Ethical PrinciPlEs of Psychologists

Ethical PrinciPlEs of Psychologists and

codE of conduct Adopted August 21, 2002

Effective June 1, 2003

With the 2010 Amendments Adopted February 20, 2010

Effective June 1, 2010



Effective June 1, 2003, as amended 2010 1 Copyright © 2010 by the American Psychological Association. 0003-066X

Ethical PrinciPlEs of Psychologists and codE of conduct




GENERAL PRINCIPLES Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility Principle C: Integrity Principle D: Justice Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity

ETHICAL STANDARDS 1. Resolving Ethical Issues 1.01 Misuse of Psychologists’ Work 1.02 Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority 1.03 Conflicts Between Ethics and Organizational Demands 1.04 Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations 1.05 Reporting Ethical Violations 1.06 Cooperating With Ethics Committees 1.07 Improper Complaints 1.08 Unfair Discrimination Against Complainants and Respondents

2. Competence 2.01 Boundaries of Competence 2.02 Providing Services in Emergencies 2.03 Maintaining Competence 2.04 Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments 2.05 Delegation of Work to Others 2.06 Personal Problems and Conflicts

3. Human Relations 3.01 Unfair Discrimination 3.02 Sexual Harassment 3.03 Other Harassment 3.04 Avoiding Harm 3.05 Multiple Relationships 3.06 Conflict of Interest 3.07 Third-Party Requests for Services 3.08 Exploitative Relationships 3.09 Cooperation With Other Professionals 3.10 Informed Consent 3.11 Psychological Services Delivered to or Through Organizations 3.12 Interruption of Psychological Services

4. Privacy and Confidentiality 4.01 Maintaining Confidentiality

4.02 Discussing the Limits of Confidentiality 4.03 Recording 4.04 Minimizing Intrusions on Privacy 4.05 Disclosures 4.06 Consultations 4.07 Use of Confidential Information for Didactic or Other Purposes

5. Advertising and Other Public Statements 5.01 Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements 5.02 Statements by Others 5.03 Descriptions of Workshops and Non-Degree-Granting Educational Programs 5.04 Media Presentations 5.05 Testimonials 5.06 In-Person Solicitation

6. Record Keeping and Fees 6.01 Documentation of Professional and Scientific Work and Maintenance of Records 6.02 Maintenance, Dissemination, and Disposal of Confidential Records of Professional and Scientific Work 6.03 Withholding Records for Nonpayment 6.04 Fees and Financial Arrangements 6.05 Barter With Clients/Patients 6.06 Accuracy in Reports to Payors and Funding Sources 6.07 Referrals and Fees

7. Education and Training 7.01 Design of Education and Training Programs 7.02 Descriptions of Education and Training Programs 7.03 Accuracy in Teaching 7.04 Student Disclosure of Personal Information 7.05 Mandatory Individual or Group Therapy 7.06 Assessing Student and Supervisee Performance 7.07 Sexual Relationships With Students and Supervisees

8. Research and Publication 8.01 Institutional Approval 8.02 Informed Consent to Research 8.03 Informed Consent for Recording Voices and Images in Research

8.04 Client/Patient, Student, and Subordinate Research Participants 8.05 Dispensing With Informed Consent for Research 8.06 Offering Inducements for Research Participation 8.07 Deception in Research 8.08 Debriefing 8.09 Humane Care and Use of Animals in Research 8.10 Reporting Research Results 8.11 Plagiarism 8.12 Publication Credit 8.13 Duplicate Publication of Data 8.14 Sharing Research Data for Verification 8.15 Reviewers

9. Assessment 9.01 Bases for Assessments 9.02 Use of Assessments 9.03 Informed Consent in Assessments 9.04 Release of Test Data 9.05 Test Construction 9.06 Interpreting Assessment Results 9.07 Assessment by Unqualified Persons 9.08 Obsolete Tests and Outdated Test Results 9.09 Test Scoring and Interpretation Services 9.10 Explaining Assessment Results 9.11 Maintaining Test Security

10. Therapy 10.01 Informed Consent to Therapy 10.02 Therapy Involving Couples or Families 10.03 Group Therapy 10.04 Providing Therapy to Those Served by Others 10.05 Sexual Intimacies With Current Therapy Clients/Patients 10.06 Sexual Intimacies With Relatives or Significant Others of Current Therapy Clients/Patients 10.07 Therapy With Former Sexual Partners 10.08 Sexual Intimacies With Former Therapy Clients/Patients 10.09 Interruption of Therapy 10.10 Terminating Therapy




2 Effective June 1, 2003, as amended 2010Introduction and Applicability

portunity for an in-person hearing, but generally provide that complaints will be resolved only on the basis of a submitted record.

The Ethics Code is intended to provide guidance for psychologists and standards of professional conduct that can be applied by the APA and by other bodies that choose to adopt them. The Ethics Code is not intended to be a basis of civil liability. Whether a psychologist has violated the Ethics Code standards does not by itself determine whether the psy- chologist is legally liable in a court action, whether a contract is enforceable, or whether other legal consequences occur.

The modifiers used in some of the standards of this Ethics Code (e.g., reasonably, appropriate, potentially) are in- cluded in the standards when they would (1) allow profes- sional judgment on the part of psychologists, (2) eliminate injustice or inequality that would occur without the modifier, (3) ensure applicability across the broad range of activities conducted by psychologists, or (4) guard against a set of rigid rules that might be quickly outdated. As used in this Ethics Code, the term reasonable means the prevailing professional judgment of psychologists engaged in similar activities in sim- ilar circumstances, given the knowledge the psychologist had or should have had at the time.

The American Psychological Association’s Council of Representatives ad- opted this version of the APA Ethics Code during its meeting on August 21, 2002. The Code became effective on June 1, 2003. The Council of Represen- tatives amended this version of the Ethics Code on February 20, 2010. The amendments became effective on June 1, 2010 (see p. 15 of this pamphlet). Inquiries concerning the substance or interpretation of the APA Ethics Code should be addressed to the Director, Office of Ethics, American Psycho- logical Association, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. The Ethics Code and information regarding the Code can be found on the APA website, The standards in this Ethics Code will be used to adjudicate complaints brought concerning alleged conduct occur- ring on or after the effective date. Complaints will be adjudicated on the basis of the version of the Ethics Code that was in effect at the time the conduct occurred.

The APA has previously published its Ethics Code as follows:

American Psychological Association. (1953). Ethical standards of psycholo- gists. Washington, DC: Author.

American Psychological Association. (1959). Ethical standards of psycholo- gists. American Psychologist, 14, 279–282.

American Psychological Association. (1963). Ethical standards of psycholo- gists. American Psychologist, 18, 56–60.

American Psychological Association. (1968). Ethical standards of psycholo- gists. American Psychologist, 23, 357–361.

American Psychological Association. (1977, March). Ethical standards of psychologists. APA Monitor, 22–23.

American Psychological Association. (1979). Ethical standards of psycholo- gists. Washington, DC: Author.

American Psychological Association. (1981). Ethical principles of psycholo- gists. American Psychologist, 36, 633–638.

American Psychological Association. (1990). Ethical principles of psycholo- gists (Amended June 2, 1989). American Psychologist, 45, 390–395.

American Psychological Association. (1992). Ethical principles of psycholo- gists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 47, 1597–1611.

American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psycholo- gists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073.

Request copies of the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct from the APA Order Department, 750 First Street, NE, Washing- ton, DC 20002-4242, or phone (202) 336-5510.

INTRODUCTION AND APPLICABILITY The American Psychological Association’s (APA’s)

Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (hereinafter referred to as the Ethics Code) consists of an In- troduction, a Preamble, five General Principles (A–E), and specific Ethical Standards. The Introduction discusses the intent, organization, procedural considerations, and scope of application of the Ethics Code. The Preamble and General Principles are aspirational goals to guide psychologists toward the highest ideals of psychology. Although the Preamble and General Principles are not themselves enforceable rules, they should be considered by psychologists in arriving at an ethical course of action. The Ethical Standards set forth enforceable rules for conduct as psychologists. Most of the Ethical Stan- dards are written broadly, in order to apply to psychologists in varied roles, although the application of an Ethical Standard may vary depending on the context. The Ethical Standards are not exhaustive. The fact that a given conduct is not specifically addressed by an Ethical Standard does not mean that it is nec- essarily either ethical or unethical.

This Ethics Code applies only to psychologists’ ac- tivities that are part of their scientific, educational, or profes- sional roles as psychologists. Areas covered include but are not limited to the clinical, counseling, and school practice of psychology; research; teaching; supervision of trainees; pub- lic service; policy development; social intervention; develop- ment of assessment instruments; conducting assessments; educational counseling; organizational consulting; forensic activities; program design and evaluation; and administra- tion. This Ethics Code applies to these activities across a vari- ety of contexts, such as in person, postal, telephone, Internet, and other electronic transmissions. These activities shall be distinguished from the purely private conduct of psycholo- gists, which is not within the purview of the Ethics Code.

Membership in the APA commits members and stu- dent affiliates to comply with the standards of the APA Ethics Code and to the rules and procedures used to enforce them. Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of an Ethical Standard is not itself a defense to a charge of unethical conduct.

The procedures for filing, investigating, and resolving complaints of unethical conduct are described in the current Rules and Procedures of the APA Ethics Committee. APA may impose sanctions on its members for violations of the stan- dards of the Ethics Code, including termination of APA mem- bership, and may notify other bodies and individuals of its actions. Actions that violate the standards of the Ethics Code may also lead to the imposition of sanctions on psychologists or students whether or not they are APA members by bodies other than APA, including state psychological associations, other professional groups, psychology boards, other state or federal agencies, and payors for health services. In addition, APA may take action against a member after his or her convic- tion of a felony, expulsion or suspension from an affiliated state psychological association, or suspension or loss of licensure. When the sanction to be imposed by APA is less than expul- sion, the 2001 Rules and Procedures do not guarantee an op-



Effective June 1, 2003, as amended 2010 3Preamble–Principle D

Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they

work and take care to do no harm. In their professional ac- tions, psychologists seek to safeguard the welfare and rights of those with whom they interact professionally and other af- fected persons, and the welfare of animal subjects of research. When conflicts occur among psychologists’ obligations or concerns, they attempt to resolve these conflicts in a respon- sible fashion that avoids or minimizes harm. Because psychol- ogists’ scientific and professional judgments and actions may affect the lives of others, they are alert to and guard against personal, financial, social, organizational, or political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence. Psychologists strive to be aware of the possible effect of their own physical and mental health on their ability to help those with whom they work.

Principle B: fidelity and Responsibility Psychologists establish relationships of trust with

those with whom they work. They are aware of their profes- sional and scientific responsibilities to society and to the spe- cific communities in which they work. Psychologists uphold professional standards of conduct, clarify their professional roles and obligations, accept appropriate responsibility for their behavior, and seek to manage conflicts of interest that could lead to exploitation or harm. Psychologists consult with, refer to, or cooperate with other professionals and in- stitutions to the extent needed to serve the best interests of those with whom they work. They are concerned about the ethical compliance of their colleagues’ scientific and profes- sional conduct. Psychologists strive to contribute a portion of their professional time for little or no compensation or per- sonal advantage.

Principle C: Integrity Psychologists seek to promote accuracy, honesty, and

truthfulness in the science, teaching, and practice of psychol- ogy. In these activities psychologists do not steal, cheat, or en- gage in fraud, subterfuge, or intentional misrepresentation of fact. Psychologists strive to keep their promises and to avoid unwise or unclear commitments. In situations in which de- ception may be ethically justifiable to maximize benefits and minimize harm, psychologists have a serious obligation to consider the need for, the possible consequences of, and their responsibility to correct any resulting mistrust or other harm- ful effects that arise from the use of such techniques.

Principle D: Justice Psychologists recognize that fairness and justice en-

title all persons to access to and benefit from the contribu- tions of psychology and to equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being conducted by psychologists. Psychologists exercise reasonable judgment and take precau- tions to ensure that their potential biases, the boundaries of

In the process of making decisions regarding their professional behavior, psychologists must consider this Eth- ics Code in addition to applicable laws and psychology board regulations. In applying the Ethics Code to their professional work, psychologists may consider other materials and guide- lines that have been adopted or endorsed by scientific and professional psychological organizations and the dictates of their own conscience, as well as consult with others within the field. If this Ethics Code establishes a higher standard of conduct than is required by law, psychologists must meet the higher ethical standard. If psychologists’ ethical responsi- bilities conflict with law, regulations, or other governing legal authority, psychologists make known their commitment to this Ethics Code and take steps to resolve the conflict in a re- sponsible manner in keeping with basic principles of human rights.

PREAMBLE Psychologists are committed to increasing scientific

and professional knowledge of behavior and people’s un- derstanding of themselves and others and to the use of such knowledge to improve the condition of individuals, organi- zations, and society. Psychologists respect and protect civil and human rights and the central importance of freedom of inquiry and expression in research, teaching, and publication. They strive to help the public in developing informed judg- ments and choices concerning human behavior. In doing so, they perform many roles, such as researcher, educator, diag- nostician, therapist, supervisor, consultant, administrator, so- cial interventionist, and expert witness. This Ethics Code pro- vides a common set of principles and standards upon which psychologists build their professional and scientific work.

This Ethics Code is intended to provide specific stan- dards to cover most situations encountered by psychologists. It has as its goals the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with whom psychologists work and the education of members, students, and the public regarding ethical stan- dards of the discipline.

The development of a dynamic set of ethical standards for psychologists’ work-related conduct requires a personal commitment and lifelong effort to act ethically; to encour- age ethical behavior by students, supervisees, employees, and colleagues; and to consult with others concerning ethical problems.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES This section consists of General Principles. General

Principles, as opposed to Ethical Standards, are aspirational in nature. Their intent is to guide and inspire psychologists to- ward the very highest ethical ideals of the profession. General Principles, in contrast to Ethical Standards, do not represent obligations and should not form the basis for imposing sanc- tions. Relying upon General Principles for either of these rea- sons distorts both their meaning and purpose.



4 Effective June 1, 2003, as amended 2010Principle E–Standard 2.01

vidual, if an informal resolution appears appropriate and the intervention does not violate any confidentiality rights that may be involved. (See also Standards 1.02, Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Au- thority, and 1.03, Conflicts Between Ethics and Organization- al Demands.)

1.05 reporting Ethical Violations If an apparent ethical violation has substantially

harmed or is likely to substantially harm a person or organi- zation and is not appropriate for informal resolution under Standard 1.04, Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations, or is not resolved properly in that fashion, psychologists take further action appropriate to the situation. Such action might include referral to state or national committees on profes- sional ethics, to state licensing boards, or to the appropriate institutional authorities. This standard does not apply when an intervention would violate confidentiality rights or when psychologists have been retained to review the work of an- other psychologist whose professional conduct is in question. (See also Standard 1.02, Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority.)

1.06 cooperating With Ethics committees Psychologists cooperate in ethics investigations, pro-

ceedings, and resulting requirements of the APA or any af- filiated state psychological association to which they belong. In doing so, they address any confidentiality issues. Failure to cooperate is itself an ethics violation. However, making a request for deferment of adjudication of an ethics complaint pending the outcome of litigation does not alone constitute noncooperation.

1.07 improper complaints Psychologists do not file or encourage the filing of

ethics complaints that are made with reckless disregard for or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the allegation.

1.08 unfair discrimination against complainants and respondents Psychologists do not deny persons employment, ad-

vancement, admissions to academic or other programs, ten- ure, or promotion, based solely upon their having made or their being the subject of an ethics complaint. This does not preclude taking action based upon the outcome of such pro- ceedings or considering other appropriate information.

2. Competence 2.01 Boundaries of competence

(a) Psychologists provide services, teach, and conduct research with populations and in areas only within the bound- aries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised experience, consultation, study, or professional experience.

their competence, and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices.

Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity

Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of all peo- ple, and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination. Psychologists are aware that special safeguards may be necessary to protect the rights and welfare of persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair au- tonomous decision making. Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status, and consider these fac- tors when working with members of such groups. Psycholo- gists try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.

ETHICAL STANDARDS 1. Resolving Ethical Issues 1.01 Misuse of Psychologists’ Work

If psychologists learn of misuse or misrepresentation of their work, they take reasonable steps to correct or mini- mize the misuse or misrepresentation.

1.02 conflicts Between Ethics and law, regulations, or other governing legal authority If psychologists’ ethical responsibilities conflict with

law, regulations, or other governing legal authority, psychol- ogists clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code, and take reasonable steps to resolve the conflict consistent with the General Principles and Ethical Standards of the Ethics Code. Under no circum- stances may this standard be used to justify or defend violat- ing human rights.

1.03 conflicts Between Ethics and organizational demands If the demands of an organization with which psy-

chologists are affiliated or for whom they are working are in conflict with this Ethics Code, psychologists clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code, and take reasonable steps to resolve the conflict consis- tent with the General Principles and Ethical Standards of the Ethics Code. Under no circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defend violating human rights.

1.04 informal resolution of Ethical Violations When psychologists believe that there may have been

an ethical violation by another psychologist, they attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that indi-



Effective June 1, 2003, as amended 2010 5Standard 2.02–Standard 3.03

vices of others, such as interpreters, take reasonable steps to (1) avoid delegating such work to persons who have a multi- ple relationship with those being served that would likely lead to exploitation or loss of objectivity; (2) authorize only those responsibilities that such persons can be expected to perform competently on the basis of their education, training, or expe- rience, either independently or with the level of supervision being provided; and (3) see that such persons perform these services competently. (See also Standards 2.02, Providing Services in Emergencies; 3.05, Multiple Relationships; 4.01, Maintaining Confidentiality; 9.01, Bases for Assessments; 9.02, Use of Assessments; 9.03, Informed Consent in Assess- ments; and 9.07, Assessment by Unqualified Persons.)

2.06 Personal Problems and conflicts (a) Psychologists refrain from initiating an activity

when they know or should know that there is a substantial likelihood that their personal problems will prevent them from performing their work-related activities in a competent manner.

(b) When psychologists become aware of personal problems that may interfere with their performing work-relat- ed duties adequately, they take appropriate measures, such as obtaining professional consultation or assistance, and deter- mine whether they should limit, suspend, or terminate their work-related duties. (See also Standard 10.10, Terminating Therapy.)

3. Human Relations 3.01 unfair discrimination

In their work-related activities, psychologists do not engage in unfair discrimination based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sex- ual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or any basis proscribed by law.

3.02 sexual harassment Psychologists do not engage in sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is sexual solicitation, physical advances, or verbal or nonverbal conduct that is sexual in nature, that oc- curs in connection with the psychologist’s activities or roles as a psychologist, and that either (1) is unwelcome, is offensive, or creates a hostile workplace or educational environment, and the psychologist knows or is told this or (2) is sufficiently severe or intense to be abusive to a reasonable person in the context. Sexual harassment can consist of a single intense or severe act or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts. (See also Standard 1.08, Unfair Discrimination Against Complainants and Respondents.) 3.03 other harassment

Psychologists do not knowingly engage in behavior that is harassing or demeaning to persons with whom they interact in their work based on factors such as those persons’ age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national

(b) Where scientific or professional knowledge in the discipline of psychology establishes that an understanding of factors associated with age, gender, gender identity, race, eth- nicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, or socioeconomic status is essential for ef- fective implementation of their services or research, psycholo- gists have or obtain the training, experience, consultation, or supervision necessary to ensure the competence of their ser- vices, or they make appropriate referrals, except as provided in Standard 2.02, Providing Services in Emergencies.

(c) Psychologists planning to provide services, teach, or conduct research involving populations, areas, techniques, or technologies new to them undertake relevant education, training, supervised experience, consultation, or study.

(d) When psychologists are asked to provide services to individuals for whom appropriate mental health services are not available and for which psychologists have not ob- tained the competence necessary, psychologists with closely related prior training or experience may provide such services in order to ensure that services are not denied if they make a reasonable effort to obtain the competence required by using relevant research, training, consultation, or study.

(e) In those emerging areas in which generally rec- ognized standards for preparatory training do not yet exist, psychologists nevertheless take reasonable steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, organizational cli- ents, and others from harm.

(f) When assuming forensic roles, psychologists are or become reasonably familiar with the judicial or administra- tive rules governing their roles.

2.02 Providing services in Emergencies In emergencies, when psychologists provide services

to individuals for whom other mental health services are not available and for which psychologists have not obtained the necessary training, psychologists may provide such services in order to ensure that services are not denied. The services are discontinued as soon as the emergency has ended or ap- propriate services are available.

2.03 Maintaining competence Psychologists undertake ongoing efforts to develop

and maintain their competence.

2.04 Bases for scientific and Professional Judgments Psychologists’ work is based upon established scien-

tific and professional knowledge of the discipline. (See also Standards 2.01e, Boundaries of Competence, and 10.01b, In- formed Consent to Therapy.)

2.05 delegation of Work to others Psychologists who delegate work to employees, super-

visees, or research or teaching assistants or who use the ser-



6 Effective June 1, 2003, as amended 2010Standard 3.04–Standard 3.10

therapist, consultant, diagnostician, or expert witness), an identification of who is the client, the probable uses of the services provided or the information obtained, and the fact that there may be limits to confidentiality. (See also Standards 3.05, Multiple Relationships, and 4.02, Discussing the Limits of Confidentiality.)

3.08 Exploitative relationships Psychologists do not exploit persons over whom they

have supervisory, evaluative, or other authority such as cli- ents/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, and employees. (See also Standards 3.05, Multiple Relation- ships; 6.04, Fees and Financial Arrangements; 6.05, Barter With Clients/Patients; 7.07, Sexual Relationships With Stu- dents and Supervisees; 10.05, Sexual Intimacies With Cur- rent Therapy Clients/Patients; 10.06, Sexual Intimacies With Relatives or Significant Others of Current Therapy Clients/ Patients; 10.07, Therapy With Former Sexual Partners; and 10.08, Sexual Intimacies With Former Therapy Clients/Pa- tients.)

3.09 cooperation With other Professionals When indicated and professionally appropriate, psy-

chologists cooperate with other professionals in order to serve their clients/patients effectively and appropriately. (See also Standard 4.05, Disclosures.)

3.10 informed consent (a) When psychologists conduct research or provide

assessment, therapy, counseling, or consulting services in per- son or via electronic transmission or other forms of commu- nication, they obtain the informed consent of the individual or individuals using language that is reasonably understand- able to that person or persons except when conducting such activities without consent is mandated by law or governmen- tal regulation or as otherwise provided in this Ethics Code. (See also Standards 8.02, Informed Consent to Research; 9.03, Informed Consent in Assessments; and 10.01, Informed Consent to Therapy.)

(b) For persons who are legally incapable of giving informed consent, psychologists nevertheless (1) provide an appropriate explanation, (2) seek the individual’s assent, (3) consider such persons’ preferences and best interests, and (4) obtain appropriate permission from a legally authorized per- son, if such substitute consent is permitted or required by law. When consent by a legally authorized person is not permitted or required by law, psychologists take reasonable steps to pro- tect the individual’s rights and welfare.

(c) When psychological services are court ordered or otherwise mandated, psychologists inform the individual of the nature of the anticipated services, including whether the services are court ordered or mandated and any limits of con- fidentiality, before proceeding.

(d) Psychologists appropriately document written or oral consent, permission, and assent. (See also Standards 8.02,

origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, or so- cioeconomic status.

3.04 avoiding harm Psychologists take reasonable steps to avoid harming

their clients/patients, students, supervisees, research par- ticipants, organizational clients, and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and un- avoidable.

3.05 Multiple relationships (a) A multiple relationship occurs when a psycholo-

gist is in a professional role with a person and (1) at the same time is in another role with the same person, (2) at the same time is in a relationship with a person closely associated with or related to the person with whom the psychologist has the professional relationship, or (3) promises to enter into an- other relationship in the future with the person or a person closely associated with or related to the person.

A psychologist refrains from entering into a multiple relationship if the multiple relationship could reasonably be expected to impair the psychologist’s objectivity, compe- tence, or effectiveness in performing his or her functions as a psychologist, or otherwise risks exploitation or harm to the person with whom the professional relationship exists.

Multiple relationships that would not reasonably be expected to cause impairment or risk exploitation or harm are not unethical.

(b) If a psychologist finds that, due to unforeseen fac- tors, a potentially harmful multiple relationship has arisen, the psychologist takes reasonable steps to resolve it with due regard for the best interests of the affected person and maxi- mal compliance with the Ethics Code.

(c) When psychologists are required by law, institu- tional policy, or extraordinary circumstances to serve in more than one role in judicial or administrative proceedings, at the outset they clarify role expectations and the extent of con- fidentiality and thereafter as changes occur. (See also Stan- dards 3.04, Avoiding Harm, and 3.07, Third-Party Requests for Services.)

3.06 conflict of interest Psychologists refrain from taking on a professional

role when personal, scientific, professional, legal, financial, or other interests or relationships could reasonably be expected to (1) impair their objectivity, competence, or effectiveness in performing their functions as psychologists or (2) expose the person or organization with whom the professional relation- ship exists to harm or exploitation.

3.07 Third-Party requests for services When psychologists agree to provide services to a

person or entity at the request of a third party, psychologists attempt to clarify at the outset of the service the nature of the relationship with all individuals or organizations involved. This clarification includes the role of the psychologist (e.g.,



Effective June 1, 2003, as amended 2010 7Standard 3.11–Standard 4.07

(c) Psychologists who offer services, products, or in- formation via electronic transmission inform clients/patients of the risks to privacy and limits of confidentiality.

4.03 recording Before recording the voices or images of individuals to

whom they provide services, psychologists obtain permission from all such persons or their legal representatives. (See also Standards 8.03, Informed Consent for Recording Voices and Images in Research; 8.05, Dispensing With Informed Con- sent for Research; and 8.07, Deception in Research.)

4.04 Minimizing intrusions on Privacy (a) Psychologists include in written and oral reports

and consultations, only information germane to the purpose for which the communication is made.

(b) Psychologists discuss confidential information obtained in their work only for appropriate scientific or pro- fessional purposes and only with persons clearly concerned with such matters.

4.05 disclosures (a) Psychologists may disclose confidential informa-

tion with the appropriate consent of the organizational client, the individual client/patient, or another legally authorized person on behalf of the client/patient unless prohibited by law.

(b) Psychologists disclose confidential information without the consent of the individual only as mandated by law, or where permitted by law for a valid purpose such as to (1) provide needed professional services; (2) obtain appropri- ate professional consultations; (3) protect the client/patient, psychologist, or others from harm; or (4) obtain payment for services from a client/patient, in which instance disclosure is limited to the minimum that is necessary to achieve the pur- pose. (See also Standard 6.04e, Fees and Financial Arrange- ments.)

4.06 consultations When consulting with colleagues, (1) psychologists

do not disclose confidential information that reasonably could lead to the identification of a client/patient, research participant, or other person or organization with whom they have a confidential relationship unless they have obtained the prior consent of the person or organization or the disclosure cannot be avoided, and (2) they disclose information only to the extent necessary to achieve the purposes of the consulta- tion. (See also Standard 4.01, Maintaining Confidentiality.)

4.07 use of confidential information for didactic or other Purposes Psychologists do not disclose in their writings, lec-

tures, or other public media, confidential, personally identifi- able information concerning their clients/patients, students, research participants, organizational clients, or other recipi-

Informed Consent to Research; 9.03, Informed Consent in As- sessments; and 10.01, Informed Consent to Therapy.)

3.11 Psychological services delivered to or Through organizations (a) Psychologists delivering services to or through

organizations provide information beforehand to clients and when appropriate those directly affected by the services about (1) the nature and objectives of the services, (2) the intended recipients, (3) which of the individuals are clients, (4) the re- lationship the psychologist will have with each person and the organization, (5) the probable uses of services provided and information obtained, (6) who will have access to the infor- mation, and (7) limits of confidentiality. As soon as feasible, they provide information about the results and conclusions of such services to appropriate persons.

(b) If psychologists will be precluded by law or by organizational roles from providing such information to par- ticular individuals or groups, they so inform those individuals or groups at the outset of the service.

3.12 interruption of Psychological services Unless otherwise covered by contract, psychologists

make reasonable efforts to plan for facilitating services in the event that psychological services are interrupted by factors such as the psychologist’s illness, death, unavailability, relo- cation, or retirement or by the client’s/patient’s relocation or financial limitations. (See also Standard 6.02c, Maintenance, Dissemination, and Disposal of Confidential Records of Pro- fessional and Scientific Work.)

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