Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 18. Professional And Occupational Licensing
Agency 125. Board Of Psychology
Chapter 20. Regulations Governing the Practice of Psychology

18VAC125-20-150. Standards of practice.

A. The protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and the best interest of the public shall be the primary guide in determining the appropriate professional conduct of all persons whose activities are regulated by the board. Psychologists respect the rights, dignity and worth of all people, and are mindful of individual differences.

B. Persons licensed by the board shall:

1. Provide and supervise only those services and use only those techniques for which they are qualified by training and appropriate experience. Delegate to their employees, supervisees, residents and research assistants only those responsibilities such persons can be expected to perform competently by education, training and experience. Take ongoing steps to maintain competence in the skills they use;

2. When making public statements regarding credentials, published findings, directory listings, curriculum vitae, etc., ensure that such statements are neither fraudulent nor misleading;

3. Neither accept nor give commissions, rebates or other forms of remuneration for referral of clients for professional services. Make appropriate consultations and referrals consistent with the law and based on the interest of patients or clients;

4. Refrain from undertaking any activity in which their personal problems are likely to lead to inadequate or harmful services;

5. Avoid harming patients or clients, research participants, students and others for whom they provide professional services and minimize harm when it is foreseeable and unavoidable. Not exploit or mislead people for whom they provide professional services. Be alert to and guard against misuse of influence;

6. Avoid dual relationships with patients, clients, residents or supervisees that could impair professional judgment or compromise their well-being (to include but not limited to treatment of close friends, relatives, employees);

7. Withdraw from, adjust or clarify conflicting roles with due regard for the best interest of the affected party or parties and maximal compliance with these standards;

8. Not engage in sexual intimacies or a romantic relationship with a student, supervisee, resident, therapy patient, client, or those included in collateral therapeutic services (such as a parent, spouse, or significant other) while providing professional services. For at least five years after cessation or termination of professional services, not engage in sexual intimacies or a romantic relationship with a therapy patient, client, or those included in collateral therapeutic services. Consent to, initiation of, or participation in sexual behavior or romantic involvement with a psychologist does not change the exploitative nature of the conduct nor lift the prohibition. Since sexual or romantic relationships are potentially exploitative, psychologists shall bear the burden of demonstrating that there has been no exploitation;

9. Keep confidential their professional relationships with patients or clients and disclose client records to others only with written consent except: (i) when a patient or client is a danger to self or others, (ii) as required under § 32.1-127.1:03 of the Code of Virginia, or (iii) as permitted by law for a valid purpose;

10. Make reasonable efforts to provide for continuity of care when services must be interrupted or terminated;

11. Inform clients of professional services, fees, billing arrangements and limits of confidentiality before rendering services. Inform the consumer prior to the use of collection agencies or legal measures to collect fees and provide opportunity for prompt payment. Avoid bartering goods and services. Participate in bartering only if it is not clinically contraindicated and is not exploitative;

12. Construct, maintain, administer, interpret and report testing and diagnostic services in a manner and for purposes which are appropriate;

13. Keep pertinent, confidential records for at least five years after termination of services to any consumer;

14. Design, conduct and report research in accordance with recognized standards of scientific competence and research ethics; and

15. Report to the board known or suspected violations of the laws and regulations governing the practice of psychology.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR565-01-2 § 7.1, eff. June 22, 1988; amended, Virginia Register Volume 7, Issue 10, eff. March 13, 1991; Volume 9, Issue 7, eff. January 27, 1993; Volume 10, Issue 7, eff. January 27, 1994; Volume 13, Issue 21, eff. August 6, 1997; Volume 16, Issue 2, eff. November 10, 1999; Errata, 16:4 VA.R. 444 November 8, 1999; amended, Volume 28, Issue 19, eff. June 20, 2012.

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