to approach every aspect of each encounter, therefore, professional judgment is necessary.

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