Ethical Dilemmas in the Practice of Forensic Psychology

For this module, you will prepare a 1,200 word paper, in APA format, including references to your textbook and at least two additional scholarly sources, discussing the following two questions: Referring to the APA code of ethics (found at, what ethical issues must Dr. Jovan consider and how must he proceed?


Written Exercise 1
Ethical Dilemmas in the
Practice of Forensic Psychology
Dr. Joven recently completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology and hopes to pursue
a career in forensic psychology, primarily consulting with law firms. While he is waiting for
his private practice to become established, he has been working as an adjunct faculty
member at a local community college and in a group practice conducting group therapy for
adjudicated sex offenders. He is finding it difficult to make ends meet and neither job
provides any benefits. He and his child are on his wife’s employers benefits. The financial
strain is starting to take a toll on his marriage and he wonders if he should simply find a full
time job as opposed to pursuing independent practice.
He is contacted by a prominent law firm in the state who is defending a congressman. The
congressman is facing a sexual harassment civil lawsuit from a former aide. The law firm
has indicated that they need an “expert witness” who can definitively state that their client
does not possess the “psychological characteristics of a sex offender” and would have been
incapable of the alleged conduct. The attorneys indicate that they are willing to pay their
‘average’ fee of $500 per billed hour as well as a “contingency fee in the five figures’ if they
win the case. They also assure Dr. Joven that success on this case would lead to a solid
reputation in the law community and would put his name on their “rolodex.”
Dr. Joven feels conflicted. He knows from his work that there are no set psychological
characteristics of a sex offender but he also realizes that no professional can equivocally
state that someone would or would not commit a crime. If he refuses to work with the law
firm, it is likely he will gain the reputation as someone who is uncooperative and can
probably forget about the possibility of an independent practice. Also, it is quite likely the
firm will find another professional for the job. Accepting the job would be lucrative and could
easily evolve into an excellent statewide, if not national, referral network. On the other
hand, if he accepts the consult, he feels he is caving in to pressure to simply do the bidding
for this firm.
What are the ethical and professional issues facing Dr. Joven and how should he proceed?
Be sure to consider the APA ethics code as well as the specialty guidelines.
Written Exercise Questions:
1. In your discussion, consider the ethical standards that Dr. Joven will have to face if
he continues to pursue his career as a professional forensic psychologist.
2. How will this differ from lawyers in the firm that Dr. Joven works with and their
ethical standards? Include examples in your responses.
3. In your discussion, consider the ethical standards, APA ethics code, as well as the
specialty guidelines Dr. Joven might face if he continues to pursue his career as a
professional forensic psychologist and how this might differ from lawyers in his
current firm. Cite examples in your response from research including research from that would explain why or why a forensic psychologist’s ethical
standards might differ from a lawyer’s ethical standards. Remember to cite research
using APA format.
4. Submit your paper to the Assignment box and attach your paper in a post to the
Written Exercise 1 Discussion Board no later than Saturday 11:59 PM EST/EDT.
(This Assignment box is linked to Turnitin.)
After posting this assignment, you will respond logically to at least three of your
classmates’ papers. Each of your responses is to be at least 100 words in length and
can be based solely on your opinion. Refer to the syllabus for additional guidance.
You must post your responses no later than Sunday 11:59 PM EST/EDT.