Society for Philosophy in Practice

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size


Preamble Aim Complaints Articles

Aim of Society

The aim of the society is the promotion of Philosophical Practice in all its forms including, for example, Socratic dialogue, philosophy with children, philosophical consultancy and philosophical counselling.


The Society for Philosophy in Practice (hereinafter known as "SPP") has developed and established this Code of practice as the result of the wish and the need to give the profession of "Philosophical Practitioner" a clearer identity. The Code represents a step towards further social recognition and establishment of a profession. The SPP will develop further quality and training criteria in the next few years. This Code is necessary because a "philosophical practitioner" offers a service that creates professional obligations towards clients.

The main terms used in this document are defined as follows:

  • "philosophical practitioner" (hereinafter also known as "practitioner") someone who has a qualification in philosophy as recognised by the SPP, has received additional training, who is continuing his/her professional development and who holds a practice within which he/she receives people who typically pay for his/her expertise and who thereby become the practitioner's "clients".
  • "consultation":
    1. dialogue between the practitioner and the client during an appointment and for which the client typically pays a fee.
    2. any situation where the pracitioner's advice is sought, typically in exchange for a fee. The Code covers practitioners whether or not they are charging a fee.
    3. The National Register of Philosophical Practitioners (hereinafter known as "NRPP") is published by the SPP. It lists practitioners who are signatories to the Code and who are practising members.

By signing this Code, as part of the application procedure to be on the NRPP, the practitioner has agreed to adhere to the Code.

No member should claim (either implicitly or explicitly) to be a practitioner member without having satisfied all training and degree requirements of the Society.


The Code gives clients, potential clients and those who refer them to a practitioner, access to the rules the practitioner will adhere to. If necessary, the client and those referring him/her can use the Code to remind the practitioner of those rules. The practitioner must make the client version of the Code available to the client and provide the practitioner's version on request. The Code is also intended to achieve a greater degree of consistent professional behaviour.


If clients, or those referring them, believe that the practitioner is not adhering to the Code, they can report this to the SPP's management committee, which will deal with the complaint under Article 8 below.


1. Assumptions

The client can be an individual, a group or the representative of an organisation or professional body. The Code deals with relationships where the client typically pays a fee for the provision of a service which is in effect a consultation.

2. Aims

The practitioner can maintain a broad spectrum of aims but must respect the wishes of the client and use these as the basis for a consultation. The wishes of the practitioner will be either put aside or must be clearly explained to the client and explicitly agreed upon.

3. Methods

  1. The practitioner can employ a broad spectrum of methods. The practitioner must realise that every method represents a means of dealing with the client and so contributes towards defining the relationship. Therefore, the practitioner must ensure that the methods used and the resultant definition of the relationship, is not in breach of other articles of the Code, expresses respect for the client, contributes to the dialogical form of the relationship and avoids any abuse of power or authority.
  2. The practitioner will regularly evaluate the progress made during the course of his/her work together with its philosophical character and will reflect on this with colleagues, either orally or in writing.
  3. For philosophical counsellors, the volume of supervision/consultation should be in proportion to the volume of counselling work undertaken and the experience of the counsellor.
  4. The practitioner will obtain business and promote his/her practice only in a manner which is ethical, dignified in presentation, accurate and not misleading in content.

4. Confidentiality

  1. The practitioner should respect the client's right to privacy, except where disclosure is required by law or is justified in order to prevent imminent, substantial harm to the client or others.
  2. The practitioner may contact other relevant parties such as specialists who referred the client or members of the client's family or household but only with the client's express permission. Thereby the client's stated wishes are always respected and subject to Clause i.
  3. The practitioner should ensure the client's anonymity when discussing the client's case with colleagues.
  4. The practitioner should inform the client of the pertinent limits to confidentiality upon initiating services.

5. Expertise

The practitioner will regularly re-assess his/her expertise and supplement and update it through further study and training as recognised as relevant by the SPP.

Philosophical practitioners should not employ techniques for which they are not qualified.

6. Fees

Philosophical practitioners should inform the client of his/her fees (if any) prior to the commencement of services.

7. Care

  1. The practitioner will enter a consultancy relationship only if the client has explicitly expressed a wish to do so and if the practitioner is satisfied that the client is reasonably well informed about the content and form of such a relationship.
  2. The practitioner will not practice on any occasion when his/her judgement might be impaired through any cause.
  3. The practitioner will be sensitive to the client's ethical and religious views, alternative "world views" and philosophical perspectives including those based upon cultural or gender distinctions among diverse client populations.
  4. The practitioner will at all times be prepared to justify to the client the way in which the consultation is conducted by the practitioner.
  5. The practitioner will make it clear where his/her limits of expertise lie and at what point referral to another relevant consultant would be considered: for example, in the teaching, mental health, social work, medical or psychology professions. The practitioner is careful not to overstep these limits (see also article 5)
  6. Philosophical practitioners should avoid sexual intimacy with current clients or any other form of dual role relation which might compromise the integrity of the professional relationship.

8. Complaints procedures.

If the client feels that the practitioner has breached any terms of this Code, he/she may complain to the SPP`s management committee. The committee will, within 30 days of the complaint, convene the Professional Conduct Committee to hear both parties (client and practitioner).Within 30 days of convening, the PCC will make a decision on whether or not the complaint is justified. If a practitioner has been found in breach of the Code, he/she should resign. If he/she does not resign, the SPP`s full management committee must decide at its next meeting on one or more of the following actions:

  1. Accepting the member's resignation from the SPP.
  2. A warning.
  3. Suspension from the NRPP.
  4. Suspension pending satisfactory completion of further training and/or supervision.
  5. Expulsion from the NRPP, if necessary with immediate effect.
  6. Expulsion from the SPP, if necessary with immediate effect and subject to confirmation at the next AGM.
  7. At the full management committee meeting, the practitioner can present their case in person or in writing or appoint another person to do so. Non-practitising members can vote. The decision will be published in the SPP's newsletter. The practitioner can appeal to the SPP's Annual General Meeting (AGM); both management committee and practitioner can appoint a member to prepare their case for the AGM. No action is taken pending the outcome of the appeal.

9. Liability.

The SPP is not liable for any damages claimed by clients as the result of a consultation with an SPP member. The practitioner alone is responsible for his/her work and carries full liability for any action for damages. Practitioners must obtain their own indemnity insurance, in a form required by the SPP.

July 1999 (revised 2012)