The ethical principles are set out here to inspire members towards best practice. Ethical decision making is dependent on context which then produces variables and grey areas for consideration. Therefore, there cannot be an obligation to choose one principle above another but rather a framework of principles in which to consider the context of the situation and practitioner involved.
Since 1984 this framework has been developed worldwide and we particularly reference the work of Kitchener (1984) and Kitchener and Anderson (2011). Although these principles cannot be used to find a 'right or wrong' ethical decision they can be used to make a 'best clinical judgement' and a practitioner of NCPS will need to demonstrate that they have considered these principles in their ethical practice and decision making, especially discussing themwith their supervisor.
The fundamental principles of this code are:
1. Working towards the good of clients and doing no harm (Beneficence and Non-maleficence)
Practitioners hold the welfare of clients central to their work and so commit to avoiding harm.
2. Being trustworthy and responsible (Fidelity)
Practitioners endeavour to establish trust with their clients and the community in which they work. Therefore, practitioners not only honour the trust placed in them by their clients and the community but also act in a respectful, professional and ethical manner when representing their profession.
3. Respect for the dignity and rights of the client (Autonomy)
Clients have the right to self-determination and to be shown dignity and respect for making their own lawful decisions (where applicable consideration of Gillick competence and reference to Fraser Guidelines may be required).
Practitioners are aware of their own judgements based on their own experiences and need to take precautions (supervision) to provide a service that is not restricted by their own prejudice and limitations of experience. This also means showing respect for diversity of persons, without prejudice to colour, race, belief, gender, sexuality, social context, and mental and physical abilities.
5. Integrity and self-responsibility
Practitioners work to be as honest, truthful and accurate as possible. They are also responsible for looking after their own needs and health. So, a practitioner will only commit to a practice that they can offer being aware of own expertise, training, health and wellbeing and let the client know if anything changes.
Information supplied from NCPS
Andy Garland is a registered and senior accredited member of both the NCPS and BACP and abides by their code of ethics and standards.