The psychotherapist's role is then to enhance the already existing tools to help those who need it develop their intelligence and problem-solving abilities in order to promote the healing process.
Both the cognitive and affective domains are important considerations within psychotherapy. Indeed, the two often function within a causal relationship to each other. In the Communicative Theory of emotion, as expounded by Brett et al. (2003), for example, emotions are directly related to conscious or unconscious cognitive evaluations. These cognitive evaluations then cause an emotional response, which might include happiness, sadness, or anger. The subconscious internalization of the original cognitive evaluation and accompanying emotion could then result in behavior-related problems such as prejudice. Sometimes such behavior problems are so deeply seated that they need to be treated by means of psychotherapy.
Cognitive therapy, as explained by Michael Herkov (2010), acknowledges the relationship between thought (the cognitive aspect) and feeling (the affective). It is then the task of the therapist to identify thoughts and beliefs that are inaccurate. This inaccuracy causes certain perceptions of a situation, which can further lead to disorders such as depression. The psychotherapist then corrects the inaccurate beliefs, and emotional healing is achieved.
In order to maintain ethics in professional research and practice when working with clients, the Psychology profession is subject to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Three ethical concerns addressed in this document include: 1) Beneficence and Nonmaleficence; 2) Fidelity and Responsibility; and 3) Integrity. There are several other concerns and more specific ethical guidelines in the document.
Beneficence and Nonmaleficence are "Principle a" of the document. This means that Psychologists are to aim for the benefit of their clients and research subjects, while avoiding harm. This also has a wider application, in that all professional conduct and interaction -- also with colleagues -- should adhere to this principle. Conflicts that arise are to be resolved in a way that either avoids or minimizes harm. Under this principle, it is important that psychologists understand th eimportance of maintaining a healthy level of scientific and professional judgments and actions. When these are jeapordized by overwork or illness, the professional should take action to eliminate the problem.
Principle B. Of the document is Fidelity and Responsibility. This principle concerns the relationship of trust the psychologist cultivates with his or her professional associations. In a wider sense, this also translates to social and community responsibility. In addition, the principle of responsibility entails that the professional takes responsibility for his or her actions, while maintaining and upholding professional standards of conduct and research. This is accomplished by the professional's association and consultation with relevant institutions and professionals to help guide the adherence to this principle.
Principle C, Integrity, concerns the pschologist's research and his or her relationship with information and results. In this, it is the requirement of the principle to maintain accuracy, honesty and truthfulness in all apscts of the sience, teaching and practice of the psychological profession. In addition to obvious misconduct such as stealing, cheating, or fraudulent activities, the psychologist is also to avoid unwise commitments or deceptive practice. In cases where deception is justified, the goal should be to maximize benefit and minimize harm. Any resulting mistrust should then be corrected as soon as possible.
Working with human beings is highly stressful, in addition to being an imprecise science.
Professionals in the field are therefore often subject to highly complex ethical problems, which should be resolved in order to maintain the ethical principles mentioned above. In order to avoid pitfalls, the psychological professional should then carefully consider any ethical pitfalls before engaging in potentially compromising actions.
One pitfall could relate to the professional relationship between the client and psychologist. Troubled clients build trust with the psychologist, which is required. However, this trust could become inappropriate when clients expect their psychologists to engage in actions outside of the professional office relationship. Sexual or financial bribery could for example form part of this. In order to avoid this, the professional should establish the ground rules of the relationship at the start of the meetings. The focus should be positive, upon what the aims of the sessions are, and how they are to be accomplished. When difficult situations arise, the professional should then remind the client of the reasons and nature of the contact sessions.
Another example of a dilemma that could face a psychologist is criminal offenses. The trust relationship requires the psychologist to retain confidentiality in the relationship with clients. However, if possible harm can come to the client or others, such as in the case of threatening murder, theft, or vandalism, the professional is ethically obliged to report this. The psychologist should strive to avoid harm and maximize beneficence. This cannot always be avoided, but once again, it is a good idea to establish the rules of meetings at the beginning, where the client knows what types of information can be divulged outside the contact sessions and what is subject to the confidentiality rule.
Not all difficult ethical situations can be avoided. Psychologists and other professionals in the cognitive sciences must at all times aim to protect themselves, clients, and the wider community involved from harm. Such protection helps to maintain an ethical basis.
Brett, a., Smith, M., Price, E., & Huitt, W. (2003). Overview of the affective domain. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [date], from http:/www.edpsycinteractive.org/brilstar/chapters/affectdev.doc
Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. http://web.uvic.ca/psyc/tuokko/Ethical%20Principles%20of%20Psychologists.pdf
Eysenck, Michael W. & Keane, Mark T. (2005). Cognitive Psychology: a student's handbook. East Sussex: Psychology Press Ltd.
Fowles, Tammie Byram. (2010). Guiding Principles of Psychotherapy. http://sageplace.com/Psychonotes_guiding_principles.htm
Heath, Ian. (2003). Psychology of Perception. http://discover-your-mind.co.uk/1d-perception.htm
Huitt, W. (2003). The affective system. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved from http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/affsys/affsys.html
Matthew, V. George. (2010). Psychology of Consciousness. http://www.psychology4all.com/PsychologyOfConsciousness.htm
Meichenbaum, Donald (1992). Evolution of Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Origins, Tenets, and Clinical Examples. In the Evolution of Psychotherapy: the second conference, edited by Jeffrey K. Zeig. New York: Brunner/Mazel, Inc.
Psyblog (2010). The Psychology of Attention. http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/05/attention-how-it-works-how-it-fails-and-how-to-improve-it.php