Ethics of Psychology

From the initial meeting to the final process of treatment, the role of ethics is an important one in the field of psychology. There are a number of ethical concerns that may arise in the various settings in which a psychologist may work such as a hospital environment or private practice. There are several laws in place to control how psychology is used and the majority of these laws specifically cover various ethical problems for anyone working in the field of psychology.

The APA ethics code for client welfare requires that there are reasonable steps taken by someone practicing psychology that will minimize and avoid undue harm to students, clients, and any other individual or group the psychologist may work with. The code of conduct and ethical principles are the ethics that outline the responsibilities of a psychologist. They establish what behavior and actions are considered to be acceptable as well as unacceptable for the practice of psychology. The ethics code is multi-dimensional and the psychologist must adhere to the code of conduct in order to keep their license.

Psychologists must follow ethical principles that prevent them from deceiving their clients, meaning the psychologist cannot lie to a patient for the good of the psychologist. However, deception among psychologists may fall into different codes when conducting research. For example, ethics codes for psychologist and research participants during a research would include codes of conduct such as deception of the participants is justified only when the prospective educational, scientific and applied value are achieved when non-deceptive alternatives are not viable. The participates cannot be deceived about conditions of the research that may induce pain or emotional distress and every participant must be debriefed at the end of their participation in the research.

Psychologists also have certain rules and codes they must follow in regards to the protection of the public as well as the protection of their clients. The ethical principles were put in place not only for the benefit of mental health professionals, but to protect the clients, the families, associates and the general public. For example if a psychologist is presented with a client who is making bodily harm threats to another individual or group, if the psychologist feels the threats are warranted, he/she is required to report the threats to the proper authorizes and in many cases, to the person or persons the threat is being aimed at. Although it may seem like a breech of confidentially to report what was said in confidence, the psychologist is required and authorized to make the report without fear of breaking the code of ethics.

The code of ethics was created to protect the public and the psychologist from any abuses that are the result of mishandling a situation. Physical, financial and emotional situations are all protected with the code of ethics. There are numerous subcategories that are explained and included in the ethics code ranging from the misappropriation of funds and/or billing procedures to the events that must occur during the termination of therapy.

The code of ethics has specific rules regarding conflict of interest for both the psychologist and the client. Conflict of interest can be applied to a variety of situations such as the psychologist should not treat a family member or close friend due to the possibility of favoritism or being non-objective which would interfere with the treatment being given and received. The psychological ethical codes clearly prohibit the interaction of a personal relationship between the psychologist and the client.

Ethical codes strictly regulate the behaviors and/or situations are being dealt with and the situation should be resolved. The conduct codes and principles of ethics are put in place to ensure that anyone receiving services from a psychologist as well as the psychologist providing the services is protected against any breach of conduct that may cause physical or emotional harm to those involved in the services.