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IPSA Code of Ethics

Each member of IPSA, when acting as a surrogate, shall adhere to the following ethical standards:

1. The designation “surrogate partner” shall apply only in a therapeutic situation comprised of a client, surrogate, and supervising therapist. A surrogate partner may be designated to act as a substitute partner and/or a co-therapist depending upon the agreement between the surrogate and the therapist.

2. The surrogate is responsible for fostering effective communication with the supervising therapist and the client.

3. The surrogate’s primary responsibility is to the therapeutic situation of which the surrogate, the client, and the supervising therapist(s) are integral parts. Within this situation, the chief focus and primary ethical responsibility is for the client’s welfare.

4. The objectives and parameters of the therapeutic relationship shall be discussed with the client by the supervising therapist and the surrogate so that the client may make informed decisions.

5. The surrogate’s relationship with the client is temporary, always within the context of the therapeutic situation, and in association with the supervision of the therapist.

6. Surrogates shall recognize the boundaries and limitations of their competence. They will not attempt to use methods outside the range of their training and experience. If they think that their clients will benefit from such methods, they will communicate this to the supervising therapist.

7. If a surrogate has a professional degree, certificate, license, or accreditation, which applies to other than surrogate work, the function of “surrogate partner” shall be primary while they are working as a surrogate partner. However, if there is agreement between the surrogate and the supervising therapist that other methods and techniques, within their competence, are appropriate for the welfare of the client, the surrogate may use these additional skills.

8. If a supervising therapist is not available and a situation arises which would normally require consultation with the therapist, the surrogate is responsible for taking appropriate action for the welfare of the client.

9. The surrogate’s responsibility for the welfare of the client continues until it is terminated by mutual agreement among client, surrogate, and therapist; or the client voluntarily terminates the therapy.

10. The identity of clients and all information received from or about them in the therapeutic situation shall not be communicated outside the therapeutic triangle without each client’s expressed permission, except under the following conditions. Information about the client may be disclosed outside the therapeutic triad only:

a) when there is a clear and imminent danger to individuals or society, and then only to appropriate professional colleagues or public authorities,

b) for the purpose of professional consultation with appropriate professional colleagues if the identities of individuals are disguised to protect confidentiality,

c) for presentation of information to professional or lay groups, if the identities of individuals are disguised to protect confidentiality.

11. Surrogates shall be responsible for adequate precautionary measures against the transmission of communicable diseases and infections. It is the surrogate’s responsibility to determine that the client has taken similar precautions.

12. It is the surrogate’s responsibility to ensure protection against conception.

13. Surrogates shall recognize that effectiveness in the therapeutic situation depends, in part, upon the surrogate maintaining independent, personally fulfilling social and sexual relationships.

14. To maintain optimum professionalism, surrogates are responsible for:

a) obtaining relevant continuing education,

b) seeking prompt and effective help when personal problems arise,

c) receiving adequate supervision for each case.

15. Each member of IPSA who imparts information either publicly or privately about surrogate work or the organization shall indicate clearly whether the statements represent official IPSA policy or are personal opinions.

16. Members shall be aware that they may be regarded as representative of all surrogates and of IPSA even at times when they are not acting in these capacities. Therefore, their personal conduct should be such as to uphold the professional reputation of surrogate partners and of IPSA.

17. Marketing and announcements shall be limited to name; accurate and specific level of training, credentials, and affiliation with IPSA; contact information; a brief statement of methods used and availability.

18. Current and former supervising therapists shall be identified only if they have given their explicit permission for such disclosure.

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