American Psychological Association Ethical
of Psychologists and Code of Conduct - Excerpt
Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence
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.
Principle 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
Principle C: Integrity
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.
8.07 Deception in Research
(a) 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.
9.06 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
Psychologists do not promote the use of psychological assessment
techniques by unqualified persons, except when such use is conducted
for training purposes with appropriate supervision.
National Association of Social Workers Code
of Ethics - Excerpt
1.01 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.)
(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.
4.04 Dishonesty, 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.
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).
Personal Reflection Exercise #5
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.
Psychologists do not conduct a study involving deception unless
what? Record the letter of the correct answer the .