- EFPA Symposiums at European Congress of Psychology Milan 2015


The 14th European Congress of Psychology was held in Milan on 7-10 July 2015 under the auspices of EFPA (European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations). Board of Ethics organised the 3rd Ethics track at the ECP. With a very rich program, and challenging topics on ethics, expert from all over the world took part in this activity. The organizer team constituted of Prof. Dr. Yesim Korkut, from BoE, and Vito Tummino and Sara Scaccetti (form ECP).



Details of the event can be found bellow



Integrating personal virtue and character into the teaching of ethics and ethical decision making: Should it be done? Can it be done?

Convenor: Carole Sinclair

Presenters: Carole Sinclair, Yeşim Korkut, Terry Simpson

Discussant: Carol Falender

Introduction & Objectives

The majority of previous dialogue on the teaching of ethics has tended to emphasize the development of skills in ethical decision making and the knowledge of ethical principles and rules, with the assumption (and some evidence) that such skills and knowledge increase the likelihood of ethical behaviour. However, there seems to be increasing concern and belief (and, again, some evidence) that the development of such skills and knowledge may not be enough – that there are personal factors and vulnerabilities that can strongly influence a psychologist’s ability or willingness to apply his or her knowledge and skills to a particular situation or dilemma. The concepts of “virtue” and “character” are often drawn upon to understand and explore these personal factors. In order for the profession of psychology to meet its responsibilities to society, it is important for us to explore the role of virtue and character in ethical behaviour, including the need for their integration into the ethics training of its members. The objectives of this symposium are: (a) to stimulate international dialogue regarding whether personal virtue and character should and can be integrated into the teaching of ethics, and (b) to explore existing and potential methods for doing so. In this symposium, one presenter will trace the history of attention to virtue and character in professional ethics across time and across professions; two presenters, each from a different part of our global community of psychologists (Turkey and Australia) will explore ideas and methods for integrating such concepts into the teaching of ethics; and a fourth presenter will explore, in the context of codes, the complexities involved in making a distinction between professional and personal behaviour. A discussant will provide comments and reflections on the presentations, and time will be available for audience questions and discussion.


Abstracts of presentations

A brief history of the role of virtue and character in professional training

Carole Sinclair

Attention to the role of virtue and character in professional training has varied from ancient times to the present. The history of and reasons for these changes will be traced, and the implications for current ethics training will be explored.


Working with different techniques and models in teaching ethics and ethical decision making: More emphasis on values clarification and personal awareness

Yeşim Korkut

Ethics training usually involves teaching rational problem solving. However, a lack of self-awareness often seems to be a factor in cases coming before ethics boards. Teaching methods to increase the depth of problem solving will be discussed.   


Helping graduates become virtuous psychologists: An Australian perspective

Terry Simpson (Paper co-authored by Terry Simpson, Alfred Allan, Maria M. Allan, & Francesca A. Bell)  

Australian researchers believe psychologists must be virtuous. We consider what it means to be a virtuous psychologist, what role training programs have to play in helping their graduates become virtuous psychologists, and, how this may be done.


Ethics Adjudication: Substance, Process, and Special Challenges - The Experience of EFPA Member Countries


List of authors:

Presenters for Panel I: Lindsay Childress Beatty, Yeşim Korkut and Yudit Namer (joint presentation), Nina Dalen, Henk Geertsema, Miguel Ricou



Introduction & Objectives:

The purpose of these two interrelated panels is to provide a comprehensive overview of ethics adjudication among North American and EFPA member psychological associations. The panels will examine the process of creating and administering an ethics adjudication program, the types of cases that come before ethics committees and appellate panels, and special challenges that arise for associations such as when a psychologist accused of unethical conduct knows several members of the ethics committee or when a prominent member of the association attempts to exert influence over the outcome of an ethics case. Finally, the panels will address the relationship between psychological association ethics committee and government bodies such as licensing boards and colleges in the adjudicatory process. The objectives of this panel are: (a) to provide a detailed description of how psychological associations adjudicate ethics complaints; (b) to convey the importance of upholding the ethical standards of the profession of psychology and the value of an adjudication program to achieve that goal; (c) to describe the kinds of cases that are brought before ethics committees; (d) to explain how psychological associations may develop and administer an ethics adjudication program; (e) to compare ethics adjudication programs in North America with programs in EFPA member countries; and (f) to distinguish the role of psychological association adjudication programs from government regulatory bodies.


Abstracts of presentations

Developing an ethics adjudication program in Turkey

Yeşim Korkut, Yudit Namer

TPA has adjudication activities from 2004 on after the ethics codes  were officially accepted. In this presentation  TPA  Administrative Board ethics -responsible member and Chair of Ethics Committee will first together portray the steps after a complaint arrives, at TPA. Then we will discuss our mission at the initial phase and the challenges we had through time.


Ethics Cases: Nature and frequency in Norway

Nina Dalen

The Norwegian Psychological Association organize 8000 members, 90 percent off authorized psychologists. During 2013, the Ethics Committee received 67 written complaint, and the Appeals Committee received 10 cases. 4 psychologist had their autorization withdrawn by the Norwegian Board of Health. Quality control in the light of Ethics Adjudication will be discussed.


Special cases in ethics adjudication

Henk Geertsema

In the process of adjudication several parties are involved: the client with a complaint, the psychologist, the board which hears the complaint, and the psychological association. Each party has unique possibilities and challenges. I will stress the critical importance of the principle of separation of powers.


The experience of ethics adjudication in Portugal 

Miguel Ricou

Ethics adjudication should have a pedagogical aspect to make it legitimate and fair. The number of psychologists in Portugal has risen dramatically, thus pedagogy in ethics is critical to our association. I will present the first three years experience of adjudication in the Portuguese Association.


Ethics Adjudication: Substance, Process, and Special Challenges - The North American Experience


Presenters for Panel II: Lindsay Childress Beatty (APA), Carole Sinclair, Yeşim Korkut

Abstracts of presentations

Are licensing boards, national associations, or government entities best equipped to adjudicate cases? The Canadian experience

Carole Sinclair

Psychologists often join more than one psychology organization. In Canada, this may include a licensing board, a national association, a provincial association, and a government-sponsored specialty body. The same ethics complaint sometimes is filed with more than one of these organizations. This presentation will outline Canadian practices regarding this issue and the rationale for these practices. 


Ethics Cases: Nature and Frequency in the United States

Lindsay Childress-Beatty

This presentation offers a comparison to the presentations in Panel I by describing the nature and frequency of matters that come to the APA ethics program. The presentation will highlight similarities and offer contrasts between the work of ethics committees in the US and EFPA member countries.


Reflection on the North American Experience: The Value of Ethics Education Preceding Ethics Adjudication

Yesim Korkut

APA  and  CPA have both not only  a good tradition of  adjudication but also they share an understanding of education preceding ethics adjudication.  APA from  years of 2000 on  has valued a lot educating, consulting, and training psychologists. CPA has also the mission of assuring ethical behaviour by guiding and teaching its members. We will have a close look to their preventive approaches.


What can psychology contribute to the defence and promotion of human rights?

List of authors

Convenor: Saths Cooper

Presenters: David Fryer, Pam Maras, Robert Roe, Nora Sveaass, Ava Thompson

Discussant: Yesim Korkut

Introduction & Objectives 

Psychology has adapted fairly quickly to the knowledge explosion and the ready access to information. There is general acceptance of difference, cultural diversity, and variance in socioeconomic status. Within the ethical domain, it would be odd for lack of tolerance, even understanding, around issues relating to race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth. 

Psychology’s utility as an applied profession after the Boulder Conference (August 20 - September 3, 1949) and the espousal of the Scientist-Practitioner Model has grown apace such that psychological insights pervade almost every facet of human endeavour and activity. The widespread decolonisation from the 1960s has seen many more distinct nations being founded. Particularly since the Polish revolution in 1889 and the demise of the USSR in 1991, there has been a clamour for democracy and its apparent corollary: human rights.

However, psychology has not been able to adapt to this global desire to effectively engage in human rights discourse, reducing the efficacy of psychological insights and relevance. This symposium will explore the role that psychology should play in contributing to the discourse on human rights.


Abstracts of presentations (350 characters, spaces included, each) 

Human Rights from a critical standpoint

David Fryer

Human rights’, rather than essential, universal, apolitical and progressive, are a manifestation of historically contingent, culturally particular, dominant Enlightenment discourses, deployed oppressively and key to the constitution of the individualised psychologised subject. “The good”, as Foucault said, “is invented” and so can be reinvented.


Can psychological science be ‘impartial’ in the face of rhetoric and policy that undermines human rights?

Pam Maras

Growing anti-immigration nationalist rhetoric in some parts of Europe plays on and reinforces individual/community ‘fears’. The wider human rights implications for the rest of the world’s nations and regions taking such positions and ways that psychology might relate to this will be considered, against the backdrop of ‘scientific impartiality’.

What can psychologists do about Human Rights?

Robert Roe

Although necessary and important, psychological activities to help victims of Human Rights violations do little to change their prevalence. This presentation will consider specific recommendations for, inter alia, psychology’s better understanding of violations, prevention, effective intervention at national and international levels, and coordination.


Psychologists and survivors of gross human rights violations: Ensuring victims’ rights to justice and reparation

Nora Sveaass

Perhaps the most important human right for psychologists to be aware of is victims’ right to reparation, including rehabilitation. Victim rights present challenges within all human rights systems, and efforts should be made to ensure that these rights are respected and enjoyed by those who have had their lives changed by violation and injustice.

Human rights education for a 21st century global psychology

Ava Thompson

Ethics is a core component in psychology curricula globally, but human rights education remains on the periphery of psychology education and training (PET), despite its relevance for a 21st century global psychology. This presentation provides an example of curricular integration from the Caribbean and the Majority World, identifies critical issues, and offers PET recommendations to promote the integration of a human rights framework into the discourse on a global psychology.


Fear of Telling! The ethics of supervisee disclosure through an international lens

Convener: Carol Falender

Participants: Mary Creaner, Carol Falender, Shirley Morrissey and Analise O’Donovan

Discussants: Jean Pettifor, Carole Sinclair

Introduction and Objectives

The major way supervisors learn about the clinical content of supervisee sessions with clients, for whom they hold primary responsibility, is through supervisee disclosure: clinical data presented in the supervision session.  However, supervisees may not disclose the very topics that are essential to supervisee development, competence enhancement, and monitoring, and protection of the client.  Supervisees have reported they do not disclose clinical errors, personal reactions to the client or countertransference, or personal factors about themselves and their clinical work.  They may fear a negative evaluation or other consequences, or do not trust the supervisory alliance. Multiple jurisdictions approach supervisee disclosure differently with differences in informed consent, consequences, and potential impact on gatekeeping.   In this symposium, supervisors from Australia, Ireland, and the United States will present vignettes regarding issues of supervisee disclosure and ethical and legal intersections that increase the complexity of supervisee disclosure.  Discussants from Canada and the United States will provide additional ethical perspectives. 

Objectives: Describe an ethical or legal standard regarding supervisee disclosure in each jurisdiction. Describe one deterrent to supervisees disclosing client information in each setting


Abstracts of Presentations

What’s not being said and why? Supervisee non-disclosure in the Republic of Ireland

Mary Creaner

Supervisee non-disclosure presents ethical challenges regarding the monitoring of best practice. Understanding these issues helps supervisors fulfill their gatekeeping role, particularly in Ireland, where psychological therapy is not state regulated.


Disclosing impairment and then what?  Ethical and Legal Issues in Australia

Shirley Morrissey, Analise O’Donovan

The Psychology Board of Australia requires health professionals to report impaired practitioners including interns.  Issues include judging extent of impairment, confidentiality, informed consent and protection of the public.


Encourage Disclosure?  An Ethical Imperative with Consequences

Carol Falender

In the United States, the APA Ethics Code (APA, 2010, 7.04) Student disclosure of personal information includes informed consent.  Supervisors must carefully balance encouraging supervisee disclosure with duty to protect the client and supervisee.

Professional Ethics, Peoples, and Social Justice: How Are they Connected?

Convenor: Janel Gauthier

Presenters: Laura Hernández-Guzmán, Saths Cooper, Waikaremoana Waitoki

Discussant: Jean L. Pettifor


Introduction & Objectives (2000 characters, spaces included)

Humans over the centuries have been concerned with what are good ways of thinking and acting as opposed to evil ways. In modern times, we often organize information in smaller chunks without recognizing how they fit together in our experience as human beings. The concept of “peoples” is a key concept in the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists, but the connection between peoples, social justice and professional ethics has yet to be explored. In this symposium, we ask how ethics, peoples and social justice are connected. The following questions will be discussed by distinguished presenters from different regions of the world:

(1)  What are the implications of adding "peoples" to codes that refer to persons as individuals?

(2)  Does adding "peoples" bring the code of ethics closer to encompassing social justice and broaden the scope of psychological functions?

(3)  Does adding "peoples" make codes more multicultural and therefore more universal in its applications?

(4)  How does adding “peoples” affect our ethical decision making?

(5)  How do you define a scientific foundation for social justice issues?


Title: The Role of human rights in ethics codes in psychology

Laura Hernández-Guzmán

Codes of ethics based on human rights recognize human dignity and the need of any individual to develop in harmony and at the same time the enhancement of human condition of peoples. They balance basic freedom, equality and human dignity. Only individual ethics can influence peoples’ rights and contribute to coexistence and social justice.


Title: Reconciling the irreconcilable?

Saths Cooper

In an ever-conflictual world, where recent geo-politics have indelibly changed how we engage as scientists and practitioners, this presentation will explore if the seemingly contradictory concepts of Ethics, Peoples and Social Justice are connected at all and under what conditions they may be possibly connected. If ethical conduct is as highly contentious as it has become, with hardened positions being adopted, the quest for an egalitarian understanding of what the terms Peoples and Social Justice connote will be critically unpacked.



Waikaremoana Waitoki

The move towards using ‘peoples’ as a critical term within the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists infers community, collective experience, determination, history and culture.  As indigenous peoples living our lives in the presence of a dominant majority ethnic group, Maori in New Zealand, along with many other indigenous peoples around the world were often referred to as ‘populations’, rather than peoples, robbing us of our right to existence, community, voice and nationhood. The adoption of the term “peoples” is an act of social justice, in and of itself. Psychologists seeking to understand and engage indigenous peoples, individually and communally, need to understand these semantics if professional and social justice efforts are to be of benefit.


Alternative methods for ethics committees: A close look on Mediation and Educative measures

Convenor: Yesim Korkut

Presenters: Pierre Nederlandt, Henk Geertsema, Nina Dalen

Discussant: Yesim Korkut and Edward Van Rossen



Introduction & Objectives

When confronted with severe ethical dilemmas and ethical violation cases , ethical committees often choose to follow the adjudication process.  In some cases they do employ educative measures, or very rarely mediation technique. 

Mediation is a voluntary, and more flexible process using a neutral third party to develop  a reciprocally accepted resolution of the conflict between the two sides. It can be a very useful method to employ in certain cases.  Educative methods can include letters, extra training, or  suggestion of therapy.

Objectives of this symposium can be summarized as follows: (1) To raise awareness about educative methods and especially about mediation technique as an alternative to adjudication in some cases (2) To introduce EFPA Mediation Guideline (3) To hear perspectives from various countries about these various techniques , including Mediation, namely from Norway and Netherlands (4) To bring together all the information, comments shared on the presentations, and to ensure time for audience questions and discussion, via the existence of a discussant.


Abstracts of presentations 

EFPA’s guidelines on Mediation

Pierre Nederland,

In 2007 the General Assembly of EFPA approved a paper presented by the Standing Committee of Ethics headed « Guidelines on Mediation in the Context of Complaints about Unethical Conduct ». These guidelines give guidance to the EFPA member associations on the use of mediation as a mean for the complainant and the accused psychologist to come to a settlement by themselves, facilitated by a third party. All colleagues interested in mediation may find here useful recommendations.

The Function and Scope of Authority of Ethics Committees. A discussion of different methods including mediation.

Nina Dalen

In many European countries, how the psychological associations should handle complaints against members, are subject to an extensively debate. One argument is, being able and willing to discipline own members, give more credibility in the society. Other advocates the benefit of a more non-judgmental process. Pro and cons relative to different methods will be discussed.

Mediation : The client’s perspective

Henk Geertsema

Mediation can be a useful way of dealing with a client’s complaint. In this presentation we will discuss the added value of mediation in a field in which there are already several possibilities to deal with complaints, like the complaints commissions of organization, the complaints boards of psychological associations and several governmental bodies. Who will benefit from mediation?

Discussion: Future possibilities for  Ethics Commitees

Yesim Korkut and Edward Van Rossen

All the information shared on the presentations, the stance of EFPA regarding Mediation technique, the experiences with other methods than adjudication will be brought together. Perspectives from other  EFPA countries will be shared. Future possibilities and needs will be discussed together with the audience.

Title: Internet and Social Media : Ethical Challenges

Convenor: Nina Dalen

Presenters: Vita Poštuvan, Karin Kalteis, Henk Geertsema, Miguel Ricou 

Introduction and objectives

Occasionally we realize that the technological development is a step ahead of us. The expanding role of technology in the provision of psychological services present opportunities and challenges. Nowadays children and adolescents make use of the Internet as an integral part of everyday life. Computers, internet and social media in general, constitute a big source of information. The activities are interactive, dialogical and participatory. There are special ethical challenges for psychologists using technology in their practices, like long distance intervention, as well as for psychologists who asked to provide advice and guidance on children's and adolescents Internet use. EFPA guidelines for psychologists who contribute to the media as a framework, will be presented.

In this panel, presenters from EFPA Board of Ethics (BoE) , will portray us, various difficulties regarding internet, and social media usage and we will be able to discuss about the ethical dilemmas arising.


Abstracts of presentations

Ethical Competences in Media Reporting to Prevent (Youth) Suicides

Poštuvan, Vita.

Inadequate and inappropriate media reports of suicide and suicidal behaviour might be followed by copycat behaviour. Competences of professionals involved in the media reporting on suicide play a vital role in prevention. Among them, the awareness that suicide reporting should not be misused for commercial purposes and that the confidentiality should always be a priority. Ethical issues will be addressed.

The EFPA Media Guidelines: development and implementation

Henk Geertsema

In 2011 the EFPA Board of Ethics presented the Guidelines for psychologists who contribute to the media. The reason for developing these guidelines and some of the highlights are presented. Some questions from the discussion in the Netherlands as part of the implementation are discussed. I will argue that we will need some sharper definitions at some points in order to give real support to psychologists.

Ethical Issues for Psychologists Using New Media

Karin Kalteis

Modern technologies are offering new ethical challenges: online personal and professional activities, extra-therapeutic contacts, testimonials and communication. Ethical issues are confidentiality, privacy, multiple relationships, self-disclosure and transparency.

Psychology and long distance intervention

Miguel Ricou

Abstract: Ethics it’s the science of relation. In psychology, the relation it’s the main way to improve its intervention’s goals. One of the main challenges today, it’s the introduction of the new communication technologies, promoting new opportunities to work in a more distant way. We pretend to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of it.


Confidentiality: threats and challenges


Convenor: Henk Geertsema

Presenters: Edward Van Rossen, Miguel Ricou, Fredi Lang, Alla Shaboltas, Anne Andronikof

Introduction and objectives:

The purpose of this symposium is to discuss the threats and challenges related to the idea of confidentiality. Confidentiality is at the core of many activities of psychologists. Nevertheless the protection of one’s privacy is not so much valued in some situations.

Some examples:

(a) By using (social) media people’s attitude to privacy has changed;

(b) In many healthcare institutions care is delivered by a multidisciplinary team. They share information about the client;

(c) The introduction of digital patient files asked for strict regulations. The reality is that often too many people have access to patient information;

(d) Quality care institutions or healthcare cost insurance companies want information about the clients. Do they really need it to control the professionals?

How should psychologists or the association of psychologists respond to these developments?

The objectives of this panel are: (a) to create awareness about the threats and challenges of the idea of confidentiality; (b) to discuss these threats and challenges from different angles and from several cultural and historical perspectives; (c) to inspire for new approaches.


Abstracts of presentations 

The limits of confidentiality set by the law

Edward Van Rossen

Cases are presented where laws require psychologists to disclose important and very confidential information to the state (e.g., the police) without the patient’s consent. Such limits of confidentiality, aimed at protecting other members of society, may discourage crucial help-seeking behaviour. Or don’t they?


Multidisciplinary working and confidenciality

Miguel Ricou 

Psychology has a wide range of actuation. There are so many fields of intervention that multidisciplinary work is fundamental, seeking the client best interest. In this way, disclosure is necessary, which can put in danger the psychologist-client private relation. Balancing these two important values is mandatory.


eHealth & confidentiality

Fredi Lang 

The introduction of digital patient files asked for severe regulations. Routines may lead to access to patient information by too many people. Digital structure will become safer but confidentiality of all personal and health information may be lost at once. Professionals and clients should develop preventive strategies.


Confidentiality issues in research and practice: challenges for psychologists and other health care providers in Russia

Alla Shaboltas

The typical cases of breaking confidentiality in research and psychological practices  in Russia will be presented. The potential ways of promoting high standards of confidentiality regulations including the role of EFPA Board of Ethics and Local Ethical Committees as an instruments for managing violations of confidentiality will be discussed.


Teaching Ethics

Convenor: Pierre Nederlandt

Presenters: Pierre Nederlandt, Kathryn Bullen, Artemis Giotsa, Alla Shaboltas


Introduction and objectives :

Teaching ethics for psychologists seems obvious but how should it happen? The first step is to inform the students but afterwards it’s also very important to give information to the working psychologists and also to answer their questions concerning the ethical dilemmas in the practice. The panel presents the questions concerning teaching ethics and gives some concrete examples of the situation in some European countries.


Abstracts of presentations

Teaching Ethics: when, how? The guidelines from EFPA (Pierre Nederlandt)

There are a lot of questions concerning teaching ethics. The first is “when ?”. During the studies of course but also during the professional life. A second question is “how?”. Is it obvious to organize a special course during the studies or must the deontology be explained by a lot of teachers ? And what are the topics to be presented : the national code, the Model code from EFPA, the specific codes for some specialists? And who has to teach ethics? Psychologists, lawyers ? This presentation opens the discussion.  

Developing Ethical Competences in Psychology Teaching and Professional Training in the United Kingdom  (Kathryn Bullen)

In the UK, teaching Psychology frequently starts at pre-tertiary level. Continued professional development (CPD) is a requirement for UK based psychologists.  Regardless of the level of training all individuals engaged in research in psychology are expected to be familiar and compliant with the British Psychological Society Codes of Research Ethics.  Codes of Professional Practice also apply to practitioners in all areas of applied psychology.  To date the main emphasis at the pre-professional level has been on the ethics of research.  However, there is an acknowledgement within UK psychology that there is a need to develop ethical awareness and sensitivity across all levels of psychology teaching.  The principles underpinning the guidance are outlined in this presentation together with initial feedback from users of the guidance regarding its utility and practical benefits in the learning environment.

The barrier for teaching ethics for psychologists in countries where this kind of courses are relatively new. (Alla Shaboltas)

The proposition is to share the russian experience of teaching ethics and to discuss the barrier for teaching ethics for psychologists in countries where this kind of courses are relatively new and where  an important question is to share challenges with others.