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Responsibility

Professionals also have responsibilities towards participants, the general public,

and colleagues. Broadly, these fall into two areas:

  • ? General responsibility, including avoiding deliberate harm; avoiding personal or professional misconduct; remaining aware of the activities of colleagues in particular employees, assistants, supervizees, and students; and being mindful of the potential risks to oneself
  • ? Termination and continuity of care, including making clear to colleagues and participants the conditions under which one will terminate professional activities; terminating activities where participants do not appear to be deriving benefit and are unlikely to do so; and referring participants to alternative sources of assistance if projects are terminated to ensure continued support

Integrity

Professionals should also ensure honesty, accuracy, clarity, and fairness in their

interactions with colleagues, participants, and members of the public. These

activities fall under four headings:

  • ? Honesty and accuracy, including presenting professional affiliations, qualifications, training, knowledge, and skills accurately; ensuring these are not misrepresented by others either; being honest in conveying professional conclusions and opinions as well as contractual obligations and financial matters; ensuring participants are aware upfront about any costs or obligations of participation; claiming appropriate ownership or credit for work or writings and acknowledging others’ contributions in collaborative work; and not encouraging unrealistic expectations of the outcomes of work
  • ? Avoiding exploitation and conflicts of interest, including avoiding forming relationships that may impair professional objectivity; handling existing relationships sensitively; clarifying for colleagues and participants any conflicts of interest that might potentially arise; refraining from abusing professional relationships to advance interests; and recognizing that conflicts of interest may apply even after professional relationships are formally terminated
  • ? Maintaining personal boundaries, including refraining from inappropriate relationships with participants for whom there is a duty of care; recognizing and avoiding harassment of any sort and ensuring employees, students, supervizees, and trainees understand appropriate behaviours; and cultivating an awareness of tensions within groups or teams and dealing with them appropriately
  • ? Addressing ethical misconduct, including challenging colleagues who appear to have engaged in ethical misconduct and/or bringing it to the attention of those responsible; avoiding allegations that involve malice or breaches of confidentiality other than those absolutely necessary; and assisting enquiries if allegations are made against oneself

The British Psychological Society provides further details about these values and potential challenges that may arise in their Code of Ethics and Conduct, which can be downloaded from www.bps.org.uk.

 
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