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A critical review of the application of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct to multicultural psychotherapy

16 April 2004


This dissertation is a critical review of case studies and clinical examples documenting ethical concerns, problems, and questions pertaining to the practice of multicultural psychotherapy published from 1992, the date of the previous APA Ethics Code, to 2002, the date of the current APA Ethics Code. The purpose of this dissertation is to: 1) illuminate the unique ethical concerns and problems that arise in a multicultural practice of psychotherapy; 2) assess the adequacy of the 2002 APA Ethics Code for addressing the unique circumstances of multicultural work; 3) present recommendations or proposals in response to emergent areas of concern in order to move toward a framework that balances culturally competent and ethically appropriate practice. An overview of the dissertation, the rationale for pursuing this review, and clarification of key concepts are presented in the first chapter. The second and third chapters provide a conceptual context for the review of ethical issues in multicultural psychotherapy by providing a historical and developmental perspective on multicultural psychology and the role of ethics in psychology, respectively. The fourth chapter is a comprehensive review of literature documenting ethical concerns, problems, and questions in the practice of multicultural psychotherapy. The final chapter includes a summary of changes in the 2002 APA Ethics Code, a discussion of the adequacy of those changes in addressing the core ethical issues emerging from the previous chapter, and recommendations for moving toward a more complete integration of ethical and multicultural concerns.


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