Clinical psychologists often use qualitative methods to explore sensitive topics with vulnerable individuals, yet there has been little discussion of the specific ethical issues involved. For clinicians conducting qualitative research, there are likely to be ethical dilemmas associated with being both a researcher and a practitioner. We argue that this overarching issue frames all other ethical issues raised. This article provides an overview of the range of ethical issues that have been discussed in general in relation to qualitative research and considers the specific nature of these in relation to the discipline of clinical psychology. Such issues will be exemplified by reference to some of our own research and practice and the extant literature. We conclude with some suggestions for good practice, although our aim is to trigger debate rather than to establish prescriptive guidelines.
- clinical psychology; confidentiality; consent; dual-role; ethics; qualitative research
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