You are hereCode of Ethics (2003)
Code of Ethics (2003)
Disclaimer: Please note the codes in our collection might not necessarily be the most recent versions. Please contact the individual organizations or their websites to verify if a more recent or updated code of ethics is available. CSEP does not hold copyright on any of the codes of ethics in our collection. Any permission to use the codes must be sought from the individual organizations directly.
Code of Ethics
This Code sets forth principles of ethics and professional practice developed to promote sound professional practice in order to safeguard the welfare of consumers of psychological services, and the integrity of the profession.The Code also provides expectations with regard to members' professional behaviour.
Following the general principles which operate in all situations, a number of sections identify and explicate specific applications.
Members remain personally responsible for the professional decisions they make.
Members are expected to be cognisant of the reasonably foreseeable consequences of their actions and to endeavour to ensure that their services are used appropriately.
Members shall have ultimate regard for the highest standards of their profession.
Members shall bring and maintain appropriate skills and learning in their areas of professional practice.
Members must not misrepresent their competence, qualifications, training or experience.
Members must refrain from offering advice or undertaking work beyond their professional competence.
The welfare of clients and the public, and the integrity of the profession, shall take precedence over a member's self interest and over the interests of the member's employer and colleagues.
Members must respect the confidentiality of information obtained from clients in the course of their professional work. They may reveal such information to others only with the consent of the person or the person's legal representative. However in those unusual circumstances where failure to disclose may result in clear risk to the client or to others, the member may disclose minimal information necessary to avert risk. Members must inform their clients of the legal and other limits of confidentiality.
Members must be sensitive to cultural, contextual, gender and role differences and the impact of those on their professional practice on clients. Members must not act in a discriminatory manner nor condone discriminatory practices against clients on the basis of those differences.
Members must refrain from any act which would tend to bring the profession into public disrepute.
Members must be mindful of the legal context in which they work, their obligations towards clients and employers, and their duties towards clients.
Where the demands of an organisation require members to violate this Code, members must clarify the nature of the conflict between the demands and these principles. They must inform all parties of members' ethical responsibilities and seek a constructive resolution of the conflict.
PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES
- Members must ensure that assessment procedures are chosen, administered, and interpreted appropriately and accurately.
- Members must supply clients with explanations of the nature and purpose of the procedures used and results of the assessment, in language the recipient can understand and with appropriate accompanying contextual information, unless an explicit exception to this right has been agreed upon in advance.
- Members responsible for the development and standardisation of psychological tests and other assessment techniques must use established scientific procedures and observe relevant psychometric standards. They must specify the purposes and uses of the assessment techniques and clearly indicate the limits of their applicability.
- Members must not endorse, or otherwise lend credence to, inappropriate use or interpretation of assessment results.
- Members offering scoring and interpretation services must have appropriate evidence for the validity of the programs and procedures used in arriving at interpretations.
- Members must not compromise the effective use of psychological tests, nor render them open to misuse, by publishing or otherwise disclosing their contents to persons unauthorised or unqualified to receive such information.
- Assessment data obtained on an individual for one purpose, may subsequently be used for another purpose only with the informed written consent of that individual. This does not apply to the subsequent use of such data in research provided that the anonymity of the individual is preserved and the interests of the client initiating the assessment are safeguarded.
- Members must not use or otherwise facilitate the use of obsolete assessment data.
- Members must not permit, encourage or promote the use of psychological assessment techniques by inappropriately trained or otherwise unqualified persons through teaching, sponsorship, supervision, or employment.
RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLIENTS
- Undue invasion of privacy must be avoided in the collection and dissemination of information. Information obtained in consulting relationships, or evaluative data concerning clients, may be communicated only for professional purposes and only to persons legitimately concerned with the case and with the informed consent of the client. Written and oral reports may present only data
germane to the purposes of the evaluation.
- Members must make and keep adequate records for a minimum of seven years since last client contact unless legal requirements specify otherwise. In the case of records collected while the client was a child, records should be retained at least until the individual attains the age of 25 years.
- Members must make provisions for maintaining confidentiality in the access, storage and disposal of records, subject to the legal requirements of their employment conditions.
- Members must not refuse any reasonable request from clients, or former clients, for the release of data for which they have professional responsibility. Such psychological data may be released only to appropriately qualified persons who have a legitimate interest in the data, subject to the legal requirements of the member's employment conditions.
- When working with young persons or other clients who are unable to give voluntary, informed consent, members must protect these clients' best interests and will regard their responsibilities as being directed to the parents, next of kin, or guardians. The member shall endeavour to obtain the consent of young people and these other clients.
- Members must not disclose information about criminal acts of a client unless there is an overriding legal obligation to do so or when failure to disclose may result in clear risk to themselves or others.
- Members must avoid dual relationships that could impair their professional judgement or increase the risk of exploitation. Examples of such dual relationships include, but are not limited to, provision of psychological services to employees, students, supervisees, close friends or relatives.
- Members must not exploit their professional relationships with clients sexually or otherwise.
- Sexual relationships between members and current clients must not occur. When a therapeutic procedure entails some level of physical intimacy with a client, informed written consent must be obtained from the client or the client's legal guardian prior to the introduction of that procedure.
- No member may engage in a sexual relationship with a former client when less than two years have expired since the ending or termination of the professional relationship.
- In circumstances where more than two years have elapsed since the ending or termination of the professional relationship between the member and former client, in determining whether a sexual relationship between the member and former client is unethical, the following matters will be taken into consideration: a) the length of the professional relationship; b) the nature of the professional relationship; c) the client's mental state at the time he or she commenced the sexual relationship with the member; d) the circumstances in which the professional relationship ended or was terminated; and e) the duration of time that has expired since the ending of the professional relationship. Additionally, any other salient matters may be taken into consideration when evaluating the conduct of a member who has engaged in a sexual relationship with a former client.
- Where it has been established that a sexual relationship existed between a member and a former client after the expiry of 24 months from the ending or termination of a professional relationship, the onus shall be on the member to establish that the client was not vulnerable to exploitation as a consequence of the prior professional relationship.
- When a member agrees to provide services to a client at the request of a third party, the member assumes the responsibility of clarifying the nature of the relationships with all parties concerned.
- Members must make advance financial arrangements that safeguard the best interests of and are clearly understood by clients. They must avoid financial arrangements which may, currently or subsequently, influence deleteriously the psychological services provided.
- Members must not receive private fees, gratuities or other remuneration for professional work with persons who are entitled to the member's services through an agency or institution unless the client freely chooses to consult the member privately. Members must demonstrate that the client's decision was made voluntarily and that their obligations to their organisation or institution are respected.
- Members must not actively solicit private consultations from clients who receive or are entitled to receive the member's services through an agency or institution.
- Members must neither receive nor give respectively any remuneration for referring clients to or accepting referrals from other professionals for professional services.
- In terminating relationships with clients, members shall have due regard for the psychological processes inherent in the services being provided and the psychological wellbeing of the client. Should changes in members' employment, health or other factors necessitate early termination of a relationship with a client, members shall provide clients with an explanation of the need for such early termination. They shall take all reasonable steps to safeguard clients' ongoing welfare.
- Members must terminate a consulting relationship when it is reasonably clear that the client is not benefiting from it. They must offer to help the client locate alternative sources of assistance. When a client indicates to a member that he or she would like a second opinion the member must offer every practical assistance to obtain a competent second opinion.
- When there is evidence of a problem or a condition with which the member is not competent to deal, the member must make this clear to the client and must refer the client to an appropriate source of expertise.
- Members must not convey confidential communications from other professionals to a client without permission from the authors of such communications and they must clearly establish the limits of confidentiality before supplying confidential information to another professional person.
TEACHING OF PSYCHOLOGY
- Members who are responsible for education and training programs must ensure that the programs are competently designed and delivered, and that they meet the accreditation requirements for which claims are made by the program.
- Members must make every effort to ensure that published information concerning any educational program in which they have a teaching or organising role is accurate and not misleading, especially with respect to expectations of, and possible benefits to, participants.
- When teaching, members must present information accurately and objectively.
- Members must recognise the power they hold over students or supervisees and avoid engaging in conduct that is personally demeaning to students or supervisees.
- Members must not establish fee charging or consultative relationships with students they teach or are likely to examine.
- Members must not require or otherwise coerce a student to participate in a classroom or other training demonstration if there is reason to suppose that the student is likely to suffer distress from the experience.
- Members must instruct students witnessing case demonstrations that they are required to preserve the anonymity of the participant and in every way to safeguard the participant's privacy.
SUPERVISION AND TRAINING
- Members who supervise the work of students or junior colleagues have a responsibility to promote awareness of and adherence to the provisions of this Code.
- It is unethical for members who are providing supervision or training to require or coerce supervisees or trainees to disclose personal information either directly or in the context of any training procedure. Where self disclosure is a normal expectation of a given training procedure, informed consent must be obtained from participants prior to training.
- Members must not engage their supervisees, or junior colleagues for whom they have administrative responsibility, in psychotherapy or any similar procedure except with the informed consent of the supervisee when such consent is given for the specific purpose of training in that procedure.
- In planning psychological research, members must undertake a careful evaluation of the ethical issues involved. Whatever guidance is sought from others, the responsibility for ensuring ethical practice in research remains with the principal investigators and cannot be shared. It is the responsibility of members to ensure that research is conducted in such a manner that the welfare of participants is not compromised.
- It is a responsibility of members conducting research to comply with guidelines and requirements for ethical accountability in research within their setting such as any current National Health and Medical Research Council Guidelines on Human Experimentation. It is unethical for a member to initiate or undertake research without complying with appropriate ethical procedures.
- Members must be aware that in all scientific research with human participants, there is a need to balance the welfare of others who ultimately may benefit from the findings of the investigation against any discomfort or risks to participants.
- Members must preserve and protect the respect and dignity of all participants and endeavour to ensure that participants' consent to be involved in the research is voluntary. Wherever possible, participants must be appropriately informed of the nature and purpose of the investigation. Members must inform participants of the nature of the research and that they are free to participate or to decline to participate or to withdraw from the research. Such informed consent must be appropriately documented.
- When potential research participants are individuals such as students, employees or subordinates, members must not use a position of authority to exert undue pressure for the purpose of securing their participation in a particular research project. Members must also take special care to protect the prospective participants from adverse consequences of declining or withdrawing from participation.
- When research participation is a course requirement, the member must ensure that the prospective participant is given the choice of equitable alternative activities.
- For persons who are legally incapable of giving informed consent, members must provide an appropriate explanation, obtain the participant's consent and obtain appropriate consent from the persons who are legally responsible for participants' welfare.
- Before deciding that research does not require informed written consent of research participants, members must consult with colleagues or gatekeepers and ethics committees as appropriate.
- Members must not offer excessive financial or other inappropriate inducements to obtain research participants.
- When it is necessary for scientific reasons to conduct a study without fully informing participants of its true purpose prior to the commencement of the study, the member must ensure that participants do not suffer distress from the research procedure. Participants must be informed of the purpose of the investigation at the conclusion of the research. Also, members must be careful to maintain the quality of their relationship with participants and to correct any mistaken attitudes or beliefs that participants may have about the research.
- Wherever possible the procedures for establishing confidentiality must be explained to participants at the outset of the research. Members must obtain informed written consent from research participants if there is to be anticipated further use of personally identifiable research data. Test results or other confidential data obtained in a research study must not be disclosed in situations or circumstances which might lead to identification of the participants unless their informed written consent has been obtained.
- The member must take all reasonable steps to ensure that participants are not exposed to risk of injury incidental to the procedures used, for example, from faulty stimulus presentation or recording equipment.
- When the research necessarily involves participants in physical or mental stress, the member must inform participants concerning the procedures to be used, and the physical and psychological effects to be expected. No research procedures likely to cause severe distress should be used under any circumstances. If unexpected stress reactions of significance occur, the member has the responsibility immediately to alleviate such reactions and to terminate the investigation. If a research procedure involves participants in high levels of emotional arousal, it is incumbent on the member to ensure that no psychologically vulnerable person participates.
- Members must anticipate the subsequent effects of research participation and provide information on services available for participants to alleviate any unnecessary distress that follows from their participation. Members must not engage in other professional relationships with research participants in relation to resolving any such distress.
- When working in a multidisciplinary research team or other context in which members do not have sole decision-making authority, they must make these ethical principles known to other members of the research team or other decision-makers, and seek their adoption prior to engaging in the research.
- Members must provide an opportunity for participants to obtain appropriate information about the nature, results, and conclusion of the research.
- Members must make provisions for maintaining confidentiality in the access, storage and disposal of research data, subject to the legal requirements of their institutions.
- Members must take all reasonable steps to minimise the discomfort, illness and pain of animals. The care of laboratory animals must be directly supervised by a person competent to ensure their comfort, health and humane treatment, and the care and use of animals in research must be consistent with National Health and Medical Research Council Statement on Animal Experimentation.
REPORTING AND PUBLICATION OF RESEARCH RESULTS
- Members must not fabricate data or falsify results in their publications. If members discover significant errors in their publications they must take reasonable steps to correct such errors in an appropriate manner.
- Members must not present substantial portions or elements of another's work or data as their own.
- Authorship is assigned to persons only for work they have actually performed or to which they have contributed.
- Minor contributions may be acknowledged in a footnote or in an introductory statement. In each case the author(s) must obtain a contributor's consent before including his or her name. Multiple authors are responsible for specifying the order in which their names appear on the title page. Where a member is given access to data collected and owned by another researcher or group of researchers, authorship must be mutually agreed before the commencement of data analysis.
- A student is usually listed as principal author on any multiple-authored article that is substantially based on the student's dissertation or thesis. The student's supervisor will usually be second author to such a publication. If the student does not submit a manuscript for publication in a reasonable period of time after completion of the research (“reasonable period” should be determined by the Psychology Academic Organisational Unit (AOU) Head), then the supervisor may publish the research and assume primary authorship and the student must be listed as an author.
- Members must not publish, as original data, data that have been previously published. Data can be republished when they are accompanied by proper acknowledgment. Data must be kept after publication in accordance with the member's institutional requirements.
- After research results are published or publicly available, members must not withhold the data on which their conclusions are based from other competent professionals who seek to verify the substantive claims through reanalysis and who intend to use such data only for that purpose, provided that the confidentiality of the participants can be protected.
- Members who review material submitted for publication, grant, or other research proposal review must respect the confidentiality of and the proprietary rights in such information of those who submitted it.
- Members must declare any vested interest in their research including acknowledgment of funding sources and other interests in the research.
PUBLIC STATEMENTS AND ADVERTISING
- Public statements include, but are not limited to, communication by means of periodical, book, circular, brochure, list, directory, business card, television, radio, facsimile, or electronic transmission such as email or the Internet. Public statements made by members in announcing or advertising the availability of psychological products, publications or services, must not contain:
- any statement which is false, fraudulent, unfair, misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive;
- testimonials or endorsements that are solicited in exchange for remuneration or have the potential to exploit clients or other service recipients;
- any statement claiming or implying superiority for the member over any or all other members;
- any statement intended or likely to create false or unjustified expectations of favourable results;
- any statement intended or likely to appeal to a client's fears, anxieties or emotions concerning the possible results of failure to obtain the offered services;
- any claim unjustifiably stating or implying that the member uses exclusive or superior apparatus, methods or materials;
- any statement which is vulgar, sensational or otherwise such as would bring, or tend to bring, the member or the profession of psychology into disrepute.
- When announcing or advertising professional services, members may list the following to describe the provider and services provided: name, postal and email addresses, telephone and facsimile numbers, consultation hours, languages spoken, appropriate information concerning fees, relevant academic qualifications earned from accredited institutions of higher learning, APS membership (Honorary Fellow, Fellow, Member and Associate Member), APS College membership, registration status, and a brief simple statement of the type of psychological services offered.
- In announcing or advertising the availability of psychological products, publications or services, members must not present their affiliation with any organisation in a manner that falsely implies sponsorship or certification by that organisation.
- Members must not offer or provide inducement to representatives of the press, radio, television, or other communication medium in anticipation of or in return for professional publicity in a news item. A paid advertisement must be identified as such, unless it is apparent from the context that it is a paid advertisement. If communicated to the public by use of radio or television, an advertisement must be prerecorded and approved for broadcast by the member, and a recording of the actual transmission must be retained by the member.
- Members must not participate for direct personal gain in commercial announcements or advertisements recommending to the public the purchase or use of proprietary or single-source products or services when that participation is based solely upon their identification as members.
- Public announcements or advertisements soliciting research participants in which clinical services or other professional services are offered as an inducement must make clear the nature and limits of the services as well as the costs and other obligations to be accepted by participants in the research.
- Members must, when they become aware of such misrepresentation, correct others who represent the member's professional qualifications, or associations with products or services in a manner incompatible with these guidelines.
- Members may participate in any lecture, talk, public appearance, transmission, or publication on any subject and be identified therein by name, academic qualifications and the fact that they are members provided that:
- where the subject matter or part of the subject matter thereof concerns a matter in which the member is or has been professionally engaged, the member has the express consent of the client concerned and it is not contrary to the interests of the client to do so;
- where the subject matter thereof concerns psychological or a related professional subject the member shall not (except in the context of a lecture or talk given in the education of psychologists) claim or imply pre-eminence in that or any other psychological subject;
- they are competent to express a view on the subject.
MEMBERS' RELATIONSHIPS WITH PROFESSIONALS
- Members must act with due regard for the needs, special competencies and obligations of their colleagues in psychology and other professions.
- Publication credit must be assigned to those who have contributed to a publication in proportion to their professional contributions.
- Members must not solicit business from any client in a similar existing relationship with another professional in pursuit of individual gain.
- If a member is approached by a person who is already receiving similar services from another professional, the member must carefully consider all the implications of becoming involved and must discuss these with the prospective client. The welfare of the client must be paramount in these considerations and the member must proceed with caution and sensitivity towards all parties concerned.
- Should a member have cause to disagree with a colleague in psychology or another profession on professional issues, the member must, nevertheless, refrain from making intemperate criticism in a manner which casts doubt on that colleague's professional competence.
- A member who knows or suspects a Code violation by another member should follow the Procedures attached to this Code.
PROCEDURES FOR PERSONS CONSIDERING INVOKING ANY SECTION OF THE CODE
- Complaints from members
The circumstances leading a member to consider invoking the Code may include, but not be restricted to, the following:
- A member who may personally observe, or otherwise become aware of, behaviour by a member which appears to contravene sections of the Code;
- A member who might be approached by a client of psychological services asking for advice or information on procedures for redress of what he or she perceives as unprofessional conduct or unethical behaviour by another member. In this circumstance, the member should first investigate with the client the possibility of the client taking action in accordance with Section 2 of these Procedures.
- A member who might be approached by a member of some other professional body who may express concern about interdisciplinary ethics or practice involving a member. Action by the other professional in accordance with Section 2 of these Procedures should be investigated as a possibility first of all.
- A member who may be required by an employer to perform professional duties or to handle data, or otherwise act, in a way which would contravene sections of the Code.
- Assisting a member of the public and other professionals with complaints
Where a client of psychological services or another professional asks for advice or action to obtain redress, rather than enquiring into the circumstances and becoming a party to the complaint, a member should:
- Whether or not the psychologist in question is a member of the Society, advise the complainant of his or her rights under the State or Territory Psychologists Registration Acts and suggest that the complainant contact the relevant Psychologists Registration Board in the first instance.
- Advise the complainant to confirm through the National Office that the psychologist whose conduct is in question is a member of the Society;
- Suggest that, if the latter psychologist is a member, the complainant should inform the Executive Director in writing of his or her complaint and of any other action taken in respect to the relevant Psychologists Registration Board.
- Invocation of the Code by a member
In circumstances where there is factual knowledge, or reasonable grounds for believing, that a Section of the Code has been or is being violated, the member on his or her own behalf, or on behalf of a member of the public or other professional who requests assistance to invoke the Code, should:
- Approach the member whose conduct is in question in a friendly and helpful way, drawing attention to the actions that are thought to be in breach of the Code and quoting the section of the Code which may have been breached.
- If the matter in question does not appear to be amenable to informal resolution or if it is deemed inappropriate to approach the other member, or if the approach proves ineffective, then the member should:
- Contact the Executive Director or his/her delegate at the National Office for advice on applying the Code and what actions by the member may be deemed appropriate in the circumstances; and/or
- Draw the matter to the attention of the Executive Director of the Society in writing
- If, when contacted, the member whose conduct is in question admits to that conduct and to a breach of the Code, expresses regret and agrees to cease that conduct, the matter may still be serious enough to contact the Executive Director or to report the matter to the Executive Director in writing.
- If the advice of the Executive Director or his or her nominee is that the matter should be referred to the relevant Psychologists Registration Board, then the member should refer the concerns in writing to the relevant Board, and notify the Executive Director that this action has been taken.
- Issues of confidentiality and natural justice are important considerations in choosing and engaging in any line of action,
- Co-operation in Processing Complaints
- Where an enquiry is instituted by the Society following an allegation of a Code violation, the member whose conduct is in question must cooperate with the enquiry.
- A member whose conduct is in question and who is contacted by another member in accordance with Section 3.1 of these Procedures is enjoined to respond sensitively and constructively when contacted.
- It is in the interests of all parties that complaints be dealt with promptly. Long delay in responding or failure to respond to an investigation by the Society into an alleged Code violation by a member against whom a complaint has been lodged may in and of itself be considered a violation of General Principle I (b).