NAPT would like its members to have this code of ethics readily available. It represents standards of ethical behavior for relationships with those served by poetry therapy, colleagues, employers, other professionals, and the community.
This code is intended to serve as a guide to the everyday conduct of members of the biblio/poetry therapy profession and as a basis for the adjudication of issues in ethics when the conduct of biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators is alleged to deviate from the standards expressed or implied in this code. It represents standards of ethical behavior in professional relationships with those served, with colleagues, with employers, with other professionals, and with the community.
This Code of Ethics applies to the specific situations of those individuals who have achieved the designations of PTR, CPT, or CAPF, trainees for these designations, and mentor/supervisors.
Principle 1 – Responsibility:
In providing services, biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators maintain the highest standards of their profession. They accept responsibility for the consequences of their acts and make every effort to ensure that their services are used appropriately. As practitioners, biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators know that they bear a serious social responsibility because their recommendations and professional actions may alter the lives of others.
As educators, biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators recognize their obligation to help others acquire knowledge and skill.
As researchers, biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators plan their research in ways to minimize the possibility that their findings will be misleading. In publishing reports of their work, they never suppress disconfirming data, and they acknowledge the existence of alternative hypotheses and explanations of their findings. They take credit only for work they have actually done. Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators clarify in advance with all appropriate persons and agencies the expectations for sharing and utilizing research data.
Members of the biblio/poetry community fully comply with all applicable laws and regulations concerning their practice. They do not allow their practice to be used for purposes that would harm the public. Mentor/supervisors must perform a thorough evaluation of the background and suitability of their trainees, in order to ensure that the trainee does not plan to misuse the poetry therapy skills to mislead or harm the public.
Principle 2 – Competence:
The maintenance of high standards of competence is a responsibility shared by all biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators in the interest of the public and the profession as a whole. Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators recognize the boundaries of their competence and the limitations of their techniques. They provide only services and use only techniques for which they are qualified by training and experience. In those areas in which recognized standards do not yet exist, biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators take whatever precautions are necessary to protect the welfare of their clients.
Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators accurately represent their competence, education, training and experience. They recognize differences among people, such as those associated with age, gender and sexual orientation, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, and when necessary, they obtain training, experience, or counsel to ensure competent service or research relating to such persons.
Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators recognize that personal problems and conflicts may interfere with professional effectiveness. Accordingly, they refrain from undertaking any activity in which their personal problems are likely to lead to inadequate performance or harm to a client, colleague, student, or research participant.
Members of the biblio/poetry community accurately and objectively represent their qualifications. They do not refer to themselves as therapists if applicable state law or regulations prohibit them from doing so. They do not permit trainees, employees or supervisees to call themselves therapists if applicable state law or regulations prohibit this. They do not permit trainees, employees or supervisees to hold themselves out as competent to perform professional services beyond their training, level of experience, and competence.
Principle 3- Public Statements:
In their public statements, announcements of services, advertising, and promotional activities, biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators represent accurately and objectively their professional qualifications, affiliations, and functions, as well as those of the institutions or organizations with which they may be associated. Announcements or advertisements of personal growth groups, workshops, and other professional activities should give a clear statement of purpose and a clear description of the experiences to be provided.
As also implied in Principle 2, members of the biblio/poetry community, in their public statements, announcements of services, advertising, and promotional activities, do not refer to themselves as therapists if applicable state law or regulations prohibit them from doing so.
Principle 4 – Confidentiality:
Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators have a primary obligation to respect the confidentiality of information obtained from the persons in the course of their work as therapists. They reveal such information to others only with the consent of the person or the persons’s legal representative, except in those unusual circumstances in which not to do so would result in clear danger to the person or to others. Where appropriate, biblio/poetry therapists inform their clients of the legal limits of confidentiality.
Information obtained in clinical or consulting relationships can be discussed in writings, lectures or other public forums only if adequate prior consent is obtained or if there is adequate disguise of all identifying information.
Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators make provisions for maintaining confidentiality in the storage and disposal of records.
When working with minors or other persons who are unable to give voluntary, informed consent, biblio/poetry therapists take special care to protect these persons’ best interests.
Principle 5 – Welfare of the Client:
Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators respect the integrity and protect the welfare of the people and groups with whom they work and they freely acknowledge that clients, students or participants in research have freedom of choice with regard to participation.
Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators are continually cognizant of their own needs and of their potentially influential position vis-B-vis persons such as clients, students, and subordinates. They avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of such persons. Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators make every effort to avoid dual relationships that could impair their professional judgment or increase the risk of exploitation. Examples of such dual relationships include, but are not limited to, research with, treatment of or facilitation with employees, students, supervisees, close friends, or relatives. Sexual intimacies with clients are unethical.
Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators make advance financial arrangements that safeguard the best interests of and are clearly understood by their clients.
Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators terminate a clinical or consulting relationship when it is reasonably clear that the consumer is not benefitting from it. They offer to help the consumer locate alternative sources of assistance.
Members of the biblio/poetry community do not use their professional relationships with clients or trainees to further their own interest, in contrast to the interest of the client or trainee. Encouraging a client or trainee to participate in the professional’s commercial enterprise, a relative’s or friend’s commercial enterprise, a social or political campaign, or an advocacy measure is unethical. Providing therapy to a trainee, except in an emergency situation, is unethical. A mentor/supervisor must exercise special care in requiring a trainee to buy a book written by the mentor/supervisor; such a requirement is ethical if the book is on the reading list of the Training Guide, otherwise it may be unethical, and the mentor/supervisor is encouraged to consult the Federation Ethics Committee.
Principle 6 – Professional Relationships:
Biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators act with due regard for the needs, special competencies, and obligations of their colleagues in their own and other professions. They respect the prerogatives and obligations of the institutions or organizations with which these other colleagues are associated.
In conducting research in institutions or organizations, biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators secure appropriate authorization to conduct such research. They are aware of their obligations to future researchers and ensure that host institutions receive adequate information about the research and proper acknowledgement of their contributions.
Publication credit is assigned to those who have contributed to a publication in proportion to their professional contributions.
When biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators know of an ethical violation by another biblio/poetry therapist or applied poetry facilitator, they informally attempt to resolve the issue by bringing the behavior to the attention of this colleague. If the misconduct is of a minor nature and/or appears to be due to lack of sensitivity, knowledge, or experience, such an informal solution is usually appropriate. Such informal correctives are made with sensitivity to any rights to confidentiality involved. If the violation does not seem amenable to informal solution, or is of a more serious nature, biblio/poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators bring it to the attention of the Ethics Committee of the National Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy.