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The Importance of Ethics in Clinical Practice Part 4

The Importance of Ethics in Clinical Practice Part 4

Conflict between Ethical Priorities

Occasionally, therapists have to make decisions between conflicting ethical principles. In such a situation, the circumstances will need careful consideration and discussion with the appropriate supervisor and/or other experienced therapists. Such events will need to be treated individually, as some ethical dilemmas cannot be resolved easily or totally satisfactorily. It is important to seek experienced advice in such cases.

Research and Publication

Therapists are required to safeguard the welfare and anonymity of clients when any form of publication of clinical material is being considered and to obtain their consent whenever possible.

Therapists are required to clarify with clients the nature, purpose and conditions of any research or publication of clinical details in which the clients are to be involved. The welfare and anonymity of clients must be safeguarded and their verifiable consent must be given before commencement. Such consent should include a suitable “cooling off” period in which clients may withdraw permission. Clients should be allowed to withdraw their permission at any stage.

Advertising/Public Statements

The professional notices of therapists shall be kept to a dignified wording and confined to approved publications only, and /or otherwise be brought to public notice in a dignified manner. (The Board of Directors of the NCHP/NSHP&M may, at its discretion, declare an advertisement, publication or method of publicising services to be unacceptable.) This is a particularly important consideration when deciding which therapist to consult, with the internet, there is a proliferation of claims being made by some practitioners which ignore many of these core principles.

All advertising and public statements should be completed in an appropriate dignified and professional manner.  False and/or exaggerated claims reflect badly on the therapist, colleagues, the organisation and the profession in general.

In general, all adverts should comply with the following basic rules:

  1. Adverts should not elicit false expectations of effectiveness by making exaggerated and unjustifiable claims.  They should not mislead the public about any aspects or outcomes of any therapy. They should not guarantee success or cure of any problems.
  2. They should not play on client’s fears.
  3. They should not include testimonials from named clients
  4. They should not offer refunds to dissatisfied clients.

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