Comparative Review of Mental Health Policies and Standards of Professional Practice in Ontario and Iran: Emphasis on a Cultural Framework
Mirnasab Ghazani, Mir Mahmoud
MetadataShow full item record
Mental health systems require well-defined government regulations, acts and policies as well as ethical codes created by professional organizations and standards of practice established by regulatory bodies. Cross-cultural review studies can help to identify similarities, differences and cultural variations in the policies and standards of regulatory bodies that exist in different jurisdictions. With an emphasis on cultural framework, this review aimed to compare the policies and standards of professional conduct established by the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) and the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) with those developed by the Psychology and Counseling Organization of Iran (PCOI). Data were collected from governmental documents, the organizational websites (CPO, CRPO and PCOI), and other relevant resources. The American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code (2017), the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists (2017), documents from the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) and the State Welfare Organization of Iran were also included in the analysis as complementary data where relevant. Results revealed that the standard of controlled acts (psychotherapy and communicating a diagnosis) and a quality assurance program for current members have not been included in the PCOI. Additionally, some standards (e.g., communicating client care, record-keeping and documentation) may have been detailed in the PCOI Code of Ethics. Some standards (e.g., referral and unnecessary treatment) may have been explained more thoroughly in the CPO’s document about Standards of Professional Conduct (2017). However, although not explicitly mentioned, CPO members follow related acts and regulations for these standards. Providing pro-bono may have been incorporated in the CRPO’s standards. In this review, cultural variations in administrating the standards under professional conduct and client-therapist relationships, as well as the standards of competency and clinical supervision were interpreted in detail. This research may help policy makers and field practitioners to improve the quality of mental health services. Implications for future studies are discussed.