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Professional and ethical standards of psychologist
The professional activity of a psychologist is a very complex and responsible area of professional activity that requires appropriate education, professional skill, as it affects the fate of people. It is associated with the knowledge of purely individual personality characteristics of people, their deep inner experiences and conditions. In the process, the psychologist operates with information, the careless use of which can cause irreparable harm to individuals, families, groups, the authority of psychology itself. At the same time, the psychologist must develop proposals and recommendations to officials, provide them with the necessary data on personnel in the interests of making managerial decisions, and conducting educational work with them. In addition, the psychologist independently carries out targeted intervention in the thoughts, feelings, worldview and behavior of military personnel.
In this regard, a number of socio-ethical and professional requirements are presented to psychologists, compliance with which allows the specialist to use people's trust, to correctly navigate in situations of conflict between the norms of subordination and morality, the needs and interests of individuals and various groups.
Professional and ethical standards - the requirements for the level of professional qualification of a psychologist, the implementation of specific moral standards of behavior in his activities, both in relations with colleagues, the scientific community, and with subjects and clients
Professional and ethical requirements are formulated in a number of principles, which include:
1. The principle of confidentiality, which means that any information provided by the client to the psychologist cannot be transferred without his consent to any public or state organizations, officials or private individuals, including relatives, friends, etc. Not only the fact of the possibility or impossibility of transmitting information is discussed, but also the volume of this information, the circle of persons to whom it can be transmitted, the purpose and procedure for using the information by these people.
There are exceptions to this rule, about which the client is always warned in advance. An example is the situation when a psychologist finds out during an appointment about something that is a serious threat to someone’s life or health. An exception is also cases where a psychodiagnostic examination is carried out for scientific purposes as part of an experimental study, but even in this case it is not recommended to indicate the exact names and surnames of the subjects in publications.
The psychologist takes all measures to maintain the confidentiality of professional relations, received information, documents, personal records, photos, audio and video films related to work. He should not allow: leakage of information of an intimate nature; public comparison of people (groups) by psychological qualities; indications of the source of information.
2. The principle of non-damage, which suggests that the psychologist should not disseminate information and special psychological knowledge that can be used to manipulate people, worsen relations between them. It also implies:
- respect for the personal integrity of people, their right to participate or not to participate in research, diagnostic and formative-corrective measures, to psychological counseling without the presence of third parties;
- an explanation of the goals and objectives of psychological research, the procedure for using the information received. A person must not be subjected to a psychological examination against his will or by fraud (except in cases of judicial and medical practice stipulated by law);
- Prevention of methods and procedures that infringe on the personal dignity of a person, physical or psychological coercion of people to communicate any information, change of views and beliefs, even if they are authorized by a superior;
- assessment of any professional situation from an ethical point of view and informing officials, people involved in the fate of a person and working with him, about ethical requirements for using information that is available or transmitted to him and about his own ethical position of a psychologist.
Before conducting a psychological examination of a person, it is necessary to warn that during his testing he can unwittingly give out information about himself, his thoughts and feelings, which he does not realize. Any person, unless specified by law, has the right to know the results of their testing, as well as where, by whom and how they can be used. The results of the psychological examination are provided to the subject to those who conducted the examination in a form that is accessible to a correct understanding. When testing minor children, their parents or their substitutes have the right to know the results of testing the child. If testing is carried out for the purpose of competitive selection (to a university, to a higher position), then a person has the right to know who and on what basis conclusions will be drawn about him based on the results of testing.
3. The principle of scientific validity of the psychological methods used and the objectivity of the conclusions requires that the methods and means used by the psychologist be valid and reliable, that is, give results that can be fully trusted. The psychologist uses diagnostic, corrective, psychoprophylactic methods and techniques, the mechanism of action of which he clearly understands, considers sufficiently mastered and anticipates the consequences of their use.
When selecting methods for the battery (examination program), the psychologist is guided not by subjective preferences and prejudices in evaluating the methods, but proceeds from the requirements of maximum diagnostic efficiency - maximum reliability at minimum cost.
When hypothesizing the causal relationships of certain psychological parameters and interpreting data, it is necessary to consider, along with the most likely psychological hypothesis, an alternative one, following a principle similar to the principle of the "presumption of innocence" in legal proceedings. The conclusions drawn by the psychologist on the results of the examination follow from the results of the examination itself, and do not depend on the subjective attitudes of those who conduct it or use its results.
4. The principle of comprehensive diagnostics and psychological assistance involves a combination of various methodological techniques for the diagnosis of the same mental properties, as well as combinations of techniques aimed at related mental properties to increase the validity of the diagnostic conclusion. The psychologist provides the necessary level of reliability of the diagnosis, using standardized and non-standardized methods, as well as a method of independent expert evaluations.
In addition, in the course of the provision of psychological assistance, a system of reasons must be revealed that determines the situation proposed to the counseling psychologist. The consultant can understand the causes of the client’s problems only in the context of complete information about him. On the other hand, there must be a theoretical system to explain individual facts and manifestations of feelings, actions of the client, based on a holistic vision of a wider “panorama” of his mental life, to predict possible options for positive changes.
This principle also means that in identifying factors contributing to positive changes, a comprehensive approach should prevail, providing for the possibility of implementing these factors both in the system of professional actions of the psychologist himself, other officials and specialists, and in the client's environment (taking into account the requirements of reasonable sufficiency ) In addition, the views of all parties involved in the situation proposed by the consultant should be taken into account.
5. The principle of a non-judgmental attitude towards the client and respect for his personality. The psychologist creates the conditions for a person (client) to seek help to feel calm and comfortable during the appointment. A benevolent attitude implies not just following generally accepted norms of behavior, but also the ability to listen carefully, provide the necessary psychological support, not to judge, but to try to understand and help everyone who seeks help, regardless of rank, position, age. It is necessary to accept people as they are. For the sake of creating an atmosphere of trust conducive to a more complete disclosure of personality, the psychologist seeks to avoid any value judgments. No matter what a person says, everything is worthy of benevolent attention. The psychologist accepts the person and his problems as they are.
6. The principle of effectiveness of the proposed recommendations implies their usefulness for the person to whom they are given. Moreover, they should be feasible both for the person himself and for officials related to solving a specific problem. The effectiveness of the recommendations is determined by their specificity, taking into account the competence and competence of those officials to whom they are addressed.
7. The principle of professional competence and reflection of professional restrictions means that the practical psychologist is responsible for the consequences of his professional activities. The psychologist must clearly represent the limits of his capabilities in solving the tasks facing him, apply only proven and mastered methods of work, predict the consequences of his actions, and minimize the risk of unintentional negative effects on people. He is obliged to constantly improve knowledge, skills and abilities, maintain his qualifications at the level of the requirements of professional activity. A psychologist needs a good theoretical preparation, thorough knowledge of psychodiagnostic, psychocorrectional and developing techniques and experience in their practical use.
Officials who have received psychological information from a psychologist should refrain from applying administrative decisions without a thorough and comprehensive analysis and consideration of the information received and the possible consequences of the measures taken.
The psychologist builds his relations with colleagues on the basis of mutual respect, trust, mutual assistance, shares with him the information received, methodological and scientific findings that allow for effective practical work. At the same time, direct borrowing of the results of other people's research, attribution of authorship to theoretical principles, experimental techniques and data, the use of primary sources in publications without reference to them, etc. is prohibited.
In the interests of the client, the psychologist should actively cooperate with doctors, lawyers, officials of educational institutions. He is authorized to prevent the incorrect and unethical implementation of measures of psychological work. He is obliged to report all violations of regulatory legal principles and professional and ethical norms of activity to the regional or central bodies of the Society of Psychologists.
Violation by the psychologist of ethical norms and principles of work is incompatible with the performance of duties by him in his post.
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