In 2015, the Dutch Association of Psychologists (known by its Dutch initials: NIP) issued a revised version of the Code of Ethics for Psychologists (hereinafter “the Code”) (NIP, 2015). The Code sets out the ethical principles and rules of conduct for professional relationships between psychologists on the one hand and, on the other, clients, principals – including third parties – and other stakeholders. Those who are members of, or who are registered with the NIP must comply with the Code. Compliance with the Code is overseen by two independent disciplinary bodies in the NIP: the Supervisory Board, known by its Dutch initials CvT, and the Board of Appeals, known by its Dutch initials CvB. Anyone who feels directly aggrieved by, and wishes to object to, the professional behaviour of a psychologist who is a member of, or who is registered with, the NIP, may file a complaint with the CvT. The complainant and/or the psychologist can appeal to the CvB against a finding by the CvT. There are also organisations, such as the Foundation for the Youth Quality Register, known in Dutch as the SKJ, that have their own disciplinary rules. However, the professional behaviour of those registered with those organisations is measured against standards set out in the Code if it applies to them.

The Guidelines for the Use of Tests 2017 (hereinafter “the AST-NIP”, after the Dutch initials) is a further elaboration and/or explanation of the Code. It is a revision of, and the successor to, the AST-NIP of 2010. The purpose of the Code is to promote reflection on professional standards, and it also serves as a yardstick for gauging the professional behaviour of psychologists. The AST-NIP has a corresponding purpose, specific to the use of psychodiagnostic instruments that psychologists deploy in the context of psychodiagnostics, psychological interventions, and/or the evaluation of these latter. In the AST-NIP, therefore, general and other guidelines have been formulated that must be adhered to through a sound choice of tests, which in turn must also be used in a well-considered way. In the AST-NIP, specific articles in the Code are highlighted for illustrative purposes. However, these articles are no more (and no less) relevant to the professional behaviour of the psychologist than are the other articles in the Code.

The CvT and the CvB statute checks directly against the Code. They can bring the AST-NIP, which is itself not part of the Code, to bear in statuting the professional behaviour of the psychologist against the Code, as a further specification and/or interpretation of articles in the Code covering the use of psychodiagnostic instruments. For situations that need further elaboration, specific standards can, if necessary, be developed in the future. These will then be in the nature of supplements to, and specifications of, the Code.


Finally, it must be emphasised that the NIP has major objections to the use of psychodiagnostic instruments by those who do not have the required knowledge or skills, and by psychologists who do not adhere to the Code. The NIP takes the view that the Code and the AST-NIP are closely linked to the general principles of psychodiagnostics, and that these, by their very nature, should apply to the professional practice of all psychologists in all fields and to that of university-educated psychodiagnosticians from other disciplines.[1] Clients and others must realise, however, that only members of, or those registered with, the NIP can be called directly to account under the Code, including in the context of the NIP’s complaints procedure.

The AST-NIP was decided on by the Governing Board of the Dutch Association of Psychologists on 22 January 2018.

January 2018

Petra Hurks, PhD, Chair of the Dutch Committee on Tests and Testing (known by its Dutch initials, COTAN)

Kees Jan van der Boom, M.A., Chair of the NIP’s Ethics Committee (known by its Dutch initials, BEZ)


[1] In the text of the AST-NIP only “psychologist” will be used.