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Basic ethical principles in the work of a psychologist

Ethical principles are value judgments that allow you to regulate and control the activities of specialists in various fields. The ethical principles of a psychologist are described in the ethical code of a psychologist and are mandatory for all practicing psychologists.

General principles of professional ethics, based on universal moral standards, imply the following:

- the highest moral values, while retaining their universal significance, acquire some special features in them (for example, manifestations of good and evil in legal practice, suffering and compassion in medicine);

- within a particular specialty, specific professional moral standards and values ​​are formed that are characteristic only for a given type of activity, but can subsequently, acquiring an ever wider meaning, sometimes become universal (for example, the principle of justice from the main principle of jurisprudence has grown to universal value);

- in the field of professional communication, the equality of the parties is violated, which is not some kind of humiliation, but is provided for by special conditions for the interaction of the parties (for example, in a teacher – student, doctor – patient, investigator – suspect, etc. relationship);

- One of the aspects of professional ethics is its corporate nature - devotion to narrow group interests within the framework of professional associations.

Depending on the scope of work, professional ethics is divided into the corresponding types: ethics, pedagogical, medical, engineering, legal, etc.

The value of professional ethics is that it is one of the important areas of social progress, a condition for continuity in the world of work. And also, when general morality degrades, professional morality replaces and complements its functions of stabilizing and improving society.

Conventionally, two main levels of ethical principles in psychology can be distinguished (according to Vachkov I.V., Grinshpun I.B., Pryazhnikova N.S.):

1. Obvious (self-evident), and even somewhat “banal” principles, such as “Do not shout at the client”, “Do not hit the client”, “Do not spit on the client”, “Do not injure him”, etc. Rules of this kind are taken for granted, but unfortunately, sometimes they are violated.

For example, a consultant psychologist unjustifiably insults a client, leading him to hysterics, or in some cases uses completely inappropriate methods (there was a case when one very "solid" professional counselor under the guise of "innovation" applied the acupuncture method, and even in a darkened room , by candlelight and with a half-naked body of a dumbfounded teenager).

2. Traditionally distinguished ethical principles. In psychology today there is no single, universally recognized system of ethical principles, although attempts to create such systems have been repeatedly made and are being undertaken (see Karandashov V.N., 1999. - P. 123-132; Code of Professional Ethics ... ВНР, 1983; Professional Code ethics for psychologists ... Germany, 1990; Professional Code of Ethics for psychologists ... Madrid, 1990; Tolstoy, 1988, etc.). Based on the analysis and generalization of different ethical systems, the most frequently mentioned ethical principles can be distinguished, and since these principles sometimes raise questions in the original sound, it makes sense to comment on some of these principles.

1. Do no harm! With regard to many areas of practical psychology (for example, the practice of professional counseling), this principle refers more to the obvious level, as a matter of course. It would be strange if professional consultants were accountable for their work to how many people they had “not harmed.” Since professional self-determination is inherently constructive, in contrast to psychiatry and psychotherapy, where even stabilization of the disease is considered success, then for the professional consultant this principle could be defined in a slightly different way: do better!

2. Do not rate! Since it is unthinkable to work without ratings (including positive ones), sometimes this principle is clarified: “don’t put labels” \ But one could say even easier: do not pronounce negative ratings out loud! And it’s even better to organize the work so that at some stage the “clear-sighted” client himself begins to talk about his shortcomings, and the psychologist-consultant also explains to him that, they say, “not everything is so bad.”

3. Accept the person for who he is. This principle still needs special comment. L. A. Petrovskaya, analyzing the approaches of C. Rogers, writes: “When Rogers speaks of such a therapist’s attitude as“ unconditional positive acceptance ”, it should be borne in mind that it refers to the feelings of the“ client ”and does not at all involve approval all his behavior. This refers to the recognition of the right to any gamut of one’s own feelings without the risk of losing the respect of a psychologist, a therapist ”(Petrovskaya, 1982. - P. 36).

Moreover, a person (client) can possess really disgusting qualities and the “unconditional positive acceptance” of such a client would look like self-deception (K. Rogers therefore says - “does not imply approval of all his behavior”). In the Russian tradition, the word “accept” obliges us to do much.

For example, in the explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language by S. I. Ozhegov (1975), the following meanings of this word are also given: “to agree with something, to treat something positively”; “Recognize, count” ... But in the Russian language there is another word - “understand”, which does not always imply “recognition” and “positive attitude”, for example, “understand” the villain.

Therefore, we believe that it would be easier (to avoid any misunderstandings and speculation in the “interpretation”) to reformulate this principle somewhat: “The psychologist is simply obliged to understand every trusted client.”

In addition, some well-known psychotherapists, for example, V. Frankl, nevertheless urge to help a person in "self-transcendence", that is, to provide him with the conditions for "going beyond himself," and not just staying as they are already ... " If we accept people as they are, we will make them worse, ”says V. Frankl, while referring to the great Goethe himself. “If we treat them as those whom they want to be, then we will bring them where they should be brought.” All logotherapy is focused on this “to be - to be able” (cited by Livehood, 1994. - S. 175). As you can see, the problem of “accepting” and even “understanding” the other person is not so simple.

4. Observe professional secrecy (principle of confidentiality). But this principle should not be taken literally. For example, in the conditions of work of a professional consultant at school, you still have to report some results of your work (the most general plan) to the administration, which also has the right to know what the psychologist consultant is doing with the students entrusted to her (the administration). However, it is strictly forbidden to report information about schoolchildren who may inflict any harm on them, even when the schoolchildren themselves claim that they "do not care what they talk about them."

But to figure out what can harm the client and what will not harm him, you need experience and professional “instinct” (a sense of the situation).

5. Respect your work colleagues, their right to professional creativity and independent choice of working methods. Criticism and discussion should be conducted reasonably, tactfully and constructively.
An ideal version of constructive criticism is to help your colleague from the yet imperfect new methodology (or psychological and pedagogical method) to do something effective and interesting. But not everyone is capable of this, since in this case one will have to overcome jealousy in relation to the one who “dared to create”, and also go beyond the existing stereotypes of work and even in the still weak idea be able to see promising moments.

6. Do not sort out relationships with work colleagues in the presence of clients and students. Of course, if such a clarification is carried out with you in a rude manner, then the client (or student, student) will understand that you are being insulted, but trust in you may also decrease somewhat, since you allow such treatment in relation to yourself. In any case, the first thing you should take your colleague to another room, from the eyes of the client ...

7. The principle of professional competence: do not transfer complex psychological techniques to untrained specialists and do not use techniques that you do not have sufficient knowledge of. If there is a need to involve colleagues-related workers (interested teachers, social workers, etc.) in their work, then the psychologist should prepare them for the independent use of some of their methods and be fully responsible for the correctness of their use in the work.

8. Observe the measure of mutual revelation with the client, do not let him tell his most secret secrets about himself (each person should always have at least a little secret secret of the soul, inaccessible to anyone), and also keep some distance with the client, otherwise you may lose his respect and the trust.

9. Do not deprive the client of the right to be responsible for his rights and actions. The most important goal of psychological assistance is not just solving a specific problem of a client, but striving to form his abilities and sense of responsibility for his fate. Only if the client is clearly not ready for such responsibility (or the psychologist realizes that he himself is not ready to help this client in this), then only will the psychologist have to take the main responsibility for the decisions made. But this responsibility does not really replace the responsibility of the person himself for his life. After all, it’s not for the psychologist to “hold the answer to the Lord God Himself” or to His Conscience ...

10. Do not show off your knowledge, strive to help the client first independently formulate certain provisions and conclusions. Specifically, this principle can be manifested even in the fact that the psychologist must immediately shut up every time the client wants to say something, even when the psychologist himself has not yet “agreed”, and when the client wants to say “some kind of stupidity ".

11. Do not misinform the client. Sometimes a psychologist, for the sake of “preserving the honor of his uniform” or for the sake of “maintaining his“ image ”, talks about something that he himself does not know, is afraid to admit a previously told untruth, etc. This can lead to the client making wrong decisions and greatly complicate his life. . A similar principle is highlighted in different ethical systems, in particular, in the “Ethical Standard” of Spanish psychologists: “Clause 36. If the experimental conditions require misinformation or deception of the subject, the psychologist must make sure that this does not cause any lasting damage to the participants experience, and in any case, the experimental nature and the need for deception should be disclosed at the end of the experimental program ”(see Professional Code of Ethics for Psychologists ..., 1990. - P. 159-160). But in psychological counseling, situations arise when “frank truth” (for example, “truth told in the eyes”) can severely injure a client and complicate his life situation. This principle (refusal to misinform the client) conflicts with other important principles, for example, with the principle “Do no harm!”, Or with the principle “Do not evaluate the client!” (“Do not label the customer!”). This principle has something in common with another principle: "Do not deceive the client." Interestingly, not all thinkers of the past rejected the “necessary lie”.

For example, the famous philosopher of the Enlightenment X. Wolf believed that if a person is forced to lie to circumstances and such a lie does not harm another person, then it is completely justified.

A. A. Schopenhauer called the stubborn denial of the necessary lies “a miserable patch on the clothes of wretched morality” (cited by Znakov, 1993. - S. 103).

Moreover, as V.V. Znakov notes, a satisfactory solution to the problem of truth and lies today is "hardly possible", and this is "one of the urgent tasks of Russian psychology" (ibid., Pp. 108-109). But the psychologist-practitioner still has to solve such problems in his work, and the main condition for the correct solution here is not some unambiguous recommendations, but a developed professional conscience based on experience and a general understanding of the situation.

12. Observe the principle of voluntary participation of the client in psychological procedures. The full implementation of this principle in school conditions can lead to the fact that for a regular (not super talented!) Psychologist, a significant part of students simply will not come to psychological and career-oriented classes (the temptation is too great for students to do something else voluntarily, but in adolescents, as you know, a lot). Therefore, it’s better to clarify this principle a little: combine the principle of voluntariness (when conducting individual professional consultations, personal questionnaires, game and psychotherapeutic forms of work) with the principle of obligatoriness (when conducting general seminars and lecture forms of work). For the schoolchildren themselves, there will be less torment about where “you can not go,” and where “you must be sure.” Naturally, when counseling adult clients, the principle of volunteerism should be implemented more fully (with the exception of cases of mandatory interviewing with a professional consultant, where the client also has the right to voluntarily choose one degree or another of frankness and depth of consideration of his problems with a psychologist).

13. Respect yourself as a person and as a specialist! You can often hear the following beautiful words: "The main means of the psychologist's work is his own personality." But the person is the highest value and therefore it should not act as a "means". As a means of achieving any goals, both a person and his personality act only with a perverted understanding of market relations, when anything (personality, love, and friendship) can be a commodity, a means of enrichment, or for some good Paraphrasing E. Fromm’s phrase “I am the way I need you”, where a person independently assumes the role of goods in the “personal market” (see Fromm, 1990. - P. 153), one could say this: “My personality it will be the way it is needed to solve your problems, but not the way I need it for my own development. ” If a human specialist treats himself as a “means,” can he fully help other people? But the means should nevertheless be special psychological techniques, including the so-called internal means of the psychologist’s professional activity (his knowledge, experience, verbal and non-verbal means of communication, etc.). Respecting ourselves, we begin to better understand and respect our customers!
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Basic ethical principles in the work of a psychologist

  1. Abstract. Ethical principles in the work of a psychologist, 2010
    Introduction Ethical principles of psychologist. The principle of confidentiality. The principle of competence. The principle of no harm. Principle of respect. The principle of objectivity. The principle of responsibility. The principle of ethical and legal competence. The principle of qualified propaganda of psychology. The principle of customer well-being. The principle of professional cooperation. Informing principle
  2. Ethical principles and rules of the psychologist
    Krylov A.A., Yuryev A.I. (In the book: “Workshop on General and Experimental Psychology” / Ed. By A. Krylov, S. A. Manichev, 2nd ed., St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkov, Minsk, 2000. P. 545-552). The modern level of psychological science and practice, the increased degree of their influence on social and economic processes, urgently require special regulation of the actions of psychologists, as in the process
  3. Ethical principles and rules of the psychologist
    Krylov A.A., Yuryev A.I. (In the book: “Workshop on General and Experimental Psychology” / Ed. By A. Krylov, S. A. Manichev, 2nd ed., St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkov, Minsk, 2000. P. 545-552). The modern level of psychological science and practice, the increased degree of their influence on social and economic processes, urgently require special regulation of the actions of psychologists, as in the process
  4. Ethical principles and rules of the psychologist
    Krylov A.A., Yuryev A.I. (In the book: “Workshop on General and Experimental Psychology” / Ed. By A. Krylov, S. A. Manichev, 2nd ed., St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkov, Minsk, 2000. P. 545-552). The modern level of psychological science and practice, the increased degree of their influence on social and economic processes, urgently require special regulation of the actions of psychologists, as in the process
  5. Ethical principles of psychologist
    Ethical principles are designed to provide: - the solution of professional tasks in accordance with ethical standards; -protection of people with whom psychologists engage in professional interaction: students, students, teachers, supervisors, research participants and other persons with whom the psychologist works; -containing trust between the psychologist and the client; Strengthening authority
  6. The main options and levels of consideration of ethical problems in psychology
    (according to I.V. Vachkov, I. B. Grinshpun, N. S. Pryazhnikov) Such concepts as “law”, “morality” and “morality” should be divided. • Law - these are fixed norms of behavior, for violation of which a person bears a strictly established responsibility (in this case, good law should always reflect existing social norms and correspond to the general level of development of a given society).
  7. The main ethical problems and the “temptations” of practical psychology
    (according to I.V. Vachkov, I. B. Grinshpun, N. S. Pryazhnikov) We can distinguish the following specific problems and “temptations” in the practical work of a psychologist, in his relations with clients, colleagues and
  8. Code of Ethics (ethical standards) of a counseling psychologist
    1. General rules 1.1. Boundaries of competence (a) Consulting psychologists are engaged in professional activities only within the boundaries of their competence, which is determined by education, advanced training forms and relevant professional experience. (c) Consulting psychologists carry out professional activities in new areas or use new techniques only after
  10. Структура психологической работы и основные принципы ее организации и проведения
    В структурном отношении психологическая работа как система объединяет в своем составе такие элементы, как цели и задачи, субъекты, объекты, методы и средства психологической работы. Общая направленность и задачи и психологической работы определяются необходимостью всестороннего обеспечения боевой готовности Вооруженных сил, а также характером конкретных проблем, оказывающих негативное
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