Codes of Practice

These should be read in conjunction with the Code of Ethics. What is important is that each practitioner is consistent and operates from a coherent and thought out position and treats clients, colleagues and fellow students in an ethical, respectful and responsible fashion.

Boundaries around the Work

Practitioners shall observe such professional boundaries that prevent them placing themselves in a position that might compromise their relationship with clients, colleagues or other professionals, They are responsible for setting and monitoring these and for making explicit such boundaries to the client.

A therapist should endeavour to provide the safest working space, unencumbered by personal issues and ensure a secure environment for the providing of therapy.

If the therapist is workjng out of their own home, a suitable work setting needs to be defined for these purposes, Therapists are advised to have a separate telephone number with an answer phone for their practice.

Clients are encouraged not to infringe personal boundaries outside session time.

During and after therapy, discretion should be exercised with regard to social contacts with the client. In settings where the nature of the work allows psychotherapists to mix socially with their clients, the psychotherapist must ensure that such social contacts do not jeopardise the professional relationship.

Conflict of Loyalty

If it emerges during the course of the work that there arises a conflict of loyalties, which impinges on the work with a client, it is expected that the practitioner make such a conflict explicit to the client.

Therapists who become aware of a conflict between their obligation to a client and their obligations to an agency or organisation employing them will make explicit the nature of the loyalties and responsibilities involved.

Where the relationship with a client becomes compromised in any way, the therapist has a clear responsibility to ensure that the client is appropriately referred to another professional.

Issues of Confidentiality

Treating with confidence means not revealing any of the information which might result in identification of the client. If the practitioner owes accountability for therapeutic work to agencies or supervisors, the client should be informed that this is the case.

The principle underlying the practice of confidentiality extends to, for example, not discussing clients with involved colleagues in a manner which trivialises the client or the work.

In extreme circumstances where a client could be in danger to others or themselves, the practitioner must inform the client that he or she may break confidence and then take appropriate action.

Where a practitioner wishes to use specific information gained during work with a client in, for example, a lecture or a publication, the client's permission should be sought and, when desired, anonymity given.

Practitioners treat with proper respect colleagues and other professionals and if privileged information comes their way through interaction with their clients, they seek with the client's permission to resolve this directly with their colleagues.

The Nature of Psychotherapy

All information that is shared during the therapy session is coloured by the client's own viewpoint. Therapists need to be aware that they are building images in their own minds about other people who do not have recourse or sight of the information that is being shared. Therapists need therefore to hold others outside of the sanctuary of the session space with due regard and respect.

Transference and counter-transference issues always arise during the process of psychotherapy. Practitioners need to be aware of the immense influence this has, not only on their client's psyche, but also on their own.

Provision for ongoing supervision and recourse to feedback from colleagues and other professionals needs to be part of the practitioner's professional life in order to be vigilant to this.

Social and Ethical Responsibility

Psychotherapists, trainers and supervisors have an ethical obligation not to accept privately as clients those who are in relationship with other agencies, organisations or institutions without prior notice or agreement with that agency.

Where the client has been referred to a practitioner, it is normal practice and courtesy to report back in general terrns to the referring agent or practitioner without breaching confidentiality or going into significant detail, regarding the client's subsequent progress.

Similarly, if practitioners refer clients to others, it is their responsibility, as far as possible, to verify the competence and integrity of the person to whom clients are referred.

Practitioners should be aware of the social, moral and legal expectations of the community in which they work and respect those cultural aspects of their client and colleagues.

Practising under the influence of alcohol or mind-altering drugs is unethical.

Practitioners, who are undergoing treatment for chemical dependency disorders, should not withhold this information from their colleagues and should withdraw from practising until such time as those professionals with whom they are being treated deem it appropriate.

Psychotherapists are part of a professional community of peers and colleagues where gossip, innuendo, and derogatory comments about other members of the community, or practitioners of another branch of psychotherapy, are inappropriate and to be avoided.

Indemnity Insurance

Practitioners must take out a professional indemnity insurance to cover themselves in the event of a legal suit and to ensure that they are adequately covered in the event of other claims that might be made against the practitioner of the owners of the premises in which the practitioner works.


When announcing their services, practitioners limit information to details of the service they offer, practical details and the relevant qualifications.

They do not make evaluative statements as to the quality of their service nor do they make comparisons with other similar services offered by colleagues or competitors.

Practitioners do not display membership or affiliation of the Association or any other organisation in a manner which falsely implies the sponsorship or validation of the organisation.