Ethical Standards in Psychology: How much do you know?

This information is taken from the Ethical Principles of Psychology and Code of Conduct.  There are 10 ethical standards in psychology, but each standard has multiple sub-standards.  As discussed in previous posts, these are rules that if not followed can have serious repercussions for s psychologist, including loss of membership or license.  A breach of ethical standard does not necessarily mean the individual is liable in civil court.  Rather than just copying the whole document here, I recommend going to the link above and reading the whole code.  I will write a list of just the headings here, which you are welcome to use as a study cue.  The information is best used in collaboration with your own knowledge and what you have already been taught, your previous notes or textbooks, and research if you need more information on a particular topic. Or check out the product reviews page.

Keep in mind that ethics is a large part of a psychologists work, the code of ethics is what separates a psychologist form other helping professionals such as psychotherapists, counselors, therapists, therapy assistants, research assistance, life coaches, etc.  You will refer to the code of ethics many times throughout your career, so knowing it inside and out is helpful for more than just the EPPP.  And, this is the reason why the ethics portion of the EPPP is weighted the heaviest at 15%.

You will want to do more than just memorize the standards.  It is important that you understand what these concept actually mean rather than just memorizing phrases.  Have the ability to defend any ethical scenario by logically using the code of ethics and the following standards to defend your decision.

Standard 1: Resolving Ethical issues.

1.01 Misuse of Psychologists’ Work ethical standards in psychology

1.02 Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority

1.03 Conflicts Between Ethics and Organizational Demands 

1.04 Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations

1.05 Reporting Ethical Violations

1.06 Cooperating with Ethics Committees

1.07 Improper Complaints

1.08 Unfair Discrimination Against Complainants and Respondents

Standard 2: Competence

2.01 Boundaries of Competence
6 sub-categories.

2.02 Providing Services in Emergencies

2.03 Maintaining Competence

2.04 Bases for Scientific and Professional Judgments

2.05 Delegation of Work to Others

2.06 Personal Problems and Conflicts
2 sub-categories.

Standard 3: Human Relations

3.01 Unfair Discrimination

3.02 Sexual Harassment

3.03 Other Harassment

3.04 Avoiding Harm
2 sub-categories

Section (b) becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017. 

3.05 Multiple Relationships 

3 sub-categories.


3.06 Conflict of Interest

3.07 Third-Party Requests for Services

3.08 Exploitative Relationships

3.09 Cooperation with Other Professionals3.10 Informed Consent

4 sub-categories


3.11 Psychological Services Delivered to or Through Organizations

2 sub-categories

3.12 Interruption of Psychological Services

Standard 4: Privacy and Confidentiality

4.01 Maintaining Confidentiality

4.02 Discussing the Limits of Confidentiality

3 sub-categories

4.03 Recording

4.04 Minimizing Intrusions on Privacy

2 sub-categories

4.05 Disclosures

2 sub-categories

4.06 Consultations

4.07 Use of Confidential Information for Didactic or Other Purposes

Standard 5: Advertising and Other Public Statements

5.01 Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements

3 sub-categories

5.02 Statements by Others

3 sub-categories

5.03 Descriptions of Workshops and Non-Degree-Granting Educational Programs

5.04 Media Presentations

5.05 Testimonials

5.06 In-Person Solicitation

Standard 6: Record Keeping and Fees

6.01 Documentation of Professional and Scientific Work and Maintenance of Records

6.02 Maintenance, Dissemination, and Disposal of Confidential Records of Professional and Scientific Work

3 sub-categories

6.03 Withholding Records for Nonpayment

6.04 Fees and Financial Arrangements

5 sub-categories

6.05 Barter with Clients/Patients

6.06 Accuracy in Reports to Payors and Funding Sources

6.07 Referrals and Fees

Standard 7: Education and Training

7.01 Design of Education and Training Programs

7.02 Descriptions of Education and Training Programs

7.03 Accuracy in Teaching

2 sub-categories

7.04 Student Disclosure of Personal Information

7.05 Mandatory Individual or Group Therapy

2 sub-categories

7.06 Assessing Student and Supervisee Performance

2 sub-categories

7.07 Sexual Relationships with Students and Supervisees

Standard 8: Research and Publication

8.01 Institutional Approval

8.02 Informed Consent to Research

2 sub-categories

8.03 Informed Consent for Recording Voices and Images in Research

8.04 Client/Patient, Student, and Subordinate Research Participants

2 sub-categories

8.05 Dispensing with Informed Consent for Research

8.06 Offering Inducements for Research Participation

2 sub-categories

8.07 Deception in Research

3 sub-categories

8.08 Debriefing

3 sub-categories

8.09 Humane Care and Use of Animals in Research

7 sub-categories


8.10 Reporting Research Results

2 sub-categories

8.11 Plagiarism

8.12 Publication Credit

3 sub-categories

8.13 Duplicate Publication of Data

8.14 Sharing Research Data for Verification

2 sub-categories

8.15 Reviewers

Standard 9: Assessment

9.01 Bases for Assessments

3 sub-categories

9.02 Use of Assessments

3 sub-categories

9.03 Informed Consent in Assessments

3 sub-categories

9.04 Release of Test Data

2 sub-categories

9.05 Test Construction

9.06 Interpreting Assessment Results

9.07 Assessment by Unqualified Persons

9.08 Obsolete Tests and Outdated Test Results

2 sub-categories

9.09 Test Scoring and Interpretation Services

3 sub-categories

9.10 Explaining Assessment Results

9.11 Maintaining Test Security

Standard 10: Therapy

10.01 Informed Consent to Therapy

3 sub-categories

10.02 Therapy Involving Couples or Families

2 sub-categories

10.03 Group Therapy

10.04 Providing Therapy to Those Served by Others

10.05 Sexual Intimacies with Current Therapy Clients/Patients

10.06 Sexual Intimacies with Relatives or Significant Others of Current Therapy Clients/Patients

10.07 Therapy with Former Sexual Partners

10.08 Sexual Intimacies with Former Therapy Clients/Patients

2 sub-categories

10.09 Interruption of Therapy

10.10 Terminating Therapy

3 sub-categoies

You may find the information on this site is not enough to help you feel confident about your ability to pass the exam, That is OK and only you can be the judge of what you need. If this information seems overwhelming to you it does NOT mean you will fail the exam, but you may require a little more in depth material than is offered here That is why there is a Product Reviews page which will give you a variety of additional options, as well as practice exam questions which I highly recommend as explained on the Study Tips page.


4 thoughts on “Ethical Standards in Psychology: How much do you know?

  1. I’m not a mental health professional. I found your website while searching for stories about the misconduct or incompetence of mental health professionals.

    Honestly, my experience with shrinks and therapists has been a mixed bag. Most just wasted my time. Some actually did harm. The biggest help came from clinical social workers who took the time to teach me coping skills and to speak honestly about my wife’s addiction.

    To answer your last question about how I memorize large amounts of information. I visualize a space that I am familiar with. It might be my house or a house from my past. It might be a hike I’m familiar with.

    In the case of my house, I imagine the information in different rooms of the house, so when I need to recall that information, I simply imagine myself walking into that room.

    1. thanks for taking the time to comment. It can be important for clients to know the ethical obligations of a psychologist as well so that if you feel mistreated or that a professional has misrepresented themselves, you can be aware of their obligations and that there is a licensing board that enforces these ethical standards. I appreciate the house example, I could see that really working when studying for the EPPP.

  2. It’s hard to relate to your question for me because I used to be an engineering student, so it was mostly math and physics that I used to study! If you want to really succeed with those subjects you must have a big imagination and know how to connect stuff together and think logically. It’s very different than studying for literature or in your case, psychology.
    Our study consists mostly of establishing the best understanding of the laws presented in each subject as much as possible, not just memorizing them, and keep doing more and more exercises until you pass the exam.
    If I was to study a literature subject, I would try to connect different stories and dates together in a logical manner so I can never forget them, or try to connect them to something that happened to me in the past or is happening right now.
    But everyone has his own methods of studying that he feels more comfortable with, there is no one best method to studying.

    1. I think you make a very valid point. It is really about understanding the concepts and how they relate to your discipline. This is so much more effective than just memorizing details! Thanks for your contribution.

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