2.1.1. The principal
Before the assessment takes place, the psychologist determines who the principal is (see Article 1.8, “Principal”). Formally speaking, there is always a principal who requests that a psychodiagnostic assessment be carried out. In most cases, it is clear who the principal is: it could be an employer who asks the psychologist for a determination or a recommendation regarding an applicant, or a judge who orders a psychodiagnostic assessment. Such cases involve an external principal (see Article 1.9, “External Principal”). In others, such as a recommendation regarding a vocational choice, where this is for the benefit of the client themselves (see Article 1.4, “Client”), that client is the principal. The referrer (see Article 1.10, “Referrer”), for example a doctor or specialist, or a psychologist who treats colleagues, is decidedly not an external principal. In a case where the referrer advises the client to turn to the psychologist for psychodiagnostic assessment, the client is the principal.
The rights that the Code affords minor and legally incapable clients are exercised by their legal representatives (see Article 1.11, “Legal Representative(s)”). These clients should, however, be involved as much as possible in the exercise of their rights (see Article 7, “Underage Clients”, and Article 9, “Incapacitated adult Client”).
A special situation occurs if the psychologist carries out a psychodiagnostic assessment to come to their own judgment. If the psychologist performs an assessment in the context of selection for recruitment – in the capacity, for instance, of a human-resources officer – they are acting on behalf of an external principal, namely their employer. If, in order to come to their own judgment, the psychologist conducts an assessment themselves, the client must be regarded as the principal. The assessment then forms part of the treatment the client requests, whether directly or indirectly.