Ethical Attitudes of Russian Counseling Psychologists: Field of Disagreement and Potential Conflicts



The study is aimed at the identification of ethical beliefs in the group of Russian counseling psychologists. As a part of the anonymous online survey 217 counseling psychologists and psychotherapists completed the Inventory of Attitudes and Beliefs about Ethical Issues (Herlihy, Corey, 2014). Four experts (psychologists with advanced knowledge on counseling ethics) sorted out the inventory’s items into the categories of ethically indisputable (EID) and ethically disputable (ED). The findings indicate that about a fifth of the respondents are practicing without a degree in psychology, and 40% didn’t get psychotherapeutic approach-specific training. Low consistency in the ethical beliefs of Russian counseling psychologists has been demonstrated. Kohen’s cappa as a measure of inter-rater reliability among four experts was 0.512; this score is significantly lower than recommended. 44.7% of the respondents agreed with beliefs the experts attributed to EID, and 45.6% agreed with at least several ED beliefs about psychological counseling. Points of maximal disagreement between research participants were the possibility of dual relationships with clients, the obligation to conduct screening for potential counseling group members, the requirement to practice strictly within the scope of one’s license, and seeking for informal resolution in the case of a violation of an ethical standard by another counselor. Research findings are predictive of significant discrepancies in the ethical beliefs of Russian counselors and difficulties in collegial decision-making on ethical issues.

General Information

Keywords: ethical beliefs, Russian counseling psychologists, expert assessment, discrepancies

Journal rubric: Empirical Researches

Article type: scientific article


Acknowledgements. The authors express their gratitude to Artemova E.L., Ph.D. (Technical Sciences), Associate Professor, School of Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence, Higher School of Economics, for her help in checking the Moscow Psychotherapeutic Journal archive using computational linguistics methods.

For citation: Garanyan N.G., Zakharova Y.V., Sorokova M.G. Ethical Attitudes of Russian Counseling Psychologists: Field of Disagreement and Potential Conflicts. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2020. Vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 87–112. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2020280106. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Natalia G. Garanyan, Doctor of Psychology, Professor of the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Associate Professor, leading researcher at the Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, member of the editorial board of the journal "Consultative Psychology and Psychotherapy", Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Yulia V. Zakharova, Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice, IP Zakharova Yu. V., Head of the Ethics Committee, Member of the Presidium of the Association of Cognitive Behavioral the Rapists (ACBT), Co-founder of the College of Ethics of Psychologists and Psychotherapists (CAPP), Member Of the Society of Cognitive Psychotherapists and Counselors (OCPC), Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Marina G. Sorokova, Doctor of Education, PhD in Physics and Matematics, docent, Head of Scientific and Practical Center for Comprehensive Support of Psychological Research "PsyDATA", Head of the Department of Digital Education, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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