Etiese klagtes teen sielkundiges: biografiese eienskappe van klaers en aangeklaagdes
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When a complaint of unethical behaviour is lodged, it can cause a great deal of damage to professional people and their professions. Unfortunately psychology is one of those professions which can easily fall prey to such accusations. The nature of relations with clients/patients are often intimately personal, and there are also a number of psychotherapeutic techniques and measuring-instruments of which the reliability and validity are questioned. The situation is complicated even further because it seems as though a number of universities do not give adequate attention to training in ethics. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent and nature of complaints regarding unethical behaviour lodged against psychologists at the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). Certain biographical characteristics of the accused and the complainant also received attention. Approximately 1.4% of all South African psychologists from 1990-1999 was annually accused of unethical behaviour, from which an average of 15% resulted in disciplinary investigations. Only 5% of complaints and 35% of disciplinary investigations eventually led to a conviction. Almost 50% of the disciplinary investigations were however not completed when the research was conducted. The HPCSA instituted most of the complaints (22.5%) and it deals with the neglect of annual registration. Regarding the rendering of services, most of the complaints sprig from dissatisfaction with accounts (15.8%). Other complaints were for example: dissatisfaction with reports (12.6%), incompetence (12.4%) and improper behaviour (11.4%). It appears that the complainant were often a family member (33%), rather than the client/patient (23%). This can be attributed to the fact that children are often clients/patients and that their parents would complain on their behalf. The two penalties most often imposed are a warning or suspended sentence. Recommendations to improve the quality of psychological services to the public and decrease complaints against psychologists, were made.