• Studying, distribution and development of the theory and practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytical psychotherapy.
• Propaganda of psychoanalytical diagnosis, techniques and ethics among specialists of healthcare and humanitarian sciences.
• Supporting and collaboration with organizations providing social-psychological and medical aid to population
• Supporting the professional development of ARPA members, enriching and deepening their knowledge in theory, clinic and contemporary achievements in psychoanalysis.
• Creating training programs on psychoanalysis and psychoanalytical psychotherapy, maintaining high professional standards in accordance with the requirements of IPA.
• Establishing connections and professional collaboration with international psychoanalytical unions, organizing joint seminars and conferences, translating and publishing psychoanalytical literature.
• Creating a system of preparing professional psycho-analytics and psychoanalytical practice in Armenia.
Adherence to the principles of professional ethics is an integral and essential part pf psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and psychological counseling. The activity of a psychoanalyst, psychotherapist, psychologist-consultant of various fields (hereafter referred to as specialist) is aimed at treatment and correction of disorders associated with psycho-affective sphere of a person, correction of behavioral disturbances, [and] enhancing the sense of responsibility and freedom in solving his or her own problems in life.
That is why at the heart of the Code of Ethics of specialists in this field, much like in medicine associated with great responsibility, lays the principle of Hippocrates “do no harm!”, which essentially means responsibility for the life and health of a patient.
The Code of Ethics of the specialists is not just a set of abstract rules, but rather a meaningful and specific understanding of how to form a safe and secure environment of the therapeutic situation, as well as to separate the therapeutic relationship from the ordinary life, which makes the analytical and psycho-therapeutic work, as such, possible.
For a true professional the Code of Ethics is serving primarily as an internal control of his/her own professional activity, as an inner criterion of professionalism.
Specific provisions of the Code of Ethics emerged from within therapeutic practices of previous generations, which made these internally meaningful and woven into the canvas of psycho-therapeutic processes rules accepted and respected not only by psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, but also by the experts in the field of psychological counseling and therapy of various directions.
Unfortunately, currently in Armenia there is no formally established Code of Ethics for practicing specialists, hence ArPA and AFDPP еntirely adhere to the rules of ethics presently adopted by the professional [community] of respective international psycho-therapeutic and psychoanalytic associations.
Awareness about the content of the Code of Ethics will help those who seek professional help to protect themselves from dealing with non-professionals, and to prevent the risk of abuse in therapeutic situation. This content also aims at informing professionals and students studying psychotherapy aboutthe need to follow professional ethics and to warn about the danger of deviations from the standards of professional conduct.
The Code of Ethical Rules of Practicing Specialist (psychologist, psychotherapist, psychoanalyst)
It is mandatory to provide only professionally competent assistance, which means to practice, based on received education; training and professional experience, and be aware of the limits of one’s own competency.
The sound theoretical principles and techniques must be followed, as well as opportunities created for sharing the knowledge and recommendations with other experts — psychiatrists and specialists from related areas.
Efforts should be made to enrich the knowledge and improve practical skills. Constant self-evaluation and self-reflection of the therapist, as well as request for supervision and advice from colleagues when difficulties arise is an important part of professional development.
It is necessary to participate in conferences, symposia and seminars on contemporary issues of one’s own pursuit; to strive to gain new knowledge, to collaborate with experts in the field of [psychological] mental health.
One should refrain from rendering professional services when the current state of the specialist (e.g. a change in life circumstances or health problems) may have a negative impact on the therapeutic process. In these circumstances, the professional should seek an advice from colleagues and doctors to determine the ability of further work implementation and be obliged to take adequate measures to restore the capacity of effective operation/functioning.
The therapeutic relationship between the patient and the specialist are carried out on a voluntary basis by mutual agreement (“contract”). In cases where the patient is a child, an agreement should be made with the child’s parents or guardians. Conditions of the treatment should be clear to the patient prior to therapy.
During the initial interview the client should be informed about all aspects of the process and possible alternative forms of assistance. Promises regarding results of the therapy should be carefully measured, in order to discourage unjustified or unrealistic hopes.
It is necessary to reach an agreement with the patient about timing of meetings, payment, and other rules and obligations, which must be complied throughout the entire process. Any change in conditions must be discussed with the patient beforehand. If the patient is a child, taking into account his/her age, it is necessary to reach additional agreements with parents or guardians.
The therapy should not be unilaterally discontinued without prior discussion of such decision with the patient or, if the patient is a minor, with his or her parents or guardians. It is necessary to inform the patient about available possible options for assistance after concluding the therapy.
Confidentiality of information disclosed by the patient during interaction with the specialist is the fundamental right of the patient and an integral part of effective therapy. It is required to take all necessary measures to avoid breaching the right of confidentiality patient (including ex-patient).
The specialist has no right to discuss information obtained from the patient outside of framework of therapeutic, advisory, supervisory or educational work and contexts. When using the case material in discussions with colleagues for consultative, educational or research purposes, the patient’s personally identifiable data should be significantly changed to preserve his/her anonymity. At the same time, supervisors, consultants and students participating in the discussion of a case material are also obliged to
obey the rule of confidentiality.
If the patient is a child, it is also necessary to maintain patient’s privacy, when informing the parents/guardians about the therapy process. The degree of privacy may depend on clinical situation.
When publishing the case in written publications permission of the patient must be obtained through an open discussion of purposes of such publication, its scientific use, concealing patient’s anonymity in such publication and the likelihood of being identified. The patient should also be informed about his/her right to decline permission.
In cases when psychoanalyst / psychotherapist realizes that the patient can cause serious physical harm to him/herself or a third party, s/he must take necessary measures to prevent it. This means, if necessary, the patient’s confidentiality might be broken, but only to the extent necessary for preventing the damage.
If the patient is a child and the therapist learns about the fact of serious harm to the patient or is faced with the potential for such actions, the therapist must take necessary measures. In such circumstances, a breach of confidentiality should be kept to the minimum necessary to prevent danger to the child. In case of revealing instances of physical or sexual abuse of the patient, the therapist must inform patient’s parents (guardians) about this.
Respect for the individual and absence of discrimination
The specialist must be aware of his/her own values and beliefs and not impose them on patients, as well as respect personal values and cultural peculiarities of the patients.
The specialist should respect clients and their families, students and colleagues, regardless of their age, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, race and social status.
The specialist should contribute to professional development of students and colleagues with respect and care. Discrimination on the grounds of age and professional experience is contrary to professional ethics.
The relationships between specialist and referee should be based on exceptional honesty. Awareness of the complexity of human communication and therapeutic relationships, the specialist must interact with the patients and their families (when the patient is a child or teenager), students and colleagues in a candid and open manner.
The specialist must accurately title his/her specialization, define qualifications and assistance offered. For instance, a doctor or a psychologist may call him/herself a psychoanalytical psychotherapist or psychoanalyst if s/he successfully completed a training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy according to the educational standards of the field.
He/she should openly discuss with a prospective patient (or with parents and guardians of a minor patient) the benefits, requirements, complexity and conditions of the forthcoming process.
Prohibition of the patient abuse
Given that the patient is quite vulnerable in unequal relationship with the specialist, it is impermissible to exploit the patient and family members in any way.
Sexual relationships between the specialist and patient (including a former patient) are unacceptable.
Physical contact, with an exception of handshake, is also unwelcome. If the patient is a child under adolescence age, a physical contact between a therapist and patient may occur during the course of a play.
Providing discounts for sessions give no right to lower professional and ethical standards for therapeutic work.
It is not permissible to use professional status or executive position within organization for personal gain or exploitation of patients, their families and students.
Prohibition of dual relationships
The specialist must avoid any dual (financial, business and personal) relationships with the patients. It is necessary to assess the potential impact of any previous or overlapping relationships on the course of anticipated work. If the specialist is familiar with the patient, or if it is a friend or relative, he/she should be referred to another specialist.
Sexual relationships between the specialist and patient (ex-patient), parents (guardians) of a minor patient or members of family, regardless of who initiated them, is a flagrant violation of professional ethics.
Relationships with a patient cannot be combined with the supervisor — supervisee relationships; professional contacts outside therapeutic situation should be kept to a minimum.
The specialist must take into consideration an increased sensitivity of the patient to any verbal and nonverbal expression of judgment and attitude towards his/her personality, values and preferences given the unequal nature of therapeutic relationship. In this regard, the specialist shall avoid the possibility of direct or indirect suggestions.
The specialist should not touch upon personal values, beliefs, convictions, cultural, religious and social beliefs, and shall limit, to the greatest extend, expressions of personal evaluations, feelings, interests or desires.
In situations when patient is expressing his/her feelings toward the specialist, idealizing or explicitly seducing him/her, the specialist shall maintain the maximum neutrality and help the patient recognize the phenomena of transfer and transferential nature of the relationship.
The specialist shall contribute to development of scientific and clinical knowledge, and improvement of educational level of students and colleagues. In conducting research the specialist shall adhere to strictly clinical and scientific principles. Research shall be conducted in accordance with the principles of clinical and scientific approach.
Protection of professional community and public at large from incompetence
The specialist shall continuously assess his/her ability to carry out professional activities, approach colleagues when in serious doubts or difficulties , and give feedback on the status and abilities of professional work of colleagues.
ArPA Plans include
• expand its activities in accordance with the international ethical standards, • disseminate more information and translations on ethical guidelines for special situations,
• maintain its own ethical standards, in accordance with the development of modern psychoanalysis and psychotherapy,
• seek cooperation with international organizations and government on ethical issues, and explain the ethical standards adopted by the international community to the wider society and build its undertakings on the above mentioned basis.