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49 Pa. Code § 41.61. Code of Ethics.


§ 41.61. Code of Ethics.

 Whereas the Board is empowered by section 3.2(2) of the Professional Psychologists Practice Act (63 P.S. §  1203.2(2)), to promulgate rules and regulations, including, but not limited to, a code of ethics for psychologists in this Commonwealth and whereas the Board finds and determines that the following rules are necessary to establish and maintain the high standard of integrity and dignity in the profession of psychology and are necessary in the public interest to protect the public against unprofessional conduct on the part of a psychologist, in accordance with the act, the Board does hereby adopt this code of ethics for psychologists in this Commonwealth. Psychology students, interns, residents and trainees are put on notice that their violation of an ethical obligation imposed on psychologists by this section may be regarded by the Board as evidence of unac-ceptable moral character or of unacceptable supervised experience disqualifying them from licensure under section 6(a)(1) or (2) of the act (63 P. S. §  1206(a)(1) and (2)). Licensed psychologists are put on notice that an ethical violation by an individual rendering or offering to render psychological services under their supervision, as provided by the act, may result in disciplinary proceedings against the supervisor under section 8(a) of the act (63 P. S. §  1208(a)).


 Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of the individual and honor the preservation and protection of fundamental human rights. They are committed to increasing knowledge of human behavior and of people’s understanding of themselves and others and to the utilization of that knowledge for the promotion of human welfare. While pursuing these endeavors, they make every effort to protect the welfare of those who seek their services or of a human being or animal that may be the object of study. They use their skills only for purposes consistent with these values and do not knowingly permit their misuse by others. While demanding for themselves freedom in inquiry and communication, psychologists accept the responsibility this freedom requires: competence, objectivity in the application of skills, and concern for the best interests of clients, colleagues and society in general.

 Principle 1. Responsibility.

 (a)  In their commitment to the understanding of human behavior, psychologists value objectivity and integrity, and in providing services they maintain the highest standards of their profession. They accept responsibility for the consequences of their work and make every effort to insure that their services are used appropriately.

 (b)  As scientists, psychologists accept responsibility for the selection of their research topics and the methods used in investigation, analysis and reporting. They plan their research in ways to minimize the possibility that their findings will be misleading. They provide thorough discussion on the limitations of their data, especially when their work touches on social policy or might be construed to the detriment of persons in specific age, sex, ethnic, socioeconomic or other social groups. In publishing reports of their work, they never suppress disconfirming data, and they acknowledge the existence of alternative hypotheses and explanations of their findings. Psychologists take credit only for work they have actually done.

 (c)  Psychologists clarify in advance with appropriate persons and agencies the expectations for sharing and utilizing research data. They avoid relationships that may limit their objectivity or create a conflict of interest. Interference with the milieu in which data are collected is kept to a minimum.

 (d)  Psychologists have the responsibility to attempt to prevent distortion, misuse or suppression of psychological findings by the institution or agency of which they are employes.

 (e)  As members of governmental or other organizational bodies, psychologists remain accountable as individuals to the highest standards of their profession.

 (f)  As owners or participants in ownership of a professional corporation, psychologists retain full professional liability to persons who, in the course of a professional relationship, suffer personal injury by reason of their actions or omissions.

 (g)  As teachers, psychologists recognize their primary obligation to help others acquire knowledge and skill. They maintain high standards of scholarship by presenting psychological information objectively, fully and accurately.

 (h)  As practitioners, psychologists know that they bear a heavy social responsibility because their recommendations and professional actions may alter the lives of others. They are alert to personal, social, organizational, financial or political situations and pressures that might lead to misuse of their influence.

 (i)  As professionals utilizing computerized assessments or computer-generated data, psychologists abide by the following principles:

   (1)  The professional psychologist is legally and ethically responsible for psychological assessment and the generation and use of data as a service to the public.

   (2)  When the results of computerized testing are provided to a psychologist, that psychologist becomes responsible for their use.

   (3)  When the results of computerized testing are provided to a nonpsychologist, the psychologist shall provide to the nonpsychologist a psychological assessment and evaluation according to current standards for noncomputerized psychological assessments.
 Principle 2. Competency.

 (a)  The maintenance of high standards of professional competence is a responsibility shared by psychologists in the interest of the public and the profession as a whole. Psychologists recognize the boundaries of their competence and the limitations of their techniques. They provide only services and use only techniques for which they are qualified by education and training, consistent with the American Psychological Association’s General Guidelines for Providers of Psychological Services. In areas in which recognized standards do not yet exist, psychologists take whatever precautions are necessary to protect the welfare of their clients. They maintain knowledge of current scientific and professional information related to the services they render.

 (b)  The psychologist discourages the practice of psychology by unqualified persons and assists the public in identifying psychologists competent to give dependable professional service. When a psychologist or person identifying himself as a psychologist, either as a licensed practitioner or as an applicant for licensure identified as a psychologist-in-training, violates ethical standards, psychologists who know first hand of these activities attempt to rectify the situation. When such a situation cannot be dealt with informally, it is called to the attention of the Board.

 (c)  Psychologists regarded as qualified for independent practice in this Commonwealth are those who have been licensed by the Board. Individuals who do not yet meet the qualifications recognized for independent practice shall gain experience under qualified supervision, as employes, interns or students, until they pass the licensing examination of the Board. An ownership interest by a person who provides direct services to a client in a business which provides psychological services constitutes independent practice.

 (d)  Psychologists accurately represent their competence, education, training and experience. They claim as evidence of psychological educational qualifications only those degrees obtained from institutions accredited by a regional accrediting association approved by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation (CORPA). Degrees earned from foreign colleges and universities may be represented only if they are determined to be equivalent to the degrees conferred by these accredited institutions. Determinations of equivalency shall be made by an agency acceptable to the Board, subject to the Board’s final approval. Representations of nonpsychological earned academic degrees are not prohibited, if the degrees are from accredited schools. If these degrees are generic, such as Ph.D., Ed.D., M.S., M.A. and M.Ed., the holder may represent them, but shall specify the discipline in which each particular degree was earned.

 (e)  As teachers, psychologists perform their duties on the basis of careful preparation so that their instruction is accurate, current and scholarly.

 (f)  Psychologists participate in continuing education programs and keep informed of new professional procedures and knowledge.

 (g)  Psychologists obtain whatever training, experience or counsel is necessary to enable them to recognize differences among people, such as those that may be associated with age, sex or socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.

 (h)  Psychologists responsible for decisions involving individuals or policies based on test results have an understanding of psychological or educational measurement, validation problems and test research.

 (i)  Psychologists recognize that personal problems and conflicts may interfere with professional effectiveness. Accordingly, they refrain from undertaking activities in which their personal problems are likely to lead to inadequate performance or harm to a client, colleague, student or research participant. If engaged in the activity when they become aware of their personal problems, they seek competent professional assistance to determine whether they should suspend, terminate or limit the scope of their professional or scientific activities.
 Principle 3. Moral and legal standards.

 (a)  Psychologists’ moral, ethical and legal standards of behavior are a personal matter to the same degree as they are for other citizens, except as these may compromise the fulfillment of their professional responsibilities or reduce the trust in psychology or psychologists held by the general public. Regarding their own behavior, psychologists should be aware of the prevailing community standards and of the possible impact upon the quality of professional services provided by their conformity to or deviation from these standards. Psychologists are also aware of the possible impact of their public behavior upon the ability of colleagues to perform their professional duties.

 (b)  As teachers, psychologists are aware of the fact that their personal values may affect the selection and presentation of instructional materials. When dealing with topics that may give offense, they recognize and respect the diverse attitudes that students may have toward materials.

 (c)  As employes or employers, psychologists do not engage in or condone practices that are inhumane or that result in illegal or unjustifiable actions. These practices include, but are not limited to, those which constitute unlawful discriminatory practices under section 1 of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (43 P. S. §  955).

 (d)  In their professional roles, psychologists avoid action that will violate or diminish the legal and civil rights of clients or of others who may be affected by their actions.

 (e)  As practitioners and researchers, psychologists act in accord with American Psychological Association standards and guidelines related to practice and to the conduct of research with human beings and animals. In the ordinary course of events, psychologists adhere to relevant governmental laws and institutional regulations. Whenever the laws, regulations or standards are in conflict, psychologists make known their commitment to a resolution of the conflict. Both practitioners and researchers are concerned with the development of laws and regulations which best serve the public interest.
 Principle 4. Public statement.

 (a)  Public statements, announcements of services and promotional activities of psychologists serve the purpose of providing sufficient information to aid the consumer public in making informed judgments and choices. Psychologists represent accurately and objectively their professional qualifications, affiliations and functions, as well as those of the institutions or organizations with which they or the statements may be associated. In public statements providing psychological information or professional opinions or providing information about the availability of psychological products, publications and services, psychologists base their statements on scientifically acceptable psychological findings and techniques with full recognition of the limits and uncertainties of the evidence.

 (b)  Only psychologists licensed by a state board of psychologist examiners may be listed under the heading of psychologists in the yellow pages of the telephone directory. Psychologists licensed in a state other than Pennsylvania shall furnish written proof to the Board office of their current licensure in another state, and of their compliance with §  41.52(c) (relating to licensure in other states).

 (c)  Groups offering psychological services may list themselves under the heading ‘‘psychologists—group, association and corporate practice’’ if they are licensed psychologists responsible for the delivery of the services.

 (d)  When announcing or advertising professional services, or when listing professional services in a telephone directory, psychologists may list the following information to describe the provider and services provided: name, relevant academic degrees earned from regionally accreditedinstitutions, date, type and level of certification or licensure, diplomate status, professional membership status, address, telephone number, office hours, a brief listing of the type of psychological services offered, an appropriate presentation of fee information, foreign languages spoken and policy with regard to third-party payments. Additional relevant or important consumer information may be included if not prohibited by other sections of the principles contained in this Code of Ethics.

 (e)  Announcements of ‘‘personal growth groups’’ give a clear statement of the purpose and nature of the experiences to be provided. The education, training and experience of a psychologist are appropriately specified.

 (f)  In announcing or advertising the availability of psychological products, publications or services, psychologists do not present their affiliation with an organization in a manner that falsely implies sponsorship or certification by that organization. In particular, psychologists do not state membership in a professional organization or fellow status in such a way as to suggest that the membership implies specialized professional competence or qualifications. Public statements include, but are not limited to, communication by means of periodical, book, list, directory, television, radio or motion picture. Public statements may not contain one or more of the following:

   (1)  A false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or unfair statement.

   (2)  A misrepresentation of fact or a statement likely to mislead or deceive because in context it makes only a partial disclosure of relevant facts.

   (3)  A statement intended or likely to create false or unjustified expectations of favorable results.

   (4)  A statement falsely implying unusual, unique or one-of-a-kind abilities.

   (5)  A statement intended or likely to appeal to a client’s fears, anxieties or emotions concerning the possible results of failure to obtain the offered services.

   (6)  A statement comparing the advertiser’s services with another psychologist’s services, unless the comparison can be factually substantiated.

 (g)  Psychologists do not compensate or give anything of value to a representative of the press, radio, television or other communication medium in anticipation of or in return for professional publicity in a news item. A paid advertisement shall be identified as such, unless it is apparent from the context that it is a paid advertisement. If communicated to the public by use of radio or television, an advertisement is prerecorded and approved for broadcast by the psychologist, and a recording of the actual transmission is retained by the psychologist.

 (h)  Psychologists associated with the development or promotion of psychological devices, books or other products offered for commercial sale make every effort to insure that announcements and advertisements are presented in a professional, scientifically acceptable and factually informative manner.

 (i)  Psychologists do not participate for personal gain in commercial announcements or advertisements recommending to the public the purchase or use of proprietary or single-source products or services when that participation is based solely upon their identification as psychologists.

 (j)  Psychologists present the science of psychology and offer their services, products and publications fairly and accurately, avoiding misrepresentation through sensationalism, exaggeration or superficiality. Psychologists are guided by the primary obligation to aid the public in developing informed judgments, opinions and choices.

 (k)  As teachers, psychologists ensure that statements in catalogs and course outlines are accurate and not misleading, particularly in terms of subject matter to be covered, bases for evaluating progress and the nature of course experiences. Announcements, brochures or advertisements describing workshops, seminars or other educational programs accurately describe the audience for which the program is intended as well as eligibility requirements, educational objectives and the nature of the materials to be covered. These announcements also accurately represent the education, training and experience of the psychologists presenting the program, and an accurate and accessible schedule of fees, if any.

 (l)  Public announcements or advertisements soliciting research participants in which clinical services or other professional services are offered as an inducement make clear the nature of the services as well as the costs and other obligations to be accepted by participants in the research.

 (m)  A psychologist accepts the obligation to correct others who represent the psychologist’s professional qualifications, or associations with products or services, in a manner incompatible with these ethical principles.

 (n)  Individual diagnostic and therapeutic services are provided only in the context of a professional psychological relationship. When personal advice is given by means of public lectures or demonstrations, newspaper or magazine articles, radio or television programs, mail or similar media, the psychologist utilizes the most current relevant data and exercises the highest level of professional judgment.

 (o)  Products that are described or presented by means of public lectures or demonstrations, newspapers or magazine articles, radio or television programs, or similar media shall meet the same recognized standards as exist for products used in the context of a professional relationship.

 (p)  Psychologists may not engage in face-to-face, direct solicitation of clients.
 Principle 5. Confidentiality.

 (a)  Psychologists shall safeguard the confidentiality of information about an individual that has been obtained in the course of teaching, practice or investigation. Psychologists may not, without the written consent of their clients or the client’s authorized legal representative, or the client’s guardian by order as a result of incompetency proceedings, be examined in a civil or criminal action as to information acquired in the course of their professional service on behalf of the client. Information may be revealed with the consent of the clients affected only after full disclosure to them and after their authorization. Psychologists shall exercise reasonable care to prevent their employes, associates and others whose services are utilized by them from disclosing or using information about the client.

 (b)  A psychologist may reveal the following information about a client:

   (1)  Information received in confidence is revealed only after most careful deliberation and when there is clear and imminent danger to an individual or to society, and then only to appropriate professional workers or public authorities. This Code of Ethics does not prohibit a psychologist from taking reasonable measures to prevent harm when a client has expressed a serious threat or intent to kill or seriously injure an identified or readily identifiable person or group of people and when the psychologist determines that the client is likely to carry out the threat or intent. Reasonable measures may include directly advising the potential victim of the threat or intent of the client. Because these measures should not be taken without careful consideration of clients and their situation, consultation with other mental health professionals should be sought whenever there is time to do so to validate the clinical impression that the threat or intent of harm is likely to be carried out.

   (2)  Information obtained in clinical or consulting relationships, or evaluative data concerning children, students, employes and others are discussed only for professional purposes and only with persons clearly concerned with the case. Written and oral reports should present data germane to the purposes of the evaluation; every effort should be made to avoid undue invasion of privacy.

   (3)  Clinical and other materials are used in classroom teaching and writing only when the identity of the persons involved is adequately disguised.

   (4)  Confidentiality of professional communications about individuals is maintained. Only when the originator and other persons involved give their express written permission is a confidential professional communication shown to the individual concerned. The psychologist is responsible for informing the client of the limits of the confidentiality.

   (5)  Only after explicit permission has been granted is the identity of research subjects published. When data have been published without permission for identification, the psychologist assumes responsibility for adequately disguising their sources.

   (6)  The psychologist makes provisions for the maintenance of confidentiality in the preservation and ultimate disposition of confidential records.

   (7)  When working with minors or other persons who are unable to give voluntary, informed consent, psychologists take special care to protect the person’s best interests.
 Principle 6. Welfare of the consumer.

 (a)  Psychologists respect the integrity and protect the welfare of the people and groups with whom they work. When there is a conflict of interest between the client and the psychologist’s employing institution, psychologists clarify the nature and direction of their loyalties and responsibilities and keep all parties informed of their commitments. Psychologists fully inform consumers as to the purpose and nature of an evaluative, treatment, educational or training procedure and they freely acknowledge that clients, students or participants in research have freedom of choice with regard to participation.

 (b)  Psychologists are continually cognizant of their own needs and their inherently powerful position vis a vis clients, students and subordinates, in order to avoid exploiting their trust and dependency. Psychologists make every effort to avoid dual relationships with clients or relationships which might impair their professional judgment or increase the risk of exploitation. Examples of dual relationships include treating employes, supervisees, close friends or relatives. Sexual intimacies with clients are unethical.

 (c)  When a psychologist agrees to provide services to a client at the request of a third party, the psychologist assumes the responsibility of clarifying the nature of the relationships to all parties concerned.

 (d)  Where demands of an organization on psychologists go beyond reasonable conditions of employment, psychologists recognize possible conflicts of interest that may arise. When conflicts occur, psychologists clarify the nature of the conflict, inform all parties of the nature and direction of the loyalties and responsibilities involved, and take appropriate action.

 (e)  When acting as a supervisor, trainer, researcher or employer, psychologists accord informed choice, confidentiality, due process and protection from physical and mental harm to their subordinates in these relationships.

 (f)  Financial arrangements in professional practice are in accord with professional standards that safeguard the best interests of the client and that are clearly understood by the client in advance of billing. Psychologists are responsible for assisting clients in finding needed services in those instances where payment of the usual fee would be a hardship. No commission, rebate or other form of remuneration may be given or received for referral of clients for professional services, whether by an individual or by an agency.

 (g)  The psychologist attempts to terminate a clinical or consulting relationship when it is reasonably clear that the consumer is not benefiting from it. Psychologists who find that their services are being used by employers in a way that is not beneficial to the participants or to employes who may be affected, or to significant others, have the responsibility to make their observations known to the responsible persons and to propose modifications or termination of the engagement.
 Principle 7. Professional relationships.

 (a)  Psychologists act with due regard for the needs, special competencies and obligations of their colleagues in psychology and other professions. Psychologists respect the prerogatives and obligations of the institutions or organizations with which these other colleagues are associated.

 (b)  Psychologists understand the areas of competence of related professions, and make full use of the professional, technical and administrative resources that best serve the interest of consumers. The absence of formal relationships with other professional workers does not relieve psychologists from the responsibility of securing for their clients the best possible professional service nor does it relieve them from the exercise of foresight, diligence and tact in obtaining the complementary or alternative assistance needed by clients.

 (c)  Psychologists know and take into account the traditions and practices of other professional groups with which they work and cooperate fully with members of these groups. If a consumer is receiving similar services from another professional, psychologists do not offer their services directly to the consumer. If a psychologist is contacted by aperson who is already receiving similar services from another professional, the psychologist carefully considers that professional relationship and proceeds with caution and sensitivity to the therapeutic issues as well as the client’s welfare. The psychologist discusses these issues with the client to minimize the risk of confusion and conflict.

 (d)  Psychologists who employ or supervise other professionals or professionals in training accept the obligations to facilitate their further professional development by providing suitable working conditions, consultation, timely evaluations and experience opportunities.

 (e)  Psychologists do not exploit their professional relationships with clients, supervisees, students, employes or research participants sexually or otherwise. Psychologists do not condone or engage in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as deliberate or repeated comments, gestures or physical contacts of a sexual nature that are unwanted by the recipient.

 (f)  As employes of organizations providing psychological services, or as independent psychologists serving clients in an organizational context, psychologists seek to support the integrity, reputation and proprietary rights of the host organization. When it is judged necessary in a client’s interest to question the organization’s programs or policies, psychologists attempt to effect change by constructive action within the organization before disclosing confidential information acquired in their professional roles.

 (g)  In the pursuit of research, psychologists give sponsoring agencies, host institutions and publication channels the same respect and opportunity for giving informed consent that they accord to individual research participants. They are aware of their obligation to future research workers and insure that host institutions are given adequate information about the research and proper acknowledgement of their contributions.

 (h)  Publication credit is assigned to those who have contributed to a publication in proportion to their contributions. Major contributions of a professional character made by several persons to a common project are recognized by joint authorship, with the experimenter or author who made the principal contribution identified and listed first. Minor contributions of a professional character and extensive clerical or similar nonprofessional assistance may be acknowledged in footnotes or in an introductory statement. Acknowledgement through specific citations is made for unpublished as well as published material that has directly influenced the research or writing. Psychologists who compile and edit material of others for publication publish the material in the name of the originating group or author, with their own name appearing as chairperson or editor. Contributors are to be acknowledged and named.

 (i)  When psychologists know of an ethical violation by another psychologist which does not affect the welfare of that psychologist’s clients and which appears to be owing to lack of sensitivity, knowledge or experience, they attempt to resolve the issue informally by bringing the behavior to the attention of the psychologist. Informal corrective efforts are made with regard for rights to confidentiality involved. If the violation is one which threatens client welfare or is not amenable to an informal solution, psychologists bring it to the attention of the Board. Obligations imposed by this subsection are in addition to the reporting requirements under section 18(f) of the act (63 P. S. §  1218(f)).
 Principle 8. Utilization of assessment.

 (a)  In the development, publication and utilization of psychological assessment techniques, psychologists observe relevant professional standards and make every effort to promote the welfare and best interests of the client. A person who has been examined has the right to receive, and the psychologist has the responsibility to provide, explanations of the nature, purpose, results and interpretations of assessment techniques in language the person can understand. Psychologists guard against misuse of assessment results and avoid imparting unnecessary information which would compromise test security, but they provide requested information that explains the basis for decisions that may adversely affect the person examined or that person’s dependents.

 (b)  Persons examined at the request of or under the auspices of a sponsoring entity such as an employer or potential employer, a school, a hospital, or the like shall have, irrespective of who pays for the service, the same rights to information as set out in subsection (a), unless limitations are agreed upon in advance in writing among the psychologist, the person to be examined or that person’s legal representative, and the sponsoring entity. The psychologist shall provide the examination results to the sponsoring entity only upon authorization in writing signed by the person to be examined or that person’s legal representative. The psychologist shall ensure that the person to be examined or that person’s legal representative makes an informed decision as to giving up one or more of the rights in subsection (a) and as to releasing information to the sponsoring entity.

 (c)  When a test is published or otherwise made available for operational use, it is accompanied by a manual—or other published or readily available information—that fully describes the development of the test, the rationale, and evidence of validity and reliability. The test manual explicitly states the purposes and applications required to administer the test and to interpret it properly. Test manuals provide complete information regarding the characteristics of the normative population.

 (d)  In reporting test results, psychologists indicate reservations regarding validity or reliability resulting from testing circumstances or inappropriateness of the test norms for the person tested. Psychologists strive to insure that the test results and their interpretations are not misused by others.

 (e)  Psychologists accept responsibility for removing from clients’ files test score information that has become obsolete, lest the information be misused or misconstrued to the disadvantage of the person tested.

 (f)  Psychologists offering test scoring and interpretation services are able to demonstrate that the validity of the programs and procedures used in arriving at interpretations is based on appropriate evidence. The public offering of an automated test interpretation is considered as a professional-to-professional consultation. The psychologist makes every effort to avoid misuse of test reports.
 Principle 9. Research with human participants.

 (a)  The decision to undertake research rests upon a considered judgment by the individual psychologist about how best to contribute to psychological science and to human welfare. Having made the decision to conduct research, the psychologist considers alternative directions in which research energies and resources might be invested. On the basis of this consideration, psychologists carry out their investigations with respect for the people who participate, with concern for their dignity and welfare, and in compliance with Federal and State regulations and professional standards governing the conduct of research with human participants.

 (b)  In planning a study the investigator has the responsibility to make a careful evaluation of its ethical acceptability, taking into account the following additional principles for research with human beings. To the extent that this appraisal, weighing scientific and humane values, suggests a compromise of any principle, the investigator incurs an increasingly serious obligation to seek ethical advice and to observe stringent safeguards to protect the rights of the human research participants.

 (c)  Considering whether a participant in a planned study will be a ‘‘subject at risk’’ or a ‘‘subject at minimal risk’’ according to recognized standards, is of primary ethical concern to the investigator. ‘‘Minimal risk’’ means that the risks of harm anticipated in the proposed research are not greater, considering probability and magnitude, than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests.

 (d)  Responsibility for the establishment and maintenance of acceptable ethical practice in research always remains with the individual investigator. The investigator is also responsible for the ethical treatment of research participants by collaborators, assistants, students and employes, all of whom, however, incur parallel obligations.

 (e)  Except in minimal-risk research, the investigator establishes a clear and fair agreement with research participants, prior to their participation, that clarifies the obligations and responsibilities of each. The investigator has the obligation to honor the promises and commitments included in that agreement. The investigator informs the participants of the aspects of the research that might reasonably be expected to influence willingness to participate and explains the other aspects of the research about which the participants inquire. Research with children or with participants who have impairments that limit their understanding or communication requires the informed consent of their legal representatives. Failure to make full disclosure prior to obtaining the consent of a participant or the participant’s legal representative is acceptable only under the conditions in subsection (g).

 (f)  Investigations of human participants using drugs should be conducted only in such settings as clinics, hospitals or research facilities maintaining appropriate safeguards for the participants.

 (g)  Methodological requirements of a study may make the use of concealment or deception necessary. Before conducting such a study, the investigator has a special responsibility to:

   (1)  Determine whether the use of techniques involving concealment or deception is justified by the study’s prospective scientific, educational or applied value.

   (2)  Determine whether alternative procedures are available that do not use concealment or deception.

   (3)  Ensure that the participants are provided with sufficient explanation as soon as possible.

 (h)  The investigator respects the individual’s freedom to decline to participate in or to withdraw from the research at any time. The obligation to protect this freedom requires careful thought and consideration when the investigator is in a position of authority or influence over the participant. Positions of authority include, but are not limited to, situations in which research participation is required as part of employment or in which the participant is a student, client or employe of the investigator.

 (i)  The investigator protects the participant from physical or mental discomfort, harm and danger that may arise from research procedures. If risks of these consequences exist, the investigator informs the participant of that fact. Research procedures likely to cause serious or lasting harm toa participant are not used unless the failure to use these procedures might expose the participant to risk of greater harm, or unless the research has great potential benefit and fully informed and voluntary consent is obtained from each participant. The participant should be informed of procedures for contacting the investigator within a reasonable time period following participation should stress, potential harm or related questions or concerns arise.

 (j)  After the data are collected, the investigator provides the participant with information about the nature of the study and attempts to remove misconceptions that may have arisen. If scientific or humane values justify delaying or withholding this information, the investigator incurs a special responsibility to monitor the research and to ensure that there are no damaging consequences for the participant.

 (k)  If research procedures result in undesirable consequences for the individual participant, the investigator has the responsibility to detect and remove or correct these consequences, including long-term effects.

 (l)  Information obtained about a research participant during the course of an investigation is confidential unless otherwise agreed upon in advance. When the possibility exists that others may obtain access to the information, this possibility, together with the plans for protecting confidentiality, is explained to the participant as part of the procedure for obtaining informed consent.
 Principle 10. Care and use of animals in research.

 (a)  An investigator of animal behavior strives either to advance understanding of basic behavioral principles or to contribute to the improvement of human health and welfare or to achieve both these goals. In seeking these ends, the investigator ensures the welfare of animals and treats them humanely. Laws and regulations notwithstanding, an animal’s immediate protection depends upon the scientist’s own conscience.

 (b)  The acquisition, care, use and disposal of animals are in compliance with current Federal, State or provincial, and local laws and regulations.

 (c)  A psychologist trained in research methods and experienced in the care of laboratory animals closely supervises procedures involving animals and is responsible for ensuring appropriate consideration of their comfort, health and humane treatment.

 (d)  Psychologists ensure that individuals using animals under their supervision have received explicit instruction in experimental methods and in the care, maintenance and handling of the species being used. Responsibilities and activities of individuals participating in a research project are consistent with their respective competencies.

 (e)  Psychologists make every effort to minimize discomfort, illness and pain of animals. A procedure subjecting animals to pain, stress or privation is used only when an alternative procedure is unavailable and the goal is justified by its prospective scientific, educational or applied value. Surgical procedures are performed under appropriate anesthesia; techniques to avoid infection and minimize pain are followed during and after surgery.

 (f)  When it is appropriate that the animal’s life be terminated, it is done rapidly and painlessly.


   The provisions of this §  41.61 amended under section 3.2(2) of the Professional Psychologists Practice Act (63 P. S. §  1203.2(2)).


   The provisions of this §  41.61 adopted February 6, 1976, effective February 7, 1976, 6 Pa.B. 229; amended March 17, 1978, effective March 18, 1978, 8 Pa.B. 756; amended September 8, 1978, effective September 9, 1978, 8 Pa.B. 2530; amended June 16, 1989, effective June 17, 1989, 19 Pa.B. 2555; amended May 22, 1998, effective May 23, 1998, 28 Pa.B. 2412. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (238845), (221153) to (221154), (206255) to (206264) and (223087) to (223088).

Notes of Decisions


   The record did not support the Board’s determinations that a psychologist violated Ethical Principle 2 and the Practice Act by acting beyond his qualifications in evaluating the insureds and by creating inadequate psychological evaluations, where the Board impermissibly substituted its opinion for that of the expert witnesses who testified before the hearing examiner, and no evidence remained which supported the Board’s determinations. Batoff v. State Board of Psychology, 718 A.2d 364 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1998); reversed 750 A.2d 835 (Pa. 2000).


   The language of this regulation was not vague; rather, it was plain and unambiguous. Although the psychologist may in fact have been confused by the conflicting obligations imposed by the rules of the profession and a court issued subpoena, any confusioin which the psychologist might have experienced cannot be attributed to the clear prohibition against revealing confidential information contained in this regulation. Rost v. State Board of Psychology, 659 A.2d 626 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995); appeal denied 670 A.2d 145 (Pa. 1995).

   Although disclosure of confidential information is permitted when there is clear and imminent danger to an individual or society, this exception is very limited. It only applies where a client poses a serious threat of killing or physically injuring a third person or group of persons. The filing of fraudulent pleadings does not rise to the same level as serious physical harm and does not justify disclosure of confidential information. Rost v. State Board of Psychology, 659 A.2d 626 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995).

   Moral Standards

   A psychologist who, during the course of the therapeutic relationship, engages in sexual intimacies with a client may not absolve himself or herself from professional liability by ceasing to provide therapy while the sexual relationship continues. Giddings v. State Bd. of Psychology, 669 A.2d 431 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995).

   Welfare of the Consumer

   Where the psychologist admitted to asking Mr. R. S. to sign at least one insurance form with the intent to acquire payment for treatment of Mrs. R. S., who was not covered by her husband’s insurance, there can be no doubt that the psychologist acted unprofessionally. Giddings v. State Bd. of Psychology, 669 A.2d 431 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995).

Cross References

   This section cited in 49 Pa. Code §  41.8 (relating to Department of Health licensing of substance abuse services provided by psychology practices—statement of policy); 49 Pa. Code §  41.26 (relating to professional corporations); 49 Pa. Code §  41.27 (relating to fictitious names); 49 Pa. Code §  41.33 (relating to supervisors); 49 Pa. Code §  41.51 (relating to areas of acceptable practice); 49 Pa. Code §  41.58 (relating to standards for the employment and supervision of unlicensed persons with graduate training in psychology); and 49 Pa. Code §  41.75 (relating to confidentiality—waived).

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