Ethics in mental health profession

By Maham Syedain
Fri, 10, 19

As psychologists, we are required to have a license or training under a supervisor for years unless the course of training is good enough to start with therapy and counseling.....


It is incumbent upon the mental health professionals to be receptive, cautious, tolerant and empathic towards the one seeking help. Unfortunately, there are not many laws or platforms working in our country, towards ensuring a transparent and malice-free profession. Malpractices are common which, in turn, worsen the condition of people with mental illnesses. People visit mental health professionals in the hope of getting better or in search of answers to their questions. Moreover, many people rely solely on mental health professionals throughout the course of treatment. Then isn’t it mandatory for the therapist or counselor to be dutiful and faithful towards his/her profession?

Undoubtedly, yes.

As psychologists, we are required to have a license or training under a supervisor for years unless the course of training is good enough to start with therapy and counseling.

A Master’s degree is not enough to practice; however, fresh graduates can still apply for research jobs. But, in order to become a trained and licensed psychotherapist, it is necessary to have a post-graduate diploma or M.Phil leading to PhD.

It comes as no surprise that fresh graduates, without any experience or credentials, are going for jobs at schools, universities, offices and they are being hired unethically on the posts of practitioners.

Over and over again, throughout studying Psychology, we are taught ethics. Ethics are the moral codes or rules that one has to follow in a certain setting or even in one’s daily life. Ethics, in psychotherapy, are core components that a mental health practitioner has to follow no matter what, to assure healthy mental wellbeing of the client. These core components revolve around: confidentiality (maintaining anonymity of the client); privacy and security of the client’s records; being non-judgmental towards the client’s problem; maintaining boundaries with the client; respecting the client’s dignity and right to autonomy; competency in profession; awareness of laws with respect to decision making; and many more. Professional credentials are pivotal in determining whether the practitioner is qualified enough to deal with the client’s issues or not.

It is crucial for the professional to be responsible in his dealings with the client, and he must have two qualities: tolerance and empathy - both of these qualities are essential for client-therapist relationship.

It is not just about studying Psychology and pretending to know everything; a slip can adversely affect the life of a person. Mental illnesses are not a joke; the whole body suffers when the mind is disturbed. Authorities should take action against unethical hiring and malpractices. Every school and college should hire a psychologist who is licensed and has had sufficient training under a supervisor because mental health matters!

To help people who need help, let’s pledge to be sincere to our profession. Today, every other person is a victim of some kind of mental illness but due to the dearth of licensed psychologists and improper services, many go unattended. We can become mental health advocates only when we are faithful to our profession, towards helping those in need and ensuring a better, mental illness-free community.

Mental Health Day was observed on Thursday, 10 October