European Psychologist (2019), 24, pp. 125-135.
Education in ethics and professional regulation are not alternatives; education in ethics for psychologists should not be framed merely as instruction regarding current professional regulation, or “ethical training.” This would reduce ethics to essentially a legal perspective, diminish professional responsibility, debase professional ethics, and downplay its primary purpose – the continuous critical reflection of professional identity and professional role. This paper discusses the meaning and function of education in ethics for psychologists and articulates the reasons why comprehensive education in ethics for psychologists should not be substituted by instruction in professional codes. Likewise, human rights education for psychologists should not be downgraded to mere instruction in existing legal norms. Human rights discourse represents an important segment of the comprehensive education in ethics for psychologists. Education in ethics should expose and examine substantial ethical ideas that serve as the framework for the law of human rights as well as the interpretative, multifaceted, evolving, even manipulable character of the human rights narrative. The typically proclaimed duty of psychologists to protect and promote human rights requires a deepening and expounding of the human rights legal framework through elaborate scrutiny of its ethical meaning. The idea of affirming and restoring human dignity – the concept often designated as the legal and ethical basis, essence, and purpose of human rights – represents one approach to framing this duty by which the goals of psychology on the professional and ethical levels become unified.
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