In the Philippines, R.A. No. 10029 otherwise known as the Psychology Act of 2009, recognizes the important role of the psychologists and the other related diverse functions and specializations in nation building. This law realizes the importance of the psychological services and also protects the public from untrained and inexperienced individuals offering such services.
I remember when this law was shared in our institution, that we will have a board exam in psychology, from the students I can see a mixture of anticipation and fear. Well, of course it is good news for us psychology students that our program was being regularized that we, aspiring psychologists should be competent in our area of expertise. The other side of it was that, for us to be competent, we need to show it, we need to pass the board exam.
But, passing the exam, exclaiming the oath to the public, getting to hold the professional identification card, and extending our names with RPms and RPs is just one part of the story. Having such credentials doesn’t mean we are finished, rather, we are just starting our journey as a psychologist or a psychometrician.
In whatever area we are going to be in – in clinics or in medical institutions, or in schools, or in the corporate world, whether practicing the profession directly or indirectly, we are expected by the people to consider and uphold this idea – ethics.
What are our ethical principles? We can refer to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct by the American Psychological Association (APA) and to the Code of Ethics for Philippine Psychologists by the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) and the Scientific Ethics Committee. I have clustered their ideas to three main points and this would be a good time to refresh on how should we work as a licensed psychologist or psychometrician:
Privacy and Confidentiality
We are expected to take care of the information entrusted to us by our candidates or clients, to make sure that the information is safe at all times and is stored to a location where it is not subject to being leaked or shared with random individuals. We should take into account that the information the clients give – demographics, judgments, secrets, and insights, are powerful, that the individual can be subjected to ridicule and judgments if the information is leaked.
We are expected to be well versed in our area of expertise, that we should be able to deliver the psychological services properly based on the psychological theories and processes, upholding ethical principles, and mending existing faulty processes for the satisfaction and safety of our clients.
Human Relations and Professionalism
We are expected to relate to people and take care of their psychological well-being by not discriminating them because of their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. We also protect them by maintaining professionalism. We should not divulge in harassment, or in having romantic relationships with the client especially within the time of therapy, or into unjust use and interpretation of assessment exams. In relating to our clients, we should also give them the awareness that they can decide, for example, giving information and asking for their consent to participate in a study or asking them if it is okay to disclose information on someone, although there are cases which this is not applicable, especially when a safety of an individual is at stake.
These expectations are our mission as psychometricians and psychologists. Using what we have learned in our programs, the theories and processes, we can benefit the communities, organizations, or institutions we are in. We should engrave in our minds that we are the doctors of mental health. Together with other professionals, we strive to support, to give time, and to serve to foster and promote psychological well-being of the individuals around us.
Share your thoughts!
Originally posted on LinkedIn last February 5, 2016
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