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Ethics and professional conduct policy

Section 2:

2.1 The lawful needs of clients are the foundation of ethical practice. Clients need to define the changes needed in their experience and capacities that will enable them to meet their needs more effectively. The efforts of therapists are guided by this founding consideration;

2.2 A fundamental principle underlying good practice is that therapists do not confuse their own needs with those of clients. The human givens approach therefore emphasises the relationship of trust between therapist or counsellor and patient, in which the focus should be on the patient's needs and resources, not on the desires, any selfish personal aims or ideological beliefs of the therapist;

2.3 In addition to this, therapists need to take account of the fact that human beings are social creatures, and that our lives take much of their meaning from interaction with other people. It follows that therapists will take account of the social networks within which they and the patient are operating and within which their needs must be met in a balanced way.

2.4 Starting from the human givens inclines us to avoid rules for good practice based on patients ‘rights'. We arrive in the world with needs to be met and the resources to meet them, but not rights. Rights are not 'givens' but are arrived at by negotiation between people and enshrined in laws;

2.5 Clients require therapeutic services based on best available psychological, physiological and neuro-physiological scientific knowledge relating to healthy human functioning and the rapid relief of distress. Specifically, practitioners should understand the basic emotional and physical needs common to every human being and implications of these for emotionally healthy, well adjusted living;

2.6 For them to recover from whatever is troubling them, clients need the practitioners from whom they seek help to have a sound psychological and physiological understanding of all the common mental health conditions – namely stress and depression, fear and anxiety, anger, trauma and addictions. Practitioners should be able wherever possible to offer immediate help to relieve the symptoms associated with these disorders and discuss ways of maintaining change. Such understanding and skills should be based on up to date scientific knowledge relating to these conditions;

2.7 Clients need practitioners to be clear and straightforward in their verbal and, where necessary, written communication. They should therefore avoid vague, ambiguous or vacuous concepts and assertions: communications should be free of “psychobabble”;

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