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Ethics in Psychology: A Guide for Clients in Melbourne

Ethics in Psychology: A Guide for Clients in Melbourne

Psychology is a field that rests on the pillars of trust, respect, and ethical practice. Understanding these ethical guidelines can help foster a positive therapeutic relationship for clients seeking mental health support in Melbourne, Australia. It ensures that your needs are met with professionalism and integrity.

Let’s explore some common scenarios as working examples that shed light on ethical considerations in psychology.

Informed Consent:

Informed consent is fundamental in psychology. Clients have the right to understand the nature of the services they will receive, any potential risks involved, and their autonomy in decision-making. Psychologists must provide this information in plain language, ensuring that clients can make well-informed choices about their treatment.

Imagine a psychologist consulting with a minor client and their parents. The psychologist actively obtains informed consent from both the minor client and their legal guardians. This process entails explaining the purpose of the procedures, potential risks, and confidentiality. Despite the parents’ involvement, prioritising the autonomy of the minor client remains crucial.

In situations involving family court orders and concerns about a child’s well-being in toxic family environments, it’s essential to note that ideally, both parents should be informed about the decision to initiate psychological services for the child. However, consent from one parent may be deemed sufficient, particularly if there are indications of abuse or other significant difficulties. This underscores the critical role psychologists play in advocating for the psychological well-being of vulnerable individuals, especially when navigating complex familial dynamics. By ensuring that at least one parent provides consent, psychologists can promptly address the child’s needs and provide necessary support in challenging circumstances.

Similarly, when a family member seeks to make appointments on behalf of a loved one, ensuring that the client themselves consents to the services is crucial to respecting their autonomy and upholding ethical standards.


Confidentiality is another cornerstone of ethical practice in psychology. Additionally, clients have the right to expect that their personal information will be safeguarded, with few exceptions. Psychologists must responsibly collect, store, and share information to protect the confidentiality of their clients.

There are circumstances where confidentiality may be breached. This includes situations where there’s a legal obligation to disclose information or when there’s a risk of harm to the client or others. It’s important for psychologists to communicate these exceptions clearly to clients, ensuring transparency and trust in the therapeutic relationship.

Communication and Respect:

Effective communication and respect are integral to fostering a positive therapeutic environment. Clients should feel valued, heard, and respected throughout their interactions with psychologists and clinic staff. Providers should provide clear explanations of services, fees, and treatment goals, empowering clients to ask questions and express concerns.

Consider the importance of involving family members in meetings or explaining policies around appointment bookings. Open communication and respect for clients’ preferences are essential to building trust and ensuring a positive therapeutic relationship.


As clients seeking mental health support in Melbourne, you have the right to expect ethical and professional conduct from psychologists and clinic staff. By familiarising yourself with the principles of informed consent, confidentiality, and respectful communication outlined by the Australian Psychological Society (APS), you can advocate for your needs and ensure that you receive the highest standard of care.

At The Three Seas Psychology clinic, we are committed to upholding these ethical principles and providing a safe, supportive environment for our clients. If you have any questions or concerns about our practices, we encourage you to reach out to us directly. Your well-being is our priority, and we are here to support you on your journey towards healing and growth.

Remember, you have the right to expect ethical and respectful treatment in your therapeutic journey. Being informed and empowered enables you to navigate the complexities of psychology with confidence and trust in the process.

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Monique Jones

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