Ethical and Professional Issues in Psychology

Taking a critical view of the qualifications required for administering psychotherapy: shedding light on why the yoga practice and Eastern philosophies are not considered therapies whereas humanism and positive psychology are accredited. Ethical and Professional Issues in Psychology 2/1 1/2014 Clatter-Suzanne sore (561993 (M)) Selene vela (390593 (M)) Emilie coupled (68225 (A)) Introduction Academically, an individual becomes a psychologist after completing a first degree in psychology, a masters program in a specific psychological field, and a further program set to acquire a work warranty as a professional.

Furthermore, to be a psychologist, one must encompass 5 cardinal values (PAP, 2010). These values are beneficence and malefaction, fidelity and responsibility, integrity, Justice, respect for people’s rights and dignity (PAP, 2010). Once a psychologist adheres to the aforementioned academic achievements and ethical codes, they are authorized to engage in psychotherapeutic practice.

The main focus of this paper will be to analyses the principle of humanism and positive psychology In relation to unaccredited Eastern philosophies and the yoga practice that have synonymous benefits to psychotherapy, but are delivered by different professionals/non-professionals.

Initially the focus will be on humanistic psychology and positive psychology, followed by specific values of the humanistic theory in relation to the practice of psychotherapy. This will be followed by an analytic view point of mindfulness based therapies.

In addition we will attempt to delve into aspects of how one can quantify the emotional benefit derived from the aforementioned practices, the scientific benefits of the yoga practice, and finally, consider the use of intuition in clinical practice and Eastern philosophy.

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Humanistic Psychology and Positive Psychology The main objective of humanistic psychology is to aid individuals in achieving the potential within the individual that is present at birth. This highlights and alms to develop dignity and self-worth of each individual, and thus promotes their authenticity (Ragman, 2008).

In therapy It Is the client’s perception that Is emphasized so that the therapist can fully conceptualize the client’s subjective experience of their current Internal state (Corey, 2013). Furthermore, the psychologist that allows self-exploration even after the required therapy sessions have been employed (Corey, 2013). In the same way, positive psychology is a model which highlights the value of being hopeful, spiritual, wise, responsible and resilient in everyday life (Cone & Teen, 2010).

Positive psychology focuses on the adaptive, creative and intrinsic motivation in the lives of individuals. It is specified to address the optimal functioning of ordinary people and their everyday lives, highlighting their positive attributes not only within themselves but also within the community (Sheldon & King, 2001). One of the main shortcomings of such an approach is that the psychologist is required to possess a certain degree of maturity along with life experience, extensive training and comprehensive knowledge of existentialism (Corey, 2013).

Thus, one might argue whether the academic achievements achieved through the psychologist’s previous training are enough to validate the psychotherapeutic methods they offer. In Mascots self-actualization theory he produces a schema that the humanistic biology that makes up an individual is good or neutral. In Mascots hierarchy of needs, this humanistic biology is seen to derive its energy from deficiency needs and growth needs (Rickrack, 2008). The hierarchy starts with a base level of physiological needs, moving on to safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs and finally self-actualization and growth needs.

According to Mascots humanistic approach people who are self- actualities are problem-centered, are interested in taking on projects that benefit others and tend to feel a greater sense of personal accomplishment. The character of self-actualities people is generally non-critical, detached from the dominant culture but they adhere to society’s rules. Self-actualities people are able to understand heir own shortcomings and are willing to seek assistance or guidance when their personal inventory of knowledge is limited (Rickrack, 2008).

If humanistic psychologists view the essentially most developed aspect of an individual to be based on a foundation of six steps that need to be achieved before reaching their full potential, one would argue on how it is possible to have nothing and really have everything. Examples of such a postulation are characters such as Mother Theresa. Thus, adopting a critical perspective, one can argue whether it is actually possible to measure self-actualization. If it not possible to measure self-actualization, then how is humanistic psychology different to eastern philosophy in terms of statistical validity?

In the spectrum of therapies used in humanism, mindfulness based therapy is one of the accredited psychotherapeutic domains for psychological intervention. Mindfulness is the concept of being aware of your own cognitive and affective state of mind. Mindfulness allows one to be totally in the present moment, without passing judgment, and maintaining an earnest attitude to their current state and mental processes (Burks & Kabobs,2012). When considering mindfulness based psychotherapy, and eastern meditation, the main difference is that mindfulness based psychotherapy can be quantified using MASS and other scales.

The MASS measures the amount of instances in which individuals enter a mindful state (Brown & Ryan,2003). After mindfulness based psychotherapy, the MASS : Mindful Attention Awareness Scale reveals that this intervention is associated with lower expression of neurotics, anxious and depressive feelings as well as negative affectively. In fulfillment, dignity and self-actualization. Furthermore, it also corresponded to higher autonomy, competency and relatedness; all of which constitute the basic tenets underlying self-determination theory (Brown & Ryan, 2003).

In addition, mindfulness also corresponds to Openness to experience as explained in the Big Five. However, since openness to experience is in itself indefinable, the validity of mindfulness being a part of the spectrum is open to interpretation (Costa & McCrae, 1992; as cited in Brown & Ryan, 2003). This means that the essential difference between a psychotherapist initiating mindfulness based psychotherapy and a practitioner of Eastern philosophy initiating meditation is that a psychotherapist has the tools for identifying and interpreting the resulting outcomes of the therapy.

Mindfulness- based cognitive therapy (AMBIT) is an intervention derived from Kebab-Zion’s (1990) 8 week group treatment program aimed at reducing stress, and involves components of cognitive behavioral therapy. The objective of this therapy is for the treatment of depression and to increase awareness of personal and negative thoughts. The therapist assigns specific tasks which enable the client to apply skills learned in the hereby room into the external environment (Corey, 2013).

Another mindfulness based approach emphasizes acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) which focuses on increasing non-judgmental awareness and acceptance rather than attempting to alter the individual’s cognitive state (Corey, 2013). Consequently, mindfulness highlights the importance of being in the present moment rather than formulating an ideology of self-judgment and criticism (Carson & Longer, 2006). In light of this information, one may ask: how can we say that mindfulness based psychotherapy is better or different to meditation?

Potential describes meditation as a mental saddens (practice) which leads one to a ashamed paranoia which means a transformation towards tranquility. Meditation is said to lead a person to a balanced state of mind, and to provide spiritual attainment through observation and reflection of oneself (lounger, 2002). An evident distinction in mindfulness based therapies and Buddhist meditation is that the cognitive states when entering the intervention are different and distinct, however the resulting post-meditative state results in the same cognitive mindful awareness (Carson & Longer (1989); as cited in Carson & Longer, 2006)).

This means that both types of intervention are technically different but are essentially leading to the same, focused, therapeutic result. This raises questions as to why psychologists need to be accredited to initiate mindfulness based therapeutic interventions, whereas practitioners of Eastern philosophy are using similar interventions without being regulated. Scientific Evidence of the Benefits of Yoga Derived from Eastern philosophy, Yoga was perceived by Westerns as a path to self- realization. According to Potential, yoga is made up of action, self-discipline, self- duty, and surrender to the divine.

The physical (practice) asana focuses on taps; the desire to remove impurities from the body, spirit, and mind. This practice over many years will bring intelligence, and a full, vibrant life (lounger, 2002). The maintenance of the yoga practice provides benefits such as changes in perspective, increased self-awareness, and a general sense of energize motivation to live a positive, fulfilling life (Woodward, 2011). More recently and with the basis of scientific inquiry, Yoga is believed to provide physical and mental health benefits.

It has Kandahar & Verbally, 2012). The yoga practices combats the physiological fight or flight response in the autonomic nervous system, and thus provides the individual with the tools for dealing effectively with stresses, in order to continue to explore a more balanced state of cognition (Woodward, 2011). The yoga practice has been found to improve psychophysiology in individuals, as well as improve memory, cognition, and general well-being in any individual’s life (Albuquerque et al. 2012).

It is interesting to note that the scientific evidence provides us with a new perspective on owe we can lead individuals to a state of overall well-being in their life. Thus, if yoga is a practice that can be practiced by anyone, in order to benefit their well-being, and psychology benefits the general well-being of individual’s life, then one would ask how ethical it is that psychology is not readily offered to all people, and yet yoga studios and meditation centers are largely available and at only a fraction of the cost of psychotherapy.

This being said, among the values of psychology and yoga, one notable distinction is that one who attends a psychotherapeutic session is protected y the law, and their confidentiality and anonymity is preserved throughout treatment. Other techniques derived from particular aspects of the yoga practice are loving-kindness meditation and compassion meditation. Loving-kindness meditation (ELK) is a clinical technique used to instill a sense of profound loving compassion in the client for all those that surround him/her throughout their life (Grossman, Hint & Hofmann, 2011).

Another technique used in line with ELK is compassion meditation (CM) which is meditation that centers on empathic feelings towards others who have been subject to misfortune in their lives. The result of the therapies together do not necessarily create a compassionate psyche, however, they present the individual with the tools to be curious of their own personal feelings, and cultivate compassion in moments of anger, thus preserving the individual’s current state of peace, and not allowing external disturbances to affect the individual’s state (Grossman, Hint & Hofmann, 2011).

This therapy, directly derived from Buddhist tradition allows an individual to cultivate feeling of gratitude and kindness towards oneself, and eventually understanding that these feelings are universal in all human nines, and thus the kindness and compassion is shared with others (Grossman, Hint & Hofmann, 2011). Scientific evidence proves that the techniques of ELK and CM are effective interventions when clients are exposed to interpersonal issues, depression, anxiety, problems in their marriage, problems with anger management, and issues relating to the stresses of carving (Grossman, Hint & Hofmann, 2011).

Considering he physical and emotional benefits of the yoga practice in mind, a grey area arises within the construct of the ethical code for psychologists due to the act that not all psychologists may be informed of the benefits of this practice, and thus may not use these therapies to intervene when these therapies could be the most effective in the situation. This raises issues to whether a clinical practitioner can really be 100% ethical in their practice and choice of treatment.

Intuition In clinics, professional psychologists are known to make use of intuitive processing of clinician uses this approach to direct therapeutic intervention and to form cognitions on the client’s current situation. Intuition itself can be described as a process of ensign or attaining information from the external environment in order to make an informed decision or postulation about the internal current or future states that will develop within the client.

Predisposing factors in the personality of the clinician will lead to a definite bias in the perception of pattern of observed behavior or cognition in clients, which leads to an intuitive Judgment (Welling, 2005). The four main phases of intuitive processing are detection phase (inception of a feeling) (Erik, 1948; as cited in Welling, 2005), dichotomy awareness phase (awareness of feeling), related object hash (cognitive postulation with an unclear emotional state) and metaphorical solution phase (concrete evaluation of emotional processing).

When one analyses the intuitive processing that occurs within psychologists one can conclude that the manner in which an intuitive Judgment is formed cannot be quantified and thus cannot be scientifically proven. This lack of empirical evidence raises ethical concerns about whether a clinical psychologist is any better to a practitioner of Eastern philosophy who uses intuition based techniques throughout their practice. This Ewing said, clinicians need to be aware of any ethical dilemmas that may occur within client interactions in order to protect the well-being of their clients.

A main issue of concern is that wrong intuitive Judgment can lead to unnecessary treatment processes. Conclusion When one looks at the many different psychological therapies that are based on derivatives of eastern philosophy, one is subject to question how we can devastate eastern philosophy as something that is not scientific and does not feature in a psychotherapeutic setting. It is interesting to note that from such an analytic view mint, it becomes increasingly aware of the possibility of viewing both psychology and eastern philosophy from scientific and unscientific, unaccredited stand points.

This postulating raises significant dilemmas in the practice of psychology, as the practitioner needs to always keep informed and analyses their actions carefully in order to conform to ethical codes of conduct and not range into the unscientific aspects of psychology. Essentially, we can conclude that the use of psychotherapeutic methods and their benefits can be perceived and adapted to different cultures, and ore importantly, to individual needs.

Thus, it is the prerogative of a qualified psychologist to integrate their academic knowledge, comply with ethical codes, and apply the most effective therapies for the context and always keep the client’s best interest as the foundation for the therapeutic process.

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Ethical and Professional Issues in Psychology. (2017, Nov 22). Retrieved from

Ethical and Professional Issues in Psychology
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