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Ethical principles and values and professional ethics

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Professional Psychology: Debating Chamber · Psychology Journals · Psychologists


The recent BPS (2006)Code of ethics lists 4 ethical principles that generated a number of standards of conduct these principles were:

1.Ethical Principle: Respect

  • Statement of Values - psychologists value the dignity and worth of all persons, with sensitivity to the dynamics of perceived authority or influence over clients, and with particular- regard to people's rights including those of privacy and self determination.

2.Ethical Principle: Competence

  • Statement of Values - Psychologists value continuing development and maintenance of high standards of competence in their professional work, and the importance of preserving their ability to function optimally within the recognised limits of their knowledge, skill, training, education, and experience.

3.Ethical Principle: Responsibility

  • Statement of Values - Psychologists value their responsibilities to clients, to the general public, and to the profession and science of Psychology, including the avoidance of harm and the prevention of misuse or abuse of their contributions to society:

4. Ethical Principle: Integrity

  • Statement of Values - Psychologists value truthfulness honesty, accuracy, clarity, and fairness in their interactions with all persons, and seek to promote integrity in all facets of their scientific and professional endeavours.


Following this model we might wish to invoke a further set of ethical principles and specify the standards that they generate.


5.Ethical Principle: Commitment to the greater good

  • Statement of values - Psychologists value their contribution to their society to international culture, to mankind and all living things. They seek to develop their knowledge and practice to contribute to the wider good.

6.Ethical Principle: Caring

  • Statement of values - Psychologists value, kindness, compassion, empathy, genuineness etc. Psychology is primarily conducted in interpersonal exchange. As psychologists we understand that what is said and done depends for its impact on how it is said or done. Caring is a core value underlying ethical action

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