Respect: autonomy and self-determination

Article 59         Respect for autonomy and self-determination

In their Professional Activities psychologists must respect and promote the autonomy and self-determination of the Person Involved. That self-determination of the Person Involved particularly consists of the right to decide whether or not to establish, continue or terminate the Professional Relationship with the psychologist.


Article 60         Respectful conduct in the case of limited self-determination

The Client’s self-determination may be restricted by his or her age, temperament, development or mental health, by statutory provisions or by the decision-making powers of an External Principal based on a statutory task or court order. In that case psychologists must make every allowance for the Client’s self-determination within those restrictions.


Article 61         Consent for establishing or continuing the Professional Relationship

Psychologists may establish or continue a Professional Relationship with the Client only with his or her consent. However, that consent is not required if the Professional Relationship is established as a result of an Assignment given by an External Principal on the basis of a statutory power.


Article 62         Establishing or continuing the Professional Relationship

Before and during the Professional Relationship psychologists must provide the Client with such information that the Client is able to freely give informed consent for the establishment and continuation of the Professional Relationship.


Article 63         Information on the establishment and continuation of the Professional Relationship

The information provided on the establishment and continuation of the Professional Relationship must preferably be given in writing and explained orally if necessary. It must include, if applicable:

  •        the purpose of the Professional Relationship, the procedure, the evaluation, the context in which it takes place and the position of the Client and the psychologist in that relationship;
  •        the research or treatment methods that might be suitable and what can and cannot be expected of them, as well as any side-effects or alternatives;
  •        the financial and other conditions on which psychologists accept their Assignment, insofar as that information is relevant to the Persons Involved in consenting to and cooperating in the performance of the Assignment;
  •        the persons with whom the psychologist works together in the Professional Relationship, in a multi-disciplinary context or otherwise;
  •        the type of Data that will be collected about the Client and the manner in which and period during which they will be kept;
  •        the duty of confidentiality, manner of reporting, if any, and the parties that will receive the Reports;
  •        the rules of this Code of Ethics regarding access to and copies of the File, correction and blocking of the Report; and
  •        the psychologist’s duty to comply with this Code of Ethics, the right of complaint, and disciplinary law.


Article 64         The same information for External Principal and Client

Before the start of the Professional Relationship psychologists must ensure that both the External Principal and the Client or the Client System have the same information on the purpose and the structure of the Professional Relationship and on the proposed procedure. The Assignment can go ahead only if agreement is reached between them on that purpose and structure. If either the situation or the Assignment changes, the psychologist must enter into new agreements.


Article 65         Consultation on the details of the Professional Relationship

The psychologist must give the Client the opportunity to discuss his or her wishes and opinions regarding the details of the Professional Relationship, unless that would hinder the sound development of the Professional Relationship.


Article 66         Information and consent regarding Professional Activities in a broader sense

If the psychologist performs Professional Activities that cannot be regarded as a Professional Relationship in the sense of this Code, the provisions in this section apply, provided that they apply to the Persons Involved in those Professional Activities.


Article 67         Access to and copy of the File

The psychologist must give the Client on request access to and a copy of the File. He or she must thereby offer to provide an explanation. Before giving the Client access to the File, the psychologist must remove the information related to other persons, insofar as it was not provided by the Client himself/herself. If the Professional Relationship involves a Client System, all the Data related to the individual persons that do not also relate to other persons in that system must be kept in such a way that each person can be given access to the File individually without violating the confidentiality of the Data of the other persons.


Article 68         Accessibility of the File

Psychologists must draw up the File in such a way in terms of its form and content that it is reasonably accessible to the Client.


Article 69         Correction of, additions to or removal of Data in the File

Psychologists must correct the Data in the File of which the Client demonstrates that they are incorrect, incomplete or irrelevant, in view of the purpose of the File and insofar as those Data relate to him or her. This does not apply to the findings and conclusions, which are the psychologist’s professional responsibility.

At the Client’s request memorandums drawn up by him or her regarding his or her views on the Data in the File and the Professional Relationship must be included in the File.


Article 70         Client’s right to destroy the File

The psychologist must destroy the File within a reasonable period at the Client’s written request. The psychologist must keep the written request during the retention period.

The psychologist may not comply with the Client’s request to destroy the File if the File relates to a Professional Relationship at the instruction of an External Principal that has a statutory power to demand performance of the Assignment and that Principal does not give permission to destroy the File. The psychologist may also not comply with the request if the Client has filed or is considering filing a complaint against the psychologist.