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“The development of a code of ethical standards for psychology”

Respect for people’s rights and dignity[edit]

The APA general principle concerning respect for people’s rights and dignity recognizes individuals’ rights to privacy and confidentiality. Psychologists are to respect the individuals’ rights while also acknowledging the worth of the individual by taking judicious precautions and engaging in positive, professional interactions, avoiding the influence of any personal bias towards the individual or group. This entails awareness of the vulnerabilities experienced by any particular population of people and necessitates understanding of and respect for diversity, including, but not limited to, factors concerning gender, race, religion, disability, and socioeconomic status.

Ethical standards[edit]

The ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct put forth by the APA consists of ten ethical standards. The ethical standards are enforceable rules applicable for psychologists in academia and practice. These are written broadly to guide psychologists in varied areas and roles, addressing situations most psychologists may encounter in their professional roles. The types of situations include those related to resolving ethical issues, competence, human relations, privacy and confidentiality, advertising and public statements, record keeping and fees, education and training, research and publication, assessment, and therapy. The ethical standards are enforced for the benefit of the psychologists, clients, students, and other individuals that work with psychologists. Any psychologist that is a member of the APA is expected to adhere to the ethical standards. Any violation of an ethical standard may result in sanctions ranging from termination of APA membership to loss of licensure.

Resolving ethical issues[edit]

The resolving ethical issues section of the APA Ethical Standards is broadly designed to guide psychologists through a variety of ethical issues. One of the first sections describes how to approach when the work of psychologists’ is misused or misrepresented, such as happens in the popular press. Psychological research is often misrepresented. Two of the sections describe how to resolve conflicts between the ethical code of psychologists and a variety of governing bodies, laws, or regulations as well as organizational demands related to working as a psychologist. There is a section related to informal resolution of ethical violations for situations where such a resolution is possible while protecting confidentiality. If the incident extends beyond being able to be resolved informally, there are guidelines for reporting ethical violations as well as working with and cooperating with ethics committees. In regards to ethical complaints, there is also a section outlining what might be considered an improper complaint. Lastly, the Resolving Ethical Issues section describes unfair discrimination against complainants and respondents to protect those involved in ethics related investigations.