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Person – Centered Perspective in the Madrid Declaration

George Christodoulou, Angeliki Christodoulou


Principles of ethics are more important than rules, declarations and codes for a variety of reasons but basically because it is the principles that provide the basis for the latter and determine the ethical stance of each individual practitioner through whom the rules, declarations and codes are filtered. The essence of the above conclusion is reflected in the preamble of the Madrid Declaration, the ethical code of the World Psychiatric Association, where the psychiatrist’s individual sense of responsibility is identified as the basis of ethical practice.

Ethical psychiatric practice (as described or implied in the Madrid Declaration and in other similar texts) is personified par excellence. Yet, there are certain parts of the Declaration that are more relevant to the person-centered approach. These are the following:

Paragraph 1. Advocating therapeutic interventions that are least restrictive to the freedom of the patient.

Paragraph 3. Suggesting that the patient be accepted as a partner by right in the therapeutic process. Empowering the patient to make informed decisions on the basis of one’s personal values and preferences.

Paragraph 4. Safeguarding the dignity and human rights of the patient.

Paragraph 5. Informing the patient about the purpose of an assessment (especially if the psychiatrist is involved in third-party situations).

Paragraph 6. Safeguarding the privacy of information obtained through the therapeutic relationship.

Paragraph 7. Safeguarding the autonomy and physical and mental integrity of the patient in research.

The two person-centered ethics principles that are prominently highlighted in the Madrid Declaration are the principle of autonomy and the Hippocratic principle of “do no harm”.


Madrid Declaration, ethics, person, person-centered medicine, person-centered care, psychiatry, psychiatric ethics, moral theories

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