Basic Ethical Principles
A registered clinical psychologist shall:-
respect for the rights and dignity of all individuals in the profession and scientific discipline;
adhere to the highest standards of professional competence and ethical conduct at all time in all of our professional and scholarly endeavors;
strive continually to update and broaden our professional knowledge and skill;
ensure that professional integrity and confidentiality are always upheld in all of our professional and scholarly endeavors;
recognize the extent and limitation of our professional expertise and provide services that are within our competence only;
accept responsibility for reporting illegal activities or unethical conduct to the appropriate authorities; and
ensure that no service that requires the skill, knowledge, and judgment of the clinical psychologist is delegated to a less qualified person and ensure that those under our supervision or in our employment are knowledgeable and capable in the performance of their duties.
Structure of the Code
Principle 1: Respecting the rights and dignity of individuals
Members of HKADCP value the environment and all living beings. As such, they are committed to pursuing the public good and maintenance of dignity, human rights, privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination of all individuals. The uniqueness and diversity of individuals are likewise recognized and protected.
1.01 Abstaining from prejudice
Members strive to minimize prejudicial and discriminatory attitudes and refrain from the use of such in their professional work. They also strive to protect the natural world in all its forms.
1.02 Supporting civil rights
Members recognize the civil rights of all people with whom they come in contact in their professional work.
1.03 Avoiding discrimination
Members avoid discrimination in all forms.
1.04 Obtaining informed consent
Informed oral and/or written consent is obtained before professional services are rendered. Informed consent is also obtained in advance from participants in research. Consent from a legal guardian is required if informed consent cannot be obtained from clients who are not of legal age or who do not have adequate mental capacity to give informed consent.
1.05 Protecting confidentiality
Confidentiality of clients is always respected and protected. Clients should be informed of
any limits on confidentiality such as the following situations:
a) When there is potential for clients to perform injurious actions toward themselves or others.
b) In circumstances where confidentiality must be breached as mandated by law.
c) In situations in which clients may unwittingly make self-incriminating statements.
Members record or report only that personal information of clients which is relevant and necessary as needed for legitimate clinical purposes, e.g., consultation or referral.
Principle 2: Integrity of Professional Services and Relationships
Members are aware of the limits of their competency and avoid harming others through negligence or dishonesty. They promote the advancement of public confidence in psychological research and practice. They are open, objective, truthful, and honest in all professional matters. They represent themselves in an accurate manner and honor their promises and commitments.
2.01 Practicing within one's area of competence
Members recognize the limitations of their professional knowledge and skills. They provide services, teach and conduct research within the boundaries of their competence based on education, training, supervised experience, consultation, study or professional experience.
2.02 Accurate representation
Members represent their own and other's professional accomplishments (education, experience, affiliations) in an accurate manner in advertising and public statements.
2.03 Using languages and translators appropriately
Members provide services in a language that is clearly understood by recipients. They recognize the many difficulties associated with the use of translators during the provision of services, and strive to minimize these.
2.04 Appropriate use of research findings
Scientific research findings must be presented in an accurate, fair and complete manner. Implications for clinical practice and limitations of the research must be clearly described. Members use evidence-based therapeutic interventions when available.
2.05 Objectivity of presentations
As educators and researchers, members are well-prepared and present information in an accurate and objective manner. Others are given credit for their work. Plagiarism is avoided in all its forms.
2.06 Financial honesty
The financial aspects of providing professional care to the public are conducted in an honest and forthright manner, including pro bono services and the use of concession rates.
2.07 Accuracy in announcement of services
Announcements regarding professional services and products must be accurate, never misleading or fraudulent.
2.08 Adequate supervision
Students, trainees and other staff of members are provided with adequate supervision and guidance.
2.09 Coordinating care
Members carefully consider treatment issues and client welfare with regard to any other treatments the client may be receiving. When indicated and with the client's permission, they consult with other treating professionals to coordinate care.
Principle 3: Responsibility and Accountability
The quality of members' professional services should be at the highest possible standard. Members curtail any personal behavior or situations that may negatively impact their professional work. They abide by the civil statutes promulgated in the communities in which they live and work.
Members are accountable for all their professional work. Therefore, the following information is collected and made available to the public: names, HKADCP registration number, all educational degrees, and professional license identification data (for any applicable areas).
3.02 Abstaining from sexual intimacies with supervisees and clients
Exploitative relationships are prohibited including sexual intimacies, which include, but are not limited to sexual intercourse, sexual verbal advances and improper bodily contact with supervisees, current clients or recent former clients. Members refrain from sexual intimacies with individuals known to be close relatives, guardians, or significant others of current clients. Members refrain from accepting clients with whom they have engaged in sexual intimacies. Members refrain from sexual intimacies with former clients for a period two years following termination of services.
3.03 Refraining from multiple relationships
Dual and multiple relationships involve a service provider being in a professional role with a client at the same time they are in another role with that person. Such relationships are to be avoided if they have the potential of impairing the professional work of the member, impeding the quality of services provided or negatively affecting the client in any way.
3.04 Avoiding conflict of interest
Members avoid entering arrangements that involve conflict of interests that would jeopardize their objectivity and/or the quality of their professional work.
3.05 Maintaining clinical records
Members document their clinical work. They retain professional records for a period during which clients are likely to benefit from having these records available.
3.06 Termination of treatment
Members terminate therapy when it becomes reasonably clear that a client is no longer benefiting from or appears to be harmed by continued service. Clients are assisted in finding another treating professional if they so desire.
3.07 Dealing with professional impairment
If the services of a member become impaired due to illness or other factors, the member
must seek appropriate professional help regarding their condition. If necessary, their practice must be adjusted to protect the welfare of clients including, but not limited to, reductions in work time, leave of absence, or discontinuing all professional services.
3.08 Using appropriate assessment tools
Whenever possible, psychological test and norms should be used that are suitable for clients in terms of their gender, age, education, ethnicity and language. Also, whenever possible, psychological tests used should meet established standards of reliability and validity.
3.09 Protecting test integrity
Members strive to protect the confidentiality of assessment materials (test forms, test questions and answers, etc.) in order to preserve test validity.
3.10 Providing timely and accurate feedback
Assessment results should be provided in a timely and accurate manner. Members strive to provide testing feedback to clients in a way that enhances their understanding and well-being. Members should also provide timely and accurate performance feedback to students and supervisees.
3.11 Protection of clients and others from misinterpreting test data
Members take care see that test results are not misunderstood by clients or disclosed to other individuals who may misinterpret them.
3.12 Ongoing professional training
Members engage in ongoing professional training in order to develop, maintain and update their knowledge and skills and optimize their professional competence.
Principle 4: Justice
Members protect social justice while providing professional care. They are aware of power differentials between themselves and clients. Members have a responsibility to ameliorate unfair biases and prejudicial practices or behaviors in other professionals.
4.01 Sensitivity to power differentials
Members are sensitive to power differentials in dealing with current and former clients,
employers, employees, and peers. They strive to protect individuals who may be in a position of lower power. They are particularly sensitive to the needs of underprivileged and otherwise vulnerable individuals.
4.02 Abiding by legal statutes
Members abide by local legal statutes when engaging in professional clinical or scientific work.
4.03 Reporting abuse
Members report alleged or suspected cases of child or senior abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, financial or neglect) to appropriate governmental departments (e.g., Family and Child Protective Services Unit of the Social Welfare Department– FCPSU).
4.04 Resolving ethical-legal and ethical-organizational conflicts
If the ethical responsibilities of a member conflict with laws, regulations, or other governing statutes, the member should clarify the nature of the conflict and take reasonable steps to resolve these consistent with the laws of Hong Kong SAR. If the demands of an organization with which members are affiliated or for whom they are working are in conflict with this ethics code, members should clarify the nature of the conflict and make known their commitment to professional ethical conduct as represented in this code.
4.05 Resolving potential violations of confidentiality
When communicating with colleagues and peers about clients, members take reasonable steps to resolve any potential for violation of client confidentiality.
4.06 Respecting the facts when making allegations
It is a violation of this ethics code to issue complaints with reckless disregard for or willful ignorance of facts that disprove the allegation. Complaints about other professionals are to be made in an appropriate manner avoiding exaggeration or unduly pejorative statements.
4.07 Referral to other bodies for dispute resolution
If it is not possible to resolve potentially unethical matters involving others, referral to appropriate ethical or statutory bodies must be initiated.
4.08 Cooperating with requests from other bodies
Members will be cooperative when asked by ethical governing bodies to provide information or consultation. Client confidentiality, however, is always honored.
Members may barter for payment for services when there is no clinical contraindication or exploitation.
**HKADCP would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Christopher D. Tori and Dr. Darryl Thomander who have been generously volunteering their time and energy to assist in the establishment of HKADCP bylaws and code of ethics. **
American Psychological Association (2010). The American Psychological Association's
Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Retrieved from
Australian Psychological Society (2007). Code of Ethics. Melbourne, Vic: The Australian
Psychological Society Ltd.
British Psychological Society (2009). Code of Ethics and Conduct. Retrieved from Leicester,
The British Psychological Society.
New Zealand Psychological Society (2002). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from
**HKADCP reserves the right to add/delete or update this bylaws and code of ethics whenever it deems fit and appropriate to change without notice.**
Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct
All registered members are bound by the provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct/Ethics and other regulations of this Association (HKADCP).The procedures for filing, investigating and resolving complaints of unethical conduct are described in the current "Complaint Procedures". The HKADCP may impose sanctions on its members for violation of the Code of Ethics, including terminations of HKADCP membership as necessary. Details of the established procedures are contained in Forms C1 to C6.
HKADCP is committed to promoting the provision of high quality professional services to the public. This code provides a set of principles and guidelines intended to govern the professional conduct of HKADCP members. The specific purposes of the code are as follows: a) Safeguard the rights and dignity of individuals, b) Respect the uniqueness and diversity of people, c) Ensure the provision of competent psychological care, d) Provide a guide for HKADCP members in making ethical judgments and a set of standards for their professional conduct. The code is based on four principles as described below. HKADCP leadership may modify and revise these principles and code as needed. Such revisions will supersede prior versions.