Integrity in Professional Psychology
Moral wholeness for a whole world
Integrity is moral wholeness—living consistently in moral wholeness. Its opposite is corruption, the distortion, perversion, and deterioration of moral goodness, resulting in the exploitation of people. Global integrity is moral wholeness at all levels in our world—from the individual to the institutional to the international. Global integrity is requisite for “building the future we want—being the people we need.” It is not easy, it is not always black and white, and it can be risky. These entries explore the many facets of integrity with a view towards the global efforts to promote sustainable development and wellbeing.
What does integrity look like in professional psychology? Here are three examples below. Integrity is a core value which influences the formation and practice of specific ethical principles. Perhap the "I" shape in the Greek psi letter above (psi is the universal symbol for psychology) can stand for the central place of "integrity" in professional psychology.
1. California Board of Psychology
"The mission of the Board of Psychology (Board) is to advance quality psychological services for Californians by ensuring ethical and legal practice and supporting the evolution of the profession. Our values are transparency, integrity, consumer protection, inclusiveness, excellence, and accountability." (California Board of Psychology, Spring Journal, 2016, p. 1)
2. American Psychological Association
“This section consists of General Principles. General Principles, as opposed to Ethical Standards, are aspirational in nature. Their intent is to guide and inspire psychologists toward the very highest ethical ideals of the profession….Integrity. Psychologists seek to promote accuracy, honesty and truthfulness in the science, teaching and practice of psychology. In these activities psychologists do not steal, cheat or engage in fraud, subterfuge or intentional misrepresentation of fact. Psychologists strive to keep their promises and to avoid unwise or unclear commitments. In situations in which deception may be ethically justifiable to maximize benefits and minimize harm, psychologists have a serious obligation to consider the need for, the possible consequences of, and their responsibility to correct any resulting mistrust or other harmful effects that arise from the use of such techniques.” (American Psychological Association, General Principles, Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 2002/2010)
“…The Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists speaks to the common moral framework that guides and inspires psychologists worldwide toward the highest ethical ideals in their professional and scientific work…Psychologists are committed to placing the welfare of society and its members above the self-interest of the discipline and its members. They recognize that adherence to ethical principles in the context of their work contributes to a stable society that enhances the quality of life for all human beings….The Universal Declaration describes those ethical principles that are based on shared human values. It reaffirms the commitment of the psychology community to help build a better world where peace, freedom, responsibility, justice, humanity, and morality prevail….The Universal Declaration articulates principles and related values that are general and aspirational rather than specific and prescriptive. Application of the principles and values to the development of specific standards of conduct will vary across cultures, and must occur locally or regionally in order to ensure their relevance to local or regional cultures, customs, beliefs, and laws….” (Preamble).
“Principle III Integrity. Integrity is vital to the advancement of scientific knowledge and to the maintenance of public confidence in the discipline of psychology. Integrity is based on honesty, and on truthful, open and accurate communications. It includes recognizing, monitoring, and managing potential biases, multiple relationships, and other conflicts of interest that could result in harm and exploitation of persons or peoples. Complete openness and disclosure of information must be balanced with other ethical considerations, including the need to protect the safety or confidentiality of persons and peoples, and the need to respect cultural expectations. Cultural differences exist regarding appropriate professional boundaries, multiple relationships, and conflicts of interest. However, regardless of such differences, monitoring and management are needed to ensure that self-interest does not interfere with acting in the best interests of persons and peoples…”
--Identify one aspect of integrity that all three excerpts above have in common.
--Why are “monitoring and management…needed to ensure that self-interest does not interfere with acting in the best interests of persons and peoples…” (Universal Declaration)