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BPS News

Help for members working with extremism, violent extremism and terrorism

23 October 2018

The British Psychological Society has published new ethical guidance for the growing number of members whose practice takes them into the field of extremism, violent extremism and terrorism.

This may include the prevention of a first terrorist offence or working with perpetrators after the event to prevent reoffending.

Our Ethical guidelines for applied psychological practice in the field of extremism, violent extremism and terrorism guidelines were developed in response to a request for ethical guidance from these members.

Alison Clarke, Chair of the Society’s Professional Practice Board, which commissioned the document, said:

“These guidelines have been thoughtfully and carefully developed by international experts who are aware of the complexities of practice and the backdrop of some rather concerning ethical practice by clinicians internationally.

Within a pluralist society, working with those whose motivation is ostensibly political carries particular ethical challenges which these guidelines seek to clarify.  

We intend them to be read in conjunction with existing BPS Ethical Guidelines.“

The guidelines help members consider how the Society’s Code of Ethics and Conduct can be implemented when they are engaged in applied psychological practice with extremism, violent extremism and terrorism.

To help readers, ethical considerations are described under the Code’s four key ethical principles:

  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Competence


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