You’ve asked about situations in which you are being required to act in contravention of the Standards. The Standard requiring best efforts to affect change in the workplace relates to situations in which others in the workplace are doing things that contravene the Standards.
When attempting to address the conduct of others in the workplace, Standard 3.1.2 does require you to make the best efforts to ensure that your work setting adheres to the Standards.
If your efforts to change the behaviour of others at work meet resistance, best efforts could include presenting additional information that supports a compelling argument for the changes, writing a formal memo to those in a position to modify policies, or escalating the issue to a higher level in the organization. You would not be expected to take steps like resigning from your position and losing your livelihood, as this would be considered undue hardship.
It is different if you, as opposed to others in the organization, are required to contravene the Standards, as a failure to comply with the Standards, yourself, would constitute Professional Misconduct. For example, if an employer were to ask you to provide services outside of your authorized areas of practice and/or competence, without the opportunity for supervision, you would not be permitted to so under any circumstances.
Fortunately, it is in the best interests of most employers to support ethical practice and most of the time it is possible to affect change. If you are unable to resolve this problem with your employer on your own, it may be necessary to seek independent legal advice to discuss your range of options.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the College’s Practice Advisory service if you’d like to discuss any specific situations like the ones described above.
Section 13, specifically 13.2, of the Standards of Professional Conduct, 2017 requires members to responsibly assess their well-being and avoid impairment:
- Professional Objectivity
13.2 Compromised Objectivity, Competence or Effectiveness Due to Other Factors
A member must not undertake or continue to provide psychological services when personal, scientific, professional, legal, and financial or other interests could reasonably be expected to:
- a) impair his/her objectivity, competence or effectiveness in delivering psychological services; or
- b) expose the client to harm or exploitation.
Members are expected to use their professional judgement in considering their personal workload tolerance. The Quality Assurance Committee had developed a Self-Care Plan to provides some guidance in this area. The Quality Assurance Program requires that every member formally reflect upon their own need for self-care and mitigate the risk of harm to their own well-being and consequently that of their clients.
It is appropriate for private practitioners, including contractors, to be compensated based on time spent and the complexity of services provided. If providing additional incentives to treatment providers could be reasonably expected to lead to decisions about service planning that are motivated by factors beyond client needs this could be problematic. For example, this could be problematic if compensation rather than client needs lead to practicing the profession while in a conflict of interest and/or providing services which are not likely to benefit the client; both of which are considered acts of Professional Misconduct. Members are advised to support their staff and contractors in ensuring that client need is the primary consideration in service planning.