In writing and delivering the Petition to the APA, Dr. Childress, a clinical psychlogist, is acting pursuant to Standards 1.04 and 1.05 of the APA ethics code which direct the response of psychologists who learn of possible ethical code violations by professional colleagues.
1.04 Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations
When psychologists believe that there may have been an ethical violation by another psychologist, they attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that individual, if an informal resolution appears appropriate and the intervention does not violate any confidentiality rights that may be involved.
Consistent with ethical requirements of Standard 1.04, Dr. Childress wrote a booklet for parents to give to mental health professionals that describes the ethical issues of concern:
Dr. Childress also published to his website a set of letters that parents could provide to mental health professionals to briefly describe the pathology from within standard and established constructs and principles of professional psychology:
Dr. Childress also published to YouTube a set of videos discussing the pathology and its symptom expression at a professional level of analysis, including four videos (8.01; 8.02; 8.03; 8.04) specifically describing the ethical issues of concern.
Professional-to-Professional Conversations with Dr. Childress (Opening the Conversation)
8.01: Conversation on Competence: Domains of Knowledge
8.02 Conversation on Competence: Violations of Competence
8.03 Conversation on Competence: Licensing Board Complaints
8.04 Conversation on Competence: Risk Management
These efforts under Standard 1.04 of the APA ethics code did not resolve the apparent ethical violations, so Dr. Childress advanced to Standard 1.05 governing the reporting of ethical violations:
1.05 Reporting Ethical Violations
If an apparent ethical violation has substantially harmed or is likely to substantially harm a person or organization and is not appropriate for informal resolution under Standard 1.04, Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations, or is not resolved properly in that fashion, psychologists take further action appropriate to the situation. Such action might include referral to state or national committees on professional ethics, to state licensing boards, or to the appropriate institutional authorities.
Is there an apparent ethical violation? Yes. Standards 2.01a; 9.01a; 3.04; 2.03
Does the ethical violation cause substantial harm? Yes.
Are the ethical violations resolved under Standard 1.04? No.
Standard 1.05 is applicable.
Pursuant to Standard 1.05, Dr. Childress wrote the Petition to the APA and posted it to Change.org (Petition to the American Psychological Association), acting in his professional role as a psychologist to serve as a conduit for the voices of parents suffering under the violations of professional standards of practice. The Petition to the APA represents “further action appropriate to the situation,” which in a matter involving an entire field of professional psychology (forensic psychology) is to alert the “appropriate institutional authorities” of the American Psychological Association.
Psychologists Within the APA
Every individual psychologist within the APA organization is bound by the same Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Every individual psychologist in the APA organizational structure who becomes aware of the ethical code violations alleged in the Petition to the APA is bound by Standards 1.04 and 1.05.
Either the allegations in the Petition to the APA must be refuted, or action must be taken under Standards 1.04 and 1.05 of the APA code of ethics.