Code of Ethics

Principles of professional ethics of a psychologist/psychotherapist.
Code of ethics pursues main objectives:

  1. to define common values and principles, set professional standards of behaviour for psychologists/psychotherapists and training institutions;
  2. inform clients and protect their interests

Psychologists/psychotherapists are to observe the principles stated in the Code and use them in their practice.

The code defines general professional standards and behavioral principles for specialists and future specialists towards their clients, colleagues, society, and psychotherapy in general. Therapy relations between the therapist and the client start with their first contact, continue throughout the therapy, and preserve their status after the therapy is complete, at the post-therapy stage. The code defines relationships between the client and the psychologist/psychotherapist for the duration of the therapy and three years after it is complete.

Psychotherapy contract.

The primary contract covers the agreement on therapy length and session frequency, price and payment methods, time and venue. Other issues are negotiable, e.g. terms of cancellation, payment for missed sessions etc.
A client is not to undergo any form of therapy without his/her consent or will. This also applies to children, who need a formal agreement of their parents or guardians to start therapy. In addition, a psychologist usually concludes a verbal contract with the child. The child's rights are not to be broken by a unilateral contract with
his/her parents or guardians.
Depending on the type and modality of psychological assistance, the terms of interaction between the client and the psychologist can be modified. However, a psychologist/psychotherapist is obliged to observe universal moral and ethical values.

Working with the client, the following norms and standards apply:

  1. Professional competence. A psychologist/psychotherapist should provide only competent assistance and be aware of the limits to their competence. They should therefore use every opportunity to broaden their professional expertise and perfect their practical skills. Any setbacks in the private life of a psychologist/psychotherapist, which might potentially weaken their competence, should be immediately dealt with. No professional services can be provided, if the actual state of a psychologist/psychotherapist can negatively affect the therapy itself.

  2. Respect for the individual and non-discrimination policy. A psychologist/psychotherapist must be fully aware of their own values and beliefs and must never impose any of those upon the client. A psychologist/psychotherapist should provide psychotherapeutic assistance to their colleagues, promote any form of professional development among their students and colleagues alike, with due respect and sufficient care. Discrimination based on age, any form of disability, nationality, religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, social or financial status or any other parameters contradicts the ethics of psychotherapy.

  3. Informed consent. Therapeutic relationships between a client and a psychologist/psychotherapist are based on trust and informed consent. During the first few meetings a client should be informed of the specifics in psychotherapeutic methods that the psychologist/psychotherapist will be employing, as well as of other assistance methods. A psychologist/psychotherapist should tactfully reach consensus with their client on the issues of timing, payment and other duties and obligations. Underage clients will require an additional agreement with their parents or guardians.

  4. Confidentiality. Confidentiality of any information disclosed by the client in contact with the psychologist/psychotherapist is the client's basic right, and an integral part of effective therapy as well as research. A psychologist/psychotherapist must under no circumstances break the client's (or former client's) right to confidentiality. A psychologist/psychotherapist has no right to discuss any information received from their client outside therapeutic, counselling, supervisory, or training context. If a psychologist/psychotherapist uses the client's case for educational, counselling or research purposes, all personal or otherwise sensitive details should be removed or modified beyond recognition. If a case is to be reviewed in written form, the client must be informed thereof, notified of the purposes and the benefits of the written review, as well as of the consequent possibility to be identified; the client must also be informed of their inalienable right to refuse disclosure of any personal data.

  5. Integrity. Integrity is the founding principle of therapeutic relationships in psychotherapy. Understanding the complexity of human interaction patterns and the intricacies of therapeutic relationships, a psychologist/psychotherapist should communicate with the client and their families (when working with children or adolescents), students and colleagues equally honestly and openly.

  6. Prohibition on client exploitation. Due to the client's potential vulnerability in unequal relationships with the psychologist/psychotherapist, the latter must never exploit the client or their family members in any way. A psychologist/psychotherapist should always avoid any form of dual relationships with their client. Sexual relationships between a psychologist/psychotherapist and the client or their family members are in violation of professional ethics.

  7. Reserch obligations. A psychologist/psychotherapist should assist in promoting scientific and practical knowledge, in raising educational standards among their students and colleagues. Any research should be conducted in accordance with the principles of clinical and scientific research. While conducting any research, clinical material is to be treated with utmost care, which relates to observing the client's rights to confidentiality and minimising any form of damage.

  8. Preventing incompetence in professional community and in society in general. A psychologist/psychotherapist should always critically assess their ability to perform any professional activity, consult their colleagues in ambiguous or complicated cases, and provide feedback on their colleagues; their state and ability to function professionally.

  9. Social responsibility. A psychologist/psychotherapist should always perform their professional activity in accordance with the norms and regulations that are aimed at protecting the interests of the client and society in general.
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