Ethics of Global Psychology

Ethics of Global Psychology

The future of global psychology may rest on the ethics that guide its practice. It is these moral principles that guide global psychologists to act in ways that are the most beneficial for the individual and their communities. Many psychological associations from around the world have established ethical codes or principles for the practice of psychology in the countries or regions they serve. The codes typically include references to dignity and human rights, education and training, privacy and confidentiality, and licensing. In contrast, some countries and regions do not abide by any ethical codes. As psychologists expand their global practice, many associations have expressed a need for a universal code of ethics that is applicable internationally. They argue that a universal code would ensure uniformity as psychologists work throughout the world.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review Chapter 10 in your course text, paying special attention to the following sections: “Guidelines for ethical practice,” “Going international,” “Ethical guidelines of allied international associations,” and “Observations on where to go from here.”
  • Utilize the websites provided in this week’s resources to review ethical codes from the following associations:
    • American Psychological Association
    • Psychology and Counseling Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran
    • Singapore Psychological Society
    • European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations
  • Review the third draft of “The Universal Declaration of Ethical Principles for Psychologists”.
  • Review the four ethical situations described below and their related questions to consider in terms of the ethical codes specified above:
  1. Suppose Minneapolis, MN is hit by an enormous natural disaster. Many people were unprepared for such a disaster and suffered mental and physical trauma. Would it be ethical for a psychologist to provide his or her services if he or she had not been specifically trained in disaster response? Do the ethical concerns change if the care is provided at the site of the natural disaster as opposed to at an office visit after the disaster has already occurred? Why or why not? Refer to the specific standards involved and provide a rationale for your answer.
  2. Iran is under the threat of war from neighboring countries. There is concern that there are enemy sympathizers responsible for attacks within Iranian borders. Under what circumstances is it allowable for an Iranian psychologist to disclose confidential information without the consent of the client? Refer to the specific standards involved. Is there a possibility the Iranian government could misuse these standards? Why or why not?
  3. A psychologist in Singapore wishes to refer a client because of a conflict in values and feelings of underlying threats to his safety. Due to these circumstances, the psychologist feels that he cannot provide competent services to his client. What steps should the psychologist take to ensure an appropriate referral? Can the psychologist “warn” the future psychologist that his client may pose harm to them? Why or why not? Refer to the specific standards involved.
  4. A psychologist who is bound by the European Federation of Psychologists’ Association is contacted by a former client who, after a six-month absence from therapy, would like to resume his sessions. The psychologist is completely booked. What are the psychologist’s ethical responsibilities to the client? What should the psychologist do? Refer to the specific standards involved.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 3

Post a response to one of the four ethical situations described above using the ethical codes specified. Be sure to address each question posed in the situation you selected. Next, select two ethical codes from all listed above that you believe are the most important for the future of global psychology and explain why. Finally, respond to this question: Do you believe it is possible for there to be one set of ethical principles to govern all psychologists globally? Why or why not?




Course Text: Stevens, M. J., &Gielen, U. P. (2007). Toward a glob al psychology: Theory, research, intervention, and pedagogy. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  • Chapter 3, “Current Trends in Global Psychology”
  • Chapter 10, “Toward a Global Professionalization of Psychology”

Article: Berry, J. (2016). Global, indigenous, and regional perspectives on international psychology. In J.L. Roopnarine, D. Chadee, J.L. Roopnarine, D. Chadee (Eds.), Caribbean psychology: Indigenous contributions to a global discipline (pp. 45–68). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/14753-003

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.


Gauthier, J. (2008). The universal declaration of ethical principles for psychologists: Third draft. Retrieved from


The International Association of Applied Psychology provides a working draft of a Universal Declaration Code of Ethics for Psychology.