Ethics for psychologists working in the field of addictions: Reaching beyond the APA Code of Conduct into cognitive science.

Presented by: Bruce S. Liese, PhD, ABPP is a Professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Kansas (KU) Medical Center and Clinical Director at the Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment at KU. He has taught more than 100 courses and workshops on psychotherapy and the treatment of people with complex problems. He has supervised hundreds of trainees, published more than 75 articles, and co-authored three texts on addictions. His most recent text, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy of Addictive Disorders, was just published with co-author Dr. Aaron T. Beck. Dr. Liese received a President’s Citation for his work in Division 50 of the American Psychological Association (APA). He also received the Distinguished Career Contributions to Education and Training award from Division 50, and an APA Presidential Citation for his community service in 2018. In addition to his scholarly activities, Dr. Liese continues to see approximately 25 patients per week. LEARNING OBJECTIVES: 1. List at least one ethical principle or standard for psychologists, and apply it to the practice of addiction psychology 2. Explain at least one basic behavioral ethics construct (e.g., bounded ethicality, System 1 vs. System 2 thinking, want vs. should thinking, motivated reasoning, etc.) 3. Describe at least one cognitive science process (e.g., attention, working memory, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility) and apply it to an ethical case


Addictive disorders are complicated. They innately involve potentially harmful behaviors. For example, clients may describe past, present, or future threats to their own safety or the safety of others. They may admit to involvement in illegal behaviors. They may attend therapy under the influence of addictive substances. And to complicate matters, concerned family members may try to intervene on their behalf. As a result of these complexities, treating addictive disorders often requires complex clinical and ethical decision-making processes. The purpose of this case conference is to help participants consider the unique ethical challenges associated with treating people with addictions. The APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct will be briefly reviewed, cognitive processes associated with ethical versus unethical decision-making will be presented, and these will be applied to a challenging case presented by the facilitator and discussed by participants. Finally, main points of the session will be summarized, and participants will be encouraged to consider how they plan to apply the concepts and processes discussed throughout the session.