Children, Ethics, & the Law: Professional Issues and Cases

Children, Ethics, & the Law: Professional Issues and Cases

Children, Ethics, & the Law: Professional Issues and Cases

Children, Ethics, & the Law: Professional Issues and Cases


Koocher and Keith-Spiegel introduce the reader to a variety of ethical and legal dilemmas that may arise for mental-health professionals working with children, adolescents, and their families. They offer advice on how to analyze problematic situations and arrive at appropriate decisions.

A unique feature of the book is the inclusion of more than 130 vignettes drawn from court decisions and actual clinical incidents. Covering such topics as counseling in schools, psychotherapy in private practice, research in university laboratories, and testifying in court, the authors address a broad spectrum of concerns for professionals who attend to the mental health needs of children.

Gerald P. Koocher is chief psychologist at Boston's Children's Hospital and an associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. He is editor of the journal Ethics and Behavior and coauthor, with John E. O'Malley, of The Damocles Syndrome: Psycho-social Consequences of Surviving Childhood Cancer.


The intended readership of this volume is the full range of behavioral scientists, mental health professionals, and students aspiring to such roles who work with children. This includes psychologists (applied, clinical, counseling, developmental, school, including academics, researchers, and practitioners), family counselors, psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, child protection workers, and any other mental health professionals who work with children, adolescents, and their families.

Working with children is both rewarding and demanding. The work is fraught with more acceptance of responsibility, confusions, intrusions, and potential ambiguity among the various players in the system than is working with any other clinical population. Although it is unfortunate, it is perhaps no wonder that many mental health professionals attempt to avoid working with children altogether, often citing concern about potential legal and ethical dilemmas. It is not that such professionals dislike or are unsympathetic toward children. Rather, they are concerned about . . .

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