Members Area

ETHICS CODE: AASP Ethical Principles and Standards

INTRODUCTION

The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) strives to ensure that every performer has the resources to strengthen their mental skills and psychological flexibility through the advancement and application of best practices in mental performance and mental health treatment. Members work to cultivate an inclusive field of Certified Mental Performance Consultants® (CMPCs), licensed mental health professionals, educators, and researchers. AASP members have backgrounds in a variety of areas, including but not limited to, health, exercise and sport psychology, sport science, social work, counseling and clinical psychology, performing arts, business consultation, and military training. AASP values excellence, respect, integrity, diversity, collaboration, and service.

One way that members of AASP and CMPCs help the organization meet their mission statement is through upholding professional standards for competent and ethical practice. The AASP Ethical Principles and Standards (hereinafter referred to as the Ethics Code) is presented here and consists of this Introduction, a Preamble, six General Principles, and 27 Standards. The Introduction provides an overview of AASP, as well as AASP’s Mission and Values. The Preamble and General Principles are intended to guide AASP members and CMPCs toward the highest ideals of the profession. The Standards more precisely specify the boundaries of ethical conduct. Although the Preamble and General Principles are aspirational and are not enforceable rules, they should be considered by AASP members and CMPCs in arriving at an ethical course of action. Ethical Standards are enforceable rules that mandate behavioral choices and practice guidelines.

AASP members and CMPCs are expected to adhere to the AASP Ethics Code. They are expected to be aware that, in many situations, additional ethics codes and/or laws may be applied to them by other professional organizations or public entities. In the process of making decisions regarding their professional behavior, AASP members and CMPCs are expected to consider this Ethics Code, in addition to other ethical guidelines or legal codes relevant to their professional practice. If the Ethics Code suggests a more stringent standard of conduct than is required by law(s) or other ethical guidelines, AASP members and CMPCs are expected to adhere to the more stringent ethical standard. If the Ethics Code standard appears to conflict with the requirements of law, then they must make known their commitment to the Ethics Code and take steps to resolve the conflict in a responsible and legal manner by obtaining legal and ethical consultation. If neither the law nor the Ethics Code resolves an issue, AASP members and CMPCs should consider other professional materials (e.g., guidelines and standards that have been adopted or endorsed by other professional organizations), the dictates of their own conscience, and consulting with others within the field and/or legal experts, when this is practical. Consulting with the Chair of the Ethics committee is another option.


PREAMBLE

 AASP members and CMPCs may fulfill many roles based on their professional training and competence. In these roles, they may work to develop a valid and reliable body of scientific knowledge based on research which can then be applied to human behavior in a variety of sport and performance contexts including, but not limited to, health, exercise and sport psychology, sport science, social work, counseling and clinical psychology, performing arts, business consultation, and military training. Their goals are to broaden knowledge of this behavior and, where appropriate, to apply it pragmatically to improve the condition of both the individual and society. AASP members and CMPCs should respect the central importance of freedom of inquiry and expression in research, teaching, and consulting. They also strive to help the public develop informed judgments and choices concerning sport and performance contexts. This Ethics Code provides a common set of values and standards upon which AASP members build their professional and scientific work.

 This Ethics Code is intended to provide the general principles and specific ethical standards for managing many situations encountered by AASP members and CMPCs. The primary goal of the Ethics Code is for the welfare and protection of individuals, groups, and the public with whom AASP members and CMPCs work. It is the individual responsibility of each AASP member and CMPC to aspire to the highest possible standards of conduct. AASP members and CMPCs respect and protect human and civil rights, and do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices.

Adherence to the Ethics Code requires AASP members and CMPCs to: (1) make a personal commitment to a lifelong effort to act ethically; (2) to encourage ethical behavior by students, mentees, supervisees, employees, and colleagues, as appropriate; and (3) to consult with others, as needed, concerning ethical problems. While each AASP member and CPMC will have their own personal values, culture, and experiences, these should not violate the Ethics Code. 

 

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

This section consists of General Principles and are aspirational in nature. Their intent is to guide and inspire AASP members and CMPCs toward the highest ethical ideals. Using the General Principles to determine ethical violations or sanctions distorts both their meaning and purpose.

Principle A: Competence

AASP members and CMPCs maintain the highest standards of competence in their work. They recognize the boundaries of their professional competencies and the limitations of their expertise. They maintain knowledge related to the services they render, and they recognize the need for ongoing education. Members make appropriate use of scientific, professional, technical, and administrative resources. They provide only those services and use only those techniques for which they are qualified by licensing, certification, education, training, and/or experience. Members are cognizant of the fact that the competencies required in serving, teaching, and/or studying groups of people vary with the distinctive characteristics of those groups. In those areas in which recognized professional standards do not yet exist, AASP members and CMPCs exercise careful judgment and take appropriate precautions to protect the welfare of those with whom they work.

Principle B: Integrity

AASP members and CMPCs promote integrity in the science, teaching, and practice of their professional work. In these activities, they are honest and fair. When describing or reporting their qualifications, services, products, fees, research, or teaching, they do not make statements that are false, misleading, or deceptive. They clarify for relevant parties the roles they are performing and the obligations they adopt. They function appropriately in accordance with those roles and obligations. AASP members and CMPCs avoid improper and potentially harmful multiple relationships.

Principle C: Professional and Scientific Responsibility

AASP members and CMPCs are responsible for safeguarding the public and AASP by adhering to this Ethics Code.They uphold professional standards of conduct and accept appropriate responsibility for their behavior. AASP members and CMPCs consult with, refer to, or cooperate with other professionals and institutions to the extent needed to serve the best interests of the recipients of their services. Their moral standards and conduct in non-professional settings are personal matters to the same degree as is true for any other person, except as their conduct may compromise their professional responsibilities or reduce the public’s trust in the profession and the organization. AASP members and CMPCs are aware of the ethical compliance of their colleagues’ scientific and professional conduct. When appropriate, they consult with colleagues in order to prevent, avoid, or terminate unethical conduct. If an AASP member and/or CMPC is also a member of another professional organization, consideration should be given to abiding to the higher standard when possible.

Principle D: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity

AASP members and CMPCs accord appropriate respect to the fundamental rights, dignity, and worth of all people. They respect the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination, mindful that legal and other obligations may lead to inconsistency and conflict with the exercise of these rights. AASP members and CMPCs stay abreast of professional practices and education regarding diversity and inclusion, understanding individual and cultural differences, including but not limited to, those related to age, biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, marital status, immigration status, mental or physical ability, political beliefs, language, educational level, employment status, and/or socioeconomic status, among others. They promote and work to integrate these differences within their professional work. AASP members and CMPCs are aware of how their biases related to the aforementioned identities may influence their work, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone discriminatory practices.

AASP members and CMPCs may advocate, where appropriate, for their clients. Advocacy can be broadly understood as actions, behaviors, or initiatives by organizations or individuals who hold some degree of power (e.g., influence, status, authority). AASP members and CMPCs strive to identify and address potential barriers and obstacles that inhibit a client’s positive development and potential for growth. When evaluating and implementing advocacy, AASP members and CMPCs examine relevant multicultural considerations.

Principle E: Concern for Others' Welfare

AASP members and CMPCs seek to contribute to the welfare of those with whom they interact professionally. When conflicts occur among AASP members’ and/or CMPCs’ obligations or concerns, they attempt to resolve those conflicts and to perform those roles in a responsible fashion that avoids or minimizes harm. AASP members and CMPCs are sensitive to real and ascribed differences in power, privilege, and influence between themselves and others. They do not exploit or mislead other people during or after professional relationships. AASP members and CMPCs  adhere to ethical or legal mandates to ensure the safety, privacy, and well-being of those to whom they provide services.

Principle F: Social Responsibility

AASP members and CMPCs are aware of their professional responsibilities as they relate to the community and the society in which they work and live. They apply and make public their knowledge in order to contribute to human welfare. When undertaking professional responsibilities, AASP members and CMPCs strive to advance human welfare and their profession while protecting the rights of the participants. AASP members and CMPCs avoid misuse of their work, and they comply with the law as it pertains to their respective jurisdiction to carry out their work in an ethical manner and in accordance with regulatory bodies.


GENERAL ETHICAL STANDARDS

The Ethical Standards are applicable to AASP members and CMPCs across all their professional roles and in all their professional interactions and communications. These standards represent obligations for AASP members and CMPCs for which they will be held accountable. Failure to meet these standards could form the basis of a complaint against a member and/or CMPC.  

1. Professional and Scientific Relationship

AASP members and CMPCs:   
(a) provide diagnostic, therapeutic, teaching, educational, supervisory, mentoring, or other consultative services only in the context of a defined professional or scientific relationship or role.
(b) understand their primary responsibility is to respect the dignity and promote the welfare of those with whom they directly serve, while aspiring to do what is objectively beneficial for larger collective groups of people. 

2. Boundaries of Competence

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) represent diverse academic and professional backgrounds. These different training histories provide different competencies, and members ongoingly strive to develop and hone a multi-disciplinary knowledge and skills. AASP members and CMPCs trained in clinical mental health must be aware of potential limitations in their sport science competencies. AASP members and CMPCs trained in the sport sciences must be aware of their limitations in clinical mental health. Individuals from different training backgrounds must deliver services, teach, supervise, mentor, and conduct research only within the boundaries of their competence.
(b) provide services, teach, supervise, mentor, or conduct research in new areas only after taking the necessary actions to guarantee a high level of competence in those areas (e.g., education, training, supervised experience, mentoring, consultation, study). 
(d) who engage in assessment, therapy, teaching, research, supervision, mentorship, organizational consulting, or other professional activities, maintain a reasonable level of awareness of current scientific and professional information in their fields of activity, and undertake ongoing efforts to maintain competence in the skills they use.
(e) are aware of the limitations of their scientific work and do not make claims or take actions that exceed these limitations. Moreover, they continually monitor their effectiveness as professionals and take steps to improve when necessary, including taking reasonable steps to seek peer supervision or consultation to evaluate their effectiveness in their role(s). Similarly, AASP members and CMPCs recognize the need for continuing education to acquire and maintain a reasonable level of awareness of current scientific and professional information in their field of work. AASP members and CMPCs maintain their competence in the skills they use, are open to new procedures, and remain informed regarding best practices for working with diverse populations.
(f) who serve as consultants work to develop competency with the process of recognizing mental health concerns and referring for intervention as needed.  
(g) acknowledge that competency is not separate from, but instead related to all other standards, including (but not limited to) technology, multicultural competence, and societal/sociological perspectives.

3. Use of Titles, Description of Services, and Business Names    

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) are responsible for using titles, describing services, and choosing business names that are legally allowed in the country, state, province, or jurisdiction where they work. This requires members to review applicable laws that may dictate the use of terms, such as, but not limited to, psychology, psychological, and/or psychologist. 
(b) must comply with the use of the CMPC credential in accordance with the CMPC handbook. CMPCs shall not refer to the certification as a license.
c) do not advertise their services by embellishing their credentials, scope of practice, or the outcomes of their work with clients for personal gain.

4. Human Differences

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) gain knowledge, personal awareness, sensitivity, dispositions, and skills pertinent to being culturally competent and culturally humble practitioners working with diverse client populations.
(b) recognize that differences such as age, biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, marital status, immigration status, mental or physical ability, political beliefs, language, educational level, employment status, and/or socioeconomic status, among others, can significantly affect their work.
(c) demonstrate knowledge and understanding of diversity and inclusion in their service provision. They have the responsibility to develop the necessary education and skills (e.g., accessible and inclusive language), through ongoing professional development, supervision, and mentorship to be competent, and they make appropriate referrals.
(d) do not engage in, facilitate, or condone any form of discrimination. These human differences can include, but are not limited to, age, biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, marital status, immigration status, mental or physical ability, political beliefs, language, educational level, employment status, and/or socioeconomic status regardless if prescribed by law (including avoiding the use or endorsement of microaggressions, microinvalidations, microassaults, and microinsults). 

5. Exploitation, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Misuse of Influence

AASP members and CMPCs:

(a) do not exploit persons over whom they have supervisory, evaluative, or other authority, such as students, supervisees, employees, research participants, and clients.
(b) do not engage in behavior that is harassing or demeaning to persons with whom they interact in their work, nor do they engage in sexual misconduct with clients, mentees, students, trainees, or colleagues. Sexual misconduct includes any unwanted sexual advances, sexual solicitation, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, written, electronic, or physical contact of a sexual nature.
(c) should not engage in uninvited solicitation of potential clients who, because of their circumstances, are vulnerable to undue influence, manipulation, or coercion.
(d) do not solicit or use testimonials from current clients. AASP members and CMPCs can use unsolicited testimonials from other persons (e.g., past clients, administrators) after obtaining written permission only if testimonials are de-identified and when there is no potential for undue influence. AASP members and CMPCs must place current and former clients’ best interests above their potential opportunities for marketing or career advancement. 
(e) in instances when a letter of reference is requested by third parties for matters such as job application or award selection, care should be taken to avoid client exploitation. In such instances, AASP members or CMPCs can (1) abstain from asking the client, (2) ask alternative employers, colleagues, or administrators and/or (3) ask past clients to reduce the potential for undue influence to comply.  After considering these alternative approaches and finding none appropriate, if steps can be taken to ensure that asking would present a low exploitation risk, then the client may be asked for a letter, providing informed consent has been obtained.   
(f) refrain from publicly taking credit or sharing inaccurate testimonials.

6. Personal Problems and Conflicts

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) recognize that personal problems, including addictions, impairments, values differences, and personal conflicts, may interfere with their effectiveness. Accordingly, they refrain from undertaking an activity when their personal problems may harm others to whom they may owe a professional or scientific obligation.
(b) are aware that the extreme visibility and notoriety of some of the clients and organizations with whom they work may compromise their professional objectivity and competence. If objectivity is compromised, it is their responsibility to take corrective action. For example, AASP members and CMPCs could: (1) seek assistance from or consultation with other professionals, such as the Ethics Committee; (2) temporarily limit, suspend, or terminate the working relationship; and (3) make appropriate referrals.
(c) do not use client or client organization privileged information for personal gain (e.g., financial, further professional opportunities).

7. Avoiding Harm

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) take reasonable steps to avoid and/or minimize harming their clients, research participants, students, and others with whom they work. In addition, they:
(1)  take reasonable steps to reduce the impact of harm if harm has occurred.
(2)  take reasonable steps to consult, communicate with those involved, and document their efforts when there is disagreement related to harm.
(3)  avoid entering or continuing consulting relationships if the consultant lacks the competence to assist a client. Referrals should be made to other appropriate sources. 

8. Misuse of AASP Members’ Work

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) do not use or share information in a way that is misleading or other than how originally intended. 
(b) do not represent another’s work as their own, including but not limited to, skills, products, research, or published work.
(c) that learn of misuse or misrepresentation of information, take reasonable steps to correct or minimize the misuse or misrepresentation, including but not limited to contacting the person who is misusing the information and the person whose information was misused. 

9. Multiple Relationships

A multiple relationship occurs when an AASP member or CMPC is in a professional role with a person and: (1) at the same time is in another role with the same person; or (2) at the same time is in a relationship with a person closely associated with, or related to, the person with whom the AASP member or CMPC has the professional relationship; or (3) promises to enter into another relationship in the future with the person or a person closely associated with or related to the person.

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) acknowledge that multiple relationships may have an increased occurrence given the varied roles they perform professionally. They have ongoing awareness of potential power imbalances and various ethical concerns (e.g., confidentiality, informed consent) when providing services to clients, and work to act in the best interest of the client. 
(b) carefully evaluate the nature of their professional relationships before or as soon as possible after becoming aware of the existence of a multiple relationship (e.g., acquaintances, friends, family members, and/or business relationship). Considerations might include their ability to maintain an appropriate amount of objectivity, the type of work to be performed (e.g., individual, group, mental health, performance), perceptions of credibility, frequency of sessions, and/or adverse effects on the client relationship. 
(c) remain aware that social or other nonprofessional interactions (e.g., social media) can lead to potential harmful and unintended effects on others, which might impair the AASP member or CMPC’s objectivity or might risk harm or exploitation. To avoid impairment and mitigate potential harm, they take appropriate precautions such as (but not limited to) avoiding nonprofessional interactions and/or gaining informed consent. 
(d) refrain from taking on professional or scientific obligations when preexisting relationships would create a risk of harm.
(e) Do not engage in sexual and/or romantic relationships with anyone over whom they currently hold evaluative or other explicit or implicit power, for whom a conflict of interest could possibly exist, or for whom objectivity could possibly be impaired. This includes but is not limited to current individual psychotherapy or mental performance clients, as well as current supervisees, mentees, students, and/or immediate family members of clients. This applies to both in-person and electronic interactions or relationships.
(f) Do not engage in sexual relations with former clients for at least two years after termination of services. After two years, only engage in sexual intimacies with former clients in unusual circumstances after careful consideration of the following factors: 1)the nature and duration of services provided, 2) the amount of time since the termination of services, 3) the circumstances of the termination, 4) the client’s personal history and current mental status, 5) the likelihood of adverse impact on the client, and 6) any statements or actions by the practitioner suggesting or inviting the possibility of such a relationship post-termination.
(g) Professional members do not engage in sexual relationships with students, supervisees, or mentees who are in their department, agency, or training center or over whom they have or are likely to have evaluative authority. 
(h) Student members who serve in academic roles that give them opportunities to provide instruction, supervision, mentorship, and/or grade work may only engage in sexual relations with a former student if they can clearly show that they no longer have any evaluative or other explicit or implicit power over the other student and will not have such evaluative potential or power in the future.  In such situations, students must conform to institutional guidelines.  
 

10. Barter and Receiving Gifts

Bartering is the acceptance of goods, services, or other non-monetary remuneration from clients—individual(s), groups, and/or organization(s)—in return for services. The main purpose of bartering is to give a client access to services they could not otherwise pay for due to financial circumstances and/or when bartering is part of cultural norms. The bartering arrangement should be documented as part of the written informed consent and indicate what service(s) will be provided and what specific compensation (goods, services, or other non-monetary remuneration) the client will give the provider. 

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) may barter, subject to the following conditions: 
(1) it does not contradict or impede the client’s progress
(2) the resulting arrangement is not exploitative (e.g., duration of arrangement and termination policies are an explicit part of informed consent)
(3) it does not constitute an unethical multiple relationship
(4) it does not impair the AASP member or CMPC’s objectivity, judgment, and/or competence. AASP members and CMPCs need to consider the cultural implications of bartering, discuss relevant concerns with clients, and document such agreements.
(b) use bartering with an organization when: 
(1) financial circumstances otherwise limit the organization’s access to services 
(2) the confidentiality of the organization is maintained
(3) the arrangement does not constitute a business partnership (e.g., percentage of sales) 
(4) bartering is part of the cultural norms of the organization.
(c) carefully evaluate gifts or tokens of appreciation received from clients or client organizations. In these situations, it is the AASP member or CMPC’s responsibility to determine that the gifts are appropriate for the setting and are not exploitative. They understand the challenges of accepting gifts from clients and recognize that in some cultures, small gifts are a token of respect and gratitude. When determining whether to accept a gift from clients, members and CMPCs consider the relationship, the monetary value of the gift, the client’s personal meaning for giving the gift, and the members’ or CMPCs’ personal meaning for wanting to accept or decline the gift.

11. Consultations and Referrals

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) maintain confidentiality within the boundaries agreed upon in the informed consent, when consulting with other professionals about clients or consulting issues.
(b) consider and arrange for referrals based on the best interests of their client(s). If requested by the client, and with documented consent, and subject to other relevant considerations,they follow applicable law(s) and contractual obligations.

12. Third-Party Requests for Services

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) provide services to a person or entity at the request of a third party (e.g., national governing bodies, university administration, university athletics department, insurance agencies, coaches, sports medicine staff). At the outset of the service, the AASP member or CMPC clarifies the nature of the role/relationship with each party. This clarification includes the role of the AASP member or CMPC, an identification of who is the client, the probable uses of the services provided or the information obtained, and the fact that there may be limits to confidentiality.
(b) must take reasonable steps to only disclose necessary information and clarify any limitations to client confidentiality prior to the commencement of services, when a third party pays for services. Confidentiality is a process and should be addressed on an ongoing basis as circumstances change.
(c) who may encounter foreseeable risk of being called upon to perform conflicting roles because of the involvement of a third party, clarify the nature and direction of their responsibilities, keep all parties appropriately informed as matters develop, and resolve the situation in accordance with the Ethics Code which may include relationship restructuring or termination.

13. Consultation, Mentorship, or Supervision

Consultation refers to a process of structured and organized interactions with professional colleagues, designed to broaden professional knowledge and expertise, reduce professional isolation, and directly inform the work of the practitioner. Mentorship is defined as a relationship between a mentor and a mentee with the purpose of enhancing the mentee’s professional functioning and monitoring the mentee’s development as the mentee engages in the provision of services. Supervision implies a heightened level of responsibility, particularly for licensed or registered clinicians who serve as supervisors, given that it often means that supervisees function as an extension of the supervisor. Supervision often entails an evaluative component and comes with a greater power differential. Definitions of supervision can vary depending on the profession, the legal jurisdiction, work setting, agency, or organization of employment. 

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) clearly identify the nature of the consulting, mentorship, or supervision relationship, each party’s responsibilities, and any financial arrangements involved in these relationships. These should be in writing and reviewed on an ongoing basis.
(b) delegate to their consultee(s), mentee(s), or supervisee(s) (e.g., employees, interns, research assistants) only responsibilities that they can reasonably be expected to perform competently, given their current stage of training.
(c) provide consultation, mentorship, and/or supervision by taking reasonable steps to see that consultees, mentees, and/or supervisees perform services responsibly, competently, and ethically. This includes the use of assessments and feedback of the mentee’s/supervisee’s progress. 
(d) ensure their consultee(s), mentee(s), or supervisee(s) represent themselves accurately, letting their potential clients know that they are in training and working towards competency, certification, and/or licensure.
(e) recognize and respect client confidentiality and privacy during consultation, mentorship, and/or supervision.
(f) do not engage in romantic and/or sexual relationships with their mentees, supervisees, or others whom one might have explicit or implicit power over. 
 

14. Documentation of Professional Work

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) who provide direct and/or indirect service to clients, make sure that their documentation includes:
(1)  details of the method (written, electronic and/or verbal) indicating how informed consent was obtained. 
(2)  written or electronic notes documenting work done in sessions, future plans, referrals made and/or considered, and updates regarding the client’s progress.
(b) who conduct scientific and research activities appropriately document their scientific work and research, including institutional ethics board approval when appropriate, in order to facilitate sharing of their work with other professionals, to ensure accountability, and to meet other requirements of institutions or the law.

15. Fees and Financial Arrangements

(a) shall reach an agreement as early as is feasible in a professional or scientific relationship, clearly specifying compensation and billing arrangements between the AASP member or CMPC and the client, or other appropriate recipient of services or third party payors.
(b) do not exploit recipients of services, third party payors, or stakeholders with respect to fees.
(c) who anticipate that limitations to services are likely to occur due to financial constraints, shall discuss and document a plan for addressing it with the client, third party payors, or stakeholders, as early as is feasible.
(d) do not deliver services for an individual client’s future remuneration based on the client’s future achievements, nor do they accept testimonials in place of fees for services. 
(e) may consider bartering, pro-bono work, and/or a defined graduated fee structure for service, if there is concern about access to services due to financial ability.

16. Definition of Public Statements

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a)  are responsible for the clarity and honesty of public statements about their work made to clients, students, colleagues, and/or the public (including social media), by themselves or others representing them.
(b)  who learn of deceptive or inaccurate statements about their work made by others, make reasonable efforts to correct such statements.
 

17. Informed Consent to Practice

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) obtain appropriate informed consent for services using language that is reasonably understandable to clients, ideally at the beginning or as soon as feasible, given the context and parameters of the relationship. The content of informed consent will vary depending on circumstances. However, informed consent generally implies that:  
(1) the person has the capacity to consent 
(2) the person has been informed of relevant information (e.g., risks/benefits of consultation, fees, process, time of meetings, social media use, privacy, expectations concerning the consultation process) 
(3) the person has freely and without undue influence expressed consent 
(4) consent has been appropriately discussed and documented (written or electronic form is most prudent) 
(5) consent is updated as needed
(b) who encounter a client who is legally incapable of giving informed consent shall obtain informed permission from a legally authorized person if such substitute consent is permitted by law. The AASP member or CMPC shall advise the authorized person of the intervention plan, and seek the client’s assent to those interventions.
(c) serving as formal mentors, provide mentees with a mentorship agreement/informed consent document outlining the boundaries of the mentor-mentee relationship, mentor responsibilities, and mentee responsibilities. Mentors or mentees have the right to end the mentoring relationship with adequate notice, reasons for considering ending the relationship are discussed, and both parties work to resolve differences. When the relationship ends earlier than planned, both mentors and mentees make efforts to identify possible alternative mentors.
(d) serving as formal mentors, are responsible for informing their mentees of the policies and procedures to which mentors and mentees are to adhere, and the mechanisms for due process appeal of individual mentor actions. Issues unique to the use of distance mentorship are to be included in documentation as necessary. Mentors establish and communicate to mentees procedures for contacting mentors or, in their absence, alternative on-call mentors to assist in handling crises.

18. Termination of Services 

AASP members and CMPCs: 
(a) may terminate a relationship with clients or organizational contracts when practitioners have communicated appropriately that: 
(1) they are facing a conflict of interest 
(2) they feel threatened by clients, organizations, or related persons, which could cause harm or jeopardize privacy and confidentiality 
(3) the clients or organizations do not comply or attend to the terms of service delivery
(4) there is a lack of direct contact and communication with clients or organizations
(5) clients or organizations are not paying agreed upon fees 
(b) may terminate a relationship with clients or organizational contracts when it becomes reasonably clear that the client(s) no longer needs the service and/or benefit from them and/or may be harmed by continued service. 
(c) may terminate a relationship with clients or organizational contracts when unable to continue providing effective, competent, and ethical service. 
(d) explain to clients or organizations the need for termination, take reasonable steps to safeguard the welfare of the clients, and assist them in identifying options to assure the continuity of services. When appropriate, AASP members or CMPCs facilitate the transfer of clients to a new practitioner, explaining benefits and risks of each option and protecting the client or organizational confidentiality of information and records when they terminate services.

19. Maintaining Confidentiality

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) have a primary obligation to uphold and take reasonable precautions to respect the rights and limitations of confidentiality of those with whom they work or consult, recognizing that confidentiality may be established by law, institutional rules, and/or professional or scientific relationships.
(b) discuss with persons and organizations with whom they work: (1) the relevant limitations of confidentiality, including limitations where applicable in group, relationship, family counseling, and in organizational consulting; and (2) the foreseeable uses of the information generated through their services.
(c) do not disclose confidential identifiable information across professional activities concerning their individual or organizational clients, or other recipients of their services unless the person or organization has given explicit consent.  

20. Conducting Research

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) obtain prior approval via an appropriate research ethics review process (or equivalent) if consistent with the standards in the country, province, or jurisdiction where the data will be collected.
(b) use language that is reasonably understandable to participants in order to: (1) obtain appropriately documented informed consent or assent, (2) inform participants that participation is voluntary and withdrawal is permissible at any time, (3) explain foreseeable consequences of declining or withdrawing, (4) inform participants of significant factors that may influence their willingness to participate (e.g., benefits, risks, discomfort, adverse effects, limitations on confidentiality), and (5) respond to prospective participants’ questions.
(c) take special care to protect the prospective participants from adverse consequences of declining or withdrawing from participation by providing an equitable alternative activity when possible.
(d) who encounter a research participant who is legally incapable of giving informed consent, shall obtain informed permission from a legally authorized person when permitted by law. When feasible, the legally authorized person can assist in communicating parameters of the research, to seek the research participant’s assent to participate.
(e) conduct research by: (1) aligning the design, conduct, and reporting of research in accordance with recognized standards of scientific competence and ethics; (2) planning the research to minimize the possibility that results will be misleading; (3) taking reasonable steps to implement appropriate protections for the rights and welfare of human participants and other persons affected by the research; (4) providing accurate information about their research; (5) not offering excessive or inappropriate financial or other incentives to obtain research participants, particularly when it might tend to coerce participation.
(f) do not conduct a study involving deception unless they have determined that: (1) the use of deceptive techniques is justified by the study’s prospective scientific, educational, or applied value; (2) it will not harm the participant; and (3) equally effective alternative procedures that do not use deception are not feasible.
(g) must explain to participants any deception that is an integral feature of the design and conduct of an experiment as early as is feasible, preferably at the conclusion of their participation, but no later than at the conclusion of the research. If scientific or humane values justify delaying or withholding this information, members take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of harm.
(h) minimize invasiveness with the participants or milieu from which data are collected.
(i) maintain integrity and honesty by: (1) not fabricating data or falsifying results; (2) taking reasonable steps to correct any discovered errors in published data by submitting a correction, retraction, erratum, or other appropriate publication means; and (3) properly crediting others’ works and avoid taking false credit.

21. Conflicts Between Ethics and Organizational Demands

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) clarify conflicts of interest when there is a discrepancy between the demands of an employer, institution, or organization and the Ethics Code. When such conflicts occur, members clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code, and, to the extent feasible, seek to resolve the conflict in a way that permits the fullest adherence to the Ethics Code.

22. Resolution of Ethical Conflicts

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) shall aim to be methodical and consider the use of any or all of the processes outlined within this standard, and consider consultation with objective advisors or peers familiar with ethical issues:
(1) attempt to clarify and resolve concerns or violations by seeking informal resolution among the involved parties when doing so does not violate confidentiality.
(2)  discuss ethical problems with your immediate supervisor and/or mentor except when it appears that the supervisor is involved in the ethical issue, in which case the problem should be presented to the next higher administrative level when possible.
(3) seek support from the AASP Ethics Committee or other professional organizations about strategies to resolve the violation or issue, either prior to or during the resolution process.   

23. The Integration of Technology in Professional and Scientific Work

Because technology develops and changes so quickly, it is not possible for the Ethics Code to keep an up-to-date list of all forms of technology. However, technology might include, but is not limited to, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, text messaging, data storage, billing, electronic notes, digital calendars, social media, artificial intelligence, biofeedback, neurofeedback, wearables, virtual reality, applications, and emerging technologies. This technology is often incorporated through the use of computers, tablets, smartphones, and/or other devices.

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) should only incorporate the various forms of technology in their professional and scientific work in which they have appropriate education and training that may result in technical and practical competencies, and when such technology does not cause harm.
(b) should be sensitive to the needs and interests of their client(s) and should only make the decision to incorporate specific forms of technology in their professional practice with the consent of their client(s), and only once the client is aware of potential benefits and limitations of the specific medium of telecommunication.
(c) shall inform the client(s) as early as possible of the privacy risks and limits to confidentiality with the type of telecommunication used.
(d) will take reasonable steps to verify the identity of clients when using telecommunication.
(e) will take reasonable precautions to ensure appropriate privacy and confidentiality of electronic communications by using secure communication technologies when possible, given available technologies. For matters of greater privacy concerns, more secure modes of communication shall be the preferred method of communication.
(f) shall address any ethical concerns and/or problems as soon as possible that arise during the use of technology to mitigate any possible harm.
(g) are responsible for understanding and abiding by the laws related to service delivery within the states, regions, provinces, and countries in which they and their clients are located at the time of service delivery.
(h) should seek out additional training and/or mentorship when adopting new technologies.
(i) will utilize ethical and professional congruence between various modes of communication. 

24. Teaching and Mentorship

Educators and mentors aspire to foster meaningful and respectful professional relationships and to maintain appropriate boundaries with mentees and students. Educators adhere to theoretical and pedagogical foundations for their work. Mentors have knowledge of mentorship models and utilize them within their work. Educators and mentors shall aim to be fair, accurate, honest, and unbiased in their assessments of students and mentees.

Competence

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) who mentor are trained formally and informally prior to offering educational and/or mentorship services.
(b) engage in ongoing continuing education including teaching, consulting, and mentorship areas.
(c) are competent in technology used.

Multicultural/Diversity Training and Awareness 

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) integrate diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice (DEIBJ) materials into courses and workshops for the development of future professional consultants.
(b) demonstrate commitment to DEIBJ competence through self-reflection, self-awareness, and their own education.
(c) actively pursue DEIBJ competency into their own training and mentorship practices as well as their students’ training and mentorship practices. 

Responsibilities

AASP members and CMPCs serving as mentors:

(a) ensure that clients understand the services rendered, the qualifications of mentees rendering those services, and the appropriate use of mentee titles.
(b) educate their mentees about professional and ethical standards and legal responsibilities.
(c) have a primary responsibility for overseeing clients’ interactions, the degree to which is dependent upon mentee experience, by carrying out the following:
(1)    regularly monitor the services provided by mentees.
(2)    meet regularly with mentees to review mentees’ work and help them become prepared to serve clients’ diverse needs.
(3)    educate mentees about client rights, including the protection of client privacy and confidentiality in the consulting relationship.
(4)    ensure mentees provide clients with professional disclosure information, including how the mentorship process influences confidentiality by informing clients of who will have access to information about the consulting relationship, and how these records will be stored, transmitted, or otherwise reviewed.
(5)    ensure mentees are educated about the use of and legal/privacy obligations of technology as applicable.

AASP members and CMPCs serving as educators:
(a) are responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring educational programs and are knowledgeable regarding the ethical, legal, and regulatory aspects of the profession, are skilled in applying that knowledge, and educate students and mentees about student/mentee responsibilities.
(b) have an obligation to represent their academic programs and help students and mentees understand what the program is able to offer in terms of professional paths (e.g., certifications, licensure, use of titles).
(c) serve as role models for professional behavior.
(d) provide up-to-date instruction within areas of current knowledge and competence.
(e) infuse ethical considerations throughout the curriculum, ensuring students are aware of their ethical responsibilities and the ethical standards of the profession.
(f) establish education and training programs that integrate academic study, theoretical knowledge, and supervised or mentored work.
(g) must inform students that they are expected to abide by the Ethics Code and professional expectations.
(h) make every effort to ensure that the welfare of others is not compromised when students and/or mentees lead activities.
(i) promote the use of techniques/procedures/modalities that are grounded in theory and/or have an empirical or scientific foundation. For novel innovations, they explain the potential risks, benefits, and ethical considerations of their use.
(j) develop clear policies and provide direct assistance within their training programs regarding applied experiences.
(k) provide clearly stated roles and responsibilities for students, mentees, and program mentors.
(l) clearly inform students of expected competencies, assessment methods, and timing of evaluations prior to and throughout the program.
(m) provide students with ongoing feedback regarding their performance throughout the training program.
(n) provide a gatekeeping role for the profession through the following actions:
(1)    regularly evaluate and address the limitations of some students and/or mentees to achieve competencies in their future professional roles.
(2)    provide remediation processes when needed.
(3)    recommend dismissal when students are unable to meet required competencies after remedial actions have been implemented.
(4)    ensure that students have timely opportunities for recourse (due process) in accordance with institutional policies and procedures.
(5)     when appropriate, educators seek professional consultation and document their decision to dismiss or refer students for assistance

AASP members and CMPCs who are students and/or mentees:
(a) have the same obligations to follow the AASP Code of Ethics as professional AASP members and CMPCs.
(b) monitor themselves and notify their faculty and/or mentors and seek assistance for problems that reach the level of professional impairment, and, if necessary, they limit, suspend, or terminate their professional responsibilities until it is determined that they may safely resume their work.
(c) prior to providing services, disclose their status as students and/or mentees and explain how this status affects confidentiality (e.g., sharing of information done for training purposes with a mentor).

25. Use of Assessments

AASP members and CMPCs:
(a) use validated and reliable assessment instruments within their practice. They administer, score, interpret, and use assessment techniques, interviews, tests, or instruments in an appropriate manner. They describe the strengths and limitations of test results and interpretation to the subject of the assessment (or legally authorized person in the case of individuals who cannot consent for themselves) and use assessments for purposes that will best serve the needs of clients and their contexts.
(b) use valid and reliable assessment instruments with members of the population tested and within the client’s preferred language. When such validity or reliability has not been established, AASP members and CMPCs describe the strengths and limitations of test results and interpretation to the subject of the assessment (or legally authorized person).
(c) ideally, use multi-method data gathering when a comprehensive assessment is needed. This may include, but is not limited to, obtaining a detailed history, collateral information, interviewing, administration of assessment devices, and observation so that validity and reliability of the assessment can be maximized.
(d) obtain informed consent from clients, and/or a legally authorized person in the case of individuals who cannot consent for themselves, for assessments, evaluations, or diagnostic services, which shall include an explanation of the purpose, nature and limitations of the assessment, fees, involvement of third parties, and limits of confidentiality. AASP members and CMPCs should also provide sufficient opportunities for the client (and/or a legally authorized person) to ask questions and receive answers.
(e) utilize assessments within the boundaries of their competence and for which they have appropriate training, ensuring that they select, administer, interpret, communicate, and manage the resulting data of such assessments appropriately and accurately.
(f) explain to clients (and/or a legally authorized person in the case of individuals who cannot consent for themselves) the purpose, process, use/sharing of data, limits (including limits to confidentiality), communication, storage (also after termination), and financial arrangements related to the use of assessment methods.
(g) recognize that clients (and/or a legally authorized person) may request feedback regarding the results of any completed assessment; when they do, AASP members and CMPCs provide feedback as appropriate, both respectfully and in a language that the recipient can understand, as agreed in the informed consent and in compliance with the ethical and legal responsibility for clients.
(h) take reasonable steps to ensure the security of assessment data and records, both during services and also after termination, based on legal and/or ethical requirements to securely store such information.
(i) understand and explain to clients the circumstances where assessment results and/or materials would be deemed exempt from release, in accordance with applicable laws in the AASP member’s or CMPC’s jurisdiction.
(j) ensure the secure disposal of assessment materials and results, guaranteeing that no inappropriate access to these materials can occur.
 


Latest version adopted in 2023

Association for Applied Sport Psychology. (2023). Association for Applied Sport           
     Psychology ethical principles and standards. (Zito, M., Carter, C., Herzog, T.,  
     Kerulis, M., Muscat, A., Shigeno,T., Skvarla, L. Eds.). https://appliedsportpsych.org/about-the-association-for-applied-sport-psychology/ethics/

Original AASP Ethics Code authored by Dr. James Whelan, University of Memphis (2011).

AASP’s Ethical Principle and Standards is based in large part on the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (American Psychologist, 1992, 47(12), p. 1597-1611.). Over 50 other organizational ethics codes, including the American College of Sports Medicine, American Counseling Association, Canadian Sport Psychological Association, and National Alliance for Social Workers were also examined and many influenced this document. We wish to thank all of these organizations.