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Professionalism and Ethics

Q & A Self-Study Guide for Mental Health Professionals

Laura Weiss Roberts, M.D., M.A., and Jinger G. Hoop, M.D., M.F.A.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-244-3
  • Item #62244


This first book of its kind for the medical profession brings the real-world translation of ethics to the care of patients, conduct of protocols, and training of professionals. An interactive, case-oriented approach to mental health ethics, Professionalism and Ethics: Q & A Self-Study Guide for Mental Health Professionals consists of questions and answers developed by the authors and fourteen contributors from backgrounds as diverse as family medicine, research ethics, social psychology, and public health. They draw on personal experience in the care of people with mental illness, in mental health research, and in clinical training to generate scenarios that pose ethical questions. Some questions are narrow and to the point, such as responding to a suspicion of child abuse; others require a more nuanced approach, such as dealing with conflict of interest posed by a pharmaceutical company. They then resolve these questions in alignment with an understanding of ethical principles, the standards of their fields, the law, and the expectations of mental health professionals.

The brief case descriptions that frame each ethical question echo the real-life complexities of clinical practice and are presented in single-answer, multiple-choice format modeled after key medical licensure and specialty certification organizations. Following an overview of ethics and professionalism, questions cover four broad areas: core concepts, clinical care, medical research, and interactions with colleagues and trainees. Explanations following the questions offer background information about relevant ethical concepts and related legal and clinical considerations. A subsequent section features another set of questions for self-assessment, followed by answers with citations to appropriate references. The book’s overall approach is geared to underscore the following areas of concern:

  • Essential ethical skills, such as understanding how personal values affect patient care, recognizing high-risk situations in which ethical problems arise, and building ethical safeguards
  • Core ethical principles, including nonmaleficence, beneficence, autonomy, respect, justice, veracity, fidelity, and privacy
  • Key clinical ethics issues, including maintaining therapeutic boundaries, patient non-abandonment, informed consent and treatment refusal, alternative decision making and advance directives, confidentiality, reporting colleague misconduct, and caring for difficult patients.

Trainees and experienced clinicians alike will be richly rewarded by considering the dilemmas posed here. Developed with an extensive review process, reference verifications, and iterative crosschecks, this book facilitates professionalism as a core competency in medicine as it instills the need for ongoing consideration of ethical behaviors and principles in the daily practice of psychiatry.


  • Contributors
  • Preface
  • Introductory Comments
  • Chapter 1. An Overview for Mental Health Clinicians, Researchers, and Learners
  • Chapter 2. On Professionalism
  • Chapter 3. Core Concepts in Ethics and Professionalism
  • Chapter 4. Ethics and Professionalism in Clinical Care
  • Chapter 5. Ethics and Professionalism in Medical Research
  • Chapter 6. Ethics and Professionalism in Interactions with Colleagues and Trainees
  • Chapter 7. Ethics and Professionalism Questions for Review
  • References
  • Subject Index
  • Q & A Index

About the Authors

Laura Weiss Roberts, M.D., M.A., is Chairman and the Charles E. Kubly Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, and Professor in the Department of Population Health Center for the Study of Bioethics at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Jinger G. Hoop, M.D., M.F.A., is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

This unique book tackles the tough ethical questions that arise in our daily work as mental health clinicians, teachers, and investigators, translating philosophical and legal concepts into practical guidance. The editors have assembled a diverse multidisciplinary group of expert contributors. Drawing on professional standards and codes of conduct and the law, full of clinical pearls and thought-provoking self-assessment questions, this excellent book will be valued by both beginners and advanced practitioners and academicians in all of the mental health professions.—James L. Levenson, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

From how to handle a discussion among patients about the existence of God to whether or not to allow a child to interpret for his parents, Drs. Roberts and Hoop and their colleagues pose real-life questions and provide in depth a set of solutions to guide practice.—Robert Freedman, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado

Drs. Roberts and Hoop provide a lucid and concise guide to examine professionalism and ethics, dual concepts that serve as a moral compass to conscientious mental health professionals. Although the authors’ specific focus is on clinical ethics problems in mental health, the book’s insights will be helpful to all health professionals who care for patients.—Mark Siegler, M.D., Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Director, MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, University of Chicago

This book is useful, pragmatic, and easily readable additional to any practicing psychiatrist’s library, no matter what his or her level of expertise. Overall, this elegant and earthy book offers a pragmatic and effective guide to the impact of ethics in daily clinical practice in psychiatry.—Psychosomatics, 1/1/2009

This book is well thought out and deals with real-life examples and situations that will be familiar to any clinical or researcher. This book will serve as an excellent textbook for teaching students from the undergraduate level thought medical and graduate school as well as residents and fellows about the ethical aspects of mental health care. It will be invaluable for faculty teaching medical ethics and professionalism.—Journal of Psychiatric Practice , 1/1/2009

Crafted as a study guide for mental health professionals, professionalism and Ethics includes a scholarly overview of a critically important topic straight from the day’s health care headlines and clinical headaches.—Catherine Chiles, M.D., The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1/1/2009

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