Notes towards a professional ethics for psychiatry

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2002 Feb;36(1):52-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1614.2002.00989.x.


Objective: The uniqueness of psychiatry calls for a unique ethics. By identifying the features distinguishing psychiatry as medical and social practice, this article seeks to illustrate the methodology by which that ethics can be derived and to determine what kind of a framework and focus such an ethics requires.

Method: The author is an analytically trained philosopher and employs the method of conceptual analysis.

Results: At least three characteristics are suggested by the features which taken together constitute psychiatry's uniqueness: an ethical framework accommodating character, a rubric for acknowledging boundary violations, and an emphasis on gender.

Conclusions: The larger task of formulating the substance and details of that unique ethics is the next step.

MeSH terms

  • Ego
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Personality Development
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Psychiatry / trends*
  • Psychoanalytic Theory
  • Psychotherapy / trends