21 Ethical Fallacies: Cognitive Strategies To Justify Unethical Behavior and Ethics, Critical Thinking, and Language

About the Course:

Common cognitive strategies can fool us by making what we know or suspect is unethical seem perfectly ethical. The most common ethical fallacies rely on twisted judgment, appealing fallacies, and juggled language. They can spin the most questionable behaviors into ethical ideals.

The overwhelming majority of psychologists are conscientious, caring individuals, committed to ethical behavior. However, no therapist is infallible and perhaps most therapists, at one time or another, have been vulnerable to at least a few of these ethical justifications. This course is designed to highlight some of the most common ethical justifications that a therapist might face at some point in his/her professional practice.

This course contains two articles


Jossey-Bass/John Wiley & Sons

Publication Date:



Ken Pope, Ph.D., ABPP; Melba Vasquez, Ph.D., ABPP

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially psychologists, counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about ethical vulnerabilities in clinical settings. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Assess ethical dilemmas with objectivity rather than from a vulnerable, cognitive fallacy, or unclear thinking (especially when stressed, tired, or distressed) that could create an unethical or questionable handling of a sensitive, clinical matter.

Exam Questions

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