CODE OF ETHICS
Chapter I – General principles
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.
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 Law February 18, 1989, n. 56, according to the procedures established by the Disciplinary Regulations.
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.
In the practice of the profession, the psychologist respects the dignity, the right to confidentiality, 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.
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.
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, 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.
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 he bases his 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.
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.
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.
When professional activities concern the behavior of animals, the psychologist undertakes to respect their nature and to avoid their suffering.
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.
The psychologist refrains from testifying about 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.
In the case of an obligation to report or an obligation to report, the psychologist limits the reference to what he has learned due to 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.
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.
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.
The psychologist draws up the scientific communications, even if addressed to an audience of professionals bound by professional secrecy, in order to safeguard in any case the anonymity of the recipient of the service.
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 conclusion of the professional relationship, except as provided by specific rules. 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.
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.
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.
In his teaching, didactic and training activities, the psychologist stimulates interest in deontological principles in students, pupils and trainees, also inspiring his own professional conduct by them.
Teaching 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, behavioural) 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
The psychologist adopts non-harmful conduct for the people he deals with professionally, and does not use his role and his professional tools to ensure himself or others undue advantages.
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.
In the initial phase of the professional relationship, the psychologist provides the individual, the group, the institution or the community, whether they are users or clients, with adequate and understandable information about their services, their purposes and methods, 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.
The psychologist does not improperly use the diagnostic and evaluation tools 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.
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 taking on 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.
The psychologist evaluates and possibly proposes the interruption of the therapeutic relationship when he finds that the patient does not derive any benefit from the treatment and it is not reasonably foreseeable that he will derive any benefit from the continuation of the treatment itself. If requested, he provides the patient with the information necessary to seek other and more suitable interventions.
The psychologist avoids mixes between the professional role and private life which could interfere with the 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.
The psychologist can subordinate his intervention to the condition that the patient uses certain facilities, institutes or places of care only for well-founded scientific-professional reasons.
In the exercise of his profession, the psychologist is prohibited from any form of compensation that does not constitute the consideration for professional services.
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 as well as 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.
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
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.
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 in order to promote their diffusion for purposes of human and social well-being.
When presenting the results of his own research, the psychologist is required to indicate the source of the others' contributions.
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 may 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.
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.
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
The psychologist correctly and accurately presents his/her training, experience and competence. It recognizes its duty to help the public and users to freely and consciously develop judgements, opinions and choices.
Regardless of the limits set by current legislation on advertising, the psychologist does not publicly engage in incorrect behavior aimed at procuring customers. 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
The "Permanent Observatory on the Code of Ethics" is set up at the "Commission of Ethics" 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 ethics of the regional and provincial councils 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 purpose of periodic review of the Code of Conduct. This revision will comply with the procedures established by the Law of 18 February 1989, n. 56.
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.
For professional services, in addition to the reimbursement of justified expenses, the fees indicated in the attached table are due to the psychologist registered in section A of the Register, as established by Presidential Decree 328/01.
The minimum and maximum fees are to be considered annually adjusted on the variation of the minimum applicable ISTAT fee. In agreements with public and private subjects, which concern professional services to be rendered for the benefit of entire categories of subjects, the minimum can be reduced by 25%.
For the determination of the fee between the maximum and the minimum established, one can have regard to:
the complexity of the requested service;
the client's belonging to categories for which agreements have been stipulated;
the urgency of the service;
the socio-economic situation of the customer.
The psychologist can reduce the fee for the services not performed due to the client's failure to respect the appointment, and possibly renounce them if he deems it appropriate.
The fees, depending on the methods inherent in their determination, are divided into the following two types:
fees as a percentage, based on the value of the intervention;
vacation fees, based on the time spent.
To determine the value of the intervention, the substantial interests on which the professional service affects must be taken into account.
In determining the fee, particular attention must be paid to the specific competence of the psychologist.
When the fees cannot be determined by virtue of a specific item in the table, reference is made to the provisions contained in these regulations and in the attached table which regulate similar cases or analogous matters.
The fees due to the psychologist for professional services not included in the attached table are normally valued as a percentage.
In any case, the fees must be evaluated in terms of time and calculated as a vacancy in those professional services in which time contributes as the main element of evaluation.
Vacation fees are established for the psychologist at a rate of 60 euros for each hour or fraction of an hour.
Except in cases of effective greater professional performance, no more than eight hours out of the twenty-four can be calculated.
For services rendered in conditions of particular hardship, these fees can be increased up to 40%.
The psychologist who has to move out of the office for the execution of the assignment received is due the travel expenses reimbursed in their amount increased by 15% by way of reimbursement of ancillary expenses; living expenses, overnight stays and meals based on first-class hotel rates with a 10% increase as reimbursement of ancillary expenses, as well as fees relating to the services provided and a travel allowance of a minimum of 5 euros a maximum of 15 euros for each hour or part thereof for distances of less than 100 km; as well as from a minimum of 3 euros to a maximum of 9 euros for each hour or part thereof for distances exceeding 100 km.
If several psychologists have been appointed by the board to provide their work in the same intervention, each is entitled to a fee determined by dividing the single fee by the number of members of the board increased by 40% for each professional appointed, except for any coordinator for which the full rate applies.
Everyone is entitled to reimbursement of justified expenses and compensation.
For the interventions started but not completed or in the case of termination of the assignment for any reason, the fees for the work performed will be due, including the preparatory work carried out by the psychologist.
The suspension for any reason of the appointment given to the psychologist does not exempt the client from the obligation to pay the fee relating to the services rendered.
If, due to the particular circumstances of the case, there appears to be a manifest disproportion between the service and the fee envisaged in the table, the minimum and maximum tariffs may be exceeded, respectively by half and up to tenfold, with the assent of the competent Council of the Bar.
The psychologist is entitled to a reimbursement of general study expenses at a rate of 10% of the amount of the fee.
For the arbitral proceedings, the fees established pursuant to and for the effects of the DM 5 October 1994 n. 585, and subsequent modifications and additions.