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Ethical Codes

Today, ethical codes play an important part in functioning of many organizations, including such organizations as APA and AAMFT. The development of codes of ethics is essential for the development of the organizational culture of contemporary organizations because codes of ethics make the organizational culture healthy and lay the foundation not only to ethical principles but also mirror legal norms, which are fundamental for organizations and their members. Codes of ethics serve APA and AAMFT members. On the other hand, codes of ethics do not impose legal liabilities on individuals working within the two organizations (Flores, 1998). Nevertheless, the violation of norms and principles defined in codes of ethics reveals the low professional level of member of the two associations and, what is more, they are often intertwined with legal norms, such as the confidentiality principle and privacy legal norms.

In actuality, both APA and AAMFT have developed codes of ethics that aim at the protection of client’s confidentiality as a part of professional ethics. Codes of ethics stress the importance of confidentiality, which is crucial for professionals, who are members of APA and AAMFT. In fact, confidentiality is closely intertwined with legal norms concerning privacy because clients have the right to privacy, which professionals working in the field of psychology cannot violate. Clients often share very private information with psychologists. Therefore, the principle of confidentiality is crucial for members of APA and AAMFT because this principle makes clients confident in psychologists as reliable professionals, who can keep the information they obtain about their clients in secret. In addition, the implementation of the principle of confidentiality increases the effectiveness of psychologists’ performance.

Also, APA and AAMFT stress the importance of professional competence, informed consent, and diversity are extremely important for codes of ethics of both associations. In fact, these ethical issues are extremely important for both associations because they help their members to perform successfully and responsibly. The competence of their members as well as obtaining informed consent of clients along with diversity is essential for the successful work of psychologists and the protection of clients’ privacy. Psychologists should be well-qualified professionals that means that they should have the high level of professional competence, which help them to work ethically correct with diverse population (Ladd, 1991). Clients of psychologists may be diverse and they should respect needs and wants of each client, taking into consideration his or her cultural specificities. In addition, informed consent is essential for the client’s full involvement and understanding of the purpose and outcomes of the work of psychologists with them.

On the other hand, there are some differences in codes of ethics of APA and AAMFT. For instance, AAMFT focuses on moral responsibility and issues related to marriage and life of spouses. The focus on marriage and life of spouses mirror the narrow specialization of AAMFT on marriage-related issues. APA focuses on human rights as the ground for its ethical principles (Sumner, 2008). In such a way, APA stresses its legal responsibility that is closely intertwined with the ethical responsibility of professionals, who are members of APA. Also, APA stresses the importance of social justice and social responsibility of professionals, who are members of the association.

Thus, both APA and AAMFT stress the professional responsibility of psychologists and the importance of their professional competence, along with confidentiality and privacy-related issues.



Flores, A. (1998). “The Philosophical Basis of Engineering Codes of Ethics.” In Vesilind P.A. and A. Gunn (eds), Engineering Ethics and the Environment.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 201-209.
Ladd, J. (1991). “The Quest for a Code of Professional Ethics: An Intellectual and Moral Confusion.” In Deborah G. Johnson (ed.) Ethical Issues in Engineering. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Sumner, J.B. (2008). Ethical related to Engineering. Cambride Youth Club.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act. ((2011). Retrieved on January 8, 2011 from http://www.pubcowhitepapers.com/whitepapers/paper/the-sarbanes-oxley-act–code-of-ethics-and-audit-committee-requirements
Williams, G. (2009). Codes of Ethics. New York: Random House.