Behavioral Sciences & the Law

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Volume 4 Issue 4 (Autumn (Fall) 1986), Pages 351-490

The perils of police psychology: 10 strategies for minimizing role conflicts when providing mental health services and consultation to law enforcement agencies (pages 385-400)

Abstract

This article addresses common dilemmas faced by mental health professionals working on behalf of law enforcement agencies, focusing on those relating to informed consent; conflicts in values, norms, or their relative importance; and the erosion of professional identity. The authors suggest 10 strategies that mental health professionals may invoke to reduce their risk of confronting ethical dilemmas or of experiencing role conflicts while working on behalf of law enforcement agencies. The need for each strategy is illustrated with one or more examples of problems that have arisen when mental health professionals have failed to obtain consent for their activities, have been insufficiently sensitive to or unaware of conflicts between the usual norms in their professions, and the norms of law enforcement agencies, or have identified too strongly with law enforcement personnel. The 10 strategies recommended here are intended to reduce professional conflicts without compromising operational effectiveness.

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