Ethics in Psychosocial Work

It is important for health professionals to have an ethical framework to help take decisions regarding psychosocial interventions. Ethical challenges arise when health care intended to help is also associated with a possible negative fallout. Working with persons exposed to human rights violations, a clear awareness of ethical codes, standards and principles are necessary.

02.08 2018

Scroll down for more content:
– Definitions and basic terminology
– Ethics – mental health and human rights
– Various “Codes of Ethics”
– Ethics and gender-based violence
– Education on ethics
– Ethics in practice
– Organisations and sites

Definitions and basic terminology

Ethics refers to a principles that delineate the distinction between right and wrong in human existence. An individual is described as "ethical" when their actions align with these principles and adhere to the societal standards. It also refers to the fact that our actions have consequences.

What is ethics?

2014BBC

Ethics are a system of moral principles and a branch of philosophy which defines what is good for individuals and society.

Health Ethics, Equity and Human Dignity

Mamdouh Gabr

This article (12 p.) discusses the necessity to review ethical principles in health, to ensure that human rights and dignity are fully respected. – Mamdouh Gabr, Cairo University.

Medical ethics: four principles plus attention to scope

1994BMJ , R. Gillon

The “four principles plus scope” approach provide a simple, accessible, and culturally neutral approach about ethical issues in health care. The principles: respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice. The article discusses these topi...

Applying the Four Principles

2003Journal of Medical Ethics, R. Macklin.

The author reports to the article by Gillon from 1994, discussing the four principles on examples.

Ethics of conducting research in conflict settings

2009Conflict and Health

The article discusses the necessity of research in conflict areas to improve the quality of assistance, considering the ethic principles in doing research in a vulnerable population, and the harm-benefit ratio

Guidelines on Human Rights Education: For Health Worker...

2013OSCE,

In the 1991 Moscow Document the OSCE participating States agreed that they will “encourage their competent authorities responsible for education programmes to design effective human rights related curricula and courses for students at all levels, par...

 

Ethics – mental health and human rights

"Humanitarian action has been characterized by a set of ethical and operational principles, with a particular emphasis on humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, and universality. These principles are articulated in the statutes of the International Red Cross Movement"

Guidelines on Human Rights Education: For Health Worker...

2013OSCE,

In the 1991 Moscow Document the OSCE participating States agreed that they will “encourage their competent authorities responsible for education programmes to design effective human rights related curricula and courses for students at all levels, par...

Human Rights Based Approach: A Self-Assessment Tool

2018Scottish Human Rights Commission

This tool is based on the PANEL principles (Participation, Accountability, Nondiscrimination, Empowerment and Legality) which form the basis of a human rights based approach. It is intended to help organisations assess their work and identify priorit...

”Do No Harm” – Training Materials

2016CDA

The CDA has developed some training materials, aiming to sensitize helpers in “Do No Harm“. This training was the result of projects to learn more about the assistance given in conflict settings (often used and misused to pursue political or military...

Ethics in psychosocial interventions

2018Kurpad,

It is important for health professionals to have an ethical framework to help make decisions regarding psychosocial interventions in patients with addictive disorders. As patients with addictive disorders are vulnerable to unethical actions in the na...

Power and ethics in psychosocial counselling: reflectio...

2009Gilbert

This paper reflects on some of the moral dilemmas inherent in the provision of counselling for Iraqi refugees by highlighting the day-to-day experiences of psychosocial counsellors employed by an international nongovernmental organization (INGO) in J...

Journal of Ethics in Mental Health

Journal Ethics of Mental Health

This is an “international, peer-reviewed, web-based journal, available free online, worldwide. It aims at providing a useful forum for sharing ideas and experiences among all who are committed to improving ethical standards, behaviours, and choices i...

‘Stop Stealing Our Stories’: The Ethics of Research wit...

2010Eileen Pittaway, Linda Bartolomei, Richard Hugman

The article discusses the challenges and opportunities faced when integrating participatory methods into human rights-based research. It describes the development of a participatory action research approach designed to fulfil the aim of undertaking a...

Aiding torture

2009Physicians for Human Rights,

Health professionals` ethics and human rights violations, revealed in May 2004, CIA inspector generals report. “Physicians for Human Rights” is discussing in this article (8 p.) the CIA report (released in 2009) about the role health professionals pl...

Human Rights and Ethical Globalization

2003Mary Robinson, Stanford University

I should say Šrst that I don’t assume that human rights provide the only language or tools available in addressing global challenges. There is a rich body of international norms in the Šelds of labor and environmental protection, to name only two, th...

Compendium of United Nations standards and norms in cri...

2006UN

The United Nations released in this Compendium some basic principles, see here in particular article 16 – “Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the role of health personnel….”

 

Various “Codes of Ethics”

The practice of humanitarian action is rooted in a set of core principles. These principles define and guide, but must also be balanced within the context and complexity of the human experience. Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence are the main principles.

The Principles of Medical Ethics

2013APA,

The American Psychiatric Association has here defined Medical Ethics, with annotations especially applicable to psychiatry.

Ethical Principles of Psychologist and Code of Conduct ...

2016APA,

The American Psychological Association has set up in this long article the general principles, and specific ethical standards according which they are working.

Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the Role of He...

UN

Adopted particularly for Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Adopted by General Assembly resolution 37/194 of 18 December (1982)

Medical ethics: four principles plus attention to scope

1994BMJ , R. Gillon

The “four principles plus scope” approach provide a simple, accessible, and culturally neutral approach about ethical issues in health care. The principles: respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice. The article discusses these topi...

Read the Code of Ethics

2017National Association of Social Workers

The NASW Code of Ethics is intended to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers.

Code of Ethics

1997 The Institute of Australasian Psychiatrists

Also here find we ethical principles documented by a large psychiatrist organization, to provide guidelines.

Manual for physicians about the role of ethics in medic...

2015The World Medical Association`s Ethics Manual

The WMA has published its ethical guidelines in different languages, the English version (140 p.) will you find here.

Meta-Codes of Ethics

2005The European Federation of Psychologists` Association

Has published these meta-codes, referring otherwise to the ethical codes of their member associations.

“AMHCA Code of Ethics” addresses CMHC’...

American Mental Health Counselors Association

The “AMHCA Code” is an essential component of practicing clinical mental health counseling with professionalism and integrity. While ethical guidance for the practice of clinical mental health counseling is its primary purpose, it is also...

Code of ethics of body psychotherapists

The United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP)

The United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP) is an association of body-oriented psychotherapists, allied somatic practitioners, and interns trained in related modalities. The purpose of the USABP is to support the practice and further...

ACA Code of Ethics

American Counseling Association (ACA)

The mission of the American Counseling Association is to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promo...

 

Ethics and gender-based violence

Obtaining information about sexual violence requires individuals to confront, admit to and discuss an issue that is extremely sensitive, both culturally and socially. In particular, survivors are often asked to describe difficult and painful past or recent experiences, which may result in distress.

Design Ethics for Gender-Based Violence and Safety Tech...

2017Kate Sim, Ben Zevenbergen.

A wide range of advocates in areas of intimate partner violence and sex work; engineers, designers, developers, and academics working on IT ethics. The objectives of the day were threefold: (1) to better understand the lack of gender considerations i...

WHO Ethical and safety recommendations for researching,...

World Health Organization

“Ethics” can be defined as a system or code of moral values that provides rules and standards of conduct. The three primary ethical principles that should guide all inquiries involving human beings (including methods used to collect information) are ...

Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Intervention Res...

World Health Organization (WHO)

With the increased interest and attention of the global community of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers toward rigorous intervention research for preventing VAW, a discussion of the ethical considerations specific to this type of research i...

Nine Ethical Principles: Reporting Ethically on Gender-...

UNFPA

Gender-based violence is a complicated and sensitive subject. Reporting on gender-based violence means discussing issues that are often considered ‘taboo,’ and talking publicly about intimate and distressing matters. This can be particularly challeng...

Ethical considerations in evaluating interventions agai...

2016WHO

Collecting data on sensitive topics such as GBV often raises a number of ethical questions and safety concerns. This is especially the case when the survivor of violence is interviewed. The following concerns should always be taken into account when ...

Ethical challenges in dealing with gender-based violenc...

Ethics Group of the Catalan Society of Family and Community Medicine (CAMFiC)

This document has been drafted with contributions from the Gender-based Violence Group and the Ethics Group at the CAMFIC. They have provided the basis for the work and the Groups bear the responsibility for the content.

Ethical Considerations for Researching Violence Against...

PATH

In many ways, researching violence against women is similar to researching other sensitive topics. There are issues of confidentiality, problems of disclosure, and the need to ensure adequate and informed consent. As the previous quote from an interv...

Violence against Women: Methodological and Ethical Issu...

Kaltrina Kelmendi

The objective of this paper is to review the methodological issues that arise when studying violence against women. The paper focuses first on the history of research on violence against women, by elaborating on each perspective. Second, the paper id...

 

Education on ethics

In all health care work, and particularly in work with persons exposed to injustice and human rights violations, a clear awareness of ethical codes, standards and principles is quite necessary.

Practice Dilemmas and How to Resolve Them

Mental health law

In response to a significant problem, this website approaches professional choices from a unified perspective that views decision making as an orderly process sharing essential characteristics in all of the mental health disciplines. More than that, ...

5 Ways to teach ethics

2011Handelsman and Anderson

Here are five techniques which author has in his ethics courses to help students explore the ethics of psychology—and their own ethics. They give you one example of each technique; you can take it from there and apply these to ethics in your personal...

Teaching Ethics Across the Psychology Curriculum

2020Ware Balogh

The writer explains that every content area in psychology stimulates numerous teachable moments with respect to ethical issues – the raw material is there, and it is simply a matter of casting course content in terms of its ethical dimension. When et...

Human Rights Ethics

Human Rights Careers

After WWII, the United Nations formed as a result of the Holocaust. After such a horrific event, world leaders knew it was necessary to formally enshrine universal human rights. The UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Right...

 

Ethics in practice

The knowledge and clarity about ethical and human rights principles will strengthen the involvement of health professionals in human rights violations, and fortify their actions to prevent such violations.

Building Capacity for Ethical Research with Children an...

2011Powell, M.A.

This paper reviews recent literature regarding ethical issues in research with children and young people. This is a topic that has seen a significant growth in interest over recent years, in response to developments in both child research and ethics....

Ethical and safety recommendations for interviewing tra...

2003London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Daphne Programme, WHO

In response to the rapid global rise in trafficking and growing demand for information on trafficking by policymakers, donors, service providers, and the media, women who have been trafficked are increasingly being interviewed to discuss their experi...

Research Ethics for Mental Health Science Involving Eth...

2002Celia B. Fisher et.al.

The American Psychological Association, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Fordham University Center for Ethics Education convened a group of national leaders in bioethics, multicultural research, and ethnic minority mental health to pr...

Frontier Ethics: Mental Health Care Needs and Ethical D...

1999Laura Weiss Roberts et al.

Roughly 15 million of the 62 million rural U.S. residents struggle with mental illness and substance abuse. Important but little-recognized ethical dilemmas also affect rural mental health care delivery. The authors describe the features of rural men...

Ethics, Competence, and Professional Issues in Cross-Cu...

2007Paul B. Pedersen,

This paper discusses the relevance of multiculturalism to professional excellence in counseling. Focus also on multicultural awareness, multicultural counselors.

Ethics and Culture in Mental Health Care

2008Jinger G. Hoop et al.

This article examines the complex relationship between culture, values, and ethics in mental health care. Cultural competence is a practical, concrete demonstration of the ethical principles of respect for persons, beneficence (doing good), nonmalefi...

 

Organisations and sites

Some useful links to organisations and sites distributing information on Ethics in Psychosocial Work

Ethics and Health at WHO

The World Health Organization has in 2002 launched its Ethics and Health Initiative, now carried on by the Department of Ethics, Trade and Human Rights. On this website you will find also some links to this topic, as well as information on the work t...

Globethics

Globethics is an international non-governmental organisation working for ethical leadership through the integration of academic and public engagements. Registered in Geneva, Switzerland, as an independent, not-for-profit foundation with an internatio...

The Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behav...

Scattergood Ethics is dedicated to education, research, and resource development for the field of psychiatric, mental, and behavioral healthcare ethics. The program engages in scholarly research, trains and educates clinicians and scholars in mental ...