Rights of user of psychological services

Rights of user of psychological services

i. You have the right to ask your psychologist if he or she is currently registered with the HPCSA, and to see his or her current registration card. It is a transgression of the law if a person uses the title “Psychologist” if he or she is not currently registered with the HPCSA. Unregistered psychologists should be reported immediately.

ii. You have the right to ask your psychologist about the category in which he or she is registered, and if this category is relevant for your needs. Psychologists must state their category of registration on all their professional stationary notices and nameplates.

iii. You have the right to see the ethical code for psychologists.

iv. You have right to request information from the psychologist about any aspect of the professional services that is delivered, including psychological tests, guidance and psychotherapy.

v. You have the right to know what fees will be charged and payment terms required by the psychologist. You may request a different fee or payment structure, although the psychologist may not be in a position to accept these. Some psychologists give a discount for immediate settlement of fees. If you experience a problem paying for the services, or expect difficulties with payment, you should discuss this with the psychologist as soon as possible in order to get to a different arrangement.

vi. You have the right to decline participation in any procedure that you are not comfortable with. You have the right to request an explanation with regards to any procedure proposed by your psychologist. If you are not satisfied with the explanation, you have the right to ask a second opinion from another psychologist, or to ask your psychologist to refer you to another psychologist of your choice. You have the right to protect your autonomy and integrity.

vii. You have the right to expect confidentiality from your psychologist (in other words the psychologist may not divulge information about you, without your written consent).

viii. You have the right to discuss the limitations of confidentiality with your psychologist. Confidentiality may be limited by a court of law, where evidence must be delivered, in an emergency situation where you or other people are in danger (i.e. where you might plan to hurt yourself or others), or mental health situations that require immediate action. Further to these limits on confidentiality, some medical aids require an accurate diagnosis before payment is made. Should you withhold your consent to making this information available, you must realize that the medical aid will not pay your account.

ix. You have the right to terminate treatment and to request your psychologist to discuss the termination of treatment with you before it is terminated.

x. Should you be dissatisfied with the service delivered by your psychologist, or you are of the opinion that the service was delivered in an unprofessional manner, you have the choice, if you so wish, to not get involved in a formal hearing. You may request that an informal investigation into your complaint be done. Please direct your request to The Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA). This organization does not have any legal powers over psychologists, but strives to solve complaints between member psychologists and clients.

xi. Alternatively, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Council for Psychologists. The Council has legal power to conduct a disciplinary hearing and to take disciplinary steps against a psychologist. All complaints must be lodged in writing. Should there be a formal hearing, you could be called upon to deliver testimony at the hearing.

Rights of user of psychological services complaint procedure

Formal complaints can be directed to:

The Registrar
Council for Psychologists
PO Box 205

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