The Ethic Committee ( EC) works on written questions and complaints, so that it has time to discuss and understand what is asked. This allows it to consider an issue in a serene atmosphere, without being under pressure by interactive passions. Yet it may in some cases need to meet the persons who are involved in a case.
4.12 Confidentiality principle
All information you send to the Ethic Committee is treated as confidential. Some of the information you will send to us may have to be discussed with all parties involved, and in some cases with the EABP Board.
The information we receive will not be communicated to other persons or institutions unless legal procedures require it. In each situation we will use our judgement and knowledge of the context to decide how this information is used with the other parties and the EABP Board. In these cases you will be informed that information has been exchanged.
The procedures described in the following pages allow the reader to:
- 4.131 - know how to proceed when he / she wants to present a complaint to the EC concerning the behaviour of a therapist, supervisor, trainer, school, professional association or a colleague
- 4.132 - be informed of what procedures the EC follows once it has received an inquiry or complaint
4.2 Opening a procedure
The Ethic Committee will process any inquiry or complaint if you follow and accept the following procedure:
- 4.21 - as we are an international organisation, we only can consider inquiries or complaints if they are in writing, signed by yourself and in English.
4.22 Concerning persons involved:
- as an EABP Committee we can only deal with complaints against EABP members
- the issue in question may not date back longer than 7 years
- you have to be directly involved with the person(s)
- although we cannot make a case based on third party complaints, we welcome information and questions on ethical issues from EABP colleagues. The Ethic Committee will inform you if and how we can proceed with this question / information
4.23 Concerning content of the matter:
- we need to know the specifics of your question / complaint ( with documents if available) and if the EABP member involved has been informed about the step you are making, and if not, why not.
- we need to know if any resolutions have been attempted, and if so, in what form and with which outcome
- some questions / complaints fall outside of the remit of the Ethic Committee and cannot be processes further. You will be informed if this is the case, and the reasons for this.
After having received and discussed all the relevant material, the Ethic Committee will inform you if your inquiry / complaint is related to a transgression of the EABP Code of Ethic and if so, we will move on to the information-gathering phase.
4.3 Information Gathering Phase
Having decided to proceed, our next step will be to inform the person(s) or institution concerned of your complaint ( if you have not done so yet) and will ask for his/her/their point of view
- we may, in some cases, send to both parties some of the information we have received, so as to gather more specific information on some points. Given the complexity of transferential dynamics we have to deal with in ethical cases, it is up to the Ethic Committee to decide what information is passed on to the other party.
- If a mediator is required to gather necessary information, the costs will be shared by the parties involved. If there is a disagreement between the parties about the sharing of any costs of the mediation process, this disagreement itself is to be dealt with as part of the mediation.
- If the mediation fails, we will decide if your complaint can be processed further by the Ethic Committee or not and inform about our decision and the reasons for this.
4.4 Evaluation Phase
Once we have gathered sufficient information, the Ethic Committee discusses and evaluates the situation and informs all parties concerned of its conclusions, and on the reasons it founds these conclusions on, referring to the relevant points in our guidelines.
These conclusions are the basis for the actions and sanctions required, described in the following section:
4.5 Required actions and sanctions
Conclusion and requirements of the Ethic Committee are binding for the parties involved, except recommendations for suspension or exclusion of an EABP member, which must be ratified by the EABP Board.
Ethical requirements and sanctions are applied to repair both the evaluation capacity of the transgressor and the associations trust in the transgressor. They should be considered in the terms of the following questions:
- what must change in him or her in order to become a trustworthy colleagues and therapist in our eyes?
This implies that the Ethic Committee has the education function of helping colleagues to become clearer on ethical issues.
If we do not believe that he or she can behave in a trustworthy fashion according to the ethical code of EABP, we will no longer be able to share a professional trusting relationship with the transgressing individual or institution.
The goal of these professional requirements and sanctions is to help re-establish professional ethical function wherever this is considered possible and to maintain high ethical standards of behaviour in the EABP.
4.6 Towards re-establishing professional trust:
This starts with an evaluation of professional ethics, in which the motives, knowledge, feelings and actions of the transgressing person(s) before, during and after the transgression are evaluated to determine why the breach has occurred.
On this basis a number of professional sanctions may be imposed on the transgressor:
- 4.61 - A reprimand will be given in case of transgressions of lesser severity, accompanied by clarification of the ethical issues involved.
- 4.62 - Mediation process: The Body-psychotherapist is required to process the issue with the injured person(s) in the presence of a mutually acceptable mediator. This procedure may or may not involve separate meetings between the mediator and transgressing member. The transgressing member will not be paid for the time spent in this process and may be required to pay partial or total fee for the mediation.
- 4.63 - Requirements of supervision, education or personal therapy on the problem issue, ending with a statement from the transgressor on the nature and completion of this process and present understanding, countersigned by his therapist or supervisor. The chosen therapist, supervisor or mediator must be approved by the Ethic Committee. The transgressor may or may not be suspended from his membership until the processing has finished. Subsequent transgression of the same nature are dealt with in a progressively severe fashion.
- 4.64 - The EC may demand that the therapist, trainer or supervisor stops working with a client, in case of an ethically or professionally problematic relation between individuals which has lead to an ethical complaint, even if the client wishes to continue the professional relationship. This also applies when there is a problematic relationship between an association and a person.
- 4.65 - Suspension of a member will be recommended by the Ethic Committee when the offence is considered serious enough to exclude the member from the Association, but is considered redeemable with the passage of time and effort.
- 4.66 - Exclusion must be the recommendation of the Ethic Committee towards offences described definitely in the examples of the Ethical guidelines when they are wilfull or premeditated. Attempts at camouflaging transgressions or refusal to comply with EABP sanctions are also grounds for immediate exclusion. The Ethic Committee may recommend exclusion at its discretion, on such matters. In the event where the General Assembly accepts an appeal against an Ethic Committee decision or votes against an Ethic Committee proposal to exclude a member ( see 4.2 (c and d) and 6.7 of Articles of Association), the General Assembly will appoint a legally or professionally qualified person as arbiter from outside of the Association to review the case. Their decision would be binding on the parties and on the Ethic Committee.
4.7 In its deliberations, the Ethics Committee functions as follows:
- 4.71 - Ethic Committee advice and arbitration are generally carried out by a minimum of three Ethic Committee members, none of whom is directly or secondarily involved in the issue under consideration. EC members involved in the issue may not give opinions to the arbitrators.
- 4.72 - Four of the five Ethic Committee members must be in agreement for any disciplinary decision to be valid.
- 4.73 - Advice or arbitrational decisions are reached by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, the chairperson is included in deliberations ending in a simple majority vote.
- 4.74 - this is where the new motion should go with this number “when a person is not satisfied with the treatment by the EC, he/she may complain to the Board of EABP”.