From Theory to Practice: Facing Ethical Challenges as a Clinical Intern

James P. Hambrick, Sandra Pimentel, Anne Marie Albano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Although formal ethics classes provide a basic foundation in managing ethical dilemmas, professionals often point to their experiences on internship as an important training ground for consolidation of their ethical development. Clinical interns face many personal and professional transitions that can lead to a number of ethical dilemmas. Effective collaboration between administrative staff, supervisors, and interns can create a pragmatic model for negotiating these dilemmas. In this paper, issues related to balancing intern competency with training and patient/client needs, managing dual relationships with supervisory staff, and dealing with differences in orientation are addressed from the perspective of both the site and the intern. We also discuss ways in which problems can arise and how both sides can work together systematically to negotiate those problems. To illustrate this process, we discuss cases involving effective collaboration between interns and sites. Finally, the authors assert the need for formal, empirically supported training in classic ethical issues, but also in contemporary ethical issues arising from the ever-evolving field of mental health service delivery and unique challenges accompanying these advances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-204
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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