Psychology and Ethics Working Group

Bohumila Baštecká
Bohumila Baštecká

Working group members:

  • Mónica Duarte
  • Henk Geertsema
  • Miguel Ricou

Ethics is a field of philosophy dealing with concepts of right and wrong.

Professional ethics aims at standards of conduct, values and guiding principles expected in professionals. It is concerned with “statement about attitudes related to particular goal of work, which is delivered with a particular style of work as purposeful activity and under certain motives”.

Ethics in Psychology then deals with the goals of psychology in practice, research and teaching; with the attitudes, motives and working styles of particular psychologists; and with the reasoning of their particular activities heading towards the purpose of psychology (which is to describe, understand, anticipate and influence human experiences, thinking and actions). Usually, this information is provided in the form of a Code of Conduct which establish which behaviours or actions are acceptable or not in psychology.

The goals of psychological ethics are to promote public trustworthiness of the psychology, to protect its clients, representatives, general public and psychology itself and to cultivate and develop the ethical sensitivity of psychologists, of common environment and of the profession itself.

Psychological ethics therefore reflects and contextualizes (= core topics of the ethics for the ICP):

  • the different types of ethics in different psychological fields emphasizing different types of values (e. g. ethics of justice, virtue ethics, ethics of care, relational ethics)
  • the emerging trends and shifts in ethics emphases due to changing socio-political and cultural milieu
  • the individualistic and collectivistic perspectives in psychology and corresponding sets of values
  • the transversal competencies (reflexivity, hermeneutics, intersubjectivity) and their impact on psychological ethics
  • the four component model of ethical sensitivity - ethical reasoning - ethical motivation - ethical action
  • the contemporary ethical challenges in the work of psychologists across the Globe (e.g. new technologies, privacy vs. social responsibility, privacy vs. organizational interests, supported decision making and wish to die etc.)

Ethics is one of the decisive parts of any profession and its identity. Consequently, the international co-operation of psychologists in the field of ethics is necessary for the sound and stable image and reputation of psychology worldwide.