Why are the principals set forth in one so important? “A code of ethics is a written set of principles and rules intended to serve as a guideline for determining appropriate ethical behavior for those individuals under its authority”. In a nutshell it’s a set of ethics geared towards the universal ethical behavior of a company or organization. We as individuals have our personal values and ethics and they greatly vary from person to person. One of the major things these Codes Of Ethic’s do is make sure that the ethical behavior of all persons involved are on the same page.
It lets these individuals know what is ethically expected of them. The Code is made up of various principals; the definition of Ethical principles is as follows “principles are organizing themes in systematic thought. In bioethics four principles have been selected to organize thought and action: (1) autonomy–respect for the decisional capacity of individual persons, (2) non-maleficence–not doing harm to persons, (3) beneficence–doing good for persons, (4) justice–treating persons fairly”. Basically it is the set of rules and values that make up and comprise a Code of Ethics.
We as individuals have our personal values and ethics and they greatly vary from person to person. The major thing these Codes Of Ethic’s do is make sure that the ethical behavior of all persons involved are on the same page with the ethical behavior expected by the profession, company, or organization. It lets individuals know what is ethically expected of them. The Code of Ethics and the principals they contain can greatly vary depending on the specific expectations of the profession they are directed at.
One example for Psychologists can be taken from the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principals of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. A general principal set forth is Integrity which reads as follows “Principle C: Integrity Psychologists seek to promote accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness in the science, teaching, and practice of psychology. In these activities psychologists do not steal, cheat, or engage in fraud, subterfuge, or intentional misrepresentation of fact. Psychologists strive to keep their promises and to avoid unwise or unclear commitments.
In situations in which deception may be ethically justifiable to maximize benefits and minimize harm, psychologists have a serious obligation to consider the need for, the possible consequences of, and their responsibility to correct any resulting mistrust or other harmful effects that arise from the use of such techniques”. I can’t possibly communicate how important Integrity is to this profession. Much of what I psychologist does is help those with problems of a psychological nature, individuals who may be in a very susceptible state.
If a Psychologist is not honest there are untold evils that they may unleash on an individual. How can you possibly help someone if you cannot tell them the truth? Integrity in many ways is one of the major bases of a psychiatric session; in part many times it involves getting the patient to be honest with them. How can such behavior be expected if the psychologist is not following a level of integrity themselves? A real life example I have heard of was from a practicing Psychologist.
Apparently there was a case where it was found that a Psychologist was found to have implanted memories and ideas into the mind of a child involving the parents, abuse and satanic worship. When revealed, the child was removed from the parents’ custody. It was later revealed that the corrupt Psychologist had done the same thing with another child. Eventually an investigation occurred and the vile acts of this person were found out. I cannot tell you the complete finality of this situation but I can tell you that had this vile person had any sense of integrity he would have not been capable of committing such deeds.
Integrity is almost obvious for this profession and almost any profession I can think of because it is one of the fundamental ethical values needed for our society to function. Another example of a principal from the APA’s Code of Conduct for Psychologists is “Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence, Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm. In their professional actions, psychologists seek to safeguard the welfare and rights of those with whom they interact professionally and other affected persons, and the welfare of animal subjects of research.
When conflicts occur among psychologists’ obligations or concerns, they attempt to resolve these conflicts in a responsible fashion that avoids or minimizes harm. Because psychologists’ scientific and professional judgments and actions may affect the lives of others, they are alert to and guard against personal, financial, social, organizational, or political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence. Psychologists strive to be aware of the possible effect of their own physical and mental health on their ability to help those with whom they work. . To break it down this means a Psychologist is expect to do things with the benefit of the patient in mind, they are not to let their treatment of the patient to be anything but a benefit to the patient not effects by the needs or interests of an outside party. Without this principal a psychologist could use the needs of someone other than the patient to treat and or diagnose possibly creating a situation where the patient not only gets the help they need but can quite possibly be further damaged.
Imagine if you will that our vile psychologist in this case is deciding in treatment, the patient has a disorder that can easily be treated through weekly sessions and medication. In this case though the unscrupulous psychologist has a stake in a psychiatric hospital and rather than prescribe the proper treatment they decide to commit the patient for treatment. This could cause increased financial responsibility on the patient for the hospital stay and specialized treatment and takes them completely away from their daily lives and responsibility.
Under this principal what is best for the patient and not anyone else is demanded. As you can see a Code of Ethics with a strong set of Principals is mandatory for the betterment of man. Without them while not every professional would be evil as we have our own personal code of ethics, we would be more apt to having people performing unethical acts. Sometimes what may be ethical for one person may not be ethical for another.