Ethical Framework & Principles of Professional Conduct
This Ethical Framework & Principles of Professional Conduct document was created by the MindBerry Team and approved by the Professional Advisory Board to ensure MindBerry Professionals commit to and aspire toward the delivery of the highest standards of service whether working online or face-to-face practice.
This document may be referred back to by the MindBerry Team, Professional Advisory Board and any other committee that is yet to be created, should allegations arise which may impair a MindBerry Professional’s fitness to practice.
The Ethical Framework & Principles of Professional Conduct applies equally to all MindBerry Professionals.
The Ethical Framework is not exhaustive and covers a range of contexts, such as internet, telephone and other electronic transmissions.
It is not possible for the Ethical Framework & Principles of Professional Conduct to include every possible scenario in which an ethical breach can occur, hence a MindBerry Professional’s decisions will depend on their own evaluation and judgments.
If a MindBerry Professional is called upon to defend their actions in the face of charges of unethical conduct, explinations and defences that refer to a “lack of awareness” or “misunderstanding” of the Ethical Framework will be considered invalid.
For clarification, the term “Professional” refers to as Psychotherapists, Counsellors, Coaches and any other professionals who are MindBerry customers and members of MindBerry’s Professional network. Additionally, the professional terms “Therapy”, “Counselling” and “Coaching” are referred to as “Professional Practice ” in this document. Furthermore, the third person plural pronoun is used as non-gendered pronoun for “Therapist”: this mean that “they” is used for “he/she” and “their” for “his/her”.
MindBerry Professionals understand that meeting and striving toward ethical practice and conduct, may involve making difficult decisions that require a degree of professionalism, discipline and courage.
Having the best interest of clients in mind
The Professional aims to strive towards benefiting those whom they work with and respecting their client’s best interest.
The Professional undertakes to educate the client about the process of professional practice, to treat clients with respect and doesn’t question their right to freedom of choice and autonomy.
The Professional undertakes not to enter into a sexual relationship with a client.
Because a Professional’s professional judgments and actions may influence the lives of others, they undertake to not exploit and or abuse current or past relationships with clients or use their power for sexual, financial, emotional, social, political or organisational gain.
The Professional may experience behavioural changes outside their professional life and is aware that this may have an effect on the relationship with their clients. Therefore the Professional strives to working to the best of their ability for their client’s benefit, regardless of their personal situation.
Professionals must be aware of possible implications of dual and multiple relationships with new and existing clients. This refers to a relationship (social or commercial) that runs alongside the professional relationship (examples of this can often be found within small communities). It is the responsibility of the Professional to manage the boundaries and confidentiality of a Professional relationship at all times.
The Professional undertakes to not rush into a personal or business relationship with a client and should take into account the length of time that has elapsed since a professional relationship has ended.
The Professional undertakes not to harm their clients and to make every effort in order to ensure that the Ethical Framework and any professional codes of conduct are met during the duration of their professional relationship.
Respect for People’s rights, Equality and Diversity
The Professional is aware of that they will encounter cultural diversity and challenging examples of injustice and inequality as part of their work. It is expected that through professional development and self-evaluation, Professionals will learn to recognise and challenge their own prejudices for the benefit of their relationships with clients.
Professionals must respect the worth and dignity of all people, including their privacy.
The Professional must not discriminate or allow prejudice to affect their relationship with clients or colleagues. The Professional must be sensitive to a client’s gender, age, race, colour, language, cultural background, sexual orientation, social, immigration or economic status, lifestyle, religion or cultural beliefs and consider these factors when working with them.
In order to establish a trustworthy and genuine Professional relationship, the Professional undertakes to respect and protect a client’s confidentiality and uphold this by limiting the sharing of personal information, except in exceptional cicrumatances in which a Professional believes beyond reasonable doubt that a client is in danger, hurting themselves or other persons.
The Professional must notify a client (in writing or verbally) that there are legal and ethical implications under which a Professional may disclose sensitive information to a third party. Furthermore, clients must be made aware that their Professional will not use personally or sensitive identifiable information of clients during supervision with their supervisor.
If a judicial or administrative proceeding is carried out where the Professional is required by law to attend, they must be aware of the implications this could have on the commitment of confidentiality to a client. It is advisable to seek further legal or ethical advice where appropriate.
The Professional must not use a client as a case study or publish clinical material where the client’s anonymity is compromised, unless written consent has been obtained, even if the client has changed their name.
The Professional is responsible for updating themselves on knowledge relating to the technology used by the MindBerry platform, which will improve the quality of service.
The Professional is expected to have a back-up plan in the event that the device on which they usually use for MindBerry, fails in the run-up to a session.
The Professional should regularly review and update their profile on MindBerry to account for changes in circumstances that may affect their professional work on the platform.
The Professional ensures to provide accurate times of absence to MindBerry when they are on holiday or absent for any other reason. Should there be a change of circumstances, the Professional must update their MindBerry profile as soon as possible.
Sessions & Records
Before the start of each online session, the Professional must ensure that they are in a quiet environment where they can concentrate, be fully present and minimise the possibility of encountering a disturbance from the surrounding envirmonet. This is especially important in the case of audio and video sessions.
It is also the Professional’s responsibility to ensure that they have sufficient power supply and a strong enough interent connection for the duration for their session.
Unless written consent from the client is given, the Professional is not permitted to use a device for voice or video recording, or save a transcript from an instant messaging session.
Professiaonls are allowed and encouraged to make notes (on paper or electronically) during and after the session to reflect on the session.
The Professional commits to accurately storing and diminishing personally identifiable records or data in order to protect the client’s confidentiality.
The Professional reserves the right to decline a booking made by a client, whether or not it is the client’s first booking, based on the possibility that a client’s need fall outside their area of expertise, or for any other valid reason the Professional may have to decline the booking.
The Professional must not provide services via the MindBerry platform to children under the age of 18 , even if a parent, caregiver or relative is present and or has given their consent.
Research & Publications
Professionals who work in research and write publications are encouraged to continue studying the causes and treatment of mental health issues; to set new standards and push the boundaires of the profession’s knowledge base, examining the conditions that are connected with mental health issues and striving towards a healthier society.
Research & Publications
Professionals can have online supervision via the MindBerry platform using a qualified supervisor or inviting their existing supervisor to join MindBerry (subject to the supervisor receiving approval from the MindBerry Team).
MindBerry encourage members of it’s Professional Network to participate in ongoing training or make use of the services available to them.
It is the Professional’s own responsibility to undergo sufficient supervisory hours for personal and professional development to ensure they meet their professional obligations to clients.
Physical and Mental Health
The Professional is responsible for abstaining from providing services to a client if they are unable to perform their duties due to the effects of alcohol, drugs or medication.
Each Professional is aware that they must be mindful of their own mental and physical health and must take the appropriate actions if they think their commitment to their client is compromised due to a decline in their own mental or physical well-being.
If a Professional is too physically or mentally impaired to offer their services, they are obliged to inform their supervisor & clients as soon as possible.
In the rare event of a sudden unavailability, death or illness, a Professional must consider beforehand how this can be effectively communicated to their clients and suggest appropriate support for clients to deal with this loss.
Way of Working
The Professional agrees to explain their terms to a client or prospective client, including: their fees, the length of time over which their services will be delivered, modality, referral process, confidentiality policy, cancellation policy, and any other clarifications that need to be mentioned.
The Professional understands that clients can request from them, other codes, ethical guidelines which the Professional adheres to and information realting to the procedure for submitting complaints.
It is expected that the Professional responds to the client in a timely manner and provides hope and encouragement.
You & Colleagues
The Professional is encouraged to develop positive working relationships with other colleagues to increase the quality of their service and practice, as well as understand and respect the different modalities practised by other Professionals.
The Professional shall take responsibility for staying up to date on current research and findings in their chosen modality of practice.
Consent & Referral
The Professional is obliged to clarify verifiable consent to their clients: if applicable a Professional’s clinical method(s) of working, the client’s freedom to choose any therapeutic interventions suggested by the Professional and commitments required from each other in a professional relationship.
Before a client participates in a research project, the Professional must set out the nature, rules, purpose, obtaining consent, right to withdrawal, how the client’s contact details will be used and parameters for any further contact (i.e. to communicate results or for help if client has been affected by participation). The Professional must obtain verbal or written consent from the client before commencing any Professional Services or research and undertakes not to intentionally mislead or pressure a client into a particular form of coaching, therapy or research.
Should the Professional become unable to continue with a client because their needs are outside the Professional’s scope of competence, they must inform the client and where appropriate offer alternative referrals.
The Professional is not obliged to accept a referral or fill in for a colleague if they think that a given case falls outside of their area of expertise.
If the Professional has changed their mind after accepting a referral, they must contact a member of the MindBerry Team immediately.
Professional Services can have both positive and negative effects on a client during a session. The Professional recognises these effects and critically examines the impact it has on their Professional Practice, always maintaining their client’s best interest.
If the following changes arise, the Professional agrees to contact MindBerry:
A)Conviction of any type of criminal offence or caution.
B)Disciplinary action by any membership organisation orprofessional body relating to mental health or social care.
C)Any suspension or caution from an employer for concerns relating to practise of coaching, therapy, competence or health.
If any of the above apply, the Professional must cooperate with any lawful investigation or inquiry made which is subject to rules of confidentiality and any other ethical framework adhered to. It is advisable to contact a colleague or seek legal advice.
In section 12.2, the Professional accepts that any of these changes may have an impact on their Professional Practice. The MindBerry team will consider potential risks to clients and may terminate the Professional’s affiliation with MindBerry.
Professional Knowledge & Experience
The Professional must ensure that all details displayed on their MindBerry profile are accurate and not false, misleading or exaggerated.
The Professional is skilled enough to recognise the boundaries and limitation of their expertise and ensures to always practice competently.
The Professional is constantly involved in a personal and professional development process, commonly known as “Continuing Professional Development”.
Integrity & Justice
The Professional seeks the promotion of accuracy, honesty and truthfulness in the practice of coaching and therapy and does not engage in any type of fraud, cheating or poorly defined commitments.
The Professional recognises that people who access and register with MindBerry are treated fairly and as equals, deserving of a quality service.
It is the Professional’s responsibility to ensure that they have adequate indemnity insurance that covers their professional work. Professionals are obligated to know whether or not their insurance policy covers the continent or country where the client physically resides before engaging with them.
A Professional’s profile can be viewed in preview and full mode on the MindBerry platform, or app, by non-members. However , only registered MindBerry users are able to book with a Professional. The Professional ensures that any advertisement, social media, product, promotional material and services appearing on their profile or via a link will be handled in a responsible way and must not be untrue, misleading, inaccurate or deceptive. The Professional understands not to create and promote unsubstantiated statements relating to particular coaching and therapeutic modalities.
It is expected of the Professional to maintain a reasonable level of awareness and understanding of the complaints procedure at MindBerry, including relevant laws and statutory responsibilities which are applied to their practice. If a complaint was submitted, the MindBerry team will carry out formal procedures for addressing ethical concerns or misconduct and if necessary, resort to revoking the Professional’s MindBerry membership.
During the vetting process, the Professional understands that all information submitted must be true and not falsified, edited, obsolete or misleading. Any information that can be found to have been compromised in their favour in order to secure a membership with MindBerry, will result in the rejection of the Professional’s application or termination of their membership.
The Professional may not publish a client’s feedback on their MindBerry profile without their consent.
For the sake of good practice and adhering to ethical standards, the Professional may not engage in online or face to face sessions with their current MindBerry client without the booking and use of the MindBerry platform for saving money, competition or any other reason.
Professionals must respect a client’s decision to book a session with another MindBerry Professional if the original Professional is unavailable due to illness, holiday, emergency or any other reason. At the end of the session with another Professional, for as long as the client is under the care of their original Professional, they are not allowed to book another session with a different Professional using the MindBerry platform. This condition is no longer relevant if the Professional gives his or her consent for the client to book another session with a different MindBerry Professional.