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Group 1 (Counseling IA 1)-Basic Ethical Principles Handbook

Basic Ethical Principles
By Group 1:
Sonakshi Bidyadhar (A19042)
Manali Gogri (A19139)
Ananya Goyal (A19147)
Radha Verma (A19491)
Page Numbers
2.General Principles
3.Before Conducting Psychological
4.Conducting Psychological Assessments
5.After Conducting Psychological
6.Specific Issues
7. Conclusion
Psychological assessments are a crucial part of the
knowledge base of psychology and have evolved in
response to new areas of practice with growth in
psychology. Such assessment is a problem-solving process
of identifying and using relevant information about an
individual (obtained through psychological test,
observation, structured and semistructured interviews) for
the purpose of decision making and recommendation.
Psychological tests, on the other hand, are instruments that
assess the psychological construct by obtaining a
structured sample of behavior in a specific domain and
then quantifying, scoring, interpreting, and synthesizing it.
The aim of the Basic Ethical Principles Handbook is to
assist and inform psychologists on acceptable practices
while using psychological instruments, such as
psychometric tests and collateral information, in
psychological assessment.
This handbook provides specific standards that cover most
situations encountered by psychologists while using
psychological assessments. Its goal is to ensure the
welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with
whom psychologists collaborate and build their
professional and scientific work.
The handbook first deals with General Principles that
inspire and guide psychologists towards the highest ethical
ideals of the profession followed by the Ethics Code for
each stage involved in testing and assessment. Finally, it
includes procedures for resolving conflicts while adhering
to ethical standards during the testing and evaluation
General Principles
Principle A: Beneficence and
Beneficence refers to the psychologist's responsibility to
actively contribute to the client's well-being, whereas
nonmaleficence refers to the responsibility to refrain from
inflicting intentional harm or engaging in actions that may
cause harm to others. The principle highlights the most
important responsibilities of the psychologist, that is, to
preserve the welfare and rights of people who act as
research subjects and to find a solution that minimizes
harm in the face of conflict. Furthermore, the principle
highlights that psychologists should be cognizant that
personal, financial, social, organizational and political
factors don’t lead to the misuse of their influence as well
as the fact that psychologists should be aware of their own
mental and physical health and its effect on their ability to
help others.
Principle B: Fidelity and
To foster growth, psychologists must build trusting
relationships with the people they deal with. The second
principle of fidelity and responsibility highlights the value
of conscientiousness and adherence to ethical principles in
psychological practice. Psychologists must define their
professional roles and responsibilities, acknowledge
responsibility for their actions, avoid conflicts of interest
that could lead to exploitation, and serve the best interests
of the people with whom they work. Psychologists have a
responsibility to help ensure that others in the profession
abide to high ethical standards. The principle recommends
that psychologists, for little or no monetary or personal
gain, should engage in activities that improve their
colleagues' ethical compliance and conduct.
Principle C: Integrity
In science, education, and practice of psychology,
psychologists strive for accuracy, honesty, and
truthfulness and should not steal, cheat, manipulate,
fabricate the information or make unambiguous
commitments. While using deception, psychologists must
examine the need for it and only use it if the potential
advantages outweigh the risks. Further they also have a
responsibility to address any subsequent fear and distrust,
or other negative impacts that come from its usage. Thus,
psychologists should also endeavour for transparency and
credibility in their practice.
Principle D: Justice
The principle of justice states that people have a right to
access and benefit from advances that have been made in
the field of psychology. It highlights the significance of
psychologists checking their biases and treating people
fairly and equitably. Even if the psychologist treats an
individual differently, he should be able to reason the
necessity and appropriateness of his actions.
Principle E: Respect for People’s
Rights and Dignity
Psychologists should value the right to dignity, privacy,
and confidentiality of those they work with professionally.
They should be aware of the challenges that a specific
population experiences, as well as concerns related to
diversity, and they should seek to reduce their own biases.
Finally, psychologists should take extra precautions to
protect the rights and welfare of individuals or groups
whose vulnerabilities inhibit their ability to make
independent decisions.
Before Conducting
Psychological Assessments
Planning and Selection of Instruments
The use of tests with high reliability and validity reduces
biases and judgement mistakes and enables comparison
with the normative group. Reliability of a test refers to its
degree of stability and consistency of a test whereas
validity refers to whether a test is accurate regarding the
criterion it intends to measure. Thus, a psychologist
should strive to remain cognizant of the reliability and
validity of the assessment, as well as the context in which
it will be employed and the persons for whom it is
appropriate. When a test is used for purposes that differ
from those investigated by the test developer, or when the
characteristics of the population tested differ from the
characteristics of the standardization sample, psychologist
should explicitly state it along with the strengths and
limitations of test results and interpretation as specified in
standards 9.02 (a) and (b). Standards 2.04 and 9.01 (a)
require psychologists to base their assessment or other
recommendations, diagnostic and evaluative statements on
scientifically and professionally sound established
Boundaries of Competence and
Avoidance of Harm
Psychologists should only provide psychological services
within their competence, which is characterized as the
legal, ethical, and professional scope of their practice and
expertise as determined by their education, study,
training, supervised or professional experience, and
consultation as demarcated in standard 2.01 (a). Further,
according to standard 2.01 (b) and (c), if a psychologist
intends to provide services or conduct research with
populations, techniques, or technologies for which they
have not been trained or for whom services are not
available, they should obtain competence through
relevant education, training, supervised experience,
consultation with peers, or study to ensure that services
are not denied and harm is avoided. The only exception,
as indicated in standard 2.02, is in the event of an
emergency, when they can offer service to people for
whom they have not been trained until the emergency is
resolved or appropriate services are available.
Standard 3.04 states that psychologists must exercise
great caution to guarantee that neither their employees
nor the people being assessed are harmed in any way. In
cases where harm is foreseeable and inevitable, it is
important to ensure that it is minimized. Furthermore, a
psychologist must not engage in or facilitate any form of
torture like beating or giving electric shocks, sexual
harassment or other inhuman behaviour.
Informed Consent
Standards 3.10, 9.03 (a) and 9.03 (b) explain the ethical
standards related to informed consent. Unless the
assessment is compelled by law or the government, or
when testing is a routine educational, institutional, or
organisational activity, a psychologist must first obtain the
informed consent of the individual in person or via
electronic means in a language understood by the
individual. A psychologist is obligated to provide an
appropriate explanation, seek the client's approval, and
consider his or her best interests even if the individual is
unable to give informed consent. In cases where substitute
consent is required, a psychologist must additionally get
permission from a legally authorised person. Further,
according to Standard 3.07, psychologists who provide
testing and assessment services at the request of a third
party must first clarify the nature of their relationship with
the individuals or organisations involved, as well as the
psychologist's role, the potential uses of the test results
and the services provided.
Conducting Psychological
Management of Assessment Records
and Data
According to standard 6.01, the psychologist is required
to maintain documentation of everything important and
control how it is presented to serve as future reference or
information that can be passed if the client is transferred to
another psychologist. However, standard 4.03 requires the
psychologist to acquire consent from the client before
recording their voices or photos.
Confidentiality of Psychological
Assessment Records and Data
Psychologists are responsible for safeguarding the
confidentiality of psychological assessment data as
specified in standard 4.01 by ensuring that information is
collected, recorded, stored, and disposed of in a secure
manner. Standard 6.2 highlights the steps like coding data
on the database that psychologists must undertake to
maintain confidentiality of a client's details while storing,
accessing, transferring or disposing records. The
psychologist must discuss the limits of confidentiality,
uses of information generated through testing and
alternative options of services in case of premature
termination of services.
Delegating Administration of
Psychological Tests
While delegating work to employees, supervisees,
research and teaching assistants, psychologists must take
adequate steps to ensure that there is no loss of objectivity
or exploitation. Standard 2.05 says that work must not be
delegated to persons who have multiple relationships with
those being evaluated. Employees must be delegated work
that falls within their area of competence and which they
can fulfil either independently or with supervision.
Competence must be maintained in the work done by all
employees. Standard 9.03 (c) further adds that
psychologists who use the services of an interpreter must
first obtain the informed consent of the individual being
evaluated and also must ensure that confidentiality is
maintained. According to standard 9.07, it is expected that
psychologists will refrain from promoting testing and
assessment techniques by individuals who are not
qualified for the same, unless demonstrated under training
For example: Priti is a psychologist who provides testing
and assessment services to high schoolers and requires the
help of an interpreter to provide services in a school.
However, it turns out that the interpreter hired by her,
Jasmine, is also the mother of one of the children she is
supposed to assess. In this case, Priti must hire another
qualified, competent interpreter as Jasmine has multiple
relationships with at least one of the assessees (mother and
interpreter). Priti must also inform and take the consent of
the assessees about the involvement of an interpreter.
After Conducting
Psychological Assessments
Scoring and Interpreting
Psychological Tests
According to standard 9.09, psychologists should have
received adequate training in the administration, scoring
and interpretation of the test to be administered, and they
should be competent in the field because it requires a
variety of skills. Scoring should be based on research or
evidence of technique utility in terms of the procedure's
purpose, norms, validity, reliability, and applicability, as
well as any particular conditions that pertain to its use.
The appropriate interpretation of test results and
preparation of the report is the responsibility of the
psychologist and should be strictly based on results
obtained from assessment. Standard 6.06 states that the
psychologist must meticulously select the words to be
included in the test in order to ensure accurate reporting of
results in lieu of payment from the client.
For example: A psychologist must clearly differentiate
between statements of facts (score on test) and their
nterpretation of facts or observations. Rather than
interpreting assessment data in isolation, they must
analyse assessment in the context of other information
about the client as stipulated in standard 9.06.
Furthermore, psychologists are required by standard 9.08
to base their findings on current tests and evaluations in
order to prevent providing the client with obsolete and
misleading information.
Communication of Test Results
According to standard 9.10, psychologists should
communicate the test results along with its strengths and
limitations to clients or one of their representatives in
simple and straightforward terms, including the limits
unless it is specified to the client due to the nature of the
test. This enables the test taker in obtaining a clear
understanding of the test as well as dispelling any
questions or misconceptions regarding the test.
Release of Test Data
Standards 9.04 (a) and (b) address the disclosure of test
data, which is a broad term that encompasses everything
from the client's response during the assessment, raw
scores, to the therapist's notes and recordings taken to
draw inferences. Considering test data can be misused or
misinterpreted, the psychologist should refrain from
disclosing it until mandated by law. This coincides with
standard 4.07 that highlights the duty of psychologists to
protect client information unless there is an absolute
necessity, such as a legal obligation that every
psychologist must comply with when disclosing
information. In all other circumstances, such as using data
for training purposes the psychologist must either obtain
the client's consent or ensure that the person's identity is
kept confidential while disclosing information.
For example: When the protagonist of the show "How to
Get Away with Murder" was on trial for malpractice and
murder, her therapist was required to disclose information
from their therapy sessions as well as the results of one
psychological test by a court order, and the therapist had
to comply.
Security of Psychological Tests
According to standard 9.11, psychologists must strive to
preserve test materials, which include test manuals,
instruments, stimuli, questionnaires, protocols, and other
items, in order to protect authors' intellectual property in
compliance with the law and contractual obligations. Test
security ensures that test administration, scoring, and
interpretation are not compromised (for example, clients
having prior knowledge of test item content), but are
performed by professionals who have been trained and
qualified to use them. This which is particularly important
now that test data can be easily distributed over the
Specific Issues
Assessment of Culturally and
Linguistically Diverse Clients
Standard 9.02 (c) states that unless the use of an
alternative language is outside the scope of assessment,
the psychologist should determine the language used by
the client and his or her competency in it, and use
assessment methods that are suited to an individual's
language preference and ability. Standard 9.06 highlights
the importance of taking into account the effect of socioeconomic, ethical and cultural factors while interpreting
the assessment results. Furthermore, Standard 3.01 states
that psychologists must not indulge in unfair
discrimination of any sort based on an individual’s age,
gender, gender identity, ethnicity, culture, race,
nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status and based on other factors prohibited by
Development of Psychological Tests
A psychologist must engage in the development of new
psychological tests as well as revision of pre-existing tests
by applying established scientific procedures and relevant
psychometric standards for designing and standardising
assessment techniques. For this, a psychologist must be
conversant with methods of selection of items that reduce
bias, methods of establishing reliability and validity of the
test, and ways to develop standardized test instructions.
Resolution of Conflicts
If the ethical responsibility of a psychologist is in conflict
with the organization to which they are affiliated or with
the government and the laws, then according to standards
1.0 and 1.03, he or she must define the problem, apply the
Code of Ethics, and find a solution in line with the
General Principles and Standards of the Ethics Code.
However, this standard cannot be used to justify or defend
human rights violations. Furthermore, according to
standard 1.06, psychologists should partake in the
investigation of ethics while also mitigating
confidentiality issues that arise, because non-cooperation
with Ethics committees is a breach of ethics itself.
This handbook outlines the ethical considerations that
psychologists must bear in mind when selecting
assessment procedures and applying them to individuals
and groups, preparing reports, and communicating results.
A thorough informed consent process, including
information about third-party involvement and the use of
assessment data where applicable, is the starting point for
good assessments. Assessors should provide feedback on
the report while communicating the results, and
assessment reports should be written in simple terms with
the expectation that the client will read them. Finally, it is
important to note that new assessment areas will continue
to emerge, posing new ethical challenges. However, a
psychologist should always use ethical commitment,
knowledge, and skills when conducting psychological
assessments for the care and welfare of the clients.