Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Paranoid psychologists

I called some psychologists this morning. They are a strange group. One thing I learned is that a lot of them are paranoid about their professional licenses. They don't want to be accused of doing anything unethical, because then their license might be challenged and they might never make the big bucks again.

Many psychologists believe that it is unethical to ever make custody recommendations to the court, as is commonly done in custody evaluations. So they refuse to do them. Others will only do them if they are named in a court order, because they believe that the court then shelters them from professional liability.

If a psychologist does an evaluation, he often says that he has an ethical obligation to apply his professional expertise, even if it is irrelevant to the case. Usually, this means giving psychological tests like inkblot tests. Sometimes, he will even say that he has to do the tests himself, and not rely on the results of others. Other psychologists prefer to get the test results of others.

Delivering a report to the court seems to really scare these folks. Even those with a lot of court experience are intimidated by it. They seem to be afraid that the report will be questioned, and they will not be able to defend what they wrote.

I do not know any other professionals that are so afraid to put their opinions in writing. I think that the core of the problem is that know that what they are doing is dishonest and unethical, and they do it anyway. And they make a lot of money doing it, and they could not make it elsewhere.

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