Code of Ethics

Adopted October 2021

The World Association of Sand Therapy Professionals’ mission is to promote integrity and ethical practice by Mental Health Professionals who use sand therapy as a therapeutic modality. The Association

    • recognizes there are a variety of clinical and theoretical orientations,
    • provides information about clinical training and resources,
    • promotes research regarding outcomes utilizing sand therapy,
    • provides a community for sand therapy practitioners and
    • encourages a commitment to ongoing learning.

The Association pursues these goals with due consideration of the autonomous status and professional interests of its individual members.

The members of WASTP agree to respect principles pertaining to equal rights, discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, and sexual preference in relation to applications for membership, training programs, and public events organized by WASTP.

WASTP Code of Ethics

    1. This Code states the ethical responsibilities of the Association’s membership.
    2. This Code supports the mission of the Association.
    3. This Code is an ethical guide to assist members in constructing a professional course of action that best serves those utilizing sand therapy. 

Section A - Professional Responsibilities

A.1. Primary Responsibility
WASTP members will conduct themselves according to the highest ethical standards of their licensures, certifications, registrations, and/or jurisdictions, and/or disciplines and shall always hold the best interests of their clients. This responsibility is central to being a WASTP member.

A.2. Familiarity with Standards
WASTP members will be familiar with and abide by their applicable standards.

A.3. Applicable Laws
In addition to the standards cited in this document, each WASTP member shall comply with applicable national and regional laws and professional regulations governing the conduct of their license, certified specialty, and/or jurisdiction

When sand therapy is included in the treatment of a client, a statement regarding the use of sand therapy will be included in the informed consent.

A.4. Records

Members maintains records necessary for rendering professional services to their clients as required by local laws, regulations, or agency or institutional procedures. These records will include the documentation of the use of sand therapy.

A.5. Anti-Oppressive Practices

WASTP Members commit to use of anti-oppressive practices in sand therapy.  They agree that diversity and inclusion are core values in sand therapy.  They recognize and respect all types of diversity, including ethnicity, race, gender identity, sexual preference, disability, age, class, and citizenship status.  Members recognize that diversity of backgrounds will deepen the understanding of the applications of sand therapy.  They also commit to remaining culturally humble as they regularly pursue education and introspection around issues related to anti-oppressive practices.

SECTION B - Professional Conduct

B.1. Professional Competence
WASTP members practice only within the boundaries of their competence and use sand therapy techniques for which they are qualified; based on their education, training, supervised experience, in compliance with their state, regional, and national professional credentials and/or jurisdictions.

B.2. Misrepresentation
WASTP members will not misrepresent their academic background, professional training, experience, or professional affiliations. They will not advertise using materials that contain inaccurate or untruthful claims about their sand therapy preparation, techniques, and approaches used.

B.3. Continuing Development
WASTP members maintain high standards of sand therapy competence and continue to pursue their personal and professional growth and development.

B.4. Consultation on Ethical Obligations
WASTP members take reasonable steps to consult with other WASTP members, therapists, or related professionals when they have questions regarding their ethical obligations or professional practice.

SECTION C - Resolving Ethical Issues

C.1. Knowledge
WASTP members shall understand the WASTP Code of Ethics, and other applicable ethics codes from professional organizations, certification, and licensure bodies of which they are members. If a member’s jurisdiction does not have a code of ethics, they will abide by American Psychological Association code of ethics while maintaining WASTP membership. Lack of knowledge or misunderstanding of an ethical responsibility is not a defense against a charge of unethical conduct.

C.2. Conflicts Between Ethics and Laws
If ethical responsibilities conflict with laws or regulations, WASTP members take steps to resolve the conflict. If the conflict cannot be resolved, adherence to the requirements of law or regulations takes precedence.

C.3. Ethical Behavior
WASTP members are expected to adhere to the WASTP Code of Ethics. When members possess knowledge that raises doubts about another WASTP member acting in an unethical manner, they take appropriate action as outlined below (i.e., see E.4., E.5, E.6, and E.7).

C.4. Informal Resolution
When WASTP members have reason to believe that another member is in violation of an ethical standard, they attempt first to resolve the issue informally with the other colleague if feasible, provided such action does not violate any client confidentiality.

C.5. Reporting Ethical Violations
If an apparent violation has substantially harmed, or is likely to substantially harm, a person or organization and is not appropriate for informal resolution or informal resolution has not been effective, WASTP members take further action appropriate to the situation. Such action might include referral and/or reporting to state, regional, or national committees on professional ethics, voluntary national certification bodies, state licensing boards, the appropriate institutional authorities, or the WASTP Ethics Committee, or to the appropriate jurisdiction.

C.6. Consultation
When uncertain as to whether a particular situation or course of action may be in violation of the WASTP Code of Ethics, WASTP members consult with others who are knowledgeable about ethics, with professional colleagues, and/or with appropriate authorities.

C.7. Cooperation with Ethics Committees
WASTP members assist in the process of enforcing the WASTP Code of Ethics and will cooperate with investigations, proceedings, and requirements of the WASTP Ethics Committee or ethics committees of other duly constituted Associations or Boards having jurisdiction over those charged with a violation.

SECTION D - Grounds for Revoking Membership

D.1. Possible Grounds

WASTP membership may be denied, or unilaterally withdrawn for one or more of these reasons:

    1. Disciplinary action is taken against a WASTP member by the member’s licensing, registering authority, or jurisdiction that results in the suspension, revocation, or a condition for continued ability to practice.
    2. Conviction of a crime related to the provision of mental health services or a crime that would adversely affect the interests, effectiveness, reputation, or image of WASTP.
    3. Falsification, by inclusion or omission, of information presented to WASTP as part of membership application or renewal.
    4. Voluntary relinquishment of the WASTP member’s mental health license, credential, or professional designation or basis for clinical practice.

D.2. Complaint Process

WASTP may consider revoking the membership of a WASTP member if an individual files a formal written complaint against the member with their applicable mental health boards of license or registration authority

Any individual may file a complaint directly to the President of the Board of Directors of WASTP. The written complaint will contain specific statements pursuant to the specific portion of the WASTP Code of Ethics which are believed to be violated.

Upon receiving the complaint and assessing it to meet the guidelines for such a complaint, the President will notify the member who is the subject of the complaint within 10 business days of receiving the complaint. The WASTP member under scrutiny of an ethical violation of these Code of Ethics may submit to the Board President a written statement in response to the complaint, and any other supporting documents within 10 calendar days of their receipt of the notice of the complaint from the President.

The President forwards the written complaint and any response from the subject of the complaint to the Ethics Committee within 10 business days of receiving the subject’s response. The Ethics Committee will review the complaint and the subject’s written response (if any).

Ethics Committee members will recuse themselves if they are affiliated with the member named in the complaint. Upon review of the complaint and any other materials.

Within 30 calendar days after receipt of the complaint and any other supporting documents, the Ethics Committee will review and evaluate such items and determine if the membership should be:

    1. Maintained.
    2. Placed on probation for six (6) or 12 months with all rights and privileges.
    3. Temporarily suspended for six (6) or 12 months without any rights and privileges.
    4. Permanently revoked.

Probation is defined as being placed on a plan of action, designated by the Ethics Committee to restore full membership privileges.  Members on probation may not serve on the Board of Directors or committees.

Within 10 calendar days of the decision of the Ethics Committee, the President will advise the member and the complainant of the decision in writing.

D.3. WASTP Board Resolution

If an ethical complaint cannot be resolved by the Ethics Committee, the Ethics Committee will refer the matter back to the WASTP Board for deliberation and decision-making.

D.4. Appeal Process

The WASTP member may appeal the decision made by the Ethics Committee.

This member may then:

    1. File a written request (the “Appeal Request”) with the President within ten calendar days of receipt of the decision . The Appeal Request must contain the pertinent facts, the reason for the appeal, and any other information that the WASTP member desires to convey; but may not re-state any matters set forth in any previous written statement provided to the WASTP Ethics Committee in the original complaint.
    2. Within 10 calendar days after receipt of the Appeal Request, the President shall advise the Executive Committee of the Board to appoint a Hearing Panel comprised of not fewer than five members. The President will notify the Panel Member, identifying one member to serve as chair.
    3. The President will forward the following items to the Hearing Panel members within 10 calendar days:
      1. The formal complaint documents to WASTP
      2. The response and other written statements by the WASTP member.
      3. The decision of the Ethics Committee.
      4. The Appeal Request filed by the WASTP member.
    4. The Hearing Panel shall render a decision, based upon the appeal documents, to the WASTP President within 30 calendar days of receipt of such documents.
    5. The WASTP President shall inform the Executive Committee and the WASTP member of the Hearing Panel’s decision in writing within 10 calendar days of receipt. The decision of the Hearing Panel is final.
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