It also promotes research in the field and therefore the improvement of the research methods and applications. Other ways in which the Association improves the understanding and use of knowledge in the field is by means of meetings, contacts, reports, papers, discussion and publication (American Psychological Association, 2012).
The APA is governed by volunteer governance members, who are responsible for the direction of the advocacy, publishing, member service, and other functions of the APA. Specifically, the governance members include a Council of Representatives, whose responsibility includes approving policy and the appropriation of revenues. The Board of Directors is elected by members and administers the functions of the Council of Representatives. The APA president is an annual position that is filled by a person who is elected by the membership. The president provides a leadership contact for the Association. Other ruling parties include committees, boards and task forces with specific functions within the APA. The daily operations of the APA are overseen by senior staff members, who work at the APA's Washington, D.C. headquarters.
The three entities described therefore function in association to advance the field of psychology and provide optimal service delivery to the public. This is done by administering and facilitating excellence among those within the profession.
APA Code of Ethics
The APA Code of Ethics has been established in 1953 in order to provide a guideline for decision-making among professionals in the field of psychologists (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 3). Psychologists must use this code in conjunction with laws and regulations as divulged by the psychology board.
The main function of the Ethics Code is to ensure a higher standard than strictly required by law. It therefore ensures a standard of excellence when providing psychological services to the public. As such the main purposes of the Ethics Code include ensuring the commitment of psychologists to the increase of scientific and professional knowledge of behavior in the field. It is also to ensure the use of such knowledge to increase people's understanding of themselves and others and to promote this sense of understanding in order to help people function at an optimal level in their daily lives.
One potential weakness within the Ethics Code is Principle 1.02, according to which conflicts might arise between the Ethics Code and legal requirements or rules of law (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 4). According to this Principle, psychologists faced with such conflicts are to first make known their commitment to the Code of Ethics and follow this by taking "reasonable" steps to resolve the conflict. This resolution should be consistent with the General Principles and Ethical Standards identified in the Ethics Code. The Principles also expressly prohibits the use of the Standard to justify the violation of basic principles like human rights. The potential weakness here is that conflicts could arise that are not easily resolved by any "reasonable steps," and that complicated procedures can be required to resolve the conflict. This could then take up time that could otherwise have been used in more targeted treatment of individuals undergoing counseling. Perhaps a better principle would have been to provide for the precedence of the ethics code in all circumstances except those where human rights principles might be at risk.
The most important standard, which is also most in line with my personal principles, is the first one, which is "Beneficence and Non-Maleficence." (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 3). This principle is the most important in all the healthcare professions, and summarize for me the most important function of these professions, which is to ensure the well-being of people seeking these services. In working with human beings, there is no doubt that this is the most important, which is also indicated by the fact that it is positioned first among most healthcare Codes of Ethics. In conclusion, entities such as the American Psychological Association, ASPPB and NRHSPB provide vital services to clients and service providers.
Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. (2012). About ASPPB. Retrieved from: http://www.asppb.net/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3285
American Psychological Association Code of Ethics, Chapter 5.
American Psychological Association (2012). About APA. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/about/index.aspx
American Psychological Association (2010, Feb 20). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.
National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology (2012). About. Retrieved from: http://www.nationalregister.org/about.html