IPI Ethics Code


  1. Ethics Code
  2. Guidelines for the practice of telemental health services, communication, and distance learning
  3. Resources
  4. Reporting a Concern


IPI is dedicated to upholding the highest ethical standards in all of its educational, training, and professional activities.  Specifically, we adhere to the current ethical codes formulated by the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) and to the education, training (Section 7), and multiple relationships (Section 3.05) code sections outlined by the American Psychological Association (APA). While recognizing that dual relationships within a training institution are not always avoidable, IPI endorses the APA ethical code 3.05 which offers guidance about dual relationships.  In addition to these ethical codes, the professional conduct of IPI activities is also guided by governmental laws and regulations, as well as by individual professional licensing organizations. In the event that the current APsaA and APA ethical codes would be in conflict with one another, IPI would then adhere to the higher of the two standards.

Beyond the thoughtful adherence to ethical codes, IPI promotes a culture of ethical awareness and conduct through periodic training opportunities. As well, IPI approaches this subject in a proactive manner by strongly encouraging all administrators, faculty, students and others to regularly discuss ethical issues and concerns. IPI approaches ethical issues in a spirit of collaboration, dialogue, and support within its professional learning community. This may be done in a variety of ways, informally or formally, for example through IPI’s Colleague Assistance Committee.

Presented below are the general guiding ethical principles of APsaA and the APA Codes. When the term “psychoanalyst” or “psychologist” is used in the IPI Ethics Code, we regard these terms as referring to IPI members, even if they are not specifically trained as psychoanalysts or as psychologists. Therefore, we have changed the references to “psychoanalyst” or “psychologist” to “IPI Member.”



I. Professional Competence.The IPI Member is committed to provide competent professional service. The IPI Member should continually strive to improve his or her knowledge and practical skills. Illnesses and personal problems that significantly impair the IPI Member’s performance of professional responsibilities should be acknowledged and addressed in appropriate fashion as soon as recognized.

II. Respect for Persons.The IPI Member is expected to treat patients and their families, students and colleagues with respect and care. Discrimination on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status is ethically unacceptable.

III. Mutuality and Informed Consent. As a membership organization, IPI has no regulatory authority over the clinical practices of IPI members in their home communities.  However, as a body that provides education about ethical matters and promotes an ethical stance, we believe our members should uphold high ethical standards with their patients, consultees, students, and colleagues.  The treatment relationship between the patient and the IPI Member is founded upon trust and informed mutual agreement or consent. At the outset of treatment, the patient should be made aware of the nature of psychotherapy and relevant alternative therapies. The IPI Member should make agreements pertaining to scheduling, fees, and other rules and obligations of treatment tactfully and humanely, with adequate regard for the realistic and therapeutic aspects of the relationship. Promises made should be honored.

When the patient is a minor these same general principles pertain but the patient’s age and stage of development should guide how specific arrangements will be handled and with whom.

IV. Confidentiality.Confidentiality of the patient’s communications is a basic patient’s right and an essential condition for effective psychoanalytic treatment and research. An IPI Member must take all measures necessary to not reveal present or former patient confidences without permission, nor discuss the particularities observed or inferred about patients outside consultative, educational or scientific contexts. If an IPI Member uses case material in exchanges with colleagues for consultative, educational or scientific purposes, the identity of the patient must be sufficiently disguised to prevent identification of the individual, or the patient’s authorization must be obtained after frank discussion of the purpose(s) of the presentation, other options, the probable risks and benefits to the patient, and the patient’s right to refuse or withdraw consent.

V. Truthfulness. The psychotherapy treatment relationship is founded on thoroughgoing truthfulness. The IPI Member should deal honestly and forthrightly with patients, patient’s families in the case of those who are minors, students, and colleagues. Being aware of the ambiguities and complexities of human relationships and communications, the IPI Member should engage in an active process of self-monitoring in pursuit of truthful therapeutic and professional exchanges.

VI. Avoidance of Exploitation.In light of the vulnerability of patients and the inequality of the psychotherapist-patient dyad, the IPI Member should scrupulously avoid any and all forms of exploitation of patients and their families, current or former, and limit, as much as possible the role of self-interest and personal desires. Sexual relations between IPI Member and patient or family member, current or former, are potentially harmful to both parties, and unethical. Financial dealings other than reimbursement for therapy are unethical.

VII. Scientific Responsibility. The IPI Member is expected to be committed to advancing scientific knowledge and to the education of colleagues and students. Psychoanalytic research should conform to generally accepted scientific principles and research integrity and should be based on a thorough knowledge of relevant scientific literature. Every precaution should be taken in research with human subjects, and in using clinical material, to respect the patient’s rights especially the right to confidentiality, and to minimize potentially harmful effects.

VIII. Protection of the Public and the Profession. The IPI Member should strive to protect the patients of colleagues and persons seeking treatment from psychotherapists observed to be deficient in competence or known to be engaged in behavior with the potential of affecting such patients adversely. S/he should urge such colleagues to seek help. Information about unethical or impaired conduct by any member of the profession should be reported to the appropriate committee at local or national levels.

IX. Social Responsibility. If a third-party or patient or in the case of minor patients, the parent(s) or guardian(s) demands actions contrary to ethical principles or scientific knowledge, the IPI Member should refuse. An IPI Member is encouraged to contribute a portion of his or her time and talents to activities that serve the interests of patients and the public good.

X. Personal Integrity.The IPI Member should be thoughtful, considerate, and fair in all professional relationships, uphold the dignity and honor of the profession, and accept its self-imposed disciplines. He or she should accord members of allied professions the respect due their competence.

The APA Ethics Code Sections 3.05 and 7 are included because they provide more comprehensive information concerning multiple relationships, and teaching, education and training. IPI is a learning institution focused principally on teaching, education and training, and does not have a patient clinic.




3.05 Multiple Relationships 

(a) A multiple relationship occurs when an IPI Member is in a professional role with a person and (1) at the same time is in another role with the same person, (2) at the same time is in a relationship with a person closely associated with or related to the person with whom the IPI Member has the professional relationship, or (3) promises to enter into another relationship in the future with the person or a person closely associated with or related to the person.

An IPI Member refrains from entering into a multiple relationship if the multiple relationship could reasonably be expected to impair the IPI Member’s objectivity, competence, or effectiveness in performing his or her functions as an IPI Member, or otherwise risks exploitation or harm to the person with whom the professional relationship exists.

Multiple relationships that would not reasonably be expected to cause impairment or risk exploitation or harm are not unethical.

(b) If an IPI Member finds that, due to unforeseen factors, a potentially harmful multiple relationship has arisen, the IPI Member takes reasonable steps to resolve it with due regard for the best interests of the affected person and maximal compliance with the Ethics Code.

(c) When IPI Members are required by law, institutional policy, or extraordinary circumstances to serve in more than one role in judicial or administrative proceedings, at the outset they clarify role expectations and the extent of confidentiality and thereafter as changes occur. (See also APA Standards 3.04, Avoiding Harm, and 3.07, Third-Party Requests for Services.)


7.01 Design of Education and Training Programs
IPI Members responsible for education and training programs take reasonable steps to ensure that the programs are designed to provide the appropriate knowledge and proper experiences, and to meet the requirements for licensure, certification, or other goals for which claims are made by the program. (See also APA Standard 5.03, Descriptions of Workshops and Non-Degree-Granting Educational Programs.)


7.02 Descriptions of Education and Training Programs
IPI Members responsible for education and training programs take reasonable steps to ensure that there is a current and accurate description of the program content (including participation in required course- or program-related counseling, psychotherapy, experiential groups, consulting projects, or community service), training goals and objectives, stipends and benefits, and requirements that must be met for satisfactory completion of the program. This information must be made readily available to all interested parties.


7.03 Accuracy in Teaching
(a) IPI Members take reasonable steps to ensure that course syllabi are accurate regarding the subject matter to be covered, bases for evaluating progress, and the nature of course experiences. This standard does not preclude an instructor from modifying course content or requirements when the instructor considers it pedagogically necessary or desirable, so long as students are made aware of these modifications in a manner that enables them to fulfill course requirements. (See also APA Standard 5.01, Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements.)

(b) When engaged in teaching or training, IPI Members present psychological information accurately. (See also APA Standard 2.03, Maintaining Competence.)


7.04 Student Disclosure of Personal Information
IPI Members do not require students or consultees to disclose personal information in course- or program-related activities, either orally or in writing, regarding sexual history, history of abuse and neglect, psychological treatment, and relationships with parents, peers, and spouses or significant others except if (1) the program or training facility has clearly identified this requirement in its admissions and program materials or (2) the information is necessary to evaluate or obtain assistance for students whose personal problems could reasonably be judged to be preventing them from performing their training- or professionally related activities in a competent manner or posing a threat to the students or others.

IPI NOTE: The following section APA Standard 7.05, “Mandatory Individual or Group Therapy,” applies to individuals who are enrolled in an IPI program (e.g. the advanced psychotherapy and analytic training programs) where “required individual treatment” is part of the training program.


7.05 Mandatory Individual or Group Therapy
(a) When individual or group therapy is a program or course requirement, IPI Members responsible for that program allow students in undergraduate and graduate programs the option of selecting such therapy from practitioners unaffiliated with the program. (See also APA Standard 7.02, Descriptions of Education and Training Programs.)

(b) Faculty who are or are likely to be responsible for evaluating students’ academic performance do not themselves provide that therapy. (See also APA Standard 3.05, Multiple Relationships.)


7.06 Assessing Student and Consultee Performance
(a) In academic and consultative relationships, IPI Members establish a timely and specific process for providing feedback to students and consultees. Information regarding the process is provided to the student at the beginning of consultation.

(b) IPI Members evaluate students and consultees on the basis of their actual performance on relevant and established program requirements.


7.07 Sexual Relationships with Students and Consultees
IPI Members do not engage in sexual relationships with students or consultees who are in their IPI Program, or over whom IPI Members have or are likely to have evaluative authority. (See also APA Standard 3.05, Multiple Relationships.)


2. Guidelines for the practice of telemental health services, communication, and distance learning


This area of practice and teaching is continuing to evolve and ethical standards for it are developing. Therefore, at present (like the American Psychological Association) IPI offers suggested guidelines rather than specific ethics codes beyond what has been presented in Section I. Additional resources are also provided in section III.


IPI Members who provide telemental health services, communication, and distance learning, agree to take reasonable steps to ensure their competence with both the technologies used and the potential impact of the technologies on clients/patients, students, consultees, and other professionals. These guidelines are not intended to be prescriptive, but rather to offer guidance to IPI Members. Furthermore, this framework is not a substitute for applicable laws and regulations guiding mental health professionals, nor is it inclusive of all other considerations.


3. Resources (under development)


(1) https://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/telepsychology



Prepared by the IPI Ethics Committee