Decalogue of the psychologist: ethical and professional requirements of our profession
Psychology is a booming profession . However, to practice as a psychologist it is not enough to study psychology. And we work with people, which 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.
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The decalogue of the psychologist
Below you can see a decalogue of the psychologist that 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 its field of action, passes through seek the maximum benefit for your patients or clients . We have the obligation to act in search of the welfare of others, helping them to the extent that we are capable, and this being the main driver of our professional activity.
The principle of nonmaleficence works under the assumption that we must refrain from doing acts that harm others. However, sometimes to achieve the maximum possible welfare is necessary to apply techniques and procedures that will make the customer suffer emotionally. In the end, in many cases, aspects that are painful for the subject are worked on, and facing them usually brings some suffering .
In these cases, a professional action must focus on whether this suffering is not unnecessary or that it will bring benefits for the client that are higher than the level of suffering.
Finally, we must leave our prejudices aside and treat everyone who enters our consultation in the same way. If we are not able for some reason, it is convenient to refer it 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 taken into account.
It is important that anyone who comes to us feels served, understood and not criticized, and although it is essential to act objectively we should not underestimate the possible suffering of the person nor what is important to her.
Being objective and knowing how to maintain a position as a professional does not necessarily mean being aseptic. This makes the patients feel unaccepted and hinders both the therapeutic relationship and the adherence to treatments and interventions. As Carl Jung said, "master all techniques, but touching a human soul is just another human soul."
3. Never judge your patient
The client or patient who comes to consultation will open a door to their life from which we will be able to visualize more or less deep parts of their existence, their 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 frontally confront their own. In case the psychologist or psychologist is not able to do so, he must refer the client to another professional.
4. Respect the confidentiality of your patients or clients
The information that the patients provide us must be, unless a judicial decree or in case of serious danger for 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 for the purpose of helping to improve the state of the subject.
If it is intended to use the information collected in some way (for example in the face of research or training of professionals) or even communicate it to others outside the team that is attending the individual, the patient must give their prior consent.
5. Respects 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 that comes to consultation has its own value system, its own agenda and ultimately its 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 take it must be him or her.
6. Recognize your limits: we do not 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 that can help in the best way the individual who comes to us, since our goal must be to help at all times and not reinforce our ego.
In addition, we must bear in mind that experience and having a large body of knowledge can sometimes make us confident. However, this confidence should not make us fall into the error of presupposing or take for granted that we know everything.
While clients can tell us very important parts of their lives and we can form a rough idea of how they are and how they act in their real life, the circumstances and elements that surround their day to day are largely unknown.
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7. Act with objectivity
Our values, tastes, beliefs or even personal problems should not influence at any time or bias our work.
We must remain objective and know what is our role as professionals . We help the person to be able to make decisions about his life, putting us in his place and taking into account his point of view.
8. Remember what you work for. The important thing is the user.
It must be borne in mind that people who come for consultation are looking for some kind of professional help . What should always prevail is, as we have said before, your well-being. We have to work with this objective.
Psychologists will not be good those whose main motivation to exercise are aspects such as the economic, the strengthening of their ego through the power over others or the resolution of their own personal shortcomings.
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9. We are 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 performance be effective and efficient. The psychology it is a discipline in which progress is being 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 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 not do what we want. We are not dealing with human guinea pigs: what we propose must have an empirical base and proven effectiveness , in addition to being directed towards a specific objective. People should be informed of what is to be done and what results can be expected from the intervention.
10. Respect and want your profession
As a psychologist, you are representing a professional sector that works hard in order to help their peers to improve different areas of their lives.
Your work It will have great repercussions on the lives of those you treat. Respect your role and keep in mind its importance. In addition, avoid as much as possible damaging the profession or the contribution of other professionals.