The Talking 2 Minds Code of Ethics and Conduct.


The Talking 2 Minds Code of Ethics and Conduct is based on the British Psychological Society’s Code of Ethics and Conduct (2009). In formulating this code, a wide range of existing codes, as listed in the Appendix, were considered.

a)      The Talking 2 Minds team recognises its obligation to set and uphold the highest standards of professionalism, and to promote ethical behaviour, attitudes and judgements on the part of practitioners by:

  • being mindful of the need for protection of the public
  • expressing clear ethical principles, values and standards
  • promoting such standards by education and consultation
  • developing and implementing methods to help practitioners monitor their professional behaviour and attitudes
  • assisting practitioners with ethical decision making
  • providing opportunities for discourse on these issues

(b) Talking 2 Minds has also considered the wide range of contexts in which practitioners work. The aim of the code is that is should apply to all practitioners, with the focus on the quality of decision making allowing sufficient flexibility for a variety of approaches and methods, but providing ethical standards which apply to all. Practitioners will also need to familiarise themselves with the legal framework, regulatory requirements and other guidance relevant to the particular context in which they work.

(c) In this code the term practitioner refers to any member of the Talking 2 Minds team, examples of roles undertaken are practitioner, master practitioner and the training team.

(d) In this code the term Client refers to any person or persons with whom a practitioner interacts on a professional basis. For example, a client may be an individual, a couple or a family group.

(e) Practitioners are likely to need to make decisions in difficult, changing and unclear situations. Talking 2 Minds expects that the code will be used to form the basis for consideration of ethical questions, with the principles in this code being taken into account in the process of making decisions, together with the needs of the client, and the individual circumstances of the case. However, no code can replace the need for practitioners to use their professional ethical judgement.

(f) Finally, this code attempts to encapsulate the wisdom and experience of the team to support its members in their professional activities, reassure the public that it is worthy of their trust and clarify the expectations of all.


III Structure of the code

a) This code is based on four ethical principles, which constitute the main domains of responsibility within which ethical issues are considered. These are:

  • Respect
  • Competence
  • Responsibility
  • Integrity.

b) Each ethical principle is described in a statement of values, reflecting the fundamental beliefs that guide ethical reasoning, decision making, and behaviour.

c) Each ethical principle described is further defined by a set of standards, setting out the ethical conduct that the Society expects of its members.

IV Ethical Principles

1. Ethical principle: RESPECT

Statement of values – Practitioners value the dignity and worth of all persons, with sensitivity to the dynamics of perceived authority or influence over clients, and with particular regard to people’s rights including those of privacy and self determination.

1.1 Standard of general respect.  Practitioners should:

(I) Respect individual, cultural and role differences, including (but not exclusively) those involving age, disability, education, ethnicity, gender, language, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital or family status and socio-economic status.

(ii) Respect the knowledge, insight, experience and expertise of clients, relevant third parties, and members of the general public.

(iii) Avoid practices that are unfair or prejudiced.

(iv) Be willing to explain the bases for their ethical decision making.


Standard of privacy and confidentiality. Practitioners should:

(i) Keep appropriate records.

(ii) Normally obtain the consent of clients who are considered legally competent or their duly authorised representatives, for disclosure of confidential information.

(iii) Restrict the scope of disclosure to that which is consistent with professional purposes, the specifics of the initiating request or event, and (so far as required by the law) the specifics of the client’s authorisation.

(iv) Record, process, and store confidential information in a fashion designed to avoid inadvertent disclosure.

(v) Ensure from the first contact that clients are aware of the limitations of maintaining confidentiality, with specific reference to:

       (a) potentially conflicting or supervening legal and ethical obligations

       (b) the likelihood that consultation with colleagues may occur in order to enhance the effectiveness of service provision

       (c) the possibility that third parties such as translators or family members may assist in ensuring that the activity concerned is not compromised by a lack of communication

(vi) Restrict breaches of confidentiality to those exceptional circumstances under which there appears sufficient evidence to raise serious concern about:

        (a) the safety of clients

        (b) the safety of other persons who may be endangered by the client’s behaviour

        (c) the health, welfare or safety of children or vulnerable adults

(vii) Consult a professional colleague when contemplating a breach of confidentiality, unless the delay occasioned by seeking such consultation is rendered impractical by the immediacy of the need for disclosure.

(viii) Document any breach of confidentiality and the reasons compelling disclosure without consent in a contemporaneous note.

(ix) When disclosing confidential information directly to clients, safeguard the confidentiality of information relating to others, and provide adequate assistance in understanding the nature and contents of the information being disclosed.

(x) Make audio, video or photographic recordings of clients only with the explicit permission of clients who are considered legally competent, or their duly authorised representatives.

(xi) Endeavour to ensure that colleagues, staff, trainees, and supervisors with whom practitioners work understand and respect the provisions of this code concerning the handling of confidential information.

1.3 Standard of informed consent Practitioners should:

(i) Ensure that clients, particularly children and vulnerable adults, are given ample opportunity to understand the nature, purpose, and anticipated consequences of any professional services or research participation, so that they may give informed consent to the extent that their capabilities allow.

(ii) Seek to obtain the informed consent of all clients to whom professional services or research participation are offered.

(iii) Keep adequate records of when, how and from whom consent was obtained.

(iv) Remain alert to the possibility that those people for whom professional services or research participation are contemplated may lack legal capacity for informed consent.

(v) When informed consent cannot be obtained from clients, no duly authorised representative can be identified and a pressing need for the provision of professional services is indicated, consult when feasible a person well-placed to appreciate the potential reactions of clients (such as a family member, or current or recent provider of care or services), for assistance in determining what may be in their best interests.

(vi) When the specific nature of contemplated professional services precludes obtaining informed consent from clients or their duly authorised representatives, obtain specific approval from appropriate institutional ethics authorities before proceeding. Where no institutional ethics authority exists, peers and colleagues should be consulted.

(vii) When the specific nature of research precludes obtaining informed consent from clients or their duly authorised representatives, obtain specific approval from appropriate institutional ethics authorities before proceeding. Where no institutional ethics authority exists, peers and colleagues should be consulted.

(viii) Take particular care when seeking the informed consent of detained persons, in the light of the degree to which circumstances of detention may affect the ability of such clients to consent freely.

(ix) Unless informed consent has been obtained, restrict research based upon observations of public behaviour to those situations in which persons being studied would reasonably expect to be observed by strangers, with reference to local cultural values and to the privacy of persons who, even while in a public space, may believe they are unobserved.

(x) Obtain supplemental informed consent as circumstances indicate, when professional services or research occur over an extended period of time, or when there is significant change in the nature or focus of such activities.

(xi) Withhold information from clients only in exceptional circumstances when necessary to preserve the integrity of research or the efficacy of professional services, or in the public interest and specifically consider any additional safeguards required for the preservation of client welfare.

(xii)Avoid intentional deception of clients unless:

        (a) deception is necessary in exceptional circumstances to preserve the integrity of research or the efficacy of professional services

        (b) any additional safeguards required for the preservation of client welfare are specifically considered

        (c) the nature of the deception is disclosed to clients at the earliest feasible opportunity.


Standards of self-determination Practitioners should:

(i) Endeavour to support the self-determination of clients, while at the same time remaining alert to potential limits placed upon self-determination by personal characteristics or by externally imposed circumstances.

(ii) Ensure from the first contact that clients are aware of their right to withdraw at any time from the receipt of professional services or from research participation.

(iii) Comply with requests by clients who are withdrawing from research participation that any data by which they might be personally identified, including recordings, be destroyed.

2 Ethical Principle: COMPETENCE

Statement of values – Practitioners value the continuing development and maintenance of high standards of competence in their professional work, and the importance of preserving their ability to function optimally within the recognised limits of their knowledge, skill, training, education, and experience.

2.1 Standard of awareness of professional ethics Practitioners should:

(i) Develop and maintain a comprehensive awareness of professional ethics, including familiarity with this Code.

(ii) Integrate ethical considerations into their professional practices as an element of continuing professional development.

2.2 Standard of ethical decision making Practitioners should:

(i) Recognise that ethical dilemmas will inevitably arise in the course of professional practice.

(ii) Accept their responsibility to attempt to resolve such dilemmas with the appropriate combination of reflection, supervision, and consultation.

(iii) Be committed to the requirements of this Code.

(iv) Engage in a process of ethical decision making that includes: 

  • identifying relevant issues
  • reflecting upon established principles, values, and standards 
  • seeking supervision or peer review; using the Code of Ethics and Conduct to identify the principles involved 
  • developing alternative courses of action in the light of contextual factors
  • analysing the advantages and disadvantages of various courses of action for those likely to be affected, allowing for different perspectives and cultures
  • choosing a course of action; and evaluating the outcomes to inform future ethical decision making


(v) Be able to justify their actions on ethical grounds.

(vi) Remain aware that the process of ethical decision making must be undertaken with sensitivity to any time constraints that may exist.

(vii) Given the existence of legal obligations that may occasionally appear to contradict certain provisions of this Code, analyse such contradictions with particular care, and adhere to the extent possible to these ethical principles while meeting the legal requirements of their professional roles.

2.3 Standard of recognising limits of competence Practitioners should:

(i) Practice within the boundaries of their competence.

(ii) Engage in Continued Professional Development.

(iii) Remain abreast of scientific, ethical, and legal innovations germane to their professional activities, with further sensitivity to ongoing developments in the broader social, political and organisational contexts in which they work.

(iv) Seek consultation and supervision when indicated, particularly as circumstances begin to challenge their scientific or professional expertise.

(v) Engage in additional areas of professional activity only after obtaining the knowledge, skill, training, education, and experience necessary for competent functioning.

(vi) Remain aware of and acknowledge the limits of their methods, as well as the limits of the conclusions that may be derived from such methods under different circumstances and for different purposes.

(vii) Strive to ensure that those working under their direct supervision also comply with each of the requirements of this standard and that they are not required to work beyond the limits of their competence.

2.4 Standard of recognising impairment Practitioners should:

(i) Monitor their own personal and professional lifestyle in order to remain alert to signs of impairment.

(ii) Seek professional consultation or assistance when they become aware of health-related or other personal problems that may impair their own professional competence.

(iii) Refrain from practice when their professional competence is seriously impaired.

(iv) Encourage colleagues whose health-related or other personal problems may reflect impairment to seek professional consultation or assistance, and consider informing other potential sources of intervention, including, for example, the Health Professions Council, when such colleagues appear unable to recognise that a problem exists. Practitioners must inform potential sources of intervention where necessary for the protection of the public.

3 Ethical Principle: RESPONSIBILITY

Statement of Values – Practitioners value their responsibilities to clients, to the general public, and to the profession and science of Paradigm Therapy™, including the avoidance of harm and the prevention of misuse or abuse of their contributions to society.

3.1 Standards of general responsibility Practitioners should:

(i) Avoid harming clients, but take into account that the interests of different clients may conflict. The practitioner will need to weigh these interests and the potential harm caused by alternative courses of action or inaction.

(ii) Avoid personal and professional misconduct that might bring Talking 2 Minds or the reputation of the profession into disrepute, recognising that, in particular, convictions for criminal offences that reflect on suitability for practice may be regarded as misconduct by Talking 2 Minds.

(iii) Seek to remain aware of the scientific and professional activities of others with whom they work, with particular attention to the ethical behaviour of employees, assistants, supervisors and students.

(iv) Practitioners have a responsibility to be mindful of any potential risks to themselves.

3.2 Standards of termination and continuity of care Practitioners should:

(i) Make clear at the first contact, or at the earliest opportunity, the conditions under which the professional services may be terminated.

(ii) Take advice where there appears to be ambiguity about continuing with professional services.

(iii) Terminate professional services when clients do not appear to be deriving benefit and are unlikely to do so.

(iv) Refer clients to alternative sources of assistance as appropriate, facilitating the transfer and continuity of care through reasonable collaboration with other professionals.

3.3 Standard of protection of research participants Practitioners should:

(i) Consider all research from the standpoint of research participants, for the purpose of eliminating potential risks to psychological well-being, physical health, personal values, or dignity.

(ii) Undertake such consideration with due concern for the potential effects of, for example, age, disability, education, ethnicity, gender, language, national origin, race, religion, marital or family status, or sexual orientation, seeking consultation as needed from those knowledgeable about such effects.

(iii) Ask research participants from the first contact about individual factors that might reasonably lead to risk of harm, and inform research participants of any action they should take to minimise such risks.

(iv) Refrain from using financial compensation or other inducements for research participants to risk harm beyond that which they face in their normal lifestyles.

(v) Obtain the considered and non-subjective approval of independent advisors whenever concluding that harm, unusual discomfort, or other negative consequences may follow from research, and obtain supplemental informed consent from research participants specific to such issues.

(vi) Inform research participants from the first contact that their right to withdraw at any time is not affected by the receipt or offer of any financial compensation or other inducements for participation.

(vii) Inform research participants from the first contact that they may decline to answer any questions put to them, while conveying as well that this may lead to termination of their participation, particularly when safety issues are implicated.

(viii) Inform research participants when evidence is obtained of a psychological or physical problem of which they are apparently unaware, if it appears that failure to do so may endanger their present or future well-being.

(ix) Exercise particular caution when responding to requests for advice from research participants concerning psychological or other issues, and offer to make a referral for assistance if the inquiry appears to involve issues sufficiently serious to warrant professional services.

3.4 Standard of debriefing of research participants Practitioners should:

(i) Debrief research participants at the conclusion of their participation, in order to inform them of the outcomes and nature of the research, to identify any unforeseen harm, discomfort, or misconceptions, and in order to arrange for assistance as needed.

(ii) Take particular care when discussing outcomes with research participants, as seemingly evaluative statements may carry unintended weight.

4 Ethical principle: INTEGRITY

Statement of values – Practitioners value honesty, accuracy, clarity, and fairness in their interactions with all persons, and seek to promote integrity in all facets of their scientific and professional endeavours.

4.1 Standard of honesty and accuracy. Practitioners should:

(i) Be honest and accurate in representing their professional affiliations and qualifications, including such matters as knowledge, skill, training, education, and experience.

(ii) Take reasonable steps to ensure that their qualifications and competences are not misrepresented by others, and to correct any misrepresentations identified.

(iii) Be honest and accurate in conveying professional conclusions, opinions, and research findings, and in acknowledging the potential limitations.

(iv) Be honest and accurate in representing the financial and other parameters and obligations of supervisory, training, employment, and other contractual relationships.

(v) Ensure that particular clients are aware from the first contact of costs and methods of payment for the provision of professional services.

(vi) Claim only appropriate ownership or credit for their research, published writings, or other scientific and professional contributions, and provide due acknowledgement of the contributions of others to a collaborative work.

(vii) Be honest and accurate in advertising their professional services and products, in order to avoid encouraging unrealistic expectations or otherwise misleading the public.

4.2 Standard of avoiding exploitation and conflicts of interest. Practitioners should:

(i) Remain aware of the problems that may result from dual or multiple relationships, for example, supervising trainees to whom they are married, teaching students with whom they already have a familial relationship, or providing psychological therapy to a friend.

(ii) Avoid forming relationships that may impair professional objectivity or otherwise lead to exploitation of or conflicts of interest with a client.

(iii) Clarify for clients and other relevant parties the professional roles currently assumed and conflicts of interest that might potentially arise.

(iv) Refrain from abusing professional relationships in order to advance their sexual, personal, financial, or other interests.

(v) Recognise that conflicts of interests and inequity of power may still reside after professional relationships are formally terminated, such that professional responsibilities may still apply.

4.3 Standard of Maintaining Personal Boundaries Practitioners should:

(i) Refrain from engaging in any form of sexual or romantic relationship with persons to whom they are providing professional services, or to whom they owe a continuing duty of care, or with whom they have a relationship of trust. This might include a former patient, a student or trainee, or a junior staff member.

(ii) Refrain from engaging in harassment and strive to maintain their workplaces free from sexual harassment.

(iii) Recognise as harassment any unwelcome verbal or physical behaviour, including sexual advances, when

        (a) such conduct interferes with another person’s work or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment;

        (b) submission to this conduct is made implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of a person’s education, employment or access to resources; or

        (c) submission or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for decisions affecting a person’s education or employment prospects.

(iv) Recognise that harassment may consist of a single serious act or multiple persistent or pervasive acts, and that it further includes behaviour that ridicules, disparages, or abuses a person.

(v) Make clear to students, supervisors, trainees and employees, as part of their induction, that agreed procedures addressing harassment exist within both the workplace and Talking2Minds.

(vi) Cultivate an awareness of power structures and tensions within groups or teams.

4.4 Standard of Addressing Ethical Misconduct. Practitioners should:

(i) Challenge colleagues who appear to have engaged in ethical misconduct, and/or consider bringing allegations of such misconduct to the attention of those charged with the responsibility to investigate them, particularly when members of the public appear to have been, or may be, affected by the behaviour in question.

(ii) When bringing allegations of misconduct by a colleague, do so without malice and with no breaches of confidentiality other than those necessary to the proper investigatory processes.

(iii) When the subject of allegations of misconduct themselves, take all reasonable steps to assist those charged with the responsibility to investigate them.


This Code provides the parameters within which professional judgements should be made. However, it cannot, and does not aim to, provide the answer to every ethical dilemma that a practitioner may face. It is important to remember to reflect and apply a process to resolve ethical dilemmas as set out in this code.

If you have a question about the code or about professional ethics, there are several potential sources of advice. There is a dedicated Code of Ethics and Conduct area on the Talking 2 Minds website ( Ethical advice and support for members of the team can be obtained by e-mailing

Talking 2 Minds cannot give legal advice, or provide practical support to members who have been complained about. For that reason, Talking 2 Minds strongly recommends that members consider taking out professional indemnity insurance..

The Society cannot determine allegations about fitness to practise. Any such allegations are referred to the Health Professions Council (

email:; telephone: 0800 328 4218; or write to:

Health Professions Council, Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BU.

All allegations against team members will be dealt with in accordance with the Member Conduct Rules            



Main documents consulted in preparing the Code of Ethics and Conduct.

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki (1964, last amended 2000)

European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1963,

last amended 1985)

Meta-Code of Ethics and Carte Ethical – European Federation of

Psychologists Associations (1995)

Code of Professional Ethics – The Psychological Society of Ireland


Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists – Canadian Psychological

Association (2000)

Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct – American

Psychological Association (2002)

Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy –

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (2002)

Ethical Requirements for Member Organisations – United Kingdom

Council for Psychotherapy (2003)

Standards in Applied Psychology – National Occupational Standards


Confidentiality – General Medical Council (2004)

Whistleblowers Policy Pack – Public Concern at Work (2003)

The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (England) Order (2001


The code of Ethics and Conduct (2009) The British Psychological Society’s Andrews House, 48 Princess Road East, Liecester,LE1 DR,


Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee is being formed and is a Standing Committee that reports directly to the Board of Trustees. It promotes the ethical practice of therapy and is responsible for the Code of Ethics and other ethical guidance within Talking2Minds.

Its main responsibilities are:

  • Promoting the ethical practice of the therapy.
  • Providing guidance to the team on ethical matters relating to the therapy.
  • Overseeing, monitoring, coordinating and communicating to team members and the public the guidance available from Talking 2 Minds on ethical matters, including scope and the means of communicating it.
  • Considering the impact of ethical issues and guidance on training, education and continuing professional development, and to develop mechanisms for communicating relevant information into institutions responsible for delivery in those areas.
  • Taking steps proactively to prepare, or have prepared, ethical guidance statements, or have modified existing statements when deficiencies in current guidance available from Talking2Minds is apparent.
  • Developing the means and mechanisms to assist team members in the consideration and resolution of ethical dilemmas.
  • Monitoring the decisions taken by the Board of Trustees in order that practitioners can corporately learn from the decisions made by the said Committee, when highlighting ethical issues that have not been considered before that can be incorporated into the guidance on ethical matters available to Talking2Minds.
  • Monitoring an awareness of the ethical statements by other organisations such as the BPS.
  • Monitoring and developing the mechanisms to provide ethical advice to team members, the public and the media on professional practice.
  • Monitoring diversity and equality issues which may have implications for the advice to team members about their conduct as practitioners.
  • Administering and overseeing and promoting Equality.