ATPC CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICS
The ATPC is the Association of Thrive Programme Consultants. Membership is mandatory for all qualified and practicing Thrive Programme Consultants.
The Code of Ethics and Conduct consists of guidelines rather than enforceable rules. The reason for this is that, as stated by the British Psychological Society, “thinking is not optional” (Ethics Committee of the British Psychological Society, 2009, p. 5). In coming to a decision about undertaking a particular course of action, you are expected to consider the impact of that action within its particular context, using the ethical code as guidance. We recognise that different individuals, situations and contexts may require contrasting courses of action and we want our members to be making informed and considered decisions, rather than indiscriminately following a set of rules.
It should, also, be noted that the code is not all encompassing. It cannot provide a definitive solution to every possible ethical dilemma that those working within the therapeutic profession may face.
In writing the guidelines, the ethical codes of the British Psychological Society, The American Psychological Association and the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy were consulted.
Our Code of Ethics and Conduct is based around three main principles:
A value statement, firstly, describes each ethical principle. A set of general practice guidelines is then provided, which is based upon these three principles. These guidelines detail the conduct and standard of care expected of our members.
Value Statement: Practitioners should uphold the importance of the dignity and worth of all individuals and their rights to privacy, confidentiality and self-determination.
Value Statement: Practitioners should strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm. They should value their responsibilities towards their clients, the general public, and the organisation. When conflicts arise in the course of their professional interactions, they should endeavour to resolve these conflicts in a responsible manner, referring to the Ethical Code for guidance. Practitioners should, also, be committed to maintaining high standards of competence. In relation to this, they should regularly complete on-going training and recognise and practise within the limits of their current capabilities.
Value Statement: Practitioners should endorse the values of truthfulness, accuracy and clarity within their professional interactions. They should seek to make any commitments clear and reasonable and endeavour to uphold these commitments.
The Promotion of Equality
a) Be aware of and respect individual, cultural, social and role differences, including, but not limited to, those based upon age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and religion
b) Avoid practices that are discriminatory, unfair or prejudiced.
The Promotion of Clients’ Autonomy and Informed Consent
a) Endeavour to promote self-determination in clients, whilst realising that there may be limits imposed upon this by clients’ personal characteristics, mental state, or circumstances. In relation to this, practitioners should:
Seek to involve clients in decisions about any treatment or professional service undertaken and endeavour to reach a mutual agreement surrounding the process
Keep clients informed upon the progress of their journey towards thriving, unless there is good reason not to do so
Ensure that clients are aware of their right withdraw from the coaching sessions at any time
b) Do their utmost to ensure that all clients (especially vulnerable adults and children) understand the nature, purpose, and potential outcomes of undertaking Thrive Programme coaching sessions. In relation to this, consultants should ensure that they:
Make clients aware of the costs and likely duration of any professional services offered
Explain to clients the role that they will be required to play within any training or coaching sessions (for example informing them of the need to carry out ‘homework’ exercises in between sessions), prior to engaging in any treatment.
c) Endeavour to obtain informed consent from all clients and keep adequate records of this consent. In relation to this and guideline 2.a.1, a ‘contract’ or ‘agreement’ should be drawn up with clients
d) When working with children under the age of 16, consent should, additionally, be obtained from a parent or guardian
e) Where it is impossible to obtain informed consent from a client (such as in the case of very young children or those who lack the intellectual capacity to truly consent), consent should be obtained from parents, guardians, family members, or authorised representatives.
Standards of Privacy and Confidentiality
Thrive Consultants should:
a) Keep appropriate records
b) Store confidential information in a manner that is secure
c) Respect all individuals’ rights to privacy and confidentiality. In relation to this, Thrive Consultants should avoid publishing or declaring any information relating to any client or ex-client in a form that is likely to identify such person, except with the informed consent of that individual, unless there is good reason to do so.
d) Understand that there are potentially limitations to confidentiality, including:
Conflicting legal or ethical obligations, such as information revealed by a client that contravenes the ‘Child Protection Act’, the ‘Drug Trafficking Act’, or the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act’
The potential need to consult with colleagues about a client in order to enhance the professional services that they are being offered. In this case, anonymity should be maintained wherever possible
e) Endeavour to restrict breaches of confidentiality to health, welfare and safety concerns
f) Ensure that clients are aware of the possible limits of confidentiality
g) Obtain informed consent to breach confidentiality, unless there are good reasons not to do so, for example in the cases described in 3.d.1.
h) Obtain informed consent to make any audio or video recordings of clients.
5. Beneficence (a commitment to promoting well being)
Thrive Consultants should:
a) Act in the best interests of their clients, striving to promote their well being at all times
b) Endeavour to treat clients in a manner that is likely to assist them in the quickest, easiest and most effective way, taking into account the clients’ goals, capabilities and expectations
c) Do all that they reasonably can to help a client, without putting themselves or others at risk
6. Non-maleficence (a commitment to avoiding harm)
Thrive Consultants should:
a) Avoid or minimise harm to clients
b) Avoid taking on clients if they do not reasonably believe that they can assist them, or believe that the training could be detrimental. In relation to this, practitioners should:
Explain, in an appropriate manner, why they believe that they are unable to be of assistance
Refer these individuals to another source of assistance, such as their General Practitioner
c) Maintain close communication with their mentor in cases where they reasonably believe that they can be of assistance to an individual, but that there may be significant potential risks associated with this (such as in the case of clients with a history of psychosis or suicidal clients) and, for example, that there could be a possibility that the person may be adversely affected by participating in coaching sessions. In such cases, it may be necessary to consult and cooperate with other professionals regarding helping the client. It may, also, be appropriate to request that such clients ask their G.P. to give written agreement to their undergoing Thrive Programme coaching sessions.
d) To end the coaching sessions, or refer on to another reputable practitioner, at the earliest possible moment consistent with the good care of the client, each and every client who consults for assistance.
e) Ensure that the termination of a professional contact is managed safely with follow-up opportunities or support opportunities presented
f) Ensure that they have an up to date DBS check, promoting good practice when working with vulnerable people
g) Where clients have diagnosed physical symptoms that may potentially present problems during a course of any course of psychological treatment (such as diabetes or epilepsy), ensure that there is a plan in place for dealing with any medical emergencies.
h) Avoid exploitation and conflicts of interest. In relation to this, Consultants should:
Be aware of conflicts that may occur from multiple relationships; i.e. seeing those you with whom already have a relationship (such as friends, family members or partners) for professional services
Refrain from abusing professional relationships for their own interests
Be aware that power imbalances in the relationship with former clients may remain even after the professional relationship has been terminated
i) Work within the law
j) Avoid bringing the ATPC or The Thrive Programme into disrepute
k) Maintain professional indemnity insurance.
7. Standards of Competence
Thrive Consultants should:
a) Recognise the limits to their competence and operate within these limits. In relation to this, Consultants should:
Be aware of the potential effects of their own physical and mental health on their ability to help others
Seek to develop self-awareness, including insights into their own personality and an understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses
Be thriving in their own lives
b) Keep abreast of current knowledge and best practices
c) Engage in professional and personal supervision/mentoring. In relation to this:
Professional supervision relates to practitioners engaging in a professional relationship with an experienced practitioner in the relevant field, with whom consultation aims to provide discussion and advice on treating clients as well addressing any problems or concerns arising in relation to their professional interactions
Personal support relates to practitioners engaging in a professional relationship with a Thrive Programme Mentor, with the purpose of addressing self-development and any personal problems that could impact upon their ability to help others
d) Have an awareness of ethics and a familiarity with this Code of Ethics and Conduct
e) Promote this Code of Ethics and Conduct and integrate it within their professional work
f) Attempt to resolve ethical dilemmas in accordance with code and be able to justify their ethical decision making.
8. The Promotion of Clarity and Integrity
Thrive Consultants should:
a) Be honest as to their level of competence
b) Be willing to explain the reasoning behind their decisions relating to ethics and practice
c) Avoid deception, misrepresentation and withholding information, other than in exceptional circumstances
d) In respect of their advertising and promotional material:
Adhere to the rules laid down by the Committee for the Code of Advertising Practice
Ensure that they do not make any false or misleading claims about their experience, success rates or qualifications
Adhere to the guidelines within the Thrive Consultant Licence Agreement
e) Ensure that all testimonials are genuine and:
Hold (and have available for inspection) written permission (either paper or email), including a contact address, for any testimonials they use
Ensure that any testimonials displayed relate to the therapeutic technique/coaching or consulting services advertised and are not be taken out of context or edited in any way that gives a misleading impression
f) Address Ethical Misconduct and make it known if they believe that any other member is acting against the ethical guidelines.
The Thrive Programme/Association of Thrive Programme Consultants 2016