Code of Ethics

The Core Process Psychotherapy training at the Karuna Institute is a four and a half-year professional training and is recognised by the U.K. Council for Psychotherapy.


Practitioners are responsible for the observation of the principles inherent in this Code of Ethics and use the Codes as the basis of good practice rather than a set of minimal requirements.

Ethical standards comprise such values as integrity, competence, confidentiality and responsibility. Members of the Association, in assenting to these guidelines, accept responsibility to clients, to the Association and to themselves.

Practitioners respect the dignity and worth of human beings, and their ultimate right to self-determination, whilst having regard for the interests of others. They accept a responsibility to encourage and support the self-development of the client within the client's network of relationships.

Practitioners respect their clients as individuals working towards autonomy and thus growing in their ability to make decisions and changes in the light of their own beliefs, values and experience. The client's interest is paramount and where there is a conflict of responsibilities, the practitioner has to use his or her considered judgement.

The Karuna Institute accepts that some groups and individuals experience discrimination in society. The Karuna Institute is committed to opposing discrimination against people on grounds of age, class, colour, ethnicity, gender, mental status, physical disability, race, religion and sexual orientation. The Karuna Institute will actively address issues of discrimination arising within its training programme or organisational structure through its complaints procedure and will monitor and facilitate the availability of equal opportunities to all clients, members and candidates for membership and training in the organisation.

Professional Responsibility

Practitioners do not misrepresent themselves in terms of their professional qualifications, experience and membership of the Association when undertaking a contract for therapy. They should disclose their qualifications on request.

Practitioners should recognise the training, practice, differences and experience of other professionals and act with integrity and respect towards them.

Practitioners shall state cleariy to the client or where appropriate the legal guardian, the termp conditions and methods of practice. The practitioner shall endeavour to ensure that these terms, conditions and methods are maintained or say clearly why alterations must be made.

Practitioners undertake to set out clearly and without prejudice a contract with their client before the onset of therapy. If this is in private practice, this contract must state clearly the terms of fees charged, the duration of each session, the methods of payment, any system of induction and review, procedures for cancellation, termination, payment or otherwise for missed sessions and practical arrangements which support the integrity of their work.

Practitioners are responsible for setting and monitoring the boundaries between a psychotherapeutic relationship and other kinds of relationship and for making the boundaries as explicit as possible to the client.

Practitioners only conduct evaluation and research under the basic ethical guidelines of a good psychotherapy practice. In particular, care is given to confidentiality, the client's informed and free consent is needed, and careful monitoring by a supervisor.

Professional Competence

Practitioners, who are in doubt about their ability to perform competently, should seek appropriate supervision, support or advice. They are also able to account to clients and colleagues for what they do and why. There is an obligation not to bring the profession into disrepute.

Practitioners have a responsibility to monitor the limits of their competence. Where those limits are reached, they refer on to others more able to help. Where practitioners have become, through whatever means, unable to work effectively, they withdraw from work until such time as they are able to work effectively again. These decisions are taken by the practitioner in consultation with colleagues, supervisors and/or trainers.

Practitioners should continuously be working to extend the range of their own skills and to become clearer all the time concerning their own limitations. It is part of their professional responsibility to seek information and advice from colleagues and also to refer clients to other therapists if this may be of benefit to them.

Practitioners should from time to time discuss the overall progress of therapeutic work with their clients and, if reasonable progress is not being make, the practitioner has an obligation to inform the client accordingly and to suggest termination or a change of therapist, wherever possible, leaving the ultimate decision for this in the hands of the client. The ability to recognise that one is not the right therapist for a particular client is one sign of professional competence.

Should a change of therapist be necessary, they should endeavour to safeguard the client's welfare until such time as referral to another professional has been accepted.

Practitioners are required to take action if colleagues seem to be behaving improperly.


Confidentiality is intrinsic to good practice. Information which is confidential, includes not only the identity and personal details of the client, but any data which could lead a third party to infer what is confidential.

Practitioners explore with clients their own and their client's expectations about confidentiality. They also ascertain what other agencies are involved with their clients and confer as appropriate with such agencies. Except in extreme circumstances, such conference takes place only with the client's agreement.

Contact by the practitioner with third parties such as relatives or friends of the client should only happen with the express knowledge and consent of the client. Exceptions may be made in certain circumstances: e.g. therapy with minors or in the management of clients who are dangerous to themselves or others; or in an emergency.

The practitioner should treat as privileged all information received from the client, whether this is during therapy sessions or during other situations when they might be in communication with a client, unless the client specifically agrees that this information is generally communicable. The consent of the client should be obtained for the publication of clinical material. This requirement applies especially to material recorded by electronic means such as audio or video recording. Where the client specifically requests that material should not be used, this must be respected.

Exceptions may be made in certain circumstances, e.g. where a lawsuit may be threatened and the therapist required to give details to solicitors or professional insurers. Material about clients held in computer files shall be secure and conform to the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1986 and any subsequent revisions.

Therapists are advised to keep confidential records secure and to restrict access to their records if they work in Agencies, Clinics or Institutions.

A client's communications must at all times be regarded as confidential and if disclosure is necessary the client should normally be informed. The limits of confidentiality should be explained to clients. Clients shall have access to their psychotherapist's records as required by current legislation; assessments, letters to referees and summaries of treatment should be available to clients on request. (A therapist's own notes to themselves and any supervision on them is not required to be accessible to clients).

Where the client is a child, procedures must be in accordance with the Children Act 1989 and any subsequent revisions.


The relationship between a practitioner and his or her client is obviously fundamental to therapy. Practitioners need to recognise the power and influence which the contract of psychotherapy gives to them, and the likelihood of being the recipient of numerous projections. They should not permit their professional skills to be used in a way to manipulate their clients to the benefit of themselves, other people or organisations. Practitioners must not exploit their clients in financial, sexual or emotional ways. Engaging in sexual activity with a client is unethical.

Relationships with ex-clients are not generally considered appropriate. If there are circumstances where a social, professional or personal relationship with an ex-client may arise, consideration should bit given to this beforehand.

Practitioners should be aware of current fees regarding therapy and should set their fees according to their professional competence, experience and qualification. Psychotherapists should work with clients to terminate therapy when the client has received the help they sought or when it is apparent that therapy is no longer helping them.

If a client is not benefiting from the therapy, the therapist should terminate the relationship after effectively working through the reasons for termination and, when necessary or appropriate, should endeavour to safeguard the client's welfare until such time as a referral to another professional has been accepted.

Respect for Medical Conditions

It is standard practice to ascertain at the beginning of psychotherapy the name of the client's GP and other professionals who are involved in the client's treatment. Where there is an adjunct medical aspect to the client's condition, the practitioner should encourage the client to seek additional appropriate advice from his or her general practitioner or some other suitable qualified professional person.

With the client's agreement, it may be desirable to notify the client's medical practitioner that the client is in therapy. Where the client is receiving medical treatment relating to emotional or psychological conditions, it is necessary that the client's GP or other practitioners prescribing treatment are informed.