Ethics in Forensic Psychological Practice

Ethics in Forensic Psychological Practice


10 Hours | 10 CEs (CEUs)

Program Description

This self-paced training program on Ethics in Forensic Psychological Practice is presented by Dr. Randy Otto.

Using a case study approach, this training program reviews ethical challenges/issues commonly encountered by forensic psychologists. It is NOT a workshop on ethics in general psychology practice. Participants are encouraged to anchor their judgments in various sources of professional authority (e.g., ethical principles, practice guidelines).

After a preliminary discussion of ethical decision-making frameworks and various sources of authority relevant to forensic practice, the following challenges are discussed: distinguishing between informed consent, assent, and notification (and when each must be provided and obtained); documenting and communicating findings; issues of multiple roles; privacy, confidentiality and privilege in the forensic evaluation context; recording of, or third-party presence during, evaluations; release of reports and test data; examination billing and reimbursement practices; altering reports; offering opinions about persons not examined; obligations to take into account issues of diversity in forensic evaluation contexts; use of social media data; and addressing substandard practice by peers.

The fee for this training program is $250 and includes all materials.

Intended Audience

This program is intended for professionals who want to obtain or strengthen skills in forensic evaluation; including those involved in civil and criminal forensic mental health assessment, forensic inpatient, human resources and community settings, and those who work at the intersection of clinical psychology and law. This training program is for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:


  • Describe a 7-step process for considering ethical/legal dilemmas and list key sources of authority for forensic examiners and identify where and how they may be located
  • Describe conditions under which multiple roles are permitted, prohibited and discouraged
  • Describe the circumstances in which consent must or need not be obtained from forensic examinees
  • Describe strategies to employ when asked to record, or allow a third party to observe, a forensic evaluation and the circumstances under which psychologists are permitted to offer opinions about persons not examined
  • Describe the difference between privacy, confidentiality, and privilege
  • Describe how each impacts what information is provided in a report
  • Describe a psychologist’s obligations when using an interpreter in an evaluation
  • Describe a psychologists’ ethical obligations to address the substandard work by others
  • Describe a psychologist’s obligations when examining persons who differ in significant ways from groups on which traditional tests were

    About Dr. Randy Otto

    Dr. Randy Otto is a licensed psychologist and is board certified in clinical psychology and forensic psychology (ABPP). He has been a faculty member at the University of South Florida since 1989. Although his primary appointment is in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, he also teaches in the Departments of Psychology, Criminology, and Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling.

    Dr. Otto’s work focuses on the involvement of mental health professionals in the legal system. In 2007, he joined USF colleagues John Petrila and Norm Poythress as a contributor to the third edition of Psychological Evaluations for the Courts: A Handbook for Mental Health Professional and Lawyers. In 2013, the Handbook of Forensic Psychology, which he edited with Irv Weiner, was published. In 2014, with Rick DeMier and Marc Boccaccini, he published a book on expert testimony and report writing, Forensic Reports and testimony: A Guide to Effective Communication for Psychologist and Psychiatrists.

    Dr. Otto has been on the editorial boards of a number of journals, and has served as President of the American Psychology-Law Society and the American Board of Forensic Psychology. He is current President of the American Board of Professional Psychology.

    Dr. Otto chaired the committee that revised the APA Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology and he also served on the American Bar Association Task Force that revised that organization’s Criminal Justice Mental Health Standards. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and he has received awards for his professional contributions from the Society for Personality Assessment, the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, the New York State Psychological Association, and the University of California-San Francisco.

    When not at work or with his family, he is likely to be found on a motorcycle or at a casino (testing risk and probability theory).

    This course is designed for all mental health professionals who want to understand nuances of ethical practice. This course is an excellent means of strengthening skills related to ethical practice in forensic evaluation.
    Participants will learn about ethics in forensic psychological practice using a case study approach method.
    – Decision Making
    – Privacy
    – Informed Consent
    – Assessment
    – Record Keeping and Documentation
    – Fees
    Participants are encouraged to anchor their judgments in various sources of professional authority.
    – Ethical Principles
    – Practices Guidelines
    – Roles
    – Accessing Collateral Information
    -Professional Responsibility

    “Dr. Otto was thorough with the content and used real world examples applicable to a range of professions. I really enjoyed the discussion of the various ethical issues encountered in forensic practice.” -Forensic Psychologist (PhD)

    “The content is easy to follow and represents a range of topics. Dr. Otto used real life case studies and examples to make the topics discussed more comprehensible. I found the information very helpful to my practice.”
    -Correctional Psychologist (PsyD)

    “This was another great course by CONCEPT! A well organized presentation of relevant information. Thank you!” -Forensic Psychologist (PhD)


    Continuing Education Credit

    This Distance Learning Course is a Home Study Training Program. To earn CEs you are required to complete all course materials, quizzes, and the evaluation. No partial credit is available. A score of 70% is required to proceed; you will be able to re-take any quiz on which you score less than 70%. Participants will earn 10 CE hours upon completion of these requirements. Each participant will be able to download and print the CE certificate upon completion of the final evaluation.

    Board Approvals: APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC. Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

    Your satisfaction with our programs, products and services is important to us; however, because these are immediately made available to you upon registration and payment, we do not issue refunds. Should you find that a particular program, product or service is not the right fit for you, we will assist you in crediting your registration towards another one of our offerings that might better suit you.

    We specialize in training groups — from a handful to hundreds — and are happy to contact you to discuss your group training needs.

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