CODE OF ETHICS
All HOMA Course Tutors, Personal Tutors, Guest Tutors and Training Programme Supervisors who are members of the Homa Training Team and are self employed. All are expected to abide by the following code of Ethics and Practice and shall be referred to as Tutors throughout the document.
All Tutors are required to maintain membership of a recognised professional organisation relevant to their field and are responsible primarily to that organisation and secondarily to Homa. This code of Ethics is supplemental to that of the Tutor’s professional organisation.
While this code cannot resolve all ethical and practice related issues, it aims to provide a framework for addressing ethical issues and to encourage optimum levels of practice.
Homa Code of Ethics and Practice for Homa Tutors
The Structure of this Code
This code has been divided into two parts. The Code of Ethics outlines the fundamental values of psychotherapy and a number of general principles arising from them. The Code of Practice applies these values and ethical principles to more specific situations, which may arise in the practice of psychotherapy and supervision.
Code of Ethics
A.1 Qualifications and Advertising
A.1.1 Tutors will disclose their professional qualifications when requested, and will not claim, or imply, qualifications that they do not have.
A.1.2. Tutors will ensure that any advertising or promoting they undertake will not be misleading, false, unfair or exaggerated.
A.2 Terms, Conditions and Methods of Practice
A.2.1 The terms and conditions on which training/psychotherapy/supervision is being offered should be made clear to trainees at the outset of the work. Subsequent revisions of these terms and conditions should be agreed in advance of any change.
A.2.2 Tutors will set out a clear contract with trainees at the outset of the work in order to promote equity between the trainees and tutors.
A.2.3 Tutors should be willing to discuss their methods of practice with trainees.
A.3.1 Tutors are required to preserve confidentiality, and to disclose to their trainees the limits of confidentiality and the circumstances under which it might include specific third parties.
A.4 Diversity & Equality
A.4.1 Tutors are required to actively consider issues of diversity and equality as these affect all aspects of their work, and to acknowledge their privilege and prejudices.
A.4.2 Tutors undertake not to allow prejudice about a trainee's gender, age, skin colour, race, disability, sexuality, economic or immigration status, lifestyle, religious or cultural beliefs to adversely affect the way they relate to a trainees by committing to continued self enquiry, education of self and others and active behaviour change in relation to difference and equality.
A.5 Professional Relationship
A.5.1 Tutors shall consider the trainees' best interest, in consultation with the trainees, when making appropriate contact with a trainee's GP, relevant psychiatric services, or other relevant professionals with the trainee's knowledge.
A.5.2 Tutors shall behave with goodwill towards Homa colleagues, take an active interest in each other’s work and take responsibility for networking with other Homa tutors..
A.6 Relationship with Trainees
A.6.1 Tutors are responsible for working in ways which promote trainees control over their own life and respect the trainee's ability to make decisions and change in the light of their own beliefs and values.
A.6.2 Tutors are required to maintain appropriate boundaries with trainees and to take care not to exploit trainees, current or past, in any way, financially, sexually, emotionally or physically
A.6.3 Tutors are required to carefully consider the implications of entering into dual or multiple relationships with their trainees and in particular to remember that their first duty is to the trainees best interests, any decision should be taken in full consultation with the trainee wherever possible.
A.7.1 Tutors must clarify with trainees the nature, purpose and conditions of any research in which the trainees are to be involved and ensure that informed and verifiable consent is given before commencement.
A.8.1 Tutors are required to safeguard the welfare and anonymity of trainees when any form of publication of clinical material is being considered and to obtain their consent whenever possible
A.9 Tutors Competence
A.9.1 Tutors shall monitor and develop their own competence and to work within the limits of that competence.
A.9.2 It is a breach of the ethical requirement for Tutors to practice without regular professional supervision.
A.9.3 Tutors accept a responsibility to take appropriate action should their ability to meet their obligations to their trainees be compromised by their physical or mental health.
A.10 Tutors and the Law
A.10.1 Tutors must work within the law.
A.11 Indemnity Insurance
A.11.1 Tutors are required to ensure that their professional work is adequately covered by appropriate insurance. It is the responsibility of individual tutors to organise their own insurance.
A.12 Detrimental Behaviour
A.12.1 Tutors will refrain from any behaviour that may be detrimental to Homa, the profession of psychotherapy or to colleagues.
B. Code of Practice
B.1 Qualifications and Advertising
B.1.1 Any publicity material and all written and oral information should reflect accurately the nature of the service on offer, relevant qualifications and experience of the Tutor. In particular where titles such as Dr are used for a non-medical qualification this should be made clear.
B.1.2 Tutors should not display an affiliation with an organisation in a manner which falsely implies the sponsorship or verification of that organisation, or their accreditation by that organisation.
B.1.3 Tutors should not make or support unjustifiable statements relating to particular therapies or therapists. Testimonials from trainees may only be displayed with explicit permission from the trainees and without revealing the identity of the trainees.
B.2 Terms, Conditions and Methods of Practice
B.2.1 Tutors are responsible for communicating the terms on which training, psychotherapy or supervision is being offered, and their expectations of trainees regarding fees, cancelled appointments and any other significant matters at the outset of training or therapy. Subsequent revisions of these terms should be agreed in advance of any change.
B.2.2 Homa trainees are required to participate in individual therapy throughout the four years of the training. Reasonable steps should be taken in the course of the psychotherapeutic relationship to ensure that the trainee is given an opportunity to review the terms on which psychotherapy is being offered and the methods of psychotherapy being used.
B.2.3 The decision to terminate the therapeutic relationship is generally reached by mutual agreement. If Tutors have a policy of requiring a minimum number of sessions with a trainees after the decision to end therapy is reached this should be made clear to the trainees at the beginning of therapy
B.2.4 If a Tutor reaches their own decision that a particular therapeutic relationship (individual or group) must be terminated, they will not implement this without first discussing the matter with their supervisor.
B.3.1 Tutors treat as confidential personal information about trainees and individual clients, whether obtained directly or indirectly or by inference. Such information includes name, address, biographical details and other descriptions of the trainee’s life and circumstances which might result in identification of the trainee.
B.3.2 Tutors will take all reasonable steps to communicate clearly the extent of the confidentiality they are offering to trainees/clients. The Homa Co-ordinator and Admissions Team members keep confidential computer-based records of the names and addresses of group participants, together with what group(s) they have attended. The limits of confidentiality should be made clear in the training contract..
B.3.3 If Tutors include non-anonymised consultations with colleagues and others within the confidential relationship, this should be stated to the trainee at the beginning of the training.
B.3.4 Trainees will be made aware of all records kept of training sessions and meeting with their Personal Tutors. Information will be given to the trainees about access to these records, their availability to other people, and the degree of security with which they are kept at the beginning of training.
B.3.5 Tutors should work within the current agreement with their trainee about confidentiality. Any change to the agreement between the Tutor and trainee about confidentiality may be reviewed and changed by joint negotiation.
B.3.6 Agreements about confidentiality continue after the trainee’s death unless there are overriding legal or ethical considerations.
B.3.7 Exceptional circumstances may arise which give the Tutor good grounds for believing that the trainee will cause serious physical harm to others or themselves, or have harm caused to themselves. In such circumstances the trainee’s consent to a change in the agreement about confidentiality should be sought whenever possible unless there are also good grounds for believing the trainee is no longer able to take responsibility for their own actions. Whenever possible, the decision to break confidentiality agreed between a Tutor and trainee should be made only after consultation with a professional supervisor or experienced Tutor.
B.3.8 Any breaking of confidentiality should be minimised both by restricting the information conveyed to that which is pertinent to the immediate situation and to those persons who can provide the help required by the trainee. The ethical considerations involve balancing between acting in the best interest of the trainee and in ways which enable trainee to resume taking responsibility for their actions and the Tutor's responsibilities to the wider community.
B.3.9 Tutors may hold different views about whether or not a trainee expressing serious suicidal intentions forms sufficient grounds for breaking confidentiality. Tutors should consider their own views and practice and communicate them to trainees and any significant others where appropriate.
B.3.10 Any discussion between the Tutor and others regarding their work with trainees should be purposeful and not trivialising and should be held in private.
B.4 Diversity and Equality
B.4.1 Tutors have a responsibility to explore in supervision and elsewhere the impact of diversity and inequality in their work and to acknowledge the need for a continuing process of self-enquiry and personal and professional education and development and active change in behaviours and attitudes.
B.5 Professional Relationship
B.5.1 Tutors have a responsibility to establish with trainees what other therapeutic or helping relationships are current.
B.5.2 Tutors should avoid unnecessary conflicts of interest and are expected to make explicit any relevant conflicts of interest.
B.5.3 Tutors should accept their part in exploring and resolving conflicts of interest between themselves and their agencies, especially where this has implications for the trainee.
B.5.4 Tutors should be accountable for their services to their supervisor, their colleagues, to Homa and to any other relevant professional organisations. The means of achieving this should be consistent with respecting the needs of the trainees outlined in B.3, B.5.3, and B.6.3.
B.6 Relationship with Trainees
B.6.1 Tutors should take all reasonable steps to ensure that the trainees suffers neither physical nor psychological harm during training.
B.6.2 Tutors should also take all reasonable steps to ensure their own physical safety while working with trainees.
B.6.3 The trainees should not be observed by anyone other than their Tutors without having given their informed consent. This also applies to audio/video taping of training sessions.
B.6.4 Tutors do not normally act on behalf of their trainees. If they do, it will be only at the express request of the trainees, or else in the exceptional circumstances detailed in B.3.8, B.3.9 and B.3.10.
B.6.5 Tutors are responsible for fully exploring the consequences before agreeing to enter into a multiple role with an existing trainees or into a psychotherapeutic role with an individual where there is a preexisting relationship. Consideration should be given both to any limitations to the therapeutic work that will be created by the multiple roles and also to the trainees’s best interest and right to autonomy.
B.6.6 Tutors are responsible for setting and monitoring boundaries between the psychotherapy training relationship and any other kind of relationship and making this explicit to the trainees.
B.6.7 No Tutor is to have sexual relationships with their own past or present clients or trainees.
B.7.1 The use of personally identifiable material gained from Trainees or by the observation of training sessions should be used only after the Trainees have given consent, usually in writing, and care has been taken to ensure that consent was given freely.
B.7.2 Tutors conducting research should use their data accurately and restrict their conclusions to those compatible with their methodology.
B.8.1 Special care is required when writing about specific situations for case studies, reports or publication. It is important that the author either has the Trainees' informed consent, and/or effectively disguises the Trainees' identity.
B.9 Tutor Competence
B.9.1 Tutors must have received adequate training before commencing work with Trainees and must maintain on-going professional development.
B.9.2 All Tutors are required to be in professional supervision. Professional supervision refers to a formal arrangement that enables the Tutor to discuss their work regularly with one or more people who have an understanding of psychotherapy training and professional supervision in a confidential setting. Its purpose is to ensure the efficacy of the Tutor-Trainee relationship. Peer supervision is encouraged and is not an alternative to professional supervision.
B.9.3 The volume of supervision should be in proportion to the volume of training work undertaken and the experience of the Tutor.
B.9.4 Tutors should monitor actively the limitations of their own competence through professional supervision and by seeking the views of their colleagues and other Tutors. Tutors should work within their own limits, as defined by their training.
B.9.5 Tutors have a responsibility to themselves and Trainees to maintain their own effectiveness, resilience and ability to deliver training. They are expected to monitor their own personal functioning and to seek help and/or withdraw from training, whether temporarily or permanently, when their personal resources are sufficiently depleted to require this.
B.9.6 Tutors should not work with Trainees when their functioning is impaired due to personal or emotional difficulties, illness, disability, alcohol, drugs or for any other cause.
B.9.7 No Homa Tutor shall engage in any form of substance abuse.
B.10 Psychotherapy Training and the Law
B.10.1 Tutors should take all reasonable steps to be aware of current law affecting the work of the psychotherapists and teachers. A Tutor’s ignorance of the law is no defence against legal liability or penalty including inciting or "counselling", (which has a specific legal sense,) the commission of offences by Trainees.
B.10.2 Tutors should take reasonable steps to understand their legal responsibilities concerning the rights of children and vulnerable adults and to take the appropriate action should they consider a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of harm.
B.11 Detrimental Behaviour
B.11.1 Tutors should not conduct themselves in their psychotherapy training - related activities in ways that undermine public confidence in either their role as a Tutor or in the work of other Tutors.
B.11.2 If a Tutor becomes concerned about another Tutor behaving unethically, they are expected to communicate their perceptions to the person concerned.
B.11.3 If a Tutor suspects misconduct or detrimental behaviour by another member of the Homa Tutor team, that cannot be resolved or remedied after discussion with the person concerned, they should inform a Homa Training Team member, doing so without breaches of confidentiality other than those necessary for investigating the complaint. The team member will then raise the matter for the Homa Training Team to consider.
B.11.4 Tutors are required to inform their supervisor and the Training Team if any complaint is upheld against them in any professional organisation of which they are a member, if they are convicted of any notifiable criminal offence or if successful civil proceedings are brought against them in relation to their work as Tutors.
B.12 Resolving Conflicts between Ethical Priorities
B.12.1 Tutors will, from time to time, find themselves caught between conflicting ethical principles. In these circumstances, they are urged to consider the particular situation in which they find themselves and to discuss the situation with their supervisor and/or other experienced Tutors. Even after conscientious consideration of the salient issues, some ethical dilemmas cannot be resolved easily or wholly satisfactorily.
APPENDIX 1: Confidentiality in the Legal Process
1.1 Generally speaking, there is no legal duty to give information spontaneously or on request until instructed to do so by a court. Refusal to answer police questions is not an offence, although lying could be. In general terms, the only circumstances in which the police can require an answer about a person, and when refusal to answer would be an offence, relate to the prevention of terrorism.
It is good practice to ask police personnel to clarify their legal right to an answer before refusing to give one.
1.2 Withholding information about a crime that one knows has been committed or is about to be committed is not an offence, save exceptionally. Anyone hearing of terrorist activities should immediately take legal advice.
1.3 There is no legal obligation to answer a solicitor's inquiry or to make a statement for the purpose of legal proceedings, unless ordered to do so by a court.
1.4 There is no legal obligation to attend court at the request of parties involved in a case, or at the request of their lawyers, until a witness summons or subpoena is issued to require attendance to answer questions or produce documents.
1.5 Once in the witness box, there is a duty to answer questions when instructed to do so by the court. Refusal to answer could be punished as contempt of court unless there are legal grounds for not doing so. (It has been held that communications between the Tutor and Trainee during an attempt at 'reconciliation' in matrimonial cases are privileged and thus do not require disclosure unless the Trainee waives this privilege. This does not seem to apply to other kinds of cases).
1.6 The police have powers to seize confidential files if they have obtained a warrant from a circuit judge. Obstructing the police from taking them in these circumstances may be an offence.
1.7 Tutors should seek legal advice and/or contact a relevant professional organisation and their insurer if they are in any doubt about their legal rights and obligations, before acting in ways which conflict with their agreement with Trainees who are directly affected.
APPENDIX 2: Computer-based Records
2.1 Tutors should be aware that records held in a filing system, whether computer-based or not are subject to statutory regulations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Laws. Tutors should familiarise themselves with the requirements of GDPR and only collect and process Trainees’ data in a way that is considered, lawful and transparent and easily shared with the Trainees concerned if requested.