When laws and ethics collide: What should psychologists do?

Samuel Knapp, Michael Gottlieb, Jason Berman, Mitchell M. Handelsman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


At times the laws under which psychologists function may appear to contradict generally recognized ethical values and/or good clinical care. When these circumstances arise, psychologists must determine if a conflict really exists and, if so, seek solutions that reconcile respect for the law with their ethical values. At times, psychologists may decide to follow the law despite their ethical concerns. At other times, they may determine that a conscientious objection is warranted. The authors recommend options to consider when these situations arise and offer a decision-making process. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-59
Number of pages6
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Ethical decision making
  • Laws
  • Principle-based ethics
  • Virtue ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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