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Professional Psychology: Debating Chamber · Psychology Journals · Psychologists

Standard of Ethical Decision Making

Psychologists should::

  • Accept their responsibility to attempt to resolve such dilemmas with the appropriate combination of reflection, supervision, and consultation.
  • Recognise that ethical dilemmas will inevitably arise in the course of professional practice.
  • Engage in a process of ethical decision making that includes:
    • identifying relevant issues
    • reflecting upon established principles, values, and standards;
    • seeking supervision or peer review
    • developing alternative courses of action in the light of contextual factors
    • analysing the advantages and disadvantages of various courses of action for those likely to be affected, allowing for different perspectives and cultures
    • choosing a course of action - and
    • evaluating the outcomes to inform future ethical decision making.
  • Be able to justify their actions on ethical grounds.
  • Remain aware that the process of ethical decision making must be undertaken with sensitivity to any time constraints that may exist.
  • Given the existence of legal obligations that may occasionally appear to contradict certain provisions of your ethical code, analyse such contradictions with particular care, and adhere to the extent possible to these Ethical Principles while meeting the legal requirements of your professional role.

NB The above standards are based on the Code of Ethics and Conduct published by BPSin 2006.

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