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Ethical Standards

Introduction and preamble
The introduction of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct is designed to describe the document’s purpose. It also informs the reader of its organization, applicability, and procedural matters.[2] The introduction states that the code applies to psychologists’ scientific, educational, and professional roles, that may include “clinical psychology; counseling psychology; school psychology; research; teaching; supervision; public service; policy development; social intervention; development of assessment instruments; conducting assessments; educational counseling; organizational counseling; forensic activities; program design and evaluation; and administration,” (pg. 2)[2] The introduction also includes information on what contexts these situations apply to, including electronic and face-to-face communication. It provides information on the procedures for filing an ethical complaint, along with a description the investigation process and possible outcomes.[2] The preamble is a description of aspirations which the American Psychological Association expects of psychologists, and reviews the main purpose for having such an ethical code.[2]

General ethical principles
There are five general principles that serve as the ideals to which psychologists should aspire within the profession. The principles represent ethical goals but do not explicitly inform or instruct adherence to the goals; instead, the principles aim to influence and to guide professional behavior with respect to the psychologist, research subjects, students, and the individuals who seek psychological services.

Principle A: Beneficence and nonmaleficence
The beneficence and non maleficence principle of the APA general principles guides psychologists to perform work that is beneficial to others yet does not hurt anyone in the process of carrying out that work. Psychologists are to remain aware of their professional influence and the potential consequences therein on individuals and groups who seek counsel with the psychologist, especially with respect to preventing misuse or abuse, while additionally maintaining awareness of how the psychologist’s own physical and mental health may influence their work. Among professional interactions and research, psychologists ought to respect and protect the rights and welfare of patients and participants.

Principle B: Fidelity and responsibility
The fidelity and responsibility principle of the APA general principles inspires psychologists to cultivate a professional and scientific environment built upon trust, accountability, and ethical considerations. Psychologists are bound to the community by way of their profession and must conduct themselves in a responsible and ethical manner while also maintaining a similar check on colleagues. Furthermore, psychologists are expected to altruistically devote some of their time to the community