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Saturday, March 7, 2020

Ethical guidelines for social justice in psychology

Hailes, H. and others
Professional Psychology:
Research and Practice


As the field of psychology increasingly recognizes the importance of engaging in work that advances social justice and as social justice-focused training and practice in the field grows, psychologists need ethical guidelines for this work. The American Psychological Association’s ethical principles include “justice” as a core principle but do not expand extensively upon its implications. This article provides a proposed set of ethical guidelines for social justice work in psychology. Within the framework of 3 domains of justice—interactional (about relational dynamics), distributive (about provision for all), and procedural (about just processes) justice—this article outlines 7 guidelines for social justice ethics: (1) reflecting critically on relational power dynamics; (2) mitigating relational power dynamics; (3) focusing on empowerment and strengths-based approaches; (4) focusing energy and resources on the priorities of marginalized communities; (5) contributing time, funding, and effort to preventive work; (6) engaging with social systems; and (7) raising awareness about system impacts on individual and community well-being. Vignettes of relevant ethical dilemmas are presented and implications for practice are discussed.

This article explores the need for a set of ethical standards to guide psychologists’ social justice-oriented work. It conceptualizes social justice as having three components, focused on relational dynamics, provision for all, and just processes. Additionally, it outlines and provides examples of seven proposed standards for social justice ethics in psychology.

The article is here.