Psychologists work with clients (individuals or organisations to whom they supply professional services, or from whom they obtain psychological or evaluative data), students, research participants, colleagues and members of other professions. They shall respect the interests and welfare of those with whom they work, subject to law. They shall strive to ensure that their practice is characterised by responsibility, competence, integrity and impartiality. They shall pursue understanding of, and insight into, behaviour and experience, while maintaining due regard for evidence.


  • 2.1 Psychologists shall maintain and develop their professional competence.
  • 2.2 Psychologists shall recognise the boundaries of their competence and not exceed these.
  • 2.3 Psychologists shall ensure that they and others accurately represent their education, training, and experience.
  • 2.4 Where psychologists are not competent, they shall advise and/or assist, asppropriate, clients to make contact with others suitably qualified, including members of other professions.
  • 2.5 Where psychologists act in a supervisory capacity they shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that those working under their direct supervision do not exceed the limits of their cometence.
  • 2.6 Psychologists shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that tests and assessment methods are only used by those qualified and trained to do so.
  • 2.7 When psychologists make decisions based on psychological data and the use of psychological techniques, they shall be mindful of the limitations of such data and techniques.


  • 3.1 Psychologists shall behave in professional activities in such a way as not to damage clients’ interests including undermining public confidence in the profession.
  • 3.2 Psychologists shall refrain from practice when their professional judgment is seriously inmpaired by e.g. drugs, illness, stress. When they become aware of personal problems that may affect their competence they shall seek competent professional assistance to determine whether they should limit, suspend or terminate their professional activity.
  • 3.3 Psychologists shall not exploit clients for gratification of personal, including sexual, desires.
  • 3.4 Psychologists shall not take part in, or contribute to, activities which deliberately impair the individual’s integrity e.g. torture.
  • 3.5 Psychologists shall not attempt to secure or accept fees or benefits over and above those agreed contractually in advance. No significant gift should be accepted where such acceptance would be an exploitation of the relationship with the client or would impair the psychologist’s impartiality.
  • 3.6 Psychologists’ interventions should be directed towards clear objectives, they sball not persist with those interventions after those objectives have been met or if it bas become apparent that those objectives cannot be met. Neither shall they continue to elicit information unnecessarily.
  • 3.7 In cases of conflict of interest e.g. between the interests of the client and the psychologist’s employing organisation, psychologists shall clarify to all concerned the nature of their loyalties.
  • 3.8 Psychologists shall have sensible regard for clients’ moral and cultural values and shall not allow services to clients to be diminished by considerations of extraneous factors such as religion, sexual orientation, race, age, nationality, party politics, social standing or class. Where a psychologist believes, in honest recognition of possible prejudice, that their impartiality is compromised by such factors, they shall refer their client to another competent colleague.
  • 3.9 Psychologists shall avoid misrepresentations, exaggeration or distortion of psychological findings or the effectiveness of the services which they offer.
  • 3.10 Psychologists sball remonstrate with other psychologists who appear to be engaging in unethical behaviour; where this does not resolve the issue, they shall bring it confidentially and without malice to the attention of the Society’s Board of Professional Conduct.


  • 4.1 Psychologists shall ensure that information is revealed only with the source person’s consent, except subject to the requirements of law or where concealment would result in danger lo the source person or others.
  • 4.2 Psychologists shall discuss psychological or evaluative data on source persons only for professional purposes, and only with those who are clearly entitled to know or be consulted.
  • 4.3 Psychologists shall publish information about source persons, in oral or written form, only with their consent, or where their identty is adequately disguised.
  • 4.4 Psychologists sliall respect the rights of source persons to receive a full explanation of the nature, purpose and results of investigations and assessments, in language that these persons can understand.
  • 4.5 Where appropriate, psychologists shall inform source persons about legal limits on confidentiality.
  • 4.6 With the exceptions of recording of public behaviour, and research situations where other ethical safeguards have been implemented, psychologists shall make audio, video or photographic records of source persons only where these persons have given prior agreement to the making of the record and the conditions of subseqtient access.
  • 4.7 Psychologists shali take all reasonable steps to safeguard the transit, storage, retrieval and disposal of records, both written and electronic, involving psychological data, interviews and test results. Where psychologists’ control is limited, they shall exercise discretion over the information recorded.
  • 4.8 Psychologists shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that colleagues, staff, trainees and students with whom they work, understand and respect the need for confidentiality.
  • 4.9 Psychologists shall guard against misuse or misinterpretation by others of psychological data.


  • 5.1 Psychologists shall ensure that clients and research participants give valid consent to investigations and interventions involving them (except where these are compulsory under relevant legislation). They sball be mindful that the validity of consent may be reduced by conformity pressures due to their own social influence.
  • 5.2 When considering withholding information about a procedure or investigation psychologists shall consult a relevantly experienced professional colleague. If information is witheld, they shall debrief subjects in an appropriate manner afterwards.
  • 5.3 Psychologists shall take care to protect the interests of those unable to give voluntary informed consent.
  • 5.4 Psychologists shall safeguard the rights of clients and research participants to withdraw consent after an investigation or intervention has begun.
  • 5.5 Psychologists shall obtain clients’ consent to the attendance of trainees and other third parties not directly involved in the provision of professional services.


In addition to the above principles concerning competence, conduct, confidentiality and consent,

  • 6.1 Psychologists shall at all times protect the dignity and well-being of research participants.
  • 6.2 Psychologists shall ensure that they maintain the highest standards of scietitific integrity in their research.
  • 6.3 In planning their research psychologists shall give full and due attention to all relevant ethical considerations.
  • 6.4 Psychologists shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that collaborators and students treat participants in no ethical manner.
  • 6.5 Psychologists shall give publication credit to others in proportion to the professional contribution they have made.
  • 6.6 Where research involves the use of animals, psychologists shall treat the animals humanely, should discuss with appropriately experienced colleagues lhe ethical considerations which need to be observed before using procedures likely to cause distress.