U02: How Five Ethical Principles Could be the Answer to Societal Coexisting

The American Psychological Association Code of Ethics was designed to place a set of subjective standards for which psychologist to follow in order to uphold moral practices within the field. Within the scope of the Code of Ethics there are five distinct principles that support and guide the mission of the American Psychological Association. The five Ethical Principles, “…are aspirational goals to guide psychologists toward the highest ideals of psychology. Although the Preamble and General Principles are not themselves enforceable rules, they should be considered by psychologists in arriving at an ethical course of action. The Ethical Standards set forth enforceable rules for conduct as psychologists. Most of the Ethical Standards are written broadly, in order to apply to psychologists in varied roles, although the application of an Ethical Standard may vary depending on the context” (APA, 2002, p.2). The Ethical Principles not only change within the course of time, but gain traction overtime concerning human and civil rights. These ethical standards should be unitized for societal coexisting as the principles are neutral, fair and lack a section supporting prejudice and racism.


Video:1 This video represents numerous human rights, civil right and sexual rights leaders throughout history. Many of these characters we have all seen or heard of at one point in time or another. Take a moment to watch how much has changed over the course of history, and just how much didn’t have to change if we had higher standers toward one another.

The Five Principles

The APA Code of Conduct consists of five key principles intended to guide psychologist. These principles were not seen as rules that could be violated but rather a specific set of standards that were encouraged to keep in their tool boxes.  Those five principles were:

  1. “Beneficence and Nonmalificence:This principle is comprised of two ideas: beneficence, which means working to benefit those who you are professionally engaged in (e.g. clients, students, partners), as well as nonmaleficence, which means doing one’s best to avoid harming others.
  2. Fidelity and Responsibility:This principle is the one that most focuses on trust. Psychologists should behave in ways that build trust such as fulfilling obligations and taking ownership of one’s behavior (both successes and mistakes).
  3. Integrity:Psychologists should work to be accurate and truthful in their statements and work in general. This principle is also related to trust as honesty is a core component of integrity as well.
  4. Justice:This principle is primarily about fairness. In particular, psychologists need to ensure access to psychology by all those who are seeking its benefits. They also need to provide equal quality to all served.
  5. Respect of People’s Rights and Dignity:Dignity itself is about treating people as autonomous individuals who are capable of influencing their own lives. Psychologists who respect people’s rights and dignity strive to eliminate biases and protect those they work with by treating all people as if they are worth the same as any other” (PSY 533, 2018).

Better yet lets relate these five principles how they can benefit everyone, from everywhere, from every background in their everyday mundane lives.

Beneficence and Nonmalificence

Most individuals work for a living, meaning they have to work to live. If we start working when we are 20 years or age until we are 60 years of age we have worked 25% of our lives. If we are going to be engaged with people for one-fourth of our lives it would only make sense to be assisting and affable while in the workplace. After all it takes much more effort to go outside ones way to be disparaging.

Fidelity and Responsibility

The amount of time it takes to trust someone is extensive. Think of just how long it takes to make friends that are the best of friends. Can you at this moment count your best friends on more than two hands. We are designed to be guarded and protective or our lives. Imagine if everyone around you could be trusted. The trust could be related on all aspects of trust both good or bad. Imagine if we all took responsibility and ownership for all of our actions, mistakes and decisions.


This principle is simple. No one lied, everyone was honest even if the truth hurt.


The world we live in at its current state is not necessarily equal. Women still get paid less than men, black men still get paid more than women but less than white men and white men dominate as bread winners. This is not about just black and white, male or female, but about equality (fairness). We still live in a world where an individual’s socioeconomic status separates them from one group to another. Imagine a world where we all had the same access to education, pay, and housing.

Respect of People’s Rights and Dignity

When does it matter that someone that doesn’t have the same sexual preference as you, the bedroom is private? When did the color of someone’s skin make them a lesser, people tan? Why can we pay women less, but without them we would have no world? There is not answer to any of these questions, but there can be reflection. People are just people we all need the basics, imagine if all we ever needed was just the basics with no other worries people tend to be so bothered by; must be exhausting.

The APA Code of Conducts five key Principles could benefit us a coexisting unit. Individuality allows us to have our own religious views and  sexual preferences.  What if we went a step further and practices civil rights and anti-discrimination? Societal coexisting within socioeconomic statuses could be possible. This thought has been attempted numerous times by our historical leader, some of those leaders represented in the video above.

The Goldwater Rule

The ambitious statements above would be near impossible to achieve, hence where we are in 2018. In current times the APA has been in hot water over numerous statements about Donald Trump. This type of infraction is referred to as the Gold Water Rule. Although we can have opinions as the ones stated above, medically someone has to be examined before medically “outed”  with no evidence. “The rule not only forbids psychiatrists from diagnosing a public figure’s behavior without obtaining their consent or personally evaluating them but also forbids any public opining on them at all. Even if to say, “Trump doesn’t have a mental illness.” (Resnick, 2017).

The difference in the above principles and the rules of the APA is that the principles are merely suggestions (guidelines). If a rule in the APA is broken a psychologist can loose his/her membership status. The principles can work for psychologists and many other groups of people, however for a standard set of guidelines they are very robust and progressive in thought. The rules we have set forth today still lack humanity and progression. Hopefully in the near future we can move forward and take suggestions from these key principles.


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Image:1 The coexist movement flag represents numerous groups of people within the larger picture of humanity.



American Psychological Association. (2002, December). Redline comparison of APA ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct, December 1992 and December 2002. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/92-02codecompare.pdf (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Image 1: Coexist Movement Flag | Religionhttp://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1141829-religion

Video1: Imagine a World Without Hate (Official Video)ADLNational – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KyvlMJefR4

PSY 533 (2018). L05: APA Ethics Code.  Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1896721/modules

Psychiatry’s “goldwater Rule” Has Never Met a Test Like Donald TrumpBrian Resnick – https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/5/25/15680354/psychiatry-goldwater-rule-trump


One Comment

  1. David Sean Walker February 24, 2018 at 10:52 PM #

    Thanks for your post. You prompted some thought for me around what the world might look like in a completely ethical state and what it might take to accomplish.

    Although not a comprehensive list, the following professions and industries currently supporting an unethical culture would most likely be significantly different or unnecessary altogether.

    – Police
    – Computer security
    – Identity security
    – Public/private security
    – Security systems
    – Large State and Federal Government
    – Passport control
    – Customs
    – Military
    – National Guard (the defense part)
    – Prisons and correctional facilities
    – Rehabilitation programs
    – Highway Patrol
    – Locking products (home, auto, storage, businesses, etc.)
    – Inspectors, Auditors,
    – Tax accountants
    – Instruments used to harm (firearms,
    – Insurance
    – Health care
    – School security
    – Educational testing
    – Credit protection
    – Financial institutions
    – Human Resources
    – Other sources also highlighted at https://hubpages.com/politics/What_Would_Happen_If_There_Was_No_More_Crime (Compu-Smart, 2017)

    Just think how many people could spend time serving and caring for others if we didn’t have to spend so much time watching our backs? What would happen if each of us cared more for our neighbor than ourselves. As you outlined in your post, the five APA Code of Conduct principles outline how we can behave to create a world that causes no intentional harm to anyone (American Psychological Association, 2018).
    Because we are human and imperfect by nature, someone will do something unintentional that may cause us harm. What would happen if we truly worked to understand the full meaning and intent of the offender before rushing to judgement. I am sure we would be surprised at the true (and innocent) intent of others that we felt “wronged” us. I remember a few years ago my wife woke up one morning really mad at me. I asked what was wrong and she proceeded to explain how I had done something in her dream that made her upset. I tried to explain that I wasn’t actually there, but to no avail, I woke up in the doghouse…

    Works Cited
    American Psychological Association. (2018, Jan 1). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Retrieved from American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx

    Compu-Smart. (2017, November 29). Can We Live In A World Without Crime? Is It Possible? Retrieved from HubPages: https://hubpages.com/politics/What_Would_Happen_If_There_Was_No_More_Crime

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