The Core Competencies:
Domain 10: Ethics and Cultural SensitivitiesA European Psychotherapist is competent to: -
- §10.1: Work within an ethical framework
- 10.1.1: Knowledge of professional and ethical guidelines and codes of practice: which involves – being aware of national legislation relevant to professional mental health practice; being aware of national and European codes of practice and statements of ethical principles (see Appendix 6) that apply to professional psychotherapy and good mental health practice; having been informed about and being aware of good ethical practice relevant to one’s particular modality of psychotherapy; etc.
- 10.1.2: Apply professional and ethical guidelines: which involves - being able to draw on knowledge and apply relevant professional and ethical guidelines, codes of conduct and practice; adhering to appropriate ethical, professional and contractual boundaries in one’s relationships with patients/clients; obtaining informed consent for interventions; safeguarding the interests of patients/clients, especially when working with other professionals, team members and members of their family; recognising any limits to one’s own competence, skill and experience and engaging in appropriate training and professional development to enhance these; maintaining patient/client confidentiality and knowing when it can be breached; ensuring one’s own practice conforms to best practice; maintaining appropriate standards of personal conduct; etc.
- 10.1.3: Work with ethical difficulties: which involves – recognising potential problems, ethical dilemmas, or contradictions between various codes of practice and conduct, or between ethical requirements and work requirements; recognising any problems in areas like dual relationships with patients/clients, colleagues, supervisees, trainees, employees or subordinates; using supervision, or appropriate consultation, to clarify issues or problems; analysing and discussing complex ethical dilemmas appropriately with supervisors, colleagues, or members of the ethics committee of one’s professional association; identifying and taking appropriate action (including consultation) in the event of malpractice by other therapists and colleagues; withdrawing from appropriate professional activities and seeking appropriate support, when one’s own limits are exceeded, or when there is any personal impairment, or when in an unethical situation; implementing appropriate changes to ensure one’s practice remains ethical; etc.
- §10.2: Work with social & cultural differences
- 10.2.1: Awareness of cultural and social differences: which involves – identifying one’s own cultural and social position and the assumptions, belief systems and values associated with that; being aware of possible cultural and social differences, and the effects of these, with particular patients/clients – especially if they come from different social and cultural positions; recognising social and cultural differences with respect to class, gender, ethnicity, origin, age, religion, politics, individualism, etc.; understanding ways in which different social and cultural systems can sometimes be confused with mental health issues; recognising how different social and cultural issue can impact on psychological well-being; understanding how traumatic historical events (e.g. war, migration, natural disasters, persecution, discrimination, etc.) can affect individuals differently; etc.
- 10.2.2: Apply knowledge of cultural and social differences: which involves – respecting the patient/clients’ personal goals, identity, and value systems and how one’s own therapeutic framework might impact upon that; exploring with patients/clients how they view and understand their relationship to their own, and to other, social and cultural issues and value systems; supporting the patients/clients’ perspectives and value systems, even though they may be different from your own; recognising one’s own possible limitations when working with social and cultural differences; etc.
- 10.2.3: Work with social and cultural difficulties: which involves - getting specific awareness, additional information and input, and (where appropriate) supervision, when working with significantly different cultural and social differences; recognising that some patient/client populations have experienced significant trauma as a result of discrimination and oppression; where appropriate, acknowledging that one’s own social and cultural identity may have an impact on the patient/client; offering referral options to psychotherapists from their own social or cultural background, where appropriate; recognising where there may be social, cultural and political barriers to access psychotherapeutic services and promoting greater accessibility; working with social and cultural support groups, specialist workers, translators and other available resources to try to lessen social and cultural difficulties; etc.
- §10.3: Social, cultural and political context of psychotherapy
- 10.3.1: Awareness of the social, cultural and political context of psychotherapy: which involves – understanding how the field of mental health fits into social, political and cultural contexts, and how this has been seen differently in different time periods and in different cultures; having an understanding of some of the social, cultural and political contexts of: mental health v. mental illness, social psychology and mental health/abnormal psychology, the ‘medical’ allopathic model v. the bio-psycho-social model v. the more ‘holistic’ complementary model, etc.; cross-cultural issues and debates around mental health, disability; etc.
- 10.3.2: Awareness of current trends in psychotherapy: which involves - getting a sense of any current trends or debates in the provision of mental health services; being aware of changes in social, cultural and political thinking about psychotherapy (e.g. psychotherapy is an activity that can only be done by psychologists and psychiatrists v. psychotherapy is an independent profession parallel to psychology and psychiatry); being aware of ‘post-modern’ thinking about psychotherapy (e.g. solution-focused, strength-based, resiliency, externalizing the problem, etc.); being aware of the interplay of various theories: cognitive-behaviour v. psychodynamic v. human potential v. systemic; being aware of the increase in the demand for ‘evidence-based’ psychotherapies, the appropriate tools of measurement for psychotherapy, and the need for research in all fields of psychotherapy; being aware of the impact and the implications of findings in the field of neuroscience on psychotherapy; etc.
 All of these Core Competencies - and especially this one - should be read in conjunction with the relevant sections of the EAP Statement of Ethical Principles (see Appendix 6 (see here) or the EAP website (see here)