Psychology is the science that studies human behavior and cognitive processes.His ultimate goal is to improve our quality of life by stimulating and caring for mental health. But, what makes psychologists follow these principles? This is precisely the role of the psychologist's code of ethics.
The psychologist's code of ethics is a guide that guides the professional ethics of anyone dedicated to psychology.In Spain, the code developed from the reports of the Congress of the Official College of Psychologists held in Madrid in 1984. At the latter, the need to regulate the practice was identified and a proposal was made. : to carry out a joint work between all the psychologists of Spain to create a guide avoiding a bad practice from an ethical point of view.
In the code of ethics, we can find 59 articles that govern professional competence, intervention, research and teaching, obtaining and using information, advertising, remuneration and guarantees.Failure to comply with one or more of these articles would require an assessment of the careless professional through a sanction committee; once the gravity of the fault has been assessed, the corresponding penalty would be applied. This sanction can be light but also important, such as the withdrawal of the title and the license to practice.
In this article, we will make a small revision of the general principles of the code of ethics,which provide a general vision of the objectives of the latter. These principles are found in the code, from article 5 to article 15.
The general principles of the code of ethics
The first of the general principles (Article 5) tells us about the purpose of psychology.It is oriented towards human and social objectives such as well-being, health, quality of life, etc. Any practice within psychology that goes against these goals would also go against professional ethics.
Article 6 deals with the sincerity of the professional.A psychologist, who knows the real data, can not change them or transmit a fraudulent version of them. The professional activity must be based on the responsibility, the honesty and the sincerity towards the customers and the public. And only rely on instruments and techniques with a scientific and objective basis.
The following principleArticle 7 speaks of the use of psychology with negative intentionality.It is totally forbidden to use the notions learned in this discipline to limit individual freedom or to apply ill-treatment. In no case can we justify the misapplication of psychology; whether because of an armed conflict, an obligation, a civil war, a revolution, a case of terrorism or any other situation that would justify the offense.
Article 8 tells us that any psychologist must provide information,at least to school bodies, in the event that he should knowviolation of human rights, ill-treatment or cruel conditions of imprisonment.Professional secrecy or confidentiality with the client is not exercised when this type of situation occurs. Unfortunately, this is one of the most broken articles in the code.
The following general principle (Article 9)deals with the respect of the moral and religious criteria of the clients.But respecting them does not prevent them from being challenged when it becomes necessary in the context of the intervention.
Article 10 prohibits the psychologist, in the course of providing his services, from discriminating by race, gender, sex, ideology or any other differential factor.The application of psychology is universal and, therefore, in practice, the principle of non-discrimination must be applied.
In the general principle ofArticle 11we talk about the fact thatthe psychologist can not assert his status of power or superiorityto patients, whether for their own benefit or for that of others. To enjoy this status would mean to move away from the goals of psychological discipline.
Article 12 deals with caution when writing reports or diagnoses.Mental disorders or psychological qualifiers are often associated with stigma or social labels. It is necessary to express oneself with caution, trying not to degrade the customers on the social level.
Article 13 seeks to avoid bad drifts of patients or misappropriation of customers.Clients can not under any circumstances be monopolized and the proposed legal channels for the derivation of patients should be followed. This ensures we see the people treated by the best professional based on their problem.
Article 14 prohibits the loan of the name or signature of the professional psychologist to third parties.The only person who can sign, as part of the professional practice, is the psychologist himself. Because of this, the intrusion and concealment of unfounded or pseudoscientific practices is avoided.
The last of the principles of the code of ethics, included in article 15,deals with opposing interests.When they appear, the psychologist will try to carry out his activity as impartially as possible. And, in legitimate situations, he will have to make his case against the institutional authorities.
The importance of the code of ethics
Now that we know the general principles of the code of ethics,why is it so important to have a professional ethics guide?Let's not forget that clinical psychology is a profession that is related to health; therefore, customers want the services to be competent and trustworthy. In essence, the practice of the entire profession is in the practice of any psychologist.
It is also important to take into accountthat an ethical code helps us to orient aspirations and regulations at the level of the values of psychological discipline.If we want a science for progress and well-being, it is necessary to create limitations of professional behavior that prevent us from deviating from these goals.
Finally, it must be added thatIt is up to any psychologist to think critically about her professional behavior and the code of ethics.An ongoing debate within a group of committed psychologists will help us to improve a guide to action for the science and well-being of the people we treat.