In the interest of those affected by the professional activities of psychologists and in the interest of the quality of the practice of psychology, the Netherlands Institute of Psychologists decided to formulate ethical principles and to draw up further guidelines on the basis of those principles. They are set out in this Code of Ethics for Psychologists. The objective of this Code is to stimulate reflection on professional ethics and to serve as a standard for the assessment of the professional activities of psychologists.

In that reflection psychologists must always bear the following in mind:

  • In the practice of psychology many relationships are essentially unequal and can therefore easily give rise to dependence on the part of the persons involved.
  • In the practice of psychology the relationships with the persons involved are subject to development, whereby different rules of this Code of Ethics apply at difference stages.
  • Psychologists may simultaneously or successively play different roles in relation to clients or other persons involved. Those roles may be professional or non-professional. There is a risk of these roles not being compatible or causing confusion among the persons involved.

A Code of Ethics cannot be an unequivocal guide that gives definite answers, without any further consideration, as to what constitutes proper conduct in any given situation. It should be borne in mind that in a given situation different basic principles and guidelines based on those principles may apply at the same time but may conflict with each other. That constitutes an ethical dilemma, in which the importance of each ethical principle in that particular situation must be weighed. This Code of Ethics aims to help psychologists make their ethical considerations more explicit and arrive at a responsible decision of their own. In such considerations it may be advisable for psychologists to seek support from experienced fellow psychologists and their professional association. Psychologists cannot always be blamed for not seeking such consultation, if they have a convincing reason for their ultimate decision and if the importance of that decision does not necessarily require consultation.

Part of the responsible practice of psychology is being prepared to put up for discussion the ethical aspects of one’s own professional activities with fellow psychologists. In such cases this involves the obligation to account for one’s professional activities, to have one’s professional activities evaluated by the competent bodies and to loyally cooperate in such an evaluation.

Refusing to cooperate in or thwarting such an evaluation conflicts with the spirit of this Code of Ethics.

This Code of Ethics is supported by the decision-making of the psychologists that make up the Netherlands Institute of Psychologists and is binding on all the individual members of the association (Article 4(1) of the Articles).

The Netherlands Institute of Psychologists believes that this Code should, by its nature, apply to the practice of psychology by all psychologists.