Monday, August 4, 2014

Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists


Image source - http://www.householdappliancesworld.com/files/2013/07/Fig1.jpg (modified) 




Below are some excerpts of the presentation on Developing a Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists: Overview and Update, by Prof. Janel Gauthier, Ph.D., Chair of the Ad Hoc Joint Committee For a Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists, of the International Union of Psychological Science, International Association of Applied Psychology. The presentation was made at the Education Leadership Conference, Washington, D.C. on September 17, 2005, the objective of the consultation is to present the framework at international meetings to gather comments and suggestions (e.g., symposia, focus-group discussions).

Following the excerpt is the draft text of the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF ETHICAL PRINCIPLES FOR PSYCHOLOGISTS as of March 28, 2008. In the Code of Ethics for Philippine Psychologists made references of several code of ethics from countries like the US and Canada as well as the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists. We are featuring here in our blog so you can appreciate similarities and differences of the the two codes of ethics.


Why a Universal Declaration

There are tremendous variations in the form, content, usefulness and rate of development of codes of ethics in the world.

The development and the proclamation of a Universal Declaration would provide a generic set of moral principles to be used as a template by psychology organizations worldwide to develop or revise their ethical codes and standards.

A universal standard against which the psychology community worldwide can assess progress in the ethical and moral relevancy of its codes of ethics;

A shared moral framework for representatives of the psychology community to speak with a collective voice on matters of ethical concern;

A common basis for psychology as a discipline to evaluate alleged unethical behavior by its members.


Developing a Framework
  • Comparison between codes of ethics in psychology to identify commonalties in the ethical principles used to develop them.
  • Comparison across domains and throughout history to assess the universality of the ethical principles used to develop codes of ethics in psychology.
  • Integration of principles and values having the greatest commonalty and universality into a framework.

Distilling a generic set of ethical principles
  • Respect for the dignity and rights of persons/peoples
  • Caring for others and concerns for their welfare
  • Competence
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility to society (professional, scientific)

Assessing universality
  • Review of internationally accepted documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to delineate the moral imperatives that underlie them.
  • Review of codes of ethics in other disciplines to identify the ethical principles used to develop them (e.g., sports, martial arts).
  • Review historical documents to identify roots of “modern” ethical principles (Babylon, India, Greece, Persia, Egypt, Japan, China…)
Source - http://www.apa.org/ed/governance/elc/2005/gauthier-declaration.ppt




Source - http://www.apa.org/ed/governance/elc/2005/gauthier-declaration.ppt
(Converted PPT file to PDF.)





The objectives of the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists are to provide:

(a) a generic set of moral principles to be used as a template by psychology organizations worldwide to develop and revise their country-specific or region-specific ethical codes and standards;

(b) a universal standard against which the psychology community worldwide can assess progress in the ethical and moral relevancy of its codes of ethics;

(c) a shared moral framework for representatives of the psychology community to speak with a collective voice on matters of ethical concern; and

(d) a common basis for psychology as a discipline to evaluate alleged unethical behavior by its members.


 

Source - http://e-book.lib.sjtu.edu.cn/iupsys/ethics/Universal_dec.pdf


 

Source -  http://www.sagepub.com/cac6study/pdf/UniversalDeclaration.pdf


QUESTIONS AND ISSUES

A number of questions or issues have been brought up by psychologists during international consultations and focus-group discussions. I will now discuss briefly those encountered most frequently.

To avoid any confusion or misunderstanding, it is important to keep in mind that a universal declaration is

NOT a code of ethics, NOR is it a code of conduct.

  • Codes of conduct define the bottom lines of professional conduct (i.e., what you must or must not do)
  • Codes of ethics are more aspirational, articulating standards according to underlying principles and values.
  • Declarations of ethical principles reflect the principles and values that would guide the development of code of ethics or a code of conduct.

Because a universal declaration is aspirational in nature and generic in its wording, it cannot be enforced like a code or a law or a set of regulations. The purpose of a universal declaration is to inspire, NOT to enforce. History has shown that a universal declaration can be quite influential over time. For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has greatly influenced the world since it was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1948.

The document emphasizes respect and caring not just for individuals, but also for families, groups, and communities. This is deliberate and it aims to address the issue of balance between the individual and the communal. Some cultures tend to emphasize the individual; others tend to emphasize the collective. Such cultural differences have implications for the interpretation of informed consent, confidentiality, privacy, professional boundaries, and decision-making. The document also emphasizes the role of community and culture in people’s lives. We have been strongly encouraged by cross-cultural psychologists to recognize the need to respect the dignity of peoples as well as of individuals. To address this issue more directly, the term “Respect for the Dignity of Persons / Peoples” will likely replace the term “Respect for the Dignity of All Human Beings” in a forthcoming revision of the document.

The document does not specifically use the term “human rights.” This is deliberate and in accordance with advice that was kindly given as early as 2002 and that was further validated by a group of cross-cultural psychologists at the 2006 International Congress of Cross-Cultural Psychology in Spetses, Greece. The term “human rights” is a forbidden term in some parts of the world and its use in the document would make it difficult and perhaps impossible for psychologists living in those parts to use the document to promote and develop ethics where they work. Concern for cultural sensitivity and the wish to have a document of worldwide value have directed us not to use the term “human rights” in the document.

It has been suggested at times that the document is too generic to be useful. It is true that it would be meaningless and useless if it were too generic. This is why each of the four ethical principles is followed by brief articles that are not only aspirational in terms of reflecting the fundamental values contained in the principle, but also that are somewhat more specific and focused in terms of content. This helps to make the document less generic without becoming prescriptive. It belongs to cultures to determine how best to translate the principles, values, and articles of the draft Declaration into reality.



Related read - http://psychometricpinas.blogspot.com/2014/06/code-of-ethics-for-philippine.html