A comment on Katarzyna Sikora’s article

Andrea Ferrero


In her article, Katarzyna Sikora presents a well supported perspective on the meaning of caring for the client’s welfare as well as on how this concept is included in psychology ethics codes and in declarations of ethical principles for psychology. It is well shown how the core of ethical professional behavior is sometimes reflected in moral dilemmas and also how client welfare has usually been more related to aspirational values than to prescriptive standards. The author analyzes the concept of client welfare in ethics codes as more related to the concept of benefit or well being than to philosophical ideas of good and evil. The paper points out that ethics codes have to be locally developed as any general principle has to be culturally shaped within a particular society, and here the author makes an important point about the European and North American influence in current psychology ethics codes worldwide. Also presented is the challenge of universalizing ethical principles and perspectives for developing a common basis for local ethics codes within a multicultural context. The Meta-Code of Ethics is mentioned, adopted by the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations in 1995, which can also be linked to the Agreement Protocol of Ethical Principles for the Professional Practice of Psychologists in Mercosur and Associated Countries, which was signed in South America in 1997, with the same spirit and quite similar principles. Finally, the paper mentions the Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists passed in 2008, its relation to human rights, and the possibility of universalization of ethics taking into account intercultural differences. Within this process, the author points out that to understand the principle of caring means to consider not only the primum non nocere principle but the principle of maximizing client welfare by respecting both individual and social dignity and rights.


psychology; ethics codes; principle of caring; universalization; comment

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Coordinating Committee of the Psychologists of Mercosur and Associated Countries (Comité Coordinador de Psicólogos del Mercosur y Países Asociados) (1997). Protocolo de Acuerdo marco de Principios Éticos para el ejercicio profesional de psicólogos en el Mercosur y Países Asociados. The Federal Council of Psychology (Conselho Federal de Psicologia). Brazil: Author.

European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (1995/2005). Meta-Code of Ethics. Athens: EFPA.

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Gauthier, J., Pettifor, J., & Ferrero, A. (2010). The Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists: A culture-sensitive model for creating and reviewing a code of ethics. Ethics & Behavior, 20(3&4), 1-18.

Pettifor, J. & Ferrero, A. (2012). Ethical dilemmas, cultural differences, and the globalization of psychology. In M. Leach, M. Stevens, A. Ferrero, Y. Korkut, & G. Lindsay, Handbook of International Psychological Ethics (pp. 28-41). New York: Oxford University Press.


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Roczniki Psychologiczne/Annals of Psychology

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