America Psychological Association’s ethical code has four main which are the introduction, the preamble, the general principles, and the standards of ethics. The main issue that the author of this document addresses in this text is the ethical standards that psychologists are supposed to uphold. The introduction has a detailed description of the intent, organization, procedures to be considered, and the scope within which this ethical code can be applied (APA, 1969). The preamble and the general principles contain rules and regulations that guide psychologists and they enable them to uphold utmost psychological ideals. However, the rules and regulations in the preamble and the general principles are not enforceable but all professionals in psychology should adhere to these standards in everything they do. The fourth section is the most important part of the ethical code because it outlines the ethical standards. These standards set enforceable rules for psychologists but the application of these standards is contextual. These standards that guide psychologists in their day-to-day operations are not totally exhaustive.
The unlimited application makes the APA ethical code a universal document that ensures that all psychologists uphold the highest ideals of professionalism and ethics.. The document is not rigid and the ethical decisions that psychologists make depend on the context and situation. Psychologists can therefore violate some of the standards of the ethical code if situations and contexts dictate that violating these standards is the right way go The main areas addressed by the part of the ethical standards of this code of ethics are clinical and counseling psychology, policy development, and assessment tools though the standards are not limited to the aforementioned areas. The America Psychological Association code of ethics also applies to consultancy, educational counseling, and administration perspectives across a wide range of contexts. These contexts are often distinguished from the private conduct of these professionals because the private conduct is not within the jurisdiction of the ethical code that guides psychologists (APA, 1990).
The main point that the author of this text makes is that all members of the American Psychological Association must comply with standards of the ethical code and the procedures that guide the enforcement of these standards. Ignorance and misunderstanding of the standards of ethics cannot be a defense against any conduct that contravenes the code of ethics. The ethical code does not have any legal relevance meaning that violation of this code does not imply that a psychologist is legally liable in court. Courts cannot, therefore, refer to the APA code of ethics when making their judgments where a psychologist is involved in a civil suit because the code does not operate outside the field of psychology.
The central point that the author is trying to make in this document is that APA ethical standards are enforceable and are applicable to diverse situations though not all situations. According to the author, there are certain ethical standards that are paramount. One of these standards is ethical standard 4 which addresses the issue of confidentiality and according to this standard, all psychologists must safeguard secret information while at the same time upholding the law. This means that a psychologist can only access and refer to the secret information of a client for relevant purposes like research but they must ensure that the identity of the client is protected. The other important ethical standard that supports the author’s main point is APA Ethical Standard 7 which addresses the ethics that psychologists must uphold in teaching and training (Golann, 1969).
According to this standard, professionals in trainers in this field are supposed to communicate relevant information and they must have valid licenses before they undertake training and teaching programs. According to one of the provisions in this standard, a trainer must give their learners the choice of training with other trainers who are not affiliated with the program the learner is undertaking. The other important ethical standard addressed by the author is ethical standard 9 which addresses the issue of assessment. It contains guiding principles that psychologists should follow as they assess their clients. The instructions in this standard include guidelines that propose a reasonable opinion of the condition of a client which means that all psychologists must examine their clients using their statements. However, if it is not possible to perform an adequate examination, the psychologists must always file their examination efforts and include clear notes illustrating how lack of information may have adverse effects on future decisions regarding the condition of a client.
There are various strengths and weaknesses of this text. One of the most notable strengths is that the ethical code is applicable not only to members of the American Psychology Association but also to members of related bodies. This means that the ethical code can be applied in any psychological context outside the American Psychology Association. The unlimited application makes the APA ethical code a universal document that ensures that all psychologists uphold the highest ideals of professionalism and ethics. The other strength of the text is its contextual nature; its application depends on context. The document is not rigid and the ethical decisions that psychologists make depend on the context and situation. Psychologists can therefore violate some of the standards of the ethical code if situations and contexts dictate that violating these standards is the right way to go. However, the ethical code has one main weakness. The main weakness is that these standards cannot be used as a basis of any civil liability meaning that violation of the ethics code does not imply that a psychologist is legally liable in court. This means that the ethical code cannot assure justice to victims of ethical violations because it does not have any legal liability.
This document is interesting because it covers all areas of psychological practice, ranging from clinical and educational issues to administration and evaluation programs. It does not leave out any field of practice in psychology. The code is important because it ensures that the reputation of the field of psychology is safeguarded by ensuring that the highest ideals of professional practice are maintained and upheld. The synthesis of this text and the author’s main point will really help me to apply these ethical standards in my own work. Initially, I wanted to be a school psychologist but I now want to teach psychology at the college level one day meaning that ethical standard 7 will help me to give back to society and ensure that I inculcate quality psychological expertise to generations of psychology students. I will make sure I uphold all the standards and provisions in the code of conduct.
A.P. A. (1969). Ethical standards of psychologists. American Psychologist, 14 279-282.
A.P. A. (1990). Ethical principles of psychologists. American Psychologist, 45 390-395.
Golann, S. E. (1969). Emerging areas of ethical concern. American Psychologist, 24 454-459.