Statement of Purpose

The mission of the NCGR-Professional Astrologers' Alliance is to serve as a trade association to promote the common interests of astrologers and to improve the status of the profession of astrology primarily through the implementation of a certification program, the promotion of high ethical standards in the practice of astrology, as well as any other matters relevant to the professional astrologer.

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Ethics Statement

Preamble

A. General Standards
  A.1 Applicability of This Code
  A.2 Avoiding Harm
  A.3 Boundaries of Competence
  A.4 Interpretations and Forecasts
  A.5 Responsibilities to Others
  A.6 Human Differences
  A.7 Personal Problems and Conflicts
  A.8 Sexual Conduct
  A.9 Third Party Services

B. Confidentiality
  B.1 Maintaining Confidentiality
  B.2 Consultations with Colleagues
  B.3 Confidential Information in Data Collections

C. Advertising and Public Statements
  C.1 Definitions
  C.2 False and Deceptive Statements
  C.3 Unfounded Statements
  C.4 Misuse of Astrology
  C.5 Organizational Misrepresentation

D. Business Practices
  D.1 Solicitation of Clients
  D.2 Boundaries
  D.3 Referrals
  D.4 Fees
  D.5 General Practices

E. Teaching and Research
  E.1 Accuracy and Objectivity
  E.2 Active Participation of Subjects

F. Resolving Ethical Issues
  F.1 Confronting Ethical Issues
  F.2 Personal and Religious Views
  F.3 Cooperating With Ethical Investigations
  F.4 Improper Complaints


PREAMBLE

Astrologers are dedicated to the development and enhancement of the human condition through an understanding of celestial phenomena as applied to human concerns. Astrologers are committed to honesty, fairness and respect for others. Guided by the objective application of astrological technique as well as a commitment to the improvement of the human condition, astrologers seek to increase understanding and compassion world-wide. They remain acutely aware of the need to understand themselves in order to understand and help others. Astrologers are aware of the immense contribution astrology can make to human knowledge and wisdom, and accordingly encourage inquiry and an open exchange of ideas both outside and within their profession. And above all, astrologers respect the potential power they hold to affect the lives of others, and accordingly strive for the highest levels of competence and diligence.

A. GENERAL STANDARDS

A.1 Applicability of This Code
This code applies to the activities of astrologers in their professional work, as well as in their representations and use of astrology at large.

A.2 Avoiding Harm
Astrologers avoid making statements that could cause harm through confusion, misunderstanding or fear.

A.3 Boundaries of Competence
Astrologers provide services to the public- whether in astrology or in other disciplines- only within the boundaries of their competence based on their education, training and appropriate experience.

A.4 Interpretations and Forecasts

a) Consulting astrologers are careful to present their astrological interpretations and opinions with objectivity and appropriate qualifying statements, rather than as final or unequivocal pronouncements.

b) Astrologers make predictions only when they are derived from a conscientious application of technique.

A.5 Responsibilities To Others

a) Astrologers respect the rights of others, including clients, students and colleagues, to hold values, attitudes and opinions different from their own.

b) Astrologers make every effort to refrain from any behavior that may reasonably be considered offensive, harassing or demeaning to others.

c) Consulting astrologers are careful to avoid manipulation of their client's feelings and emotions.

d) Astrologers do not present their interpretations or opinions to their clients in a way that could intimidate them.

A.6 Human Differences

a) Astrologers respect human differences, including those due to astrological configurations, age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, sexual gender preference, and socioeconomic status.

b) Should such human differences impair or compromise an astrologer in serving a particular individual or a group, the astrologer makes a conscious effort to ensure fairness and objectivity. Such efforts might include obtaining appropriate training, experience or advice. Otherwise the astrologer should make an appropriate referral.

A.7 Personal Problems and Conflicts

a) Astrologers refrain from counseling individuals or clients with whom they have personal problems or conflicts which may interfere with their effectiveness or cause harm.

b) Astrologers remain alert to personal problems or conflicts arising during an astrology relationship, and take appropriate measures to correct the situation or to limit, suspend or terminate the undertaking.

A.8 Sexual Conduct

a) Astrologers do not engage in sexual behavior with clients or students unless such behavior is clearly separate from and outside of the astrological sessions or work.

b) Astrologers do not engage in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment consists of sexual solicitation, physical advances, or any other verbal or nonverbal sexual conduct that is offensive or that the astrologer should realize might be unwelcome. Sexual harassment can take the form of persistent or pervasive acts, or of a single act that is intense or severe.

A.9 Third -Party Services

a) When an astrologer agrees to provide consulting services for someone at the request of another, the astrologer clarifies the role of the astrologer and the extent of and limits to confidentiality with each party.

b) Astrologers do not attempt to manipulate a person's behavior on behalf of a third party.

B. CONFIDENTIALITY

B.1 Maintaining Confidentiality

a) Astrologers respect the confidentiality and rights to privacy of their clients, students and others who they deal with in astrological contexts. Confidentiality applies to the identity of and personal information about clients and other individuals.

b) Astrologers do not disclose personal information that is unattainable from public sources without the consent of the person involved as long as that person is living.

B.2 Consultations With Colleagues
When consulting with colleagues, astrologers do not share the identity of the person or persons involved without prior consent. If unavoidable, they share only that information which is necessary to achieve the purposes of the consultation.

B.3 Confidential Information in Data Collections
Astrologers seek permission from living subjects (such as clients, students and friends) before including confidential information in named data collections. Alternatively, astrologers use coding or other techniques to protect the identity of the subjects.

C. ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC STATEMENTS

C.1 Definitions
Advertising, whether paid or unpaid, includes all media, such as magazines, newspaper ads, brochures, business cards, fliers and other printed matter, direct mail promotions, directory listings, resumes, etc. Public statements include advertising as well as statements made in classes, lectures, workshops and other oral presentations, published materials, interviews and comments for use in all electronic media.

C.2 False or Deceptive Statements

a) Astrologers do not make advertising claims or public statements that are false, deceptive, misleading or fraudulent, either because of what they state or suggest, or because of what they omit. This includes claims and statements regarding their training, experience, competence, credentials, organizational affiliations, and services.

b) Astrologers take responsibility for the content of promotional advertising statements made on their behalf.

C.3 Unfounded Statements
Astrologers willingly and openly reveal their sources of information, whether they be scientific, academic, experiential or mystical. Astrologers do not misrepresent their sources of information, and make every effort to verify their accuracy.

C.4 Misuse of Astrology

a) Misuse includes gross misrepresentation of astrological factors used to make sensational and exaggerated claims in public statements.

b) Astrologers are alert to and guard against personal, financial, social, religious, or political factors that might cause them to misuse their influence.

c) Astrologers do not participate in activities in which it appears likely that their expertise or data will be misused by others.

d) If astrologers learn of the misuse of their work, they take reasonable steps to correct or minimize the misuse or misrepresentation.

C.5 Organizational Misrepresentation

a) NCGR-PAA members who represent themselves as such are careful to clarify whether they are acting as a spokesperson or as an individual.

b) NCGR-PAA members do not act as spokespersons or imply that they are spokespersons for NCGR-PAA without the authorization to do so.

D. BUSINESS PRACTICES

D.1 Solicitation of Clients
Astrologers do not make astrological statements, predictions or forecasts in the course of the solicitation of clients or students that are misleading either in their optimism or their negativity, or that are frightening or intimidating.

D.2 Boundaries
Astrologers maintain reasonable boundaries with their clients, with the best interests of their clients in mind.

D.3 Referrals

a) Astrologers make referrals based on the best interests of the client or potential client. Astrologers only recommend other professionals who are to the best of their knowledge qualified, competent and ethically responsible.

b) Astrologers do not accept referral fees.

D.4 Fees
Astrologers do not exploit recipients of their services with respect to fees, nor do they misrepresent their fees.

D.5 General Practices

a) Astrologers take responsibility for informing their clients of their business practices, such as length and frequency of sessions and kind of work performed.

b) Astrologers make every effort to honor all commitments they have made.

E. TEACHING, WRITING AND RESEARCH

E.1 Accuracy and Objectivity
When engaged in teaching or writing, astrologers present astrological information accurately and with appropriate objectivity.

E.2 Active Participation of Subjects
In research projects that involve interviews with research subjects, astrologers are careful to consider the negative impact their questions may have on the well-being of those subjects.

E.3 Crediting and Citing Sources
Astrologers realize the importance of intellectual integrity. They are aware that the improper use of copyrighted material is illegal, and that plagiarism (the presentation of another's work as one's own) is dishonest.

F. RESOLVING ETHICAL ISSUES
F.1 Confronting Ethical Issues
Should an astrologer be uncertain how this Ethics Code may apply in a given situation, the astrologer makes a good faith effort to consult with knowledgeable colleagues, organizational representatives, or with other appropriate authorities in order to choose a proper course of action.

F.2 Personal and Religious Views
a) Astrologers whose personal convictions or religious ethics come into conflict with those of a client or student are alert to the possible compromise of objectivity that may arise. In such cases, astrologers clearly separate their views from their astrological interpretations.
b) Astrologers whose personal convictions or religious ethics come into conflict with this code clarify their differences where appropriate.

F.3 Cooperating With Ethics Investigations
a) Astrologers cooperate in ethics investigations, proceedings and requirements of any organization to which they belong. In doing so, they make reasonable efforts to resolve any issues involving potential breaches of confidentiality.
b) Astrologers are honest in their dealings with ethics bodies. Astrologers do not deceive or withhold appropriate information from ethics bodies.

F.4 Improper Complaints
Astrologers do not file or encourage the filing of ethics complaints that are frivolous and are intended to harm the respondent rather than protect the public.

—Revised October 1998

Guidelines for the Resolution of Ethical Dilemmas and Complaints.
An ethical dilemma is a problem that an astrologer is having in deciding on an ethically proper course of action. This could have to do with a particular situation confronting the astrologer, or with ethical conduct in general. There may be a question about interpreting a particular section of the code, about resolving a difficult ethics-related situation, or about resolving a conflict between two different sections of the code. An Ethics Resolution Coordinator (i.e., a member of the Ethics Resolution Committee) serves as a resource for resolving dilemmas. When an NCGR-PAA member is faced with an ethical dilemma, he or she may seek help from anyone, but the Coordinator will offer advice when asked. It is to be understood that such inquiries are for the NCGR-PAA member's own information so that they can make up their own mind as to what to do. They are under no requirement to follow the Coordinator's advice. The Coordinator is offering advice, not dictating conduct. It is also to be understood that all inquiries are considered absolutely confidential. For added assurance of confidentiality, an NCGR-PAA member may seek advice through a friend or colleague speaking on their behalf. The goal here is to help to raise the level of ethical awareness among NCGR-PAA members through open discussion of problems.

A complaint is a request for assistance from someone such as a client or student who feels there has been unethical conduct by an NCGR member. The job of the Ethics Resolution Coordinator is only to resolve complaints. He or she cannot be the one to lodge a complaint. The Coordinator is not a policeman. Generally, complaints can be of 3 types: 1) personal, 2) general, and 3) third party.

1. Personal complaints come from a person who is personally and directly affected by the actions or statements in question. In an informal discussion with the person making the complaint, the Coordinator first determines if the complaint is covered by the code, and which sections of the code may be relevant. The Coordinator then discusses with the complainant various informal options for resolving the issue. For example, the complainant may simply decide to have the Coordinator bring the matter to the attention of the astrologer in question. Or, if the complainant feels more strongly, the Coordinator may offer to set up a mediation session to resolve the matter. At this stage the Coordinator acts as an objective middle person between the two parties involved. If an informal solution is not workable or acceptable to the complainant, a formal complaint can be initiated. However, the Coordinator should make every effort to find an informal solution first.

2. General complaints can come from anyone acting on behalf of the public at large regarding things that affect groups of people in general rather than someone in particular, such as false advertising or unethical public statements. The first step here is to collect the facts and evaluate whether or not the complaint is covered by the ethics code. If so, the Coordinator then tries to make informal contact with the member in question to discuss the matter. In this informal context the coordinator tries to work out an acceptable solution. The Coordinator acts here as representative of the board of directors with full authority to resolve the matter. The Coordinator's acceptance of an informal solution will be considered acceptable to the NCGR-PAA board of directors as well. If an informal solution is not worked out, the coordinator discusses the matter with the Executive Committee to decide upon more formal action. This can include a letter of concern, warning or censure, or in a very serious case, a formal hearing or revocation of membership.

3. Complaints might also come from a third party regarding someone else, such as an astrologer who hears about a potential ethical violation through a client. The Ethics Resolution Committee cannot act on this. A third party complaint that cannot be verified by the person directly involved must be considered hearsay. However, a coordinator may be able to arrange through the third party for the person directly affected to come forth with their complaint in a way that feels safe to them. In fact the coordinator should make every effort to do so. Then the matter can be handled as a personal complaint.   Informal complaints and resolutions

An informal complaint may be as simple as a phone call to a member of the Ethics Resolution Committee. An informal resolution may also be a simple matter of alerting the astrologer to a possible ethical problem in their work that they may not have been aware of. It can also act as a confidential warning to an astrologer about questionable ethical conduct, or a confidential deterrent to an astrologer regarding future conduct. The complainant can remain anonymous and confidentiality can be maintained for both parties.

Formal complaints and resolutions
A formal complaint begins with a letter to the Ethics Resolution Committee describing the problem and stating that this is a formal complaint. The astrologer in question is sent a copy of the letter and is asked to reply. The reply in turn is sent to the complainant. At this point the Coordinator, who may have already tried to achieve an informal resolution, once again offers to resolve the matter informally. If this fails, the Ethics Resolution Coordinator may request another round of letters from the two sides, or may move directly to arrange a formal hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to establish the validity of the complaint and the seriousness of the offense, if any. This hearing may be in person or by a conference call. The hearing will be led by the Coordinator. If requested by either party, or in serious cases, the Coordinator may establish an ad hoc committee to serve at the hearing as well. After hearing from both sides and reviewing the case, the Coordinator (with the committee if there is one) decides whether or not the astrologer in question was acting in accordance with the ethics code. If appropriate the Coordinator decides on a course of action (again with the committee if there is one), and formally recommends this to the Executive Committee for approval. The Executive Committee may defer the decision to the full board. Possible courses of action may be: a letter of concern, warning or censure, or in serious cases, revocation of certification and/or membership. Appeals can be made to the Judicial Committee described in the by-laws. Decisions of the Judicial Committee could be also be appealed as described in the by-laws.

Judging the Seriousness of Unethical Action  
Use the Code of Ethics as the minimum standard for ethical conduct. Use one's common sense as a guide to the degree of seriousness of any violation of the code. Some violations can be very minor, others quite serious. Each situation must be judged on its own terms. Some questions to consider:

Was there potential harm or actual harm?

Was there a formal astrologer-client relationship, or was it informal relationship?

Was the member in question still a student? Was the member in question clear about their limits of expertise?

Were there other previous cases of unethical conduct with this member?

Additions and modifications to these guidelines shall be considered twice a year by the Coordinator and voted on by the board of directors.

—Adopted Oct. 10, 1998

All NCGR-PAA Certified Astrologers are expected to abide by the Code of Ethics.