Ethical Principles of Psychologists

An individual working as a psychologist should adhere to the ethical principles of psychologists and comply with the code of conduct. The first two ethical principles are Beneficence and Nonmaleficence and Fidelity and Responsibility (American Psychological Association, 2017). The first principle implies that a psychologist has to take care of those around him and do them no harm. Since psychologists’ actions might seriously impact people’s lives, a psychologist should disregard any personal, financial, or other factors that could lead to negative consequences. The second principle is about mutual trust between a psychologist and his client. It also reminds the psychologists of their professional responsibility to the client and society. Additionally, the principle urges psychologists not only to comply with the code themselves but also to be aware of their colleagues’ ethical compliance.

In the case of accepting a holiday gift from a family who seemingly cannot afford it, a psychologist violates these two principles. Firstly, this act opposes beneficence – it is ok to accept gifts, but everything has its limits. Secondly, this act denies the responsibility for the future well-being of this family. A family could act out of emotion and gratitude; however, they might reconsider their actions when emotions pass. Since the necklace’s significant worth is out of the question, there is a great probability of its better usage. The situation also implies that a co-worker accepted the necklace out of personal desire, which is considered unprofessional judging by the first principle.

According to the code of conduct, if the informal resolution of an ethical violation is impossible, a psychologist should inform the appropriate institution. Because my co-worker deliberately decided to keep the necklace despite my inquiry, I will have no other choice but to speak of it to the state or national committee, licensing board, or the person in charge of our agency. Not doing so would, in turn, violate the second ethical principle from my side.


American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. 

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PsychologyWriting. "Ethical Principles of Psychologists." March 22, 2023.