Exercising in the field of psychology attending patients requires taking ethics into account.
Psychology is a booming profession. However, to be a psychologist it is not enough to study a degree in psychology. And it is that we work with people, who are going to be affected to a greater or lesser extent by our performance.
Therefore, the exercise of the profession of psychologist is subject to a large number of ethical and professional considerations that must be taken into account.
- Related article: ” The 6 differences between ethics and morals “
The decalogue of the psychologist
Below you can see a decalogue of the psychologist who of the main ethical and professional requirements to assess.
1. Be guided by the principles of beneficence, non-maleficence and justice
The task of the psychologist, regardless of his field of action, is to seek the maximum benefit for his patients or clients. We have the obligation to act in search of the well-being of others, helping them to the extent that we are capable, and this being the main driver of our professional activity.
The principle of non-maleficence works under the assumption that we must refrain from doing acts that harm others. However, sometimes to achieve the maximum possible well-being it is necessary to apply techniques and procedures that will make the client suffer emotionally. At the end of the day, in many cases, aspects that are painful for the subject are worked on, and facing them usually entails certain suffering.
In these cases, a professional action must focus on ensuring that said suffering is not unnecessary or that it will entail benefits for the client that exceed the level of suffering.
Finally, we must put our prejudices aside and treat everyone who enters our practice in the same way. If we are unable for any reason, it is advisable to refer you to another professional.
2. Remember: we are people who deal with people
We are dealing with human beings and not with objects, programs or products. It may seem that this point is obvious, but nevertheless it is something that sometimes seems not to be fully taken into account.
It is important that those who come to us feel cared for, understood and not criticized, and although it is essential to act objectively, we should not underestimate the possible suffering of the person or what is important to them.
Being objective and knowing how to maintain your position as a professional does not necessarily imply being aseptic. This makes patients feel little accepted and hinders both the therapeutic relationship and adherence to treatments and interventions. As Carl Jung said, “master all the techniques, but when you touch a human soul, be just another human soul.”
3. Never judge your patient
The client or patient who comes to consultation will open a door to his life from which we will be able to visualize more or less deep parts of his existence, his fears and experiences.
The patient trusts part of his life, his thoughts and beliefs. These must always be respected, despite the fact that in some cases they can confront their own head-on. In case the psychologist or psychologist is not trained to do so, she must refer the client to another professional.
4. Respect the confidentiality of your patients or clients
The information that patients provide us must be, except by judicial decree or in case of serious danger to the life of the subject or of others, totally confidential. We are entrusted with information that in many cases is not shared with anyone else with the purpose of helping to improve the condition of the subject.
In the event that it is intended to use the information collected in any way (for example, for research or professional training) or even communicate it to others outside the team that is treating the individual, the patient must give their prior consent.
5. Respect the autonomy of the patient or client
You should never try to impose your own opinion on a subject. Although we think that certain actions, techniques or interventions may be the most effective, they should not try to force themselves. The subject who comes to the consultation has his own value system, his own agenda and ultimately his own life, and we have no right to make them do something they do not want. You can convince the person or help them make a decision, but in the end who has to make it has to be he or she.
6. Recognize your limits: we don’t know everything
We are not omnipotent: it is necessary to be honest and recognize our own limits, recognize our mistakes and even our lack of competence to solve specific cases. If something surpasses us, we can refer to another professional who can better help the individual who comes to us, since our objective should be to help them at all times and not reinforce our ego.
In addition, it must be taken into account that experience and the fact of having a wide body of knowledge can sometimes make us confident. However, this confidence should not make us make the mistake of assuming or taking for granted that we know everything.
Although clients can tell us very important parts of their lives and we can get a rough idea of what they are like and how they act in their real life, the circumstances and elements that surround their day-to-day life are largely unknown to us.
7. Act objectively
Our values, tastes, beliefs or even personal problems must not influence at any time or bias our work.
We must remain objective and know what our role as professionals is. We help the person to be able to make decisions regarding their life, putting ourselves in their place and taking their point of view into account.
8. Remember what you work for. The important thing is the user.
It should be borne in mind that the people who come for consultation are looking for some kind of professional help. What should always come first is, as we have said previously, your well-being. We have to work towards this goal.
Good psychologists will not be those whose main motivation to exercise are aspects such as economics, the reinforcement of their ego through power over others or the resolution of their own personal deficiencies.
- You may be interested: ” 10 signs to detect a bad psychologist or therapist “
9. Let’s be competent: it is necessary to train and update continuously
Having a basic training is necessary to be able to exercise, but nevertheless it is not enough if what we want is that our actions be effective and efficient. Psychology is a discipline in which progress is made continuously.
As with education and medicine, it is necessary for psychologists to be aware of the various advances, studies and techniques generated. This is essential when it comes to offering the best possible service to clients, allowing the most effective techniques to be used and adjusting the methodologies used to the needs and circumstances of each subject to be treated.
In addition, we must bear in mind that we must be competent when exercising. We can’t do what we want. We are not dealing with human guinea pigs: what we propose must have an empirical basis and proven efficacy, in addition to being directed towards a specific objective. People must be informed of what is to be done and what results can be expected from the intervention.
10. Respect and love your profession
As a psychologist, you are representing a professional sector that works hard to help their peers improve different areas of their lives.
Your work will have a great impact on the lives of those you deal with. Respect your role and take into account its importance. In addition, avoid damaging the profession or the contribution of other professionals as much as possible.