Code of Practice

This procedure is effective from November 2002 until revised.
New Sections 6 Trainers and 7 Supervisors added 2 April 2011.

1 Introduction

1.1 The UKAHPP Code of Practice is designed to clarify and expand upon the philosophy embodied in the UKAHPP Ethical Principles by applying it to specific practice issues. All UKAHPP Members commit to adhere to this code.

2 Responsibility

2.1 In providing services, UKAHPP Members maintain the highest standards of their professions. They accept responsibility for the consequences of their acts and make every effort to ensure that their services are used appropriately.

2.2 UKAHPP Members acknowledge that their own recommendations and personal actions can alter the lives of others. They are alert to personal and other pressures and influences that might lead them to misuse this professional influence.

2.3 UKAHPP Members accept responsibility for the selection of their research topics and methods. In publishing their work they acknowledge the existence of alternative hypotheses and non-supporting data. They take credit only for work they have actually done.

2.4 The moral and ethical standards of UKAHPP Members as individuals are a personal matter except as these may compromise the fulfilment of their professional responsibilities or reduce the public trust in the UKAHPP. UKAHPP Members do not engage in or condone any practices that are inhumane or result in illegal or unjustifiable results or which may diminish the legal or civil rights of clients or others. They adhere to all relevant laws, regulations and guidelines affecting their work.

2.5 Public statements, published work, advertising and promotional activities of UKAHPP Members are guided by the primary obligation to aid the public in developing informed judgments, opinions and choices. UKAHPP Members represent themselves and any associated organisations accurately. They give a clear statement of purpose and description of the service they provide. They base public statements on scientifically acceptable psychological findings and techniques whenever possible with full recognition of the limits and uncertainties of such matters.

2.6 UKAHPP Members are in receipt of regular supervision appropriate to their experience, client load and field of work.

3 Confidentiality

3.1 Confidentiality is a means of providing the client with safety and privacy. UKAHPP Members recognise that anything less than absolute practitioner confidentiality may diminish the value of the working relationship.

3.2 Information obtained under an agreement of confidentiality is revealed only with the consent of the person from whom that information was obtained, or with the consent of that person’s legal representative.

3.3 Clients are made aware at the onset of the working relationship that there may be legal limits on the extent of confidentiality. Any limitations imposed on confidentiality by UKAHPP are communicated to the client and the client’s legal guardian where relevant before a professional relationship is started.

3.4 Normal confidentiality may be lifted under exceptional circumstances such as a client’s expressed intention to commit suicide, or where the client is under legal age and reporting abuse by his or her legal guardian, or where there is a risk to anybody’s health and safety. This includes information received as a third party.

3.4.1   Risk of harm to self or others is the most likely reason for not maintaining confidentiality.   Where such risk or potential risk is identified, UKAHPP members are expected to seek the consent of their client to break confidentiality so that the risk can be contained.

3.4.2   Where client consent is withheld and risk, or potential risk, has been identified, UKAHPP members are expected to consider breaking confidentiality without client consent so that the risk may be contained.

3.4.3 The containment of risk would generally take priority over the protection of the therapeutic relationship.

3.4.4   UKAHPP members should therefore reach a decision that is based on balancing the risk that would result from either maintaining or breaking confidentiality rather than a desire simply to protect the therapeutic relationship or to follow their client’s wishes.   There should be a sound ethical reasoning for either response.

3.5 UKAHPP Members only make contact with third parties such as friends or relatives of the client with the express knowledge of the client. Any unanticipated communication with third parties is reported to the client, together with the content of the communication, as soon as possible after it has taken place.

3.6 When client-related information is to be used in written or spoken form in a public forum, the UKAHPP Member obtains consent for its use and/or adequately disguises all identifying information. Particular care is taken so that answers to follow-up questions and other spontaneous remarks do not inadvertently reveal the identity of the client.

3.7 Confidentiality is maintained in the storage and disposal of records.

3.8 Care must be taken to ensure that personally identifiable information is not transmitted through overlapping networks of confidential relationships. For this reason, it is good practice to avoid identifying specific clients during supervision and other consultations, unless there are sound reasons for doing so.

4 Consumer Welfare

4.1 The rights of clients as consumers are asserted by UKAHPP Members. These include the right to exercise freedom of choice with regard to participation.

4.2 UKAHPP Members respect the integrity and protect the welfare of the people and groups with whom they work. They recognise their own needs and their potentially powerful and influential position and make every effort to avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of clients, students, supervisees and subordinates.

4.3 UKAHPP Members fully inform consumers as to the purpose and nature of different approaches and procedures. They also state clearly at the outset of the working relationship any terms, conditions and methods of practice, preferably in a written form. They maintain these throughout the course of the relationship or obtain clear agreement if any alterations need to be made. As clear an indication as possible should be made as to the probable duration of any treatment.

4.4 UKAHPP Members avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of clients, students, supervisees, research participants and subordinates. In particular:

4.4.1 Every effort is made to avoid dual relationships that could impair professional judgment, increase the risk of exploitation or otherwise confuse the existing relationship.

4.4.2 Sexual intimacies with clients or past clients are unethical.

4.4.3 Non-professional relationships with former clients are avoided whenever possible.

4.4.4 Potential conflicts of interest that might arise are made clear to all parties concerned.

4.4.5 Where there is any risk of exploitation or other harmful dual relationship either during or after a working relationship, UKAHPP Members demonstrate their professional commitment to the welfare of their clients by invoking the UKAHPP Ethical Review Procedure before taking any possibly unethical action.

4.5 A working relationship is terminated by the UKAHPP Member when it appears reasonably clear to the Practitioner that the client is not benefiting from it, or at the client’s request, or by previous agreement. Care is taken to ensure that the client is well prepared for termination of the working relationship.

4.6 Financial arrangements are made clear to clients before any professional relationship is commenced. UKAHPP Members neither give nor receive remuneration or other reward for referring clients for professional services.

4.7 When ethical conflicts that appear irreconcilable arise between UKAHPP Members and any employing organisations, or in any client situation, the UKAHPP Member invokes the UKAHPP Ethical Review Procedure.

4.8 The UKAHPP Member’s physical work environment is appropriate to the services offered and conducive to the safety and privacy of the clients and therapist.

4.9 UKAHPP Members ensure that their professional work is adequately covered by appropriate indemnity insurance.

4.10 An UKAHPP Member clarifies the nature, purpose and conditions of any research with participants and obtains informed and verifiable consent before embarking on a research programme.

4.11 Contracts with clients are explicit as regards fees, payment schedule, holidays, and cancellation of sessions by the client or UKAHPP Member and session frequency. The likely length of therapy, the methods to be utilised, transfers of clients and terminations are discussed openly and specifically with clients at the onset of the professional relationship.

5 Professional Relationships

5.1 UKAHPP Members act with due regard for the needs, special competencies and obligations of their colleagues in all professions. This extends to all aspects of their professional work.

5.2 UKAHPP Members are aware of the extent of their capabilities and understand the areas of competence of related professions. They make full use of this knowledge to serve the best interest of the consumer. Where they become aware of any medical implication they encourage their client to inform their GP and make a written note to that effect.

5.2.1 UKAHPP Members are responsible for monitoring their own effectiveness and competence to practice. Competence may be impaired temporarily, or permanently, by temporary or permanent physical or mental incapacity, or due to other circumstances. Members are responsible for seeking professional supervision and support to help them monitor this, and as necessary, professional help and advice to deal with particular circumstances which may adversely effect their ability to work ethically and effectively with clients. At times it may be necessary for a UKAHPP Member to temporarily, or permanently, refrain from practice, due to any of the above occurring. They may avail themselves of the Ethical Review Procedure to help clarify whether this is the case.

5.3 When UKAHPP Members employ, train or supervise others, they accept the obligation to further the professional development of these people and provide appropriate working conditions, timely evaluations, constructive criticism and viable work experience opportunities.

5.4 When UKAHPP Members know of a possible ethical violation by another practitioner, they may first informally attempt to resolve the issue by bringing the behaviour to the attention of the practitioner. Such informal corrective efforts are made with sensitivity to any rights to confidentiality involved. UKAHPP Members may invoke the UKAHPP Ethical Review Procedure if the issue does not seem amenable to an informal solution. If the possible violation is of a more serious nature, and if the practitioner causing concern is a UKAHPP Member, UKAHPP Members should invoke the UKAHPP complaints procedure.  If the member causing concern is not a UKAHPP member then the relevant registering body should be informed.

5.4.1   Where the information about the member causing concern includes an element of risk, then the matter must be treated with urgency.  When information identifying risk is received by a registered therapist as a third party, action to contain the risk must be considered as a priority and would generally be expected to override confidentiality obligations.   In this situation UKAHPP members should be guided by paragraph 3.4.

5.5 UKAHPP Members inform the UKAHPP General Secretary if:

5.5.1 any complaint is in progress or has been upheld against them in another professional organisation, or in connection with their professional work or in respect of any professional organisation with which they are directly involved, or

5.5.2 they are convicted of any criminal offence, in which case information will be held in confidence by the UKAHPP unless it has a direct bearing on a practitioner’s professional viability, or

5.5.3 successful civil proceedings are brought against them in connection with their work as practitioners. The UKAHPP Board decides whether such findings make it appropriate to review the UKAHPP Member’s membership.

6 Trainers

6.1 ‘Trainers’ in these codes refers to core training staff on counselling and psychotherapy training courses, and ‘trainees’ refers to the trainees of those trainers.

6.2 Trainers may work in a wider variety of ways than either therapists or supervisors, as the role of trainer can include the activities of leading theoretical or experiential events; giving feedback on and marking written, recorded or live work, as well as liaison with colleagues, examiners and, moderators and providing individual tutorials. Trainers frequently work as part of a team and within a training organisation and often with reference to outside moderators and examiners. The relative responsibilities of these parties may vary widely according to the situation.

6.3 It is recognised that professional assessment, judgement, evaluation and constructive criticism according to agreed training standards, based on clear evidence of competence and suitability, is a part of the work of a trainer, and is different from discrimination or prejudice as referred to in the Code of Ethical Principles 2.5.

6.4 Confidential personal information about trainees obtained in the role of trainer is shared only with other trainers, administrative staff, supervisors, examiners or moderators under an agreement of confidentiality for the purposes of supporting the personal and professional development and the safe and ethical practice of the trainee.

6.5 Trainers will be alert to the power issues involved in training and will give trainees appropriate opportunities to address the training relationship and their training experiences with a recognised means of feedback.

6.6 Any social interactions with trainees are conducted with due consideration of their context and appropriateness and not in any manner that could prejudice the primacy of the training relationship.

6.7 Sexual relationships with trainees are unethical.

6.8 Trainers will not be the therapist of any trainee.

6.9 Trainers will not supervise trainees if they are part of a team that assesses the trainees’ competence.

7 Supervisors

7.1 The purpose of a Code of Practice for Supervisors is to highlight matters of ethical practice which require the particular attention of supervisors, and augments rather than replaces the remainder of the Code of Practice above.

7.2 The supervisor’s role includes supporting the supervisee’s competence as well as attending to his/her professional development; facilitating the supervisee to address, within the relational field, the needs of her/his clients; enhancing reflective practice; and raising awareness of ethical and personal issues emerging from the supervisee’s work.

7.3 Supervisors are responsible for monitoring, with their supervisees, that sufficient supervision is provided to address the needs of the supervisee’s clients, and that the best use is made of supervision time to this end. This will imply discussing the supervisee’s experience and level of competence and may involve judgements and recommendations for further continuing professional development.

7.4 Supervisors manage complex relationships, in that the work of supervision, which is relational, addresses their supervisees’ relationship with their clients.

7.5 Supervisors will review their supervision work regularly with their own supervisor, jointly monitoring that such supervision of supervision is sufficient, especially when commencing work as a supervisor, or where supervision forms a substantial portion of their clinical work.

7.6 Supervisors monitor their competence to supervise the work of supervisees in therapeutic modalities, client groups or settings in which they are not personally trained or experienced. Supervisors will maintain a level of their own client work adequate to support their supervision practice.

7.7 Supervisors who have concerns about the ethical or safe practice of a supervisee will in the first place raise this with the supervisee in supervision, and, where appropriate, also seek guidance from their own supervisor. Where it is considered that the supervisee has breached relevant ethical codes, the supervisor should seek an Ethical Review.

7.8 Supervisors will be alert to the possibility of dual relationships arising through their supervision such as possessing information about a supervisee’s client that is not available to the supervisee, or personal information about the supervisee, for example via a training organisation. S/he is responsible for managing the complex boundaries that may arise.

7.9 Supervisors will not be a supervise’s therapist. Wherever possible, supervisors will not supervise someone who is in training with them. Where a former client or trainee seeks supervision from a member, such a request will be discussed with the member’s supervisor. The supervisor should request an Ethical Review when any dual role appears unavoidable.

7.10 Other dual relationships, for example social relationships, between supervisor and supervisee will be carefully considered for their impact on the work of supervision. Sexual relationships with supervisees are unethical.

7.11 Supervisors will contract clearly with their supervisees concerning the frequency, purpose and boundaries of supervision. They will address together their respective professional obligations to each other, to clients, and to any employing, placement or training organisation in which each or both is involved. Such a contract will define who holds clinical responsibility for the work with clients.

7.12 Supervisors will be alert to the power issues involved in supervision and give supervisees appropriate opportunities to address the supervisory relationship.

7.13 Supervisors will be clear with regard to fees; and with their policy concerning giving references, and fees for this and any other work done outside supervision sessions.

7.14 Supervision is a confidential relationship, and confidentiality will be maintained with respect to information about both clients and supervisees. Supervisors will make clear the circumstances governing any extension of confidentiality, for example in cases of risk to the safety of a client; or to a supervisee’s training or placement organisation, or employer. Any such extension of confidentiality will be discussed in advance with the supervisee wherever possible.

7.15 Supervisors will be mindful not to practice beyond their training and experience.

7.16 Supervisors will be responsible for maintaining and developing their skills through appropriate CPD.

7.17 Supervisors will be responsible for monitoring and maintaining their physical, mental and emotional health in relation to their fitness to practise.

7.18 Proper regard will be given in supervision to equality and diversity issues and considerations such as origin, status, ethnicity, culture, gender, age, beliefs, sexual orientation and disability.

Version Control:

Version Status Description Date
1.2 Approved Amendments pending full review 2 December 2017
1.1 Approved  Revision 2 April 2011