Privacy and Ethics

Code of Ethics and Privacy

© The Australian Psychological Society Limited

Website: www.psychology.org.au

Preface

The Australian Psychological Society Limited (the Society) adopted this

Code of Ethics (the Code) at its Forty-First Annual General Meeting held on

27 September 2007. This Code supersedes the Code of Ethics previously

adopted at its Thirty-First Annual General Meeting held on 4 October

1997, and modified on 2 October 1999; on 29 September 2002; and on 4

October 2003.

Preamble

The Australian Psychological Society Code of Ethics articulates and

promotes ethical principles, and sets specific standards to guide both

psychologists and members of the public to a clear understanding

and expectation of what is considered ethical professional conduct by

psychologists.

It is important that the codes of professional associations should be

reviewed regularly to ensure that they remain relevant and functional in

the face of the evolution of the relevant association and changes in its

environment. Accordingly, since its inception in 1949, the Code of Ethics

(which was at times called the Code of Professional Conduct) of the

Australian Psychological Society has been reviewed in 1960, 1968, 1986,

and 1997. In undertaking the current review, the Society has attempted to

reflect established ethical principles in the practice of the profession within

the context of the current regulatory environment.

The current Code has been developed through a process of ongoing

reflection within the Society about the ethical responsibilities of

psychologists and a formal review of the 1997 Code with reference to

comparable national and international professional codes of ethics.

The Code is built on three general ethical principles. They are:

A. Respect for the rights and dignity of people and peoples

B. Propriety

C. Integrity.

The general principle, Respect for the rights and dignity of people and

peoples, combines the principles of respect for the dignity and respect

for the rights of people and peoples, including the right to autonomy and

justice.

The general principle, Propriety, incorporates the principles of beneficence,

non-maleficence (including competence) and responsibility to clients, the

profession and society.

Preamble

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The general principle, Integrity, reflects the need for psychologists to have

good character and acknowledges the high level of trust intrinsic to their

professional relationships, and impact of their conduct on the reputation of

the profession.

The Code expresses psychologists’ responsibilities to their clients, to the

community and society at large, and to the profession, as well as colleagues

and members of other professions with whom they interact.

Each general principle is accompanied by an explanatory statement that

helps psychologists and others understand how the principle is enacted in

the form of specific standards of professional conduct.

The ethical standards (standards) derived from each general principle

provide the minimum expectations with regard to psychologists’

professional conduct, and conduct in their capacity as Members of

the Society. Professional conduct that does not meet these standards

is unethical and is subject to review in accordance with the Rules and

Procedures of the Ethics Committee and the Ethics Appeals Committee

contained in the Standing Orders of the Board of Directors of the Society.

These standards are not exhaustive. Where specific conduct is not identified

by the standards, the general principles will apply.

The Code is complemented by a series of Ethical Guidelines (the

Guidelines). The purpose of the Guidelines is to clarify and amplify the

application of the general principles and specific standards contained in

the Code, and to facilitate their interpretation in contemporary areas of

professional practice. The Guidelines are subsidiary to the relevant sections

of the Code, and must be read and interpreted in conjunction with the

Code. Psychologists who have acted inconsistently with the Guidelines may

be required to demonstrate that their behaviour was not unethical.

Psychologists respect and act in accordance with the laws of the

jurisdictions in which they practise. The Code should be interpreted with

reference to these laws. The Code should also be interpreted with reference

to, but not necessarily in deference to, any organisational rules and

procedures to which psychologists may be subject.

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Code of

Ethics Definitions

Code of Ethics

Definitions*

For the purposes of this Code, unless the context indicates otherwise:

Associated party means any person or organisation other than clients

with whom psychologists interact in the course of rendering a psychological

service. This includes, but is not limited to:

(a) clients’ relatives, friends, employees, employers, carers and guardians;

(b) other professionals or experts;

(c) representatives from communities or organisations.

Client means a party or parties to a psychological service involving

teaching, supervision, research, and professional practice in psychology.

Clients may be individuals, couples, dyads, families, groups of people,

organisations, communities, facilitators, sponsors, or those commissioning

or paying for the professional activity.

Code means this APS Code of Ethics (2007) as amended from time to time,

and includes the definitions and interpretation, the application of the Code,

all general principles, and the ethical standards.

Conduct means any act or omission by psychologists:

(a) that others may reasonably consider to be a psychological service;

(b) outside their practice of psychology which casts doubt on their

competence and ability to practise as psychologists;

(c) outside their practice of psychology which harms public trust in the

discipline or the profession of psychology;

(d) in their capacity as Members of the Society;

as applicable in the circumstances.

* Defined terms are designated in the Code by appearing in italics.

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Definitions

Guidelines mean the Ethical Guidelines adopted by the Board of Directors

of the Society from time to time that clarify and amplify the application of

the Code of Ethics. The Guidelines are subsidiary to the Code, and must

be read and interpreted in conjunction with the Code. In the case of any

apparent inconsistency between the Code and the Guidelines, provisions of

the Code prevail. A psychologist acting inconsistently with the Guidelines

may be required to demonstrate that his or her conduct was not unethical.

Jurisdiction means the Commonwealth of Australia or the state or

territory in which a psychologist is rendering a psychological service.

Legal rights mean those rights protected under laws and statutes of

the Commonwealth of Australia, or of the state or territory in which a

psychologist is rendering a psychological service.

Member means a Member, of any grade, of the Society.

Moral rights incorporate universal human rights as defined by the United

Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights that might or might not be

fully protected by existing laws.

Multiple relationships occur when a psychologist, rendering a

psychological service to a client, also is or has been:

(a) in a non-professional relationship with the same client;

(b) in a different professional relationship with the same client;

(c) in a non-professional relationship with an associated party; or

(d) a recipient of a service provided by the same client.

Peoples are defined as distinct human groups with their own social

structures who are linked by a common identity, common customs, and

collective interests.

Professional relationship or role is the relationship between a

psychologist and a client which involves the delivery of a psychological

service.

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Interpretation

& Application

Psychological service means any service provided by a psychologist to

a client including but not limited to professional activities, psychological

activities, professional practice, teaching, supervision, research practice,

professional services, and psychological procedures.

Psychologist means any Member irrespective of his or her psychologist

registration status.

Society means The Australian Psychological Society Limited.

Interpretation

In this Code unless the contrary intention appears:

(a) words in the singular include the plural and words in the plural include

the singular;

(b) where any word or phrase is given a defined meaning, any other form

of that word or phrase has a corresponding meaning;

(c) headings are for convenience only and do not affect interpretation of

the Code.

Application of the Code

This Code applies to the conduct of psychologists as defined above.

Membership of the Society, irrespective of a Member’s grade of

membership or registration status, commits Members to comply with the

ethical standards of the Code and the rules and procedures used to enforce

them.

Members are reminded that there are legislative requirements that apply to

the use of the professional title, “psychologist”, and that where applicable,

they must abide by such requirements.

Members are also reminded that lack of awareness or misunderstanding

of an ethical standard is not itself a defence to an allegation of unethical

conduct.

General

Principle A

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General Principle A: Respect for the rights

and dignity of people and peoples

Psychologists regard people as intrinsically valuable and respect their

rights, including the right to autonomy and justice. Psychologists engage

in conduct which promotes equity and the protection of people’s human

rights, legal rights, and moral rights. They respect the dignity of all people

and peoples.

Explanatory Statement

Psychologists demonstrate their respect for people by acknowledging

their legal rights and moral rights, their dignity and right to participate

in decisions affecting their lives. They recognise the importance of

people’s privacy and confidentiality, and physical and personal integrity,

and recognise the power they hold over people when practising as

psychologists. They have a high regard for the diversity and uniqueness of

people and their right to linguistically and culturally appropriate services.

Psychologists acknowledge people’s right to be treated fairly without

discrimination or favouritism, and they endeavour to ensure that all people

have reasonable and fair access to psychological services and share in the

benefits that the practice of psychology can offer.

Ethical Standards

A.1. Justice

A.1.1. Psychologists avoid discriminating unfairly against people on the

basis of age, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, gender, disability, or any

other basis proscribed by law.

A.1.2. Psychologists demonstrate an understanding of the consequences

for people of unfair discrimination and stereotyping related to their

age, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, gender, or disability.

A.1.3. Psychologists assist their clients to address unfair discrimination or

prejudice that is directed against the clients.

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A.2. Respect

A.2.1. In the course of their conduct, psychologists:

(a) communicate respect for other people through their actions

and language;

(b) do not behave in a manner that, having regard to the context,

may reasonably be perceived as coercive or demeaning;

(c) respect the legal rights and moral rights of others; and

(d) do not denigrate the character of people by engaging in

conduct that demeans them as persons, or defames, or

harasses them.

A.2.2. Psychologists act with due regard for the needs, special

competencies and obligations of their colleagues in psychology and

other professions.

A.2.3. When psychologists have cause to disagree with a colleague in

psychology or another profession on professional issues they

refrain from making intemperate criticism.

A.2.4. When psychologists in the course of their professional activities are

required to review or comment on the qualifications, competencies

or work of a colleague in psychology or another profession, they

do this in an objective and respectful manner.

A.2.5. Psychologists who review grant or research proposals or material

submitted for publication, respect the confidentiality and

proprietary rights of those who made the submission.

General

Principle A

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A.3. Informed consent

A.3.1. Psychologists fully inform clients regarding the psychological

services they intend to provide, unless an explicit exception has

been agreed upon in advance, or it is not reasonably possible to

obtain informed consent.

A.3.2. Psychologists provide information using plain language.

A.3.3. Psychologists ensure consent is informed by:

(a) explaining the nature and purpose of the procedures they

intend using;

(b) clarifying the reasonably foreseeable risks, adverse effects,

and possible disadvantages of the procedures they intend

using;

(c) explaining how information will be collected and recorded;

(d) explaining how, where, and for how long, information will be

stored, and who will have access to the stored information;

(e) advising clients that they may participate, may decline to

participate, or may withdraw from methods or procedures

proposed to them;

(f) explaining to clients what the reasonably foreseeable

consequences would be if they decline to participate or

withdraw from the proposed procedures;

(g) clarifying the frequency, expected duration, financial and

administrative basis of any psychological services that will be

provided;

(h) explaining confidentiality and limits to confidentiality (see

standard A.5.);

(i) making clear, where necessary, the conditions under which

the psychological services may be terminated; and

(j) providing any other relevant information.

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A.3.4. Psychologists obtain consent from clients to provide a

psychological service unless consent is not required because:

(a) rendering the service without consent is permitted by law; or

(b) a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

or other appropriate ethics committee has waived the

requirement in respect of research.

A.3.5. Psychologists obtain and document informed consent from clients

or their legal guardians prior to using psychological procedures that

entail physical contact with clients.

A.3.6. Psychologists who work with clients whose capacity to give

consent is, or may be, impaired or limited, obtain the consent

of people with legal authority to act on behalf of the client, and

attempt to obtain the client’s consent as far as practically possible.

A.3.7. Psychologists who work with clients whose consent is not required

by law still comply, as far as practically possible, with the processes

described in A.3.1., A.3.2., and A.3.3.

A.4. Privacy

Psychologists avoid undue invasion of privacy in the collection of

information. This includes, but is not limited to:

(a) collecting only information relevant to the service being

provided; and

(b) not requiring supervisees or trainees to disclose their personal

information, unless self-disclosure is a normal expectation of

a given training procedure and informed consent has been

obtained from participants prior to training.

General

Principle A

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A.5. Confidentiality

A.5.1. Psychologists safeguard the confidentiality of information obtained

during their provision of psychological services. Considering their

legal and organisational requirements, psychologists:

(a) make provisions for maintaining confidentiality in the

collection, recording, accessing, storage, dissemination, and

disposal of information; and

(b) take reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of

information after they leave a specific work setting, or cease

to provide psychological services.

A.5.2. Psychologists disclose confidential information obtained in the

course of their provision of psychological services only under any

one or more of the following circumstances:

(a) with the consent of the relevant client or a person with legal

authority to act on behalf of the client;

(b) where there is a legal obligation to do so;

(c) if there is an immediate and specified risk of harm to an

identifiable person or persons that can be averted only by

disclosing information; or

(d) when consulting colleagues, or in the course of supervision or

professional training, provided the psychologist:

(i) conceals the identity of clients and associated parties

involved; or

(ii) obtains the client’s consent, and gives prior notice to the

recipients of the information that they are required to

preserve the client’s privacy, and obtains an undertaking

from the recipients of the information that they will

preserve the client’s privacy.

A.5.3. Psychologists inform clients at the outset of the professional

relationship, and as regularly thereafter as is reasonably necessary,

of the:

(a) limits to confidentiality; and

(b) foreseeable uses of the information generated in the course

of the relationship.

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A.5.4. When a standard of this Code allows psychologists to disclose

information obtained in the course of the provision of

psychological services, they disclose only that information which is

necessary to achieve the purpose of the disclosure, and then only

to people required to have that information.

A.5.5. Psychologists use information collected about a client for a purpose

other than the primary purpose of collection only:

(a) with the consent of that client;

(b) if the information is de-identified and used in the course of

duly approved research; or

(c) when the use is required or authorised by or under law.

A.6. Release of information to clients

Psychologists, with consideration of legislative exceptions and their

organisational requirements, do not refuse any reasonable request

from clients, or former clients, to access client information, for

which the psychologists have professional responsibility.

A.7. Collection of client information from associated parties

A.7.1. Prior to collecting information regarding a client from an associated

party, psychologists obtain the consent of the client or, where

applicable, a person who is authorised by law to represent the

client.

A.7.2. Psychologists who work with clients whose capacity to give

informed consent is, or may be, impaired or limited, obtain the

informed consent of people with legal authority to act on behalf

of the client, and attempt to obtain the client’s consent as far as

practically possible.

A.7.3. Psychologists who work with clients whose informed consent

is not required by law nevertheless attempt to comply, as far as

practically possible, with the processes described in standards

A.7.1., A.7.2., and A.7.4.

General

Principle A

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A.7.4. Psychologists ensure that a client’s consent for obtaining

information from an associated party is informed by:

(a) identifying the sources from which they intend collecting

information;

(b) explaining the nature and purpose of the information they

intend collecting;

(c) stating how the information will be collected;

(d) indicating how, where, and for how long, information will be

stored, and who will have access to the stored information;

(e) advising clients that they may decline the request to collect

information from an associated party, or withdraw such

consent;

(f) explaining to clients what the reasonably foreseeable

consequences would be if they decline to give consent;

(g) explaining the associated party’s right to confidentiality and

limits thereof; and

(h) providing any other relevant information.

A.7.5. Prior to collecting information about a client from an associated

party, psychologists obtain the associated party’s consent to collect

information from them by, as appropriate to the circumstances:

(a) providing the associated party with demonstrable evidence

that the client had given consent for the collection of such

information;

(b) explaining the nature and purpose of the information they

intend collecting;

(c) stating how the information will be collected;

(d) indicating how, where, and for how long, information will be

stored, and who will have access to the stored information;

(e) advising them that they may withdraw their consent at any

time;

(f) explaining to them what the reasonably foreseeable

consequences would be if they withdraw their consent;

(g) explaining the associated party’s right to confidentiality and

limits thereof; and

(h) providing any other relevant information.

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General Principle B: Propriety

Psychologists ensure that they are competent to deliver the psychological

services they provide. They provide psychological services to benefit, and

not to harm. Psychologists seek to protect the interests of the people

and peoples with whom they work. The welfare of clients and the public,

and the standing of the profession, take precedence over a psychologist’s

self-interest.

Explanatory Statement

Psychologists practise within the limits of their competence and know

and understand the legal, professional, ethical and, where applicable,

organisational rules that regulate the psychological services they provide.

They undertake continuing professional development and take steps to

ensure that they remain competent to practise, and strive to be aware

of the possible effect of their own physical and mental health on their

ability to practise competently. Psychologists anticipate the foreseeable

consequences of their professional decisions, provide services that

are beneficial to people and do not harm them. Psychologists take

responsibility for their professional decisions.

Ethical Standards

B.1. Competence

B.1.1. Psychologists bring and maintain appropriate skills and learning to

their areas of professional practice.

B.1.2. Psychologists only provide psychological services within the

boundaries of their professional competence. This includes, but is

not restricted to:

(a) working within the limits of their education, training,

supervised experience and appropriate professional

experience;

(b) basing their service on the established knowledge of the

discipline and profession of psychology;

(c) adhering to the Code and the Guidelines;

General

Principle B

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(d) complying with the law of the jurisdiction in which they

provide psychological services; and

(e) ensuring that their emotional, mental, and physical state does

not impair their ability to provide a competent psychological

service.

B.1.3. To maintain appropriate levels of professional competence,

psychologists seek professional supervision or consultation as

required.

B.1.4. Psychologists continuously monitor their professional functioning.

If they become aware of problems that may impair their ability to

provide competent psychological services, they take appropriate

measures to address the problem by:

(a) obtaining professional advice about whether they should

limit, suspend or terminate the provision of psychological

services;

(b) taking action in accordance with the psychologists’

registration legislation of the jurisdiction in which they

practise, and the Constitution of the Society; and

(c) refraining, if necessary, from undertaking that psychological

service.

B.2. Record keeping

B.2.1. Psychologists make and keep adequate records.

B.2.2. Psychologists keep records for a minimum of seven years since

last client contact unless legal or their organisational requirements

specify otherwise.

B.2.3. In the case of records collected while the client was less than 18

years old, psychologists retain the records at least until the client

attains the age of 25 years.

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B.2.4. Psychologists, with consideration of the legislation and

organisational rules to which they are subject, do not refuse

any reasonable request from clients, or former clients, to

amend inaccurate information for which they have professional

responsibility.

B.3. Professional responsibility

Psychologists provide psychological services in a responsible

manner. Having regard to the nature of the psychological services

they are providing, psychologists:

(a) act with the care and skill expected of a competent

psychologist;

(b) take responsibility for the reasonably foreseeable

consequences of their conduct;

(c) take reasonable steps to prevent harm occurring as a result of

their conduct;

(d) provide a psychological service only for the period when

those services are necessary to the client;

(e) are personally responsible for the professional decisions they

make;

(f) take reasonable steps to ensure that their services and

products are used appropriately and responsibly;

(g) are aware of, and take steps to establish and maintain proper

professional boundaries with clients and colleagues; and

(h) regularly review the contractual arrangements with clients and,

where circumstances change, make relevant modifications as

necessary with the informed consent of the client.

B.4. Provision of psychological services at the request of a third

party

Psychologists who agree to provide psychological services to an

individual, group of people, system, community or organisation

at the request of a third party, at the outset explain to all parties

concerned:

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Principle B

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(a) the nature of the relationship with each of them;

(b) the psychologist’s role (such as, but not limited to, case

manager, consultant, counsellor, expert witness, facilitator,

forensic assessor, supervisor, teacher/educator, therapist);

(c) the probable uses of the information obtained;

(d) the limits to confidentiality; and

(e) the financial arrangements relating to the provision of the

service where relevant.

B.5. Provision of psychological services to multiple clients

Psychologists who agree to provide psychological services to

multiple clients:

(a) explain to each client the limits to confidentiality in advance;

(b) give clients an opportunity to consider the limitations of the

situation;

(c) obtain clients’ explicit acceptance of these limitations; and

(d) ensure as far as possible, that no client is coerced to accept

these limitations.

B.6. Delegation of professional tasks

Psychologists who delegate tasks to assistants, employees, junior

colleagues or supervisees that involve the provision of psychological

services:

(a) take reasonable steps to ensure that delegates are aware

of the provisions of this Code relevant to the delegated

professional task;

(b) take reasonable steps to ensure that the delegate is not

in a multiple relationship that may impair the delegate’s

judgement;

(c) take reasonable steps to ensure that the delegate’s conduct

does not place clients or other parties to the psychological

service at risk of harm, or does not lead to the exploitation of

clients or other parties to the psychological service;

(d) take reasonable steps to ensure that the delegates are

competent to undertake the tasks assigned to them; and

(e) oversee delegates to ensure that they perform tasks

competently.

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B.7. Use of interpreters

Psychologists who use interpreters:

(a) take reasonable steps to ensure that the interpreters are

competent to work as interpreters in the relevant context;

(b) take reasonable steps to ensure that the interpreter is not in

a multiple relationship with the client that may impair the

interpreter’s judgement;

(c) take reasonable steps to ensure that the interpreter will keep

confidential the existence and content of the psychological

service;

(d) take reasonable steps to ensure that the interpreter is aware

of any other relevant provisions of this Code; and

(e) obtain informed consent from the client to use the selected

interpreter.

B.8. Collaborating with others for the benefit of clients

B.8.1. To benefit, enhance and promote the interests of clients, and

subject to standard A.5. (Confidentiality), psychologists cooperate

with other professionals when it is professionally appropriate and

necessary in order to provide effective and efficient psychological

services for their clients.

B.8.2. To benefit, enhance and promote the interests of clients, and

subject to standard A.5. (Confidentiality), psychologists offer

practical assistance to clients who would like a second opinion.

B.9. Accepting clients of other professionals

If a person seeks a psychological service from a psychologist whilst

already receiving a similar service from another professional, then

the psychologist will:

(a) consider all the reasonably foreseeable implications of

becoming involved;

(b) take into account the welfare of the person; and

(c) act with caution and sensitivity towards all parties concerned.

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Principle B

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B.10. Suspension of psychological services

B.10.1. Psychologists make suitable arrangements for other appropriate

professionals to be available to meet the emergency needs of their

clients during periods of the psychologists’ foreseeable absence.

B.10.2. Where necessary and with the client’s consent, a psychologist

makes specific arrangements for other appropriate professionals

to consult with the client during periods of the psychologist’s

foreseeable absence.

B.11. Termination of psychological services

B.11.1. Psychologists terminate their psychological services with a client,

if it is reasonably clear that the client is not benefiting from their

services.

B.11.2. When psychologists terminate a professional relationship with a

client, they shall have due regard for the psychological processes

inherent in the services being provided, and the psychological

wellbeing of the client.

B.11.3. Psychologists make reasonable arrangements for the continuity

of service provision when they are no longer able to deliver the

psychological service.

B.11.4. Psychologists make reasonable arrangements for the continuity of

service provision for clients whose financial position does not allow

them to continue with the psychological service.

B.11.5. When confronted with evidence of a problem or a situation with

which they are not competent to deal, or when a client is not

benefiting from their psychological services, psychologists:

(a) provide clients with an explanation of the need for the

termination;

(b) take reasonable steps to safeguard the client’s ongoing

welfare; and

(c) offer to help the client locate alternative sources of assistance.

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B.11.6. Psychologists whose employment, health or other factors

necessitate early termination of relationships with clients:

(a) provide clients with an explanation of the need for the

termination;

(b) take all reasonable steps to safeguard clients’ ongoing

welfare; and

(c) offer to help clients locate alternative sources of assistance.

B.12. Conflicting demands

B.12.1. Where the demands of an organisation require psychologists to

violate the general principles, values or standards set out in this

Code, psychologists:

(a) clarify the nature of the conflict between the demands and

these principles and standards;

(b) inform all parties of their ethical responsibilities as

psychologists;

(c) seek a constructive resolution of the conflict that upholds the

principles of the Code; and

(d) consult a senior psychologist.

B.12.2. Psychologists who work in a team or other context in which they

do not have sole decision-making authority continue to act in a

way consistent with this Code, and in the event of any conflict of

interest deal with the conflict in a manner set out in B.12.1.

B.13. Psychological assessments

B.13.1. Psychologists use established scientific procedures and observe

relevant psychometric standards when they develop and

standardise psychological tests and other assessment techniques.

B.13.2. Psychologists specify the purposes and uses of their assessment

techniques and clearly indicate the limits of the assessment

techniques’ applicability.

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Principle B

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B.13.3. Psychologists ensure that they choose, administer and interpret

assessment procedures appropriately and accurately.

B.13.4. Psychologists use valid procedures and research findings when

scoring and interpreting psychological assessment data.

B.13.5. Psychologists report assessment results appropriately and

accurately in language that the recipient can understand.

B.13.6. Psychologists do not compromise the effective use of psychological

assessment methods or techniques, nor render them open to

misuse, by publishing or otherwise disclosing their contents to

persons unauthorised or unqualified to receive such information.

B.14. Research

B.14.1. Psychologists comply with codes, statements, guidelines and other

directives developed either jointly or independently by the National

Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Australian

Research Council, or Universities Australia regarding research with

humans and animals applicable at the time psychologists conduct

their research.

B.14.2. After research results are published or become publicly available,

psychologists make the data on which their conclusions are based

available to other competent professionals who seek to verify the

substantive claims through reanalysis, provided that:

(a) the data will be used only for the purpose stated in the

approved research proposal; and

(b) the identity of the participants is removed.

B.14.3. Psychologists accurately report the data they have gathered and

the results of their research, and state clearly if any data on which

the publication is based have been published previously.

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General Principle C: Integrity

Psychologists recognise that their knowledge of the discipline of

psychology, their professional standing, and the information they gather

place them in a position of power and trust. They exercise their power

appropriately and honour this position of trust. Psychologists keep

faith with the nature and intentions of their professional relationships.

Psychologists act with probity and honesty in their conduct.

Explanatory Statement

Psychologists recognise that their position of trust requires them to be

honest and objective in their professional dealings. They are committed

to the best interests of their clients, the profession and their colleagues.

Psychologists are aware of their own biases, limits to their objectivity, and

the importance of maintaining proper boundaries with clients. They identify

and avoid potential conflicts of interest. They refrain from exploiting clients

and associated parties.

Ethical Standards

C.1. Reputable behaviour

C.1.1. Psychologists avoid engaging in disreputable conduct that reflects

on their ability to practise as a psychologist.

C.1.2. Psychologists avoid engaging in disreputable conduct that reflects

negatively on the profession or discipline of psychology.

C.2. Communication

C.2.1. Psychologists communicate honestly in the context of their

psychological work.

C.2.2. Psychologists take reasonable steps to correct any

misrepresentation made by them or about them in their

professional capacity within a reasonable time after becoming

aware of the misrepresentation.

General

Principle C

© The Australian Psychological Society 27

Code of

Ethics

C.2.3. Statements made by psychologists in announcing or advertising

the availability of psychological services, products, or publications,

must not contain:

(a) any statement which is false, fraudulent, misleading or

deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive;

(b) testimonials or endorsements that are solicited in exchange

for remuneration or have the potential to exploit clients;

(c) any statement claiming or implying superiority for the

psychologist over any or all other psychologists;

(d) any statement intended or likely to create false or unjustified

expectations of favourable results;

(e) 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;

(f) any claim unjustifiably stating or implying that the

psychologist uses exclusive or superior apparatus, methods or

materials; and

(g) any statement which is vulgar, sensational or otherwise such

as would bring, or tend to bring, the psychologist or the

profession of psychology into disrepute.

C.2.4. When announcing or advertising the availability of psychological

services or at any time when representing themselves as a

psychologist, psychologists use accurate postnominals, including

the postnominals used to represent their grade of membership

with the Society.

C.2.5. Psychologists take reasonable steps to correct any misconceptions

held by a client about the psychologist’s professional competencies.

General

Principle C 28 www.psychology.org.au

Code of

Ethics

C.3. Conflict of interest

C.3.1. Psychologists refrain from engaging in multiple relationships that

may:

(a) impair their competence, effectiveness, objectivity, or ability

to render a psychological service;

(b) harm clients or other parties to a psychological service; or

(c) lead to the exploitation of clients or other parties to a

psychological service.

C.3.2. Psychologists who are at risk of violating standard C.3.1., consult

with a senior psychologist to attempt to find an appropriate

resolution that is in the best interests of the parties to the

psychological service.

C.3.3. When entering into a multiple relationship is unavoidable due to

over-riding ethical considerations, organisational requirements, or

by law, psychologists at the outset of the professional relationship,

and thereafter when it is reasonably necessary, adhere to the

provisions of standard A.3. (Informed consent).

C.3.4. Psychologists declare to clients any vested interests they have in the

psychological services they deliver, including all relevant funding,

licensing and royalty interests.

C.4. Non-exploitation

C.4.1. Psychologists do not exploit people with whom they have or had a

professional relationship.

C.4.2. Psychologists do not exploit their relationships with their assistants,

employees, colleagues or supervisees.

General

Principle C

© The Australian Psychological Society 29

Code of

Ethics

C.4.3. Psychologists:

(a) do not engage in sexual activity with a client or anybody who

is closely related to one of their clients;

(b) do not engage in sexual activity with a former client, or

anybody who is closely related to one of their former

clients, within two years after terminating the professional

relationship with the former client;

(c) who wish to engage in sexual activity with former clients after

a period of two years from the termination of the service,

first explore with a senior psychologist the possibility that the

former client may be vulnerable and at risk of exploitation,

and encourage the former client to seek independent

counselling on the matter; and

(d) do not accept as a client a person with whom they have

engaged in sexual activity.

C.5. Authorship

C.5.1. Psychologists discuss authorship with research collaborators,

research assistants and students as early as feasible and through

the research and publication process as is necessary.

C.5.2. Psychologists assign authorship in a manner that reflects the work

performed and that the contribution made is a fair reflection of

the work people have actually performed or of what they have

contributed.

C.5.3. Psychologists usually list the student as principal author on

any multiple-authored article that is substantially based on the

student’s dissertation or thesis.

C.5.4. Psychologists obtain the consent of people before identifying them

as contributors to the published or presented material.

C.6. Financial arrangements

C.6.1. Psychologists are honest in their financial dealings.

General

Principle C 30 www.psychology.org.au

Code of

Ethics

C.6.2. Psychologists make proper financial arrangements with clients and,

where relevant, third party payers. They:

(a) make advance financial arrangements that safeguard the best

interests of, and are clearly understood, by all parties to the

psychological service; and

(b) avoid financial arrangements which may adversely influence

the psychological services provided, whether at the time of

provision of those services or subsequently.

C.6.3. Psychologists do not receive any remuneration, or give any

remuneration for referring clients to, or accepting referrals from,

other professionals for professional services.

C.7. Ethics investigations and concerns

C.7.1. Psychologists cooperate with ethics investigations and proceedings

instituted by the Society as well as statutory bodies that are

charged by legislation with the responsibility to investigate

complaints against psychologists.

C.7.2. Psychologists who reasonably suspect that another psychologist

is acting in a manner inconsistent with the ethical principles and

standards presented in this Code:

(a) where appropriate, draw the attention of the psychologist

whose conduct is in question directly, or indirectly through a

senior psychologist, to the actions that are thought to be in

breach of the Code and cite the section of the Code which

may have been breached;

(b) encourage people directly affected by such behaviour to

report the conduct to a relevant regulatory body or the Ethics

Committee of the Society; or

(c) report the conduct to a relevant regulatory body or the Ethics

Committee of the Society.

C.7.3. Psychologists do not lodge, or endorse the lodging, of trivial,

vexatious or unsubstantiated ethical complaints against colleagues.

Guidelines for the provision of psychological services for and the conduct of

psychological research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia

– revised May 2003

Guidelines for the use of aversive procedures – July 2000

Guidelines on confidentiality (including when working with minors) – July 1999

Guidelines on co-ordinated disaster response, pro bono, or voluntary psychological services

– July 2003

Guidelines regarding financial dealings and fair trading – July 2002

Guidelines for working with people who pose a high risk of harm to others

– February 2005

Guidelines on the teaching and use of hypnosis, and related practices

– revised December 2005

Guidelines for providing psychological services and products on the internet – March 2004

Guidelines for psychological practice with lesbian, gay and bisexual clients – October 2000

Guidelines for psychological services involving multiple clients and associated parties

– December 2006

Guidelines for the provision of psychological services for and the conduct of psychological

research with, older adults – September 2005

Guidelines for managing professional boundaries and multiple relationships – August 1999

Guidelines on the prohibition of sexual relationships with clients – revised March 2007

Guidelines for the use of psychological tests – July 1998

Guidelines relating to procedures/assessments that involve psychologist-client physical

contact – revised May 2006

Guidelines on record keeping – June 2004

Guidelines relating to recovered memories – revised May 2000

Guidelines on reporting child abuse and neglect, and criminal activity

– modified December 2003

Guidelines for psychological practice in rural and remote settings – August 2004

Guidelines relating to suicidal clients – revised November 2004

Guidelines on supervision – July 2003

Guidelines for psychological practice with women – revised May 2003

Further relevant documentation http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/Privacy_policy_for_recruitment_related_psychological_assessments.pdf