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Ethical principles of psychologists according to the APA

The ethical principles of APA psychologists are a worldwide reference framework. A wonderful creation that holds us accountable and protects us.

Ethical principles in the psychologist profession are essential in relation to your responsibility in the intervention you develop; especially, they are for the establishment of limits.

There are different organizations that have built different principles with exhaustive explanations to guide the professional conduct of the psychologist. One of these is the American Psychological Association (APA), which we will dive into today.

To begin, we will emphasize what psychological ethics is. Later we will talk about the universal declaration of ethical principles for psychologists. Finally, we will delve into those that have been formulated by the APA.

“A man’s ethical behavior should be effectively based on compassion, education and social relationships.”

-Albert Einstein-

What is psychological ethics?

Ethics, according to the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (RAE), is ‘the set of moral norms that govern a person’s conduct in any area of ​​life’. That is to say, They are the moral principles and rules that regulate the activities in which we perform.

However, Psychological ethics is ethics applied to the field of psychology. Its principles have to do with the decisions made by the professional or scientific community in this area to tell us how we should behave. They arise with the idea of ​​guaranteeing the well-being of the people we work with and ourselves, through respect for human rights.

Besides, psychological ethics aims: the specialized study of dilemmas. Those that may arise from the relationship between the professional and the user, patient or client. To achieve this, various principles have been constructed, some universal, others specific to each country, adapting to the context.

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Universal declaration of ethical principles for psychologists

The scientific and academic community in psychology has created codes that serve to guide the professional conduct of the psychologist, explaining the principles and standards of the profession. They emphasize the following:

Values.Identity.Communication.Differentiation.Decision making.Control.Protection.

A shared framework has been created globally as a guide for psychology professionals. It was adopted by the Assembly of the International Union of Psychological Science and by the Board of Directors of the International Association of Applied Psychology.

Ethical principles of the declaration

In this declaration there is a description of the ethical principles associated with a series of values. The objectives of the construction of this framework were:

Provide a universal standard through which the psychological community can evaluate the codes of ethics and progress of the profession. Have a set of global moral principles. Facilitate an ethical framework of reference. Thus, it is shared by various representatives of the psychological community. Having a common basis for evaluating unethical behavior.

Let’s look at some of the principles of this statement.

Respect for dignity. It consists of recognizing the value of each human being. Regardless of the differences. Thus, taking into account: equity and justice, respect for diversity and the protection of confidentiality. In this sense, they ensure the right to free and informed consent.Competent care for the well-being of others. It means working for the benefit of others. Thus, we minimize potential damage. It involves applying knowledge and skills assertively according to the context. Furthermore, they ensure that the relationships established are in line with benefits and harm reduction.Integrity. It consists of honest and accurate communication. Recognizing and controlling potential biases, multiple relationships or other conflicts of interest that may harm the other, us or the relationship. Furthermore, this principle is linked to confidentiality, truthfulness, and non-exploitation.Professional and scientific responsibilities with society. It is in line with the contribution to the knowledge of behavior. Also, understanding people, and ethical standards.

Ethical principles of psychologists according to the APA

The American Psychological Association (APA) constructed a code of ethics that went into effect in June 2003. It is updated, explicit and adopts the general principles proposed by bioethics. Let’s look at these principles:

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Beneficence and non-maleficence. Psychologists must strive to add, with our work and regardless of the place in the hierarchy we occupy in the company or institution, to the team in which we are integrated.Principle of fidelity and responsibility. We must establish relationships of trust with those we work with. Additionally, maintain standards of professional conduct, accepting responsibilities and managing conflicts of interest appropriately.Integrity. It consists of promoting precision, honesty and truthfulness in the science, teaching and practice of psychology; without intentionally misappropriating, defrauding or engaging in fraudulent activities.Justice. It is about the recognition of equality and justice for the people we work with. Furthermore, in our services we must be reasonable and leave our prejudices aside; and recognize the limits of our competence.Respect for the rights and dignity of people. Recognize them, being aware of guaranteeing the protection and well-being of the people we work with. To do this, we must respect cultural, individual, role, age, gender, gender identity, race, nationality, religion, language, sexual orientation, disability and socioeconomic status differences.

According to Carmen Del Río Sánchez, author of the book Ethical and professional guide in clinical psychology, the principles proposed by the APA code are important throughout the world. They serve as guidance for the psychology professional.

Furthermore, for the Colleges and Associations of Psychologists in each country, which take it into account when constructing their own codes. A wonderful framework of reference to know how to be good professionals.

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