Psychological Association Ethical Principles
of Psychologists and Code of
Conduct - Excerpt
Principle A: Beneficence
Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they
work and take care to do no harm. In their professional actions, psychologists
seek to safeguard the welfare and rights of those with whom they interact professionally
and other affected persons, and the welfare of animal subjects of research. When
conflicts occur among psychologists' obligations or concerns, they attempt to
resolve these conflicts in a responsible fashion that avoids or minimizes harm.
Because psychologists' scientific and professional judgments and actions may affect
the lives of others, they are alert to and guard against personal, financial,
social, organizational, or political factors that might lead to misuse of their
influence. Psychologists strive to be aware of the possible effect of their own
physical and mental health on their ability to help those with whom they work.
B: Fidelity and Responsibility
Psychologists establish relationships of
trust with those with whom they work. They are aware of their professional and
scientific responsibilities to society and to the specific communities in which
they work. Psychologists uphold professional standards of conduct, clarify their
professional roles and obligations, accept appropriate responsibility for their
behavior, and seek to manage conflicts of interest that could lead to exploitation
or harm. Psychologists consult with, refer to, or cooperate with other professionals
and institutions to the extent needed to serve the best interests of those with
whom they work. They are concerned about the ethical compliance of their colleagues'
scientific and professional conduct. Psychologists strive to contribute a portion
of their professional time for little or no compensation or personal advantage.
Psychologists seek to promote accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness
in the science, teaching, and practice of psychology. In these activities psychologists
do not steal, cheat, or engage in fraud, subterfuge, or intentional misrepresentation
of fact. Psychologists strive to keep their promises and to avoid unwise or unclear
commitments. In situations in which deception may be ethically justifiable to
maximize benefits and minimize harm, psychologists have a serious obligation to
consider the need for, the possible consequences of, and their responsibility
to correct any resulting mistrust or other harmful effects that arise from the
use of such techniques.
3.08 Exploitative Relationships
Psychologists do not exploit persons over whom they have supervisory, evaluative or other authority such as clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants and employees. (See also Standards 3.05, Multiple Relationships; 6.04, Fees and Financial Arrangements; 6.05, Barter with Clients/Patients; 7.07, Sexual Relationships with Students and Supervisees; 10.05, Sexual Intimacies with Current Therapy Clients/Patients; 10.06, Sexual Intimacies with Relatives or Significant Others of Current Therapy Clients/Patients; 10.07, Therapy with Former Sexual Partners; and 10.08, Sexual Intimacies with Former Therapy Clients/Patients.)
(a) Psychologists may disclose confidential information with the appropriate consent of the organizational client, the individual client/patient or another legally authorized person on behalf of the client/patient unless prohibited by law.
(b) Psychologists disclose confidential information without the consent of the individual only as mandated by law, or where permitted by law for a valid purpose such as to (1) provide needed professional services; (2) obtain appropriate professional consultations; (3) protect the client/patient, psychologist, or others from harm; or (4) obtain payment for services from a client/patient, in which instance disclosure is limited to the minimum that is necessary to achieve the purpose. (See also Standard 6.04e, Fees and Financial Arrangements.)
of False or Deceptive Statements
(a) Public statements include but are
not limited to paid or unpaid advertising, product endorsements, grant applications,
licensing applications, other credentialing applications, brochures, printed matter,
directory listings, personal resumes or curricula vitae, or comments for use in
media such as print or electronic transmission, statements in legal proceedings,
lectures and public oral presentations, and published materials. Psychologists
do not knowingly make public statements that are false, deceptive, or fraudulent
concerning their research, practice, or other work activities or those of persons
or organizations with which they are affiliated.
(b) Psychologists do not
make false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements concerning (1) their training,
experience, or competence; (2) their academic degrees; (3) their credentials;
(4) their institutional or association affiliations; (5) their services; (6) the
scientific or clinical basis for, or results or degree of success of, their services;
(7) their fees; or (8) their publications or research findings.
claim degrees as credentials for their health services only if those degrees (1)
were earned from a regionally accredited educational institution or (2) were the
basis for psychology licensure by the state in which they practice.
Psychologists do not solicit testimonials from current therapy
clients/patients or other persons who because of their particular circumstances
are vulnerable to undue influence.
5.06 In-Person Solicitation
Psychologists do not engage, directly or through agents, in uninvited
in-person solicitation of business from actual or potential therapy clients/patients
or other persons who because of their particular circumstances are vulnerable
to undue influence. However, this prohibition does not preclude (1) attempting
to implement appropriate collateral contacts for the purpose of benefiting an
already engaged therapy client/patient or (2) providing disaster or community
8.07 Deception in Research
Psychologists do not conduct a study involving deception unless they have determined
that the use of deceptive techniques is justified by the study's significant prospective
scientific, educational, or applied value and that effective nondeceptive alternative
procedures are not feasible.
(b) Psychologists do not deceive prospective participants
about research that is reasonably expected to cause physical pain or severe emotional
(c) Psychologists explain any deception that is an integral feature
of the design and conduct of an experiment to participants as early as is feasible,
preferably at the conclusion of their participation, but no later than at the
conclusion of the data collection, and permit participants to withdraw their data.
9.05 Test Construction
Psychologists who develop
tests and other assessment techniques use appropriate psychometric procedures
and current scientific or professional knowledge for test design, standardization,
validation, reduction or elimination of bias, and recommendations for use.
Interpreting Assessment Results
When interpreting assessment results, including
automated interpretations, psychologists take into account the purpose of the
assessment as well as the various test factors, test-taking abilities, and other
characteristics of the person being assessed, such as situational, personal, linguistic,
and cultural differences, that might affect psychologists' judgments or reduce
the accuracy of their interpretations. They indicate any significant limitations
of their interpretations.
9.07 Assessment by Unqualified Persons
do not promote the use of psychological assessment techniques by unqualified persons,
except when such use is conducted for training purposes with appropriate supervision.
- American Psychological Association's (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/
Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics - Excerpt
Commitment to Clients
Social workers' primary responsibility is to promote
the well-being of clients. In general, clients' interests are primary. However,
social workers' responsibility to the larger society or specific legal obligations
may on limited occasions supersede the loyalty owed clients, and clients should
be so advised. (Examples include when a social worker is required by law to report
that a client has abused a child or has threatened to harm self or others.)
Supervision and Consultation
(a) Social workers who provide supervision or consultation should have the necessary knowledge and skill to supervise or consult appropriately and should do so only within their areas of knowledge and competence.
(b) Social workers who provide supervision or consultation are responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries.
(c) Social workers should not engage in any dual or multiple relationships with supervisees in which there is a risk of exploitation of or potential harm to the supervisee.
(d) Social workers who provide supervision should evaluate supervisees’ performance in a manner that is fair and respectful.
(a) Social workers
should accept responsibility or employment only on the basis of existing competence
or the intention to acquire the necessary competence.
(b) Social workers should
strive to become and remain proficient in professional practice and the performance
of professional functions. Social workers should critically examine, and keep
current with, emerging knowledge relevant to social work. Social workers should
routinely review professional literature and participate in continuing education
relevant to social work practice and social work ethics.
(c) Social workers
should base practice on recognized knowledge, including empirically based knowledge,
relevant to social work and social work ethics.
Fraud, and Deception Social workers should not participate in, condone, or
be associated with dishonesty, fraud, or deception.
(a) Social workers should make clear distinctions between
statements made and actions engaged in as a private individual and as a representative
of the social work profession, a professional social work organization, or of
the social worker's employing agency.
(b) Social workers who speak on behalf
of professional social work organizations should accurately represent the official
and authorized positions of the organization.
(c) Social workers should ensure
that their representations to clients, agencies, and the public of professional
qualifications, credentials, education, competence, affiliations, services provided,
or results to be achieved are accurate. Social workers should claim only those
relevant professional credentials they actually possess and take steps to correct
any inaccuracies or misrepresentations of their credentials by others.
- National Association of Social Workers, Code of Ethics http://www.naswdc.org/pubs/code/code.asp
Evolution of Social Work Ethics by Mary Rankin, J.D.
The change in a social worker’s approach to ethical concerns is one of the most significant advances in our profession. Early in the 20th century, a social worker’s concern for ethics centered on the morality of the client, not the ethics of the profession or its practitioners. Over the next couple of decades, the emphasis on the client’s ethics began to weaken as social workers began developing new perspectives and methods that eventually would be fundamental to the profession, all in an effort to distinguish social work’s approach from other allied health professions.
The first attempt at creating a code of ethics was made in 1919, and by the 1940s and 1950s, social workers began to focus on the morality, values, and ethics of the profession, rather than the ethics and morality of the patient. As a result of the turbulent social times of the 1960s and 1970s, social workers began directing significant efforts towards the issues of social justice, social reform, and civil rights.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the focus shifted from abstract debates about ethical terms and conceptually complex moral arguments to more practical and immediate ethical problems. For example, a significant portion of the literature from the time period focuses on decision-making strategies for complex or difficult ethical dilemmas. More recently, the profession has worked to develop a new and comprehensive Code of Ethics to outline the profession’s core values, provide guidance on dealing with ethical issues and dilemmas, and also to describe and define ethical misconduct. Today, ethics in social work is focused primarily on helping social workers identify and analyze ethical dilemmas, apply appropriate decision-making strategies, manage ethics related risks, and confront ethical misconduct within the profession.
The following contains thee key Legal issues for mental health professionals: Tarasoff - Duty to Warn, Duty to Protect; and Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse
Tarasoff - Duty to Warn, Duty to Protect
Most states have laws that either require or permit mental health professionals to disclose information about patients who may become violent often referred to as the duty to warn and/or duty to protect. These laws stem from two decisions in Tarasoff v. The Regents of the University of California. Together, the Tarasoff decisions impose liability on all mental health professionals to protect victims from violent acts. Specifically, the first Tarasoff case imposed a duty to verbally warn an intended victim victim of foreseeable danger, and the second Tarasoff case implies a duty to protect the intended victim against possible danger (e.g., alert police, warn the victim, etc.).
Domestic Violence – Confidentiality and the Duty to Warn
Stemming from the decisions in Tarasoff v. The Regents of the University of California, many states have imposed liability on mental health professionals to protect victims from violent acts, often referred to as the duty to warn and duty to protect. This liability extends to potential victims of domestic violence. When working with a client who has a history of domestic violence, a social worker should conduct a risk assessment to determine if whether there is a potential for harm, and take all necessary steps to diffuse a potentially violent situation.
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse
All states have laws that identify individuals who are obligated to report suspected child abuse, including social workers these individuals are often referred to as "mandatory reporters." The requirements vary from state to state, but typically, a report must be made when the reporter (in his or her official capacity) suspects or has reason to believe that a child has been abused or neglected. Most states operate a toll-free hotline to receive reports of abuse and typically the reporter may choose to remain anonymous (there are limitations and exceptions that vary by state so please review your state’s laws).
- Barker, Robert L. Milestones in the Development of Social Work and Social Welfare, Washington, DC NASW Press, 1998.
Reflection Exercise Explanation
Goal of this Home Study Course is to create a learning experience that enhances
your clinical skills. We encourage you to discuss the Personal Reflection
Journaling Activities, found at the end of each Section, with your colleagues.
Thus, you are provided with an opportunity for a Group Discussion experience.
Case Study examples might include: family background, socio-economic status, education,
occupation, social/emotional issues, legal/financial issues, death/dying/health,
home management, parenting, etc. as you deem appropriate. A Case Study is to be
approximately 75 words in length. However, since the content of these Personal
Reflection Journaling Exercises is intended for your future reference, they
may contain confidential information and are to be applied as a work in
progress. You will not
be required to provide us with these Journaling Activities.
The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.
Reflection Exercise #1
The preceding section contained information
about the APA and NASW Codes of Ethics. Write three case study examples regarding
how you might use the content of this section in your practice.
Ethics CEU QUESTION
Psychologists do not conduct a study involving deception unless what?
Record the letter of the correct answer the .