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Custom Ethical Code of Conduct Essay

The American Psychological Association (APA) has a set of approved ethical codes for practicing professionals. The codes were developed keeping the Western society in mind. However, the practice of psychology is global. The professionals who qualify go on to treat people from diverse backgrounds keeping a singular view of culture which not only hampers correct diagnosis, it also creates a difficult situation for the clients where they find themselves isolated. A set of predefined cultural impacts can be seen in the code of ethics whenever the following assumptions become true, namely;

  1. All persons are measured according to a preset ‘norm’ behavior, irrespective of their backgrounds.
  2. Professional boundaries are narrowly defined and cooperative behavior is discouraged among professionals.
  3.  Psychological health is primarily a ‘low-context’ discussion not a ‘high-context’ discussion.
  4. The person’s support system has nothing to do with the diagnosis of the problem.
  5. Cause-effect is the only scientific approach acceptable.
  6. The individual is expected to accept and fit into the system, no matter what the system dictates.
  7. The practitioner believes he/she is free of cultural bias, when actually they show all signs of it.

The code of ethics of APA has been tested by many researchers over and over again. The basic ethics of treatment are called principles of ethics which are standard rules and regulations set forth by institutions and could be called professional obligations (Fry, 2005). They are the basic rules and are the ethical codes developed from the Western point of view. The problems with these ethical codes are;

  1. The code is restricted to one nation. Earliest psychological studies suggested that the human mind is in a static state and is not affected by cultural behavior. On the other hand, anthropologists cited culture as the main factor to interpreting the diverse behaviors. Psychologists give minimum attention to the cultural and social standing of a person while treating them which is not only dangerous but very culturally biased. Although Pederson believes that the cultural bias may be unintentional, Ridley believes that most biased psychologists actively deny being biased.
  2. Alternative medicine is seen as a threat to psychology. Psychology assumes that the mind and body are separate organs and one does not affect the other. Recent studies suggest the exact opposite. The narrow minded approach of the code of ethics does not allow any sort of new entrants to psychological practice. Especially those in the nature of alternative medicine. The altered states of consciousness cannot be readily tested and verified which makes Eastern medicine unacceptable, when the opposite is actually true. By combining Eastern with the Western psychologists can relate more easily to the client in the client’s cultural setting and be able to avoid cultural encapsulation.
  3. Judgment is detached of all factors staring in the face. The principle code assumes that ‘my view is the correct view’. This exists regardless of the fact that culture has major role in shaping a human mind since birth.

Discussion

Multicultural Approach

Multicultural approach to treating patients was a direct result of deteriorating professional competencies following the ethical code of conduct (Pederson, 2007). The more a psychologist is aware of the cultural background of a client, the more appropriately positioned he is to treat him/her properly. As the world has grown and shrunk due to technology, humans have grown to become more and more inclined towards different cultures. An American may have the statuette of a Buddha in his drawing room; a Nepalese may like listening to African music. As we assimilate different cultures, we become even more complex human beings, taking in influences from different cultures.

Conclusion

It is only befitting that psychologists expand their knowledge base about different cultures to avoid any deficiencies in making a diagnosis or biased judgment. Multicultural approaches require psychologists to employ the use of virtue ethics. Virtue ethics add multi-cultural sensitivity, respectfulness and benevolence to the existing set of ethics. According to studies, this virtue ethics can enhance the competence levels of practitioners around the globe.

Code: Sample20

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