Ethical Issues in Positive Psychology

Topic: Psychological Principles
Words: 542 Pages: 2

Since the second half of the 20th century, psychologists have been trying to introduce such an understanding into theoretical and practical psychology. It affects most people and culture as a whole and is not directed only at people with mental pathology (Hart, 2020). Thus, positive psychology emerged as a particular psychological direction that studies the positive aspects of the human psyche. If classical psychology focuses on problems and pathologies, then the subject of positive psychology research is everything that helps a person achieve happiness (Hart, 2020). Even though this field is aimed at improving people’s lives, there are strict ethical principles that must be followed to obtain favorable outcomes.

The primary issue refers to the pivotal tent of psychology regarding non-harming patients. This principle requires that psychologists organize their work so that neither its process nor its results harm the health, condition, or social status of the subject (Drogin, 2019). The implementation of this concept is governed by the rules of the psychologist’s relationship with the subject and the client and the choice of adequate research and communication methods. A professional should aim to alleviate one’s distress and suffering in positive psychology. However, if this principal value is neglected, there is a severe threat to a patient’s health.

Furthermore, the ethical issue of competence of a psychologist requires that a psychologist undertake to solve only those issues of which they are professionally aware. They also should have practical work methods and be endowed with the appropriate rights and powers to perform psychocorrective or other influences (Drogin, 2019). This tenet is conditioned by a significant value of positive psychologists related to improving the quality of professional knowledge and its application. In case a specialist is not competent enough to guarantee positive outcomes, they must warn a client about it and refer them to a qualified expert.

The other principle concerns the psychologist’s impartiality which does not allow a biased attitude toward the subject, the formulation of conclusions, and the implementation of psychological actions that contradict scientific data. A specialist must be unprejudiced regardless of what subjective impression of the client’s appearance, or legal and social status they may face. If a psychologist views a patient from a personal perspective, then there may be contradictions during the sessions, which will lead a client to utter misunderstanding.

The final issue this paper will address is the confidentiality of the psychologist’s activity. It means that the material obtained by the professional in their work with the client based on a trusting relationship is not subject to conscious or accidental disclosure outside the agreed conditions (Drogin, 2019). Imagine a situation when a specialist discloses personal information to their friends or family who may potentially know this person. It is unprofessional since it influences one’s well-being and reputation.

In summary, positive psychology remains an effective means of improving one’s life when all the ethical issues are followed. A competent specialist will always ensure they do not cause any harm to a patient. In addition, if psychologists doubt their expertise, they should refer their patients to someone more knowledgeable. Ultimately, intelligent psychologists should never be biased toward their clients and keep their data private. These ethical guidelines should be followed to promote well-being and guarantee positive mental health outcomes.


Drogin, E. Y. (2019). Ethical conflicts in psychology. American Psychological Association.

Hart, R. (2020). Positive psychology: The basics. Taylor & Francis.

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Contemporary Psychology: Contributions, Limitations, and Future Prospects
Chapters 1-2 of “Psychology” by Mayers and Dewall