Confidentiality, Privacy and Professional Practice
I am deeply committed to providing each of my clients the highest quality service and make every possible effort to protect their privacy and confidentiality whilst creating that friendly and collegial environment so important in coaching.
Every Australian psychologist must abide by a stringent Code of Ethics developed by the Australian Psychological Society for the public's protection. Likewise, every member of the International Association of Coaching must pledge to abide by a Code of Ethics and set of Ethical Principles. Please consult these sites if you wish to read about my ethical commitments in detail.
In principle, these are the ethical standards I adhere to:
Competence – I will maintain high standards of competence in my work, and continually monitor my practice and engage in professional development to maintain and improve my professional competence. This will, from time to time, entail my seeking professional supervision/consultation as required.
Integrity – I will represent myself in a transparent, fair and honest manner, recognising my particular competencies and limitations and working within them. I will strive to be aware of my own belief systems, values, needs and limitations and the effect of these on my work. To the extent feasible, I attempt to clarify for relevant parties the roles I am performing and to function appropriately in accordance with those roles.
Professional responsibility – I will uphold standards of ethical conduct that reflect well on me as well as the profession at large. I will protect the personal information my clients share with me (though it must be acknowledged that it may be impossible to fully protect the confidentiality of client information which may be transmitted electronically), and I will not disclose my client’s identity to others unless requested to do so in writing by them (e.g. to a health care fund or employer) or compelled to do so under law (e.g. to protect them or others from harm).
Respect for people’s rights and dignity – I will treat clients with dignity and respect, being aware of cultural differences, and the client’s right to autonomy, privacy and confidentiality. I accord appropriate respect to the fundamental rights, dignity and worth of all people. I respect the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, self-determination, and autonomy, mindful that legal and other obligations may lead to inconsistency and conflict with the exercise of these rights (e.g. disclosure to prevent harm to yourself or another). I am aware of cultural, individual and role differences, including those due to age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language and socioeconomic status. I try to eliminate the effect on my work of biases based on those factors, and I do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices in mine or others' coaching or psychology practice.
Should my clients ever perceive that I have breached any of these principles, I request that they please bring it to my attention as soon as possible, and if they think it has not been properly dealt with, to please contact the Psychology Board of Australia or the International Association of Coaching. Moreover, if ever significant conflict arises between myself and a client that we are unable to settle between ourselves, my policy would be to seek arbitration by an accredited individual or through an organisation with an arbitrator whom we mutually decide upon.
Regarding the use of testimonials and social media
You may notice the absence of client testimonials on my page or social media. As a registered psychologist, I am bound by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. Section 133 of the National Law imposes limits on how health services delivered by registered health practitioners can be advertised. These limits apply to all forms of advertising, including through social media and on the internet. Amongst other things, they involve a broad ban on using testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business on any advertising material or social media that I control.
While coaching is an unregulated service at the current time, and therefore exempt from these limits, as a registered psychologist dealing with health issues I prefer to operate at the highest level of professionalism that my practitioner status calls for.
So should you wish to recommend me by word of mouth or on your own social media pages, please feel free to do so - coaching businesses largely develop through the word-of-mouth referral process! You are also welcome to "like" and follow The Psychologist Coach on social media. However, as helpful as it would be, please do not publish recommendations or testimonials on The Psychologist Coach's social media pages as I will regretfully need to remove them to comply with this law. By extension, I will also typically not "friend" clients on my personal social media pages to ensure full compliance with the Psychology Board's Code of Ethics. Thank you for your understanding.