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DEONTOLOGICAL CODE OF ITALIAN PSYCHOLOGISTS

Chapter I – General principles

Article 1 The rules of this Code of Conduct are binding for all members of the Register of Psychologists. The psychologist is required to know them and ignorance of them does not exempt from disciplinary responsibility. The same rules also apply in cases where the services, or parts of them, are carried out remotely, via the Internet or by any other electronic and/or telematic means.

Article 2 Failure to comply with the precepts established in this Code of Conduct, and any action or omission in any case contrary to decorum, dignity and the correct exercise of the profession, are punished according to the provisions of art. 26, paragraph 1, of the Law of 18 February 1989, n. 56, according to the procedures established by the Disciplinary Regulations.

Article 3 The psychologist considers it his duty to increase knowledge of human behavior and use it to promote the psychological well-being of the individual, group and community. In every professional field, it works to improve people's ability to understand themselves and others and to behave in a conscious, appropriate and effective manner. The psychologist is aware of the social responsibility deriving from the fact that, in his professional practice, he can significantly intervene in the lives of others; therefore he must pay particular attention to personal, social, organisational, financial and political factors, in order to avoid the inappropriate use of his influence, and he must not unduly use the trust and any situations of dependence of the clients and recipient users of his professional performance. The psychologist is responsible for his own professional acts and their foreseeable direct consequences.

Article 4 In the practice of the profession, the psychologist respects the dignity, the right to privacy, to self-determination and to the autonomy of those who make use of his services; respects their opinions and beliefs, refraining from imposing their system of values; does not discriminate on the basis of religion, ethnicity, nationality, social extraction, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, disability. The psychologist uses methods and techniques safeguarding these principles, and refuses his collaboration in initiatives harmful to them. When conflicts of interest arise between the user and the institution in which the psychologist works, the latter must clearly explain to the parties the terms of his responsibilities and the obligations to which he is professionally bound. In all cases where the recipient and client of the support or psychotherapy intervention do not coincide, the psychologist primarily protects the recipient of the intervention itself.

Article 5 The psychologist is required to maintain an adequate level of preparation and professional updating, with particular regard to the sectors in which he operates. The violation of the continuous training obligation determines a disciplinary offense which is sanctioned on the basis of what is established by the professional regulation. He recognizes the limits of his own competence and therefore uses only theoretical-practical tools for which he has acquired adequate competence and, where necessary, formal authorisation. The psychologist uses methodologies whose sources and scientific references he is able to indicate, and does not arouse unfounded expectations in the expectations of the client and/or user.

Article 6 The psychologist only accepts working conditions that do not compromise his professional autonomy and compliance with the rules of this code, and, in the absence of such conditions, he informs his Order. The psychologist safeguards his own autonomy in the choice of psychological methods, techniques and tools, as well as their use; he is therefore responsible for their application and use, for the results, evaluations and interpretations he derives from them. In collaboration with professionals from other disciplines, he exercises full professional autonomy in respect of the competences of others.

Article 7 In his professional activities, in research activities and in communicating the results of the same, as well as in teaching activities, the psychologist carefully evaluates, also in relation to the context, the degree of validity and reliability of information, data and sources on which bases the conclusions reached; if necessary, it exposes the alternative interpretative hypotheses, and explains the limits of the results. In specific cases, the psychologist expresses professional evaluations and judgments only if based on direct professional knowledge or on adequate and reliable documentation.

Article 8 The psychologist opposes the abusive exercise of the profession as defined by articles 1 and 3 of the Law of 18 February 1989, n. 56, and informs the Council of the Order of cases of unauthorized use or usurpation of title of which it becomes aware. Likewise, he uses his professional title exclusively for activities pertinent to it, and does not endorse deceptive or abusive activities with it.

Article 9 In his research activity, the psychologist is required to adequately inform the subjects involved in it in order to obtain their prior informed consent, also in relation to the name, scientific and professional status of the researcher and his institution, if any. He must also guarantee these subjects the full freedom to grant, refuse or withdraw the consent itself. the obligation to provide in any case, at the end of the test or of the data collection, the due information and to obtain authorization to use the collected data. As regards subjects who, due to age or for other reasons, are unable to validly express their consent, this must be given by whoever has parental authority or guardianship, and also by the subjects themselves, where they are able to understand the nature of the collaboration required. In any case, the right of subjects to confidentiality, non-recognition and anonymity must be protected.

Article 10 When the professional activities concern the behavior of animals, the psychologist undertakes to respect their nature and to avoid their suffering.

Article 11 The psychologist is strictly bound by professional secrecy. Therefore, it does not reveal news, facts or information learned as a result of its professional relationship, nor does it inform about the professional services performed or planned, unless the hypotheses provided for in the following articles occur.

Article 12 The psychologist abstains from giving testimony on facts of which he has become aware due to his professional relationship. The psychologist can derogate from the obligation to maintain professional secrecy, even in the case of testimony, only in the presence of valid and demonstrable consent from the recipient of his services. Evaluate, however, the opportunity to make use of this consent, considering the preeminent psychological protection of the same.

Article 13 In the case of the obligation to report or report, the psychologist limits the reference to what he has learned in reason of his professional relationship to the strictly necessary, for the purposes of psychological protection of the subject. In other cases, carefully evaluate the need to totally or partially derogate from one's due confidentiality, if there are serious dangers to the life or psychophysical health of the subject and/or third parties.

Article 14 The psychologist, in the case of intervention on or through groups, is required to inform, in the initial phase, about the rules governing this intervention. He is also required to commit, when necessary, the members of the group to respect everyone's right to privacy.

Article 15 In the case of collaboration with other subjects equally bound by professional secrecy, the psychologist can only share the information strictly necessary in relation to the type of collaboration.

Article 16 The psychologist draws up the scientific communications, even if addressed to an audience of professionals bound by professional secrecy, so as to safeguard in any case the anonymity of the recipient of the service.

Article 17 The secrecy of communications must also be protected through the custody and control of notes, notes, writings or recordings of any kind and in any form, which concern the professional relationship. This documentation must be kept for at least five years following the termination of the professional relationship, without prejudice to the provisions of specific regulations. The psychologist must ensure that, in the event of his death or his impediment, this protection is entrusted to a colleague or to the professional order. The psychologist who collaborates in the establishment and use of documentation systems strives for the creation of guarantees of protection of the subjects concerned.

Article 18 In every professional context, the psychologist must work to ensure that the freedom of choice of the professional to whom to turn is respected as much as possible by the client and/or the patient.

Article 19 The psychologist who provides his professional work in contexts of selection and evaluation is required to comply exclusively with the criteria of the specific competence, qualification or preparation, and does not endorse decisions contrary to these principles.

Article 20 In his teaching, didactic and training activities, the psychologist stimulates in students, pupils and trainees the interest in deontological principles, also inspiring his own professional conduct by them.

Article 21 The teaching of the use of cognitive and intervention tools and techniques reserved for the profession of psychologist to people outside the profession itself constitutes a serious deontological violation. It is aggravating to endorse deceptive or abusive activities with one's own professional work, contributing to the attribution of qualifications, certificates or inducing one to consider oneself authorized to exercise the characteristic activities of a psychologist. All the cognitive and intervention tools and techniques relating to psychic processes (relational, emotional, cognitive, behavioral) based on the application of psychological principles, knowledge, models or constructs are specific to the profession of psychologist. This is without prejudice to teaching these tools and techniques to undergraduate psychology students and trainees. The teaching of psychological knowledge is also reserved.

 

Chapter II – Relations with users and clients

Article 22 The psychologist adopts behaviors that are not detrimental to the people he deals with professionally, and does not use his role and his professional tools to ensure himself or other undue advantages.

Article 23 The psychologist agrees in the initial phase of the relationship as regards the professional fee. In any case, the amount of the fee must be appropriate to the importance of the work. In a clinical setting, this fee cannot be conditioned on the outcome or results of the professional intervention.

Article 24 The psychologist, in the initial phase of the professional relationship, provides the individual, group, institution or community, whether they are users or clients, with adequate and understandable information about his services, the purposes and methods of the same, as well as about the degree and legal limits of confidentiality. Therefore, it operates so that those entitled to it can express informed consent. If the professional service is of a continuous nature over time, the foreseeable duration must be indicated, where possible.

Article 25 The psychologist does not improperly use the tools of diagnosis and evaluation at his disposal. In the case of interventions commissioned by third parties, he informs the subjects about the nature of his professional intervention, and does not use, except within the limits of the mandate received, the information he has learned that could cause them damage. When communicating the results of his own diagnostic and evaluation interventions, the psychologist is required to regulate this communication also in relation to the psychological protection of the subjects.

Article 26 The psychologist refrains from undertaking or continuing any professional activity where his own problems or personal conflicts, interfering with the effectiveness of his services, make them inadequate or harmful to the people to whom they are addressed. The psychologist also avoids hiring professional roles and to carry out interventions towards users, also at the request of the Judicial Authority, if the nature of previous relationships could compromise their credibility and effectiveness.

Article 27 The psychologist evaluates and possibly proposes the interruption of the therapeutic relationship when he ascertains that the patient does not derive any benefit from the treatment and it is not reasonably foreseeable that he will derive from the continuation of the treatment itself. If requested, he provides the patient with the information necessary to research other and more suitable interventions.

Article 28 The psychologist avoids mixtures between his professional role and private life which could interfere with his professional activity or in any case cause harm to the social image of the profession. It constitutes a serious ethical violation to carry out diagnostic interventions, psychological support or psychotherapy aimed at people with whom he has maintained or maintains significant relationships of a personal nature, in particular of an affective-sentimental and/or sexual nature. Likewise, it constitutes a serious ethical violation to establish the aforementioned relationships during the professional relationship. The psychologist is prohibited from any activity which, due to the professional relationship, may produce undue direct or indirect advantages of a financial or non-financial nature for him, with the exception of the agreed fee. The psychologist does not exploit the professional position he assumes in relation to supervisory colleagues and trainees, for purposes unrelated to the professional relationship.

Article 29 The psychologist can subordinate his intervention to the condition that the patient uses certain facilities, institutes or places of care only for well-founded reasons of a scientific-professional nature.

Article 30 In the exercise of his profession, the psychologist is prohibited from any form of compensation that does not constitute the consideration for professional services.

Article 31 Professional services to minors or disqualified persons are generally subject to the consent of the person exercising parental authority or guardianship over them. The psychologist who, in the absence of the consent referred to in the previous paragraph, deems professional intervention necessary the absolute confidentiality of the same, is required to inform the Supervisory Authority of the establishment of the professional relationship. The cases in which such services take place on the order of the legally competent authority or in legislatively appointed structures are excluded.

Article 32 When the psychologist agrees to provide a professional service at the request of a client other than the recipient of the service itself, he is required to clarify the nature and purpose of the intervention with the parties involved.

Chapter III - Relations with colleagues

Article 33 Relations between psychologists must be inspired by the principle of mutual respect, loyalty and collaboration. The psychologist supports and supports Colleagues who, in the context of their activity, whatever the nature of their employment relationship and their hierarchical position, see their autonomy and compliance with ethical standards compromised.

Article 34 The psychologist undertakes to contribute to the development of psychological disciplines and to communicate the progress of his knowledge and techniques to the professional community, also with a view to promoting their diffusion for purposes of human and social well-being.

Article 35 In presenting the results of his own research, the psychologist is required to indicate the source of the others' contributions.

Article 36 The psychologist refrains from publicly giving negative judgments about colleagues regarding their training, their competence and the results achieved as a result of professional interventions, or in any case judgments harmful to their decorum and their professional reputation. The fact that these negative judgments are aimed at stealing customers away from colleagues constitutes an aggravating factor. If he identifies cases of professional misconduct that could result in damage to users or to the decorum of the profession, the psychologist is required to promptly notify the Council of the competent Bar.

Article 37 The psychologist accepts the professional mandate exclusively within the limits of his own competences. If the interest of the client and/or the recipient of the service requires recourse to other specific skills, the psychologist proposes the consultancy or the referral to another colleague or another professional.

Article 38 In the exercise of his professional activity and in the circumstances in which he publicly represents the profession in any capacity, the psychologist is required to conform his conduct to the principles of professional decorum and dignity.

Chapter IV - Relations with the company

Article 39 The psychologist presents his training, experience and competence in a correct and accurate way. It recognizes its duty to help the public and users to freely and consciously develop judgements, opinions and choices.

Article 40 Regardless of the limits set by current legislation on advertising, the psychologist does not publicly engage in incorrect behavior aimed at procuring clients. In any case, informative advertising may be carried out regarding the qualifications and professional specializations, the characteristics of the service offered, as well as the price and overall costs of the services according to criteria of transparency and truthfulness of the message, compliance with which is verified by the competent Councils of the Order . The message must be formulated with respect for professional decorum, in accordance with the criteria of scientific seriousness and with the protection of the image of the profession. The lack of transparency and truthfulness of the advertised message constitutes a deontological violation.

Chapter V – Implementation rules

Article 41 The "Permanent Observatory on the Code of Ethics" is established within the "Deontological Commission" of the Order of Psychologists, regulated by a specific act of the National Council of the Order, with the task of collecting the jurisprudence on ethical matters of the Regional Councils and provincial guidelines of the Order and any other material useful for formulating any proposals from the Commission to the National Council of the Order, also for the purposes of the periodic review of the Code of Conduct. This revision will comply with the procedures established by the Law of 18 February 1989, n. 56.

Article 42 This Code of Conduct enters into force on the thirtieth day following the announcement of the results of the approval referendum, pursuant to art. 28, paragraph 6, letter c) of the Law of 18 February 1989, n. 56.

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