Canadian Society for Philosophical Practice
Société Canadienne pour la Pratique Philosophique

Code of Conduct

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The CSPP is currently in the process of developing its code of conduct. A substantial  draft has been prepared by Board member, Christina Bellon, Ph.D., with extensive feeback from other Board members. 

We hope to publish this here soon. Please check again soon.

What follows is a first statement, made for discussion shortly after CSPP founding. 

Comments are welcome. Members are invited to assist us by providing feedback and participating in this process.

M. Picard, President. (Jan. 31, 2004)

Toward a Code of Ethical Conduct for Philosopher practitioners.

Last revised 1998/12/4

The following proposed guidelines towards a code of ethics and conduct for practitioners are incomplete, under development and in themselves currently non-binding upon CSPP members. However, these guidelines (particularly as they apply to philosophical counsellors) are broadly consistent with responsible rules of practice for fee-charging counsellors and therapists of any background. The Executive, Board, and a probable majority of the membership currently support the spirit of these guidelines, if not always their precise formulations as below. Since it is the case under the constitution (Sect. 2, Art. 2) that any member can be expelled by a two thirds vote of the membership, members are advised that conduct flagrantly contrary to the spirit of the guidelines is reasonably liable eventually to lead to an expulsion vote. In this regard the reader's attention is particularly drawn to sections 2a and 2b below. Members are encouraged to offer comment on the guidelines in the ongoing process of shaping professional standards for fee-charging practitioners, particularly counsellors.

Preamble. The purpose of the following guidelines is to promote and safeguard good standards of professional integrity and competence among Canadian philosophical practitioners who wish to be affiliated with the CSPP.

1. A "philosophical practitioner" for the purposes of the following is anyone with a substantial degree of formal education (or equivalent) in academic philosophy who also conducts some purportedly philosophically-based service for the public, whether or not in return for personal payment. This includes personal counselling, public seminars, workshops, discussion groups, etc. of a philosophical nature.

2a. It is a philosophical counsellor's foremost concern (in light of his or her essentially care giving role) to make reasonable efforts to avoid harming his or her clients, as by abuse of trust, violation of personal or group confidentiality in the case of personal or group counselling, providing services which the counsellor is not competent to provide, failing to advise the client to seek types of help which only other types of care giver are qualified to offer when the client appears in need of such help, conflict of the counsellor's interests, sexual involvement with the client, misleading the client, lack of sensitivity to the client's autonomy and core beliefs and values, coercing the client in any way, discrimination against some client(s) for illegitimate reasons, neglecting to maintain reasonable attentiveness to the client's welfare, or deliberate and single-minded mercantile exploitation of the client.

2b. The counsellor's obligation to respect client confidentiality is curtailed in the case of a client's disclosure to the counselor that the client clearly intends to commit suicide, homicide, or otherwise to expose any person's life to mortal danger unbeknownst to that person. In the case of intended homicide or exposing other persons to mortal danger, the counsellor has an obligation to see that the endangered person is aware of the risk. In the case of intended suicide, the counsellor has an obligation to notify next of kin and other authorities of the risk to the client. These acts of disclosure by the counsellor are last resorts where the client refuses to disclose the said information to the other parties, as the counsellor will first ask of the client. In all such cases the counsellor will attempt to use good judgment in seeking to avoid violating the client's privacy on frivolous grounds. Nonetheless, a counsellor has no legal privilege to refrain from informing appropriate parties about serious crimes or acts of violence perpetrated or intended by the client.

3. All other types of practitioner apart from counsellors are obligated to follow conventional standards of maturity and integrity, particularly where they charge for their practices. However, the code of conduct described in 2a above is open to looser interpretation for non-counsellors and for those who neither charge for nor advertise their practices.

4. The CSPP has no liability for any damages sought against counsellors or other practitioners for professional misconduct, and no liability for damages sought against it by members.



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