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Principles of Ethics

These principles will help psychoanalysts individually and collectively to maintain a high level of ethical conduct. They are not laws, but standards by which psychoanalysts or psychoanalysts-in-training (also referred to as candidates) under the auspices of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society and Institute determine the propriety of their conduct in their relationship with patients, colleagues, students, members of allied professions, and the public.

For the purpose of these Principles, a psychoanalyst (sometimes referred to as an “analyst”) is a member of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society.

Objective of the Profession and the Individual Psychoanalyst

A psychoanalyst shall maintain the standards of practice as set out by the profession.

As a method of investigation of psychic processes, and as a therapeutic method, psychoanalysis has its own specific and particular ethical considerations.

A psychoanalyst shall refrain from any conduct or acts relevant to the practice of psychoanalysis that, having regard to all the circumstances, members would reasonably regard as disgraceful, dishonourable, or unprofessional

Ethical Conduct in the Practice of Psychoanalysis


The selection of psychoanalysis as a method of treatment is determined on the basis of clinical assessment and psychodynamic formulations.

When recommending psychoanalysis, the psychoanalyst considers and discusses with the analysand a number of factors specific to the psychoanalytic process, which include contractual arrangements (schedule, modes of payment, frequency of sessions, absence, etc.) that are necessary to the maintenance of psychoanalytic work.

Adequate notice and opportunity for discussion and exploration must be provided for if there will be changes to the contractual framework originally agreed upon.


The psychoanalyst and/or analysand has the right to recommend or consult another psychoanalyst or other consultant whenever either believes that such consultation may benefit the treatment.

Protection of Confidentiality

A psychoanalyst shall respect the confidentiality of the patient’s information and documents.

When a psychoanalyst uses case material in exchanges with colleagues for scientific, educational, or consultative purposes, every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that the identity of the analysand is protected.

Payment for Services

When applicable and in accordance with rules governing third-party payment, when undertaking the treatment of an analysand, the psychoanalyst and the analysand will agree on the fee and the conditions of payment. Financial agreements between psychoanalyst and analysand must be voluntary, based on full and clear disclosure, and without any coercion by the psychoanalyst.

The Psychoanalyst in Other Roles

If dealing with patients in another professional capacity (for instance, as a general psychiatrist, social worker, or psychologist), the psychoanalyst will also be bound by the rules of that profession.

Sexual Conduct in Relation to Analysands

A psychoanalyst shall not engage in sexual relationships or other forms of sexually intimate behaviour with the analysand.

Relationships with Analysands/Patients of Colleagues

In providing consultation to analysands/patients of colleagues, consultants should discover whether the person seeking consultation has informed the treating analyst. The consultant should determine that this is in the best interest of the analysand before making a recommendation.

Relationships in Psychoanalytic Training and Education

Rules of conduct contained in these principles of ethics apply equally to the relationship between training analyst and candidate analysand.

As teachers and supervisors, psychoanalysts have a special responsibility to be aware of difficulties that can arise as a result of the asymmetry inherent in relationships with candidates.

Remedial Measures for the Psychoanalyst

When analysts become aware that personal difficulty or illness could threaten or disturb the quality of their work, they should promptly use remedial measures. Any analysts who observe such an occurrence in colleagues should encourage and help them to seek these measures. Alternatively, analysts may report such matters to members designated by the Executive Council.

Psychoanalyst Assistance Committee

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