An Enquiry into Codes of Conduct for Psychologists and the Place of Personal Conscience

In this paper I discuss different perspectives on what constitutes ethical behaviour, recognizing the legal requirement of the BC College of Psychologists to enforce its code of conduct, but not limiting my enquiry to its standards.  To begin with I provide a contextual framework for ethical evaluation, which are events as I experienced and understood them that led to my being alleged to have broken codes of conduct.  My purpose for writing this paper is to enquire into the codes of conduct for psychologists and the place of personal conscience. I begin my enquiry by identifying the codes of conduct and standards of behavior that constitute the focus of my concern.  I then discuss the fundamental meaning and value of ethics and conscience for the development of character.  I subsequently discuss the fundamental meaning and value of ethics and conscience for the development of character. Following that I examine the Canadian Psychological Association’s selective choice of four Principles and values in relationship to the standards of concern.  I discuss the practice of ethical decision referring to of the Canadian Psychological Association’s Code of Ethics for Psychologists and the BC College of Psychologist Code of Conduct.  I also allude to Jung’s view on conscience as well as the Canadian Psychological Association’s perspective on conscience.  Following that I study in some detail the College of Psychologist’s judgment on my alleged breeches of conduct regarding code 11:40 the Review of Other’s Report and code 5:17 regarding Prohibited Dual Relationships.  My next topic for reflection is when ethical decision and action as an act of conscience is relevant.  I discuss the ten-step process of ethical decision making for ethical dilemmas recommended by the Canadian Psychological Associations Code of Ethics.  I argue that a more meaningful way of dealing with difficult ethical dilemmas is working creatively with the constellated emotions and feelings and not repressing or suppressing them.  I then turn to a broader and more elevated understanding of the nature of conscience, which I find in a study by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger representing the Catholic [Christian] position, and in Jung’s view.  I come to the conclusion that a true understanding of what happened goes well beyond the situation that led up to the alleged breeches of conduct and needs to include a wider canvas. At the same time I arrive at reconciling the College’s perspective with my Jungian approach to life and the practice of psychology.

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