Law, Standards, and Ethics in the Practice of Psychology (3Rd Edition)

By Ritchie, Pierre L-J | Canadian Psychology, May 2013 | Go to article overview

Law, Standards, and Ethics in the Practice of Psychology (3Rd Edition)


Ritchie, Pierre L-J, Canadian Psychology


Law, Standards, and Ethics in the Practice of Psychology (3rd Edition), David R. Evans, Toronto, Ontario: Carswell, 2011, 581 Pages (ISBN 978-0-7798-3834-9, CAN $101)

Reviewed by PIERRE L.-J. RITCHIE

DOl: 10.1037/a0032673

Beginning with the first edition, this text has been the best single source for thoughtful information on the ethical, legal, and regulatory framework for the practice of psychology in Canada. As did the second edition, the latest iteration provides timely updates on essential topics as well as selected additional information and commentary. This book belongs to the relatively uncommon group of texts that serve as the "go-to" source for both generalists and specialists. Although especially useful for students preparing for a career in one of the branches of applied psychology and early career psychologists working on postgraduation requirements set by the regulatory system, it is a valuable resource throughout a psychologist's career path.

Although Evans is the central author, with overall responsibility for the book's conceptualisation, organisation and selection of topics, the third edition again benefits from the specific expertise of other psychologists as well as lawyers. They capture both subject matter knowledge as well as an appreciation of "how it works" in particular jurisdictions. The book is organized in 15 chapters, each with its own references and some with appendixes. The latter typically provide useful tools. For example, the chapter on Dual Relationships has an appendix offering a "Framework for Ethical Decision Making and Risk-Benefit Worksheet." The chapter on Informed Consent provides "Guidelines for Providing Information to Incapable Persons," and the chapter on Client Information and Records includes an appendix on "Handling Clinical Records."

The book's utility and contributions are best illustrated through selected highlights. In addition to a user-friendly nicely elaborated Table of Contents, there is also a very useful Table of Cases containing in a single place the jurisprudence cited in the book. Evans wrote the preface and an introductory chapter that provides both an historic perspective and also addresses current issues in most Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan). In addition, a few topics deemed especially pertinent to professional practice are included in this initial overview: complaints, quality assurance and risk management, statutory law and client well-being, and components of professional practice. Beyond the value of the information presented, the real value added for this chapter is the observations, thinking, and analysis of a senior colleague who experienced the profession's evolution over the past 40 years.

Evans has his own clear sense of where we come from and how the psychologist's world in the early 21st century is different than the one he first knew. Although this can provide grist for debate on the "correct" interpretation and understanding of issues, it is part of what makes these aspects of the book intellectually stimulating. Given the book's purpose to provide a substantial amount of factual information, it is important to note that the commentary, analysis, and opinion components do not limit or distort presentation of basic subject matter, either by Evans or other authors.

The next four chapters address the current regulation of psychology in specific provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario. These are written by experts in the governance and regulation of the profession in the respective provinces (e.g., Registrars and others with recognised knowledge and experience together with a lawyer coauthor for Ontario). As a result, they provide well-informed, timely, and useful information. For those looking for more than "how it is done" in their own province, taken together they provide a valuable snap-shot of the state of psychology as a regulated profession in Canada. …

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