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Ethical Code of Conduct

ETHICAL CODE OF CONDUCT

Part I

INTRODUCTION

  1. General Principles

1.1 This Ethical Code of Conduct determines the ethical requirements for students and teachers at the “Institute of psychosomatics and Integrative Psychotherapy”, practicing and using the methods of integrative psychotherapy and psychosomatics (in psychotherapeutic, social, educational, organizational,, cultural or another context, individually or in a group.

1.2. Every student or teacher at the “Institute of psychosomatics and Integrative Psychotherapy” (called below “The Institute“,) agrees to comply with the Ethical Code of Conduct from the time of acceptance as a student or is employed as a teacher at the Institute.

1.3 The present Ethical Code of Conduct is agreed upon and corresponds to the Ethical standards and principles of the European Association of Integrative Psychotherapy (EAIP), European Association of Psychosomatic Medicine (EAPM), and Bulgarian Association of Psychotherapy (BAP).

1.4. The present Ethical Code of Conduct describes the appropriate professional behavior and relationship between the integrative psychotherapist and the client/patient, the relationships between the trainee and the trainer and/or supervisor, as well as the relationship between colleagues. Integrative psychotherapists take responsibility also for the good name of the Institute of psychosomatics and integrative Psychotherapy” in Bulgaria.

  1. Purpose and goals of integrative psychotherapists:
    • .We assist our clients to reach a high level of psychological and emotional maturity that will help them to be most authentic in their lives, to be able to freely express their desires, intentions and reach their goals.
  2. To be autonomous and creative
  3. To be as a correspondent as possible to what they feel and want for themselves.
  4. To live in harmony with themselves, their families, and the social structures in which they function.
  5. Individuals have the right, responsibility, and potential to make their own decisions, to take responsibility for their own lives, and to function autonomously.
  6. The attitude towards each client is based on the respect for his personality and the ethical rules for practicing the profession, regardless of his race, gender, age, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, health condition, disability, etc.
  7. Clients are responsible for their personal and professional development, as well as for the pace of this development.
  8. We respect the right of each client to privacy and confidentiality.
  9. Students and trainers act with honesty and integrity in their relationships with clients, as well as with each other.
  10. We encourage autonomous decisions by applying the principles of free choice and informed consent.

Part II:

STANDARDS FOR THE APPLICATION OF ETHICAL VALUES IN PRACTICE

1.1. Principles:

1.2. Practical notes:

1.2.1. The client is informed in advance about in what she/he will be engaged in a consultative, therapeutic or training context, and the methods of intervention, which he has the right to accept or refuse.

1.2.2. Pre-negotiation with him clarifies the type of work (e.g. individual or group setting, counseling, therapy, training, etc.), purpose, time, and expected results.

1.2.3. Part of the agreements with the client is an open and clear statement of the possible presence of observers, recording colleagues or recording devices; co-therapists involved as assistants, if necessary, in the case of supervised work or in the training process. All those present and related to the client/group case are bound by the same confidentiality.

1.2.4. Part of the good professional practice is a periodic review of the contract between the client and the therapist to ensure that the client’s well-being remains paramount.

1.2.5. The client has the right to cancel or withdraw his consent at any time.

1.2.6. The rights of minors, as well as of people with reduced intellectual capacity or other cognitive limitations, are ensured by written informed consent, signed by a parent or another authorized person.

1.2.7. Participation in research sessions or sessions recording is possible only after written informed consent by the client. Working with supervised cases also requires written informed consent from the client.

  1. RESPONSIBILITY
  • In their professional activity, psychotherapists strive for the highest standards of the profession.
  • Integrative psychotherapists are aware of the consequences of their professional actions and are responsible for them.
  • Integrative psychotherapists, to the best of their ability, ensure that their services are not used inappropriately.
  1. COMPETENCE
  • Psychotherapists offer only those services that are within their professional competence and correspond to their qualifications and experience.
  • Integrative psychotherapists are aware of their professional limitations and, if necessary, redirect clients to other professionals for consultation – medical professionals or colleagues from other modalities.
  • In these types of practice, for which there are no fixed standards yet, psychotherapists take all measures to ensure the well-being of their clients.
  • Integrative psychotherapists try to keep abreast of scientific and practical research and decisions in their field of activity.
  • If a psychotherapist has personal problems of such a kind that may affect the performance of their professional duties, they seek professional help in order to clarify the situation.

III. RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS

  1. RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLIENTS

1.1. Psychotherapists respect the personal integrity of the person and take care to protect the client’s right to self-determination, including refusal to further participate in the sessions.

  • Psychotherapists inform the clients or their representatives about planned activities in the most understandable way so that they can decide for themselves whether they want to take part in them or not.
  • The therapeutic relationship with clients should encourage their autonomy and self-determination, avoiding behaviors that may create dependence from the psychotherapist.
  • No psychotherapist should act or contribute to the violation of any of the fundamental human rights, defined by the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

1.2. Psychotherapists should be careful of any relationship that may impair their professional judgment and increase the risk of exploiting the therapeutic situation, financially, psychologically, or in any other way that may be detrimental to the client.

1.2.2. Any sexual relationship with the client is unethical and is not allowed.

1.3. If the conditions for hiring a psychotherapist is not of the best interest for the client, this is explained to all parties involved.

  1. RELATIONSHIPS WITH STUDENTS

2.1. In their relationships with trainees, trainers are guided by the same ethical rules that apply to clients.

2.2. The trainers set, as their main goal, the professional growth and personal development of the trainees.

2.2.1. The trainer will direct the trainee to another colleague if the interests and the way of applying this knowledge require knowledge and skills outside the trainer’s expertise.

2.3. Psychotherapists who will train or engage in any similar activity like courses, together with non-psychologists, will carefully consider whether their participation will not lead to the undesirable impression that the course does not meet the requirements of the professional community.

2.4. Sexual relationships between trainees and trainers are considered unethical and not allowed.

  1. RELATIONSHIPS WITH COLLEAGUES

3.1. Psychotherapists respect the professional competence, duties, and responsibilities of their colleagues and representatives of other professions.

3.1.1. They refrain from opinions that discredit the personal qualities and professional practice of their colleagues in front of clients and other third parties.

3.2. Psychotherapists who have received information that their colleague has violated ethical principles act in accordance with established community procedures.

CONFIDENTIALITY

  1. Psychotherapists have the obligation to keep confidential any information, received from their clients as a part of the psychotherapy process.
  2. Psychotherapists may share such information with other people only with written consent from the client or the client’s legal representative.
  3. An exception to this rule may be only in cases where there is potential harm to the client or there is a clear danger to his safety or that of other people. In these circumstances, the information must be passed only to people who can take adequate actions in the given situation and in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria.
  4. In order to ensure confidentiality in reference to psychological or psychotherapeutic research and interventions, psychotherapists are obliged to sign a special agreement with the people, using their services.
  5. The special agreement must specify how the confidentiality of the client will be insured: who will have access to the relevant materials and how long they will be stored. (The same applies to electronic materials.)
  6. In cases of recording on magnetic or videotape, photographing or filming, the consent of the client (group member, etc.) is required.

6.1. For demonstration, audition, or other use of the material, additional written permission is required. This written permission must specify where, when, in front of whom, and in what form the respective material can be used. Information on how long this material can be kept is also required.

  1. If the client or a participant of the group psychotherapy does not confirm their consent in written, the material shall be destroyed immediately.
  2. If necessary, the psychotherapists shall inform the clients about the rules and requirements regarding confidentiality, in accordance with this Code of Ethics. 

INTERVENTIONS, METHODS, RESEARCH, AND CONCLUSIONS

  1. Psychotherapeutic interventions are planned on the basis of a well-formulated problem and after consideration of appropriate methods and alternative procedures.
  2. When applying psychotherapy methods and interventions, they shall be carried out in accordance with the standards or customary practice for their use.
  3. Psychotherapists shall avoid using methods with unknown or unsatisfactory parameters, except in cases where new ones are tested. Clients shall be informed about the latter in advance and these interventions can be used only with their consent.
  4. Psychotherapists shall endeavor to formulate their messages, conclusions, and other statements in such a way that they cannot be misunderstood or misused.
  5. The conclusions must be formulated in such a way as to be comprehensible to the contracting authority.
  6. Psychotherapists shall ensure that psychotherapeutic and counseling methods are not described in the media in such a way as to reduce their usefulness.
  7. Integrative psychotherapists independently choose their methods of work, as well as the therapeutic paradigm to adhere to.

PUBLIC SPEECHES

  1. Public statements and announcements by psychotherapists are intended to help people make well-informed free choices.
  • When making statements as specialists in the field, they strive for objectivity and accuracy.
  • Psychotherapists shall inform about the specifics of their professional activity in such a way as to avoid misunderstanding by the audience of the specifics of their work or profession.

1.2.1. Public statements aiming to self-promotion are not allowed.

2.1. Course announcements may contain information explaining the content and objectives of the course.

2.1.1. The ad must not be presented as an advertisement or contain promises of specific results.

  1. Psychotherapists who publish the advice in the press or participate in radio and television broadcasts shall give such advice only in a general form.

3.1. Psychotherapists publish on their behalf only materials, owned entirely by them or to which they have made a significant contribution.

VII. PROCEDURES REGARDING VIOLATIONS OF THE ETHICAL CODE OF CONDUCT

  1. The violations of the Ethical Code shall be discussed by the Managing Board of the Institute, regardless of whether they are violations of law and are prosecuted under other laws of the Republic of Bulgaria.
  2. Information about violations of ethical norms can come both from clients and from colleagues or trainees.
  3. Allegations of infringements must be submitted in writing, detailing the EC’s infringements. They must be signed with the full name and address of the applicant. Anonymous or oral applications are not considered.