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TherapyTravelers - June 2022

Problem Solving in Ethics

Kerri Phillips, SLP.D, CCC-SLP

January 9, 2017



How do we determine if a clinician has behaved unethically?


We know that we can file complaints against professionals within our states and we can file complaints against individuals who hold membership or certification by ASHA. How do we decide if we need file that complaint? It is helpful to think about it in terms of the following eight steps as defined by Parsons (2001):

  • Describe the situation: What happened? Be factual, document everything. Set aside personality differences and look at the facts.
  • Define the issues involved: Consult the codes of ethics for your state, whether it is a professional organization or licensure. Also consult ASHA's Code of Ethics. Do some cross-comparison to determine what exactly has been violated so that you can make an appropriate complaint to the appropriate bodies.
  • Refer to codes of ethics to resolve issues
  • Evaluate rights, responsibilities, and welfare of all affected parties: What was their right? What was their responsibility to do? How did it affect the person?
  • Generate list of issues
  • Evaluate the effect of the decision: What effect is the decision going to have on someone? Do some investigating to see what has happened in other instances.
  • Present evidence: Again, make it very factual.
  • Make the decision: Decide if you are going to file the complaint or not. If it is serious enough to file a complaint, then you want to provide as much information as you can so that an appropriate decision can be made by the licensure board.

Please refer to the SpeechPathology.com course, What is All the Ethics About?, for more in-depth information about the recent revision to the ASHA Code of Ethics. 

kerri phillips

Kerri Phillips, SLP.D, CCC-SLP

Kerri R. Phillips holds the SLP.D. in speech-language pathology from Nova Southeastern University. She is a Professor and Program Director for the Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology at Louisiana Tech University.  Her research interests are ethics, supervision, outcomes data, and child language.  She currently serves as the President of the National Council of State Boards of Examiners; member of the ASHA Advisory Council, and ASHA Continuing Education Board.

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