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Ethics and Deontology in Psychology

Code: P404     Acronym: EDP

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Social and Human Sciences

Instance: 2012/2013 - 1S Ícone do Moodle

Active? Yes
Web Page: http://moodle.up.pt/course/view.php?id=808
Responsible unit: Psychology
Course/CS Responsible: Integrated Master Psychology

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
MIPSI 285 Official Curricular Structure 1 - 3 30 81

Teaching - Hours

Theoretical classes: 2,00
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Theoretical classes Totals 2 4,00
Inês Maria Guimarães Nascimento 4,00

Teaching language



At the end of the curricular unit, students should be able to:

1. Identify, recognize and critically reflect the politic, axiologic, ethic and deontological dimensions of psychology, as science and profession, emphasizing psychology professional practices

2. Differentiate ethic and deontology as regulatory dimensions of the professional practice of psychology considering structures (principles) and processes (norms/rules)

3. Integrate the structuring ethic, axiologic and deontological elements of the psychologist professional culture

4. Understand and critically appreciate normative documents of the psychologist profession, namely general and sectorial deontologic codes (American, European and Portuguese codes) and quality patterns of the psychology practice

5. Mobilize ethic principles and values and deontological norms and rules in specific situations and contexts in which is performed the professional role of psychologist


1. Philosophic and psychological frame of the ethical dimension of human action; clarification of “professional ethic” and “professional deontology” concepts; characterization of the psychologist profession.

2. The psychologists’ professional development: recovery of Perry, Cooper and Lewis (ethical and epistemological development) and Kolhberg (moral thinking development) models; nature of the ethical and axiological compromises of the psychologist and of the interest conflicts; ethic, deontology, culture and politics in psychological intervention and research.

3. Defining groups of problems and population groups especially relevant to a reflexive learning about the ethic and deontologic skilled professional practice.

4. Ethic and deontologic implications of the psychologist profession organization and of its regulation and access.

5. Presentation and discussion of ethic-deontological problems/dilemmas associated to the professional practice of psychology.

Mandatory literature

Bersoff, D.; Ethical conflicts in Psychology (2nd Edition), Washington: American Psychological Association , 1999
Fisher Celia B.; Decoding the ethics code. ISBN: ISBN 0-7619-2619-4
Francis, R., D.; Ética para psicólogos, Lisboa: Instituto Piaget, 2004
Ordem dos Psicólogos Portugueses ; Código deontológico, Ordem dos Psicólogos Portugueses , 2011
O.Donohue William ed.; Handbook of professional ethics for psychologists. ISBN: ISBN 0-7619-1189-8
Ricou, M.; Ética e Psicologia: Uma prática integrada, , Coimbra: Gráfica de Coimbra, 2004

Complementary Bibliography

American Psychological Association ; Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, American Psychological Association , 2002
Federação Europeia de Associações de Psicólogos; Código geral de ética para psicólogos. , Federação Europeia de Associações de Psicólogos, 1995
Prilleltensky, I. ; The Morals and Politics of Psychology: Psychological Discourse and the Status Quo , State University of New York Press, 1994
Taborda, M. (Coord.); Ética em Psiquiatria, Ordem dos Médicos: Colégio de Psiquiatria, 1992

Teaching methods and learning activities

Small groups of students will be involved in the construction and concretization of a learning project about a relevant topic of the syllabus (departing from teacher suggestions of problems or ethical dilemmas) from which they can explore and deepen the topic. The question of research and interventions psychological ethics will be approached considering students level of training and introducing, when useful, topics that made them more sensitive to the accomplishment of ethic principles even during their training process (e.g., how to manage appropriately interpersonal relations with peers and third persons, the need to respect copyright and author property in any academic work they will develop, on so on). The development of the project’s different phases will take place both inside and outside classes and will be supported (by teacher tutorial activity) in a weekly basis. When concluded the project and its results will be presented and discussed with colleagues during the last classes.


Não aplicável


Social sciences > Psychological sciences > Psychology

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation without final exam

Assessment Components

Description Type Time (hours) Weight (%) End date
Attendance (estimated) Participação presencial 26,00
Project's design and presentation Trabalho escrito 15,00
Project's development and results' discussion Defesa pública de dissertação, de relatório de projeto ou estágio, ou de tese 40,00
Total: - 0,00

Eligibility for exams

Student's must attend to 75% of the expected classes and achieve at least grade 10 in final grade.

Calculation formula of final grade

Students’ final grade will be estimated considering two components:

1. Quality of the project to be presented (25%)

2. Quality of the project development process and of the product resulting from it (75%)

Examinations or Special Assignments

Non applicable

Special assessment (TE, DA, ...)

Students in this condition (those who benefits from class dismiss) are subject to the same plan of ativities plan, assessement and grade improvement system of the other students.

Classification improvement

When it justifies, for the attempt of final grade improvement or for 2nd chance evaluation, students should develop a writen individual work about a particular subject to be defined by the professor.

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