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AACC Code of Ethics
The Y2004 Final Code
Developed and Drafted by the AACC Law and Ethics Committee
George Ohlschlager, Chairman
PREFACE TO THE Y2004 FINAL CODE
APPLICABILITY OF THE CODE
INTRODUCTION AND MISSION
I. Ethical Standards for Christian Counselors
II. Ethical Standards for Supervisors, Educators, Researchers, & Writers
III. Standards and Exemptions for Ordained Ministers and Pastoral Counselors
IV. Standards and Exemptions for Lay Helpers and Other Ministers
V. Standards for Resolving Legal-Ethical Conflicts
VI. Authority, Jurisdiction, and Operation of the Law & Ethics Committee (LEC)
VII. Procedures for the Adjudication of Complaints Against AACC Members
VIII. Procedures Following Action by Churches, Courts, and Other Bodies
PREFACE TO THE Y2004 FINAL CODE
Welcome to the Y2004 final revision of the AACC Christian Counseling Code of Ethics (Code). This edition of the Code revises the 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2003 Provisional Codes, and supercedes those versions of the Code in their entirety. This is the Final Code version—the Code, with ‘Procedural Rules,’ in its completed form—which was first presented to the AACC membership at the 2003 AACC World Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
With the publication of this Code on our web-site—www.aacc.net—we publicly present our ethics to our over 50,000 members in all 50 states and 50 other nations (as of Summer 2003). We also respectfully submit this document to the church and the helping professions, to the courts, legislatures, and licensure boards of America, to mental health and health-care organizations everywhere, and to the world-at-large.
This Code has already been adopted, in whole or in part, in nearly two dozen countries on every continent. It has been translated into Spanish, German, French, and Dutch languages. We at the AACC anticipate this Code becoming the basis of a worldwide statement of Christian counseling ethics and, as it spreads further internationally, the foundation of a 21st-century, global standard of Christian counseling care.
Work on this Code has been continuous for 10 years—since AACC created the Law and Ethics Committee in 1993. The primary mission given this group a decade ago was to construct and manage a new, Christ-centered, interdisciplinary code of ethics for Christian counseling as it matures into the 21st- century. This code begins to fulfill this mission.
Committee members, AACC leaders, and other colleagues who helped me develop, draft, and survive this project through 18 evolving drafts over ten years included: AACC President Tim Clinton, EdD; former president Gary Collins, PhD; Mark McMinn, PhD; Rosemarie Hughes, PhD; the late David Gatewood, MS; Peter Mosgofian, MA; W.L. Ryder, MD; Elizabeth York, MEd; Siang-Yang Tan, PhD; Chris Thurman, PhD; Ev Worthington, PhD; Tom Whiteman, PhD; Norm Wright, MA; Leigh Bishop, MD; Freda Crews, DMin, PhD; Gary Oliver, PhD; Bill Secor, PhD; Ron Hawkins, DMin, EdD; Diane Langberg, PhD; Michael Lyles, MD; and Archibald Hart, PhD.
The Holy Scriptures and the AACC Doctrinal Statement are foundational to this Code. Other ethics codes, in alphabetical order, that were consulted as we drafted this statement included those from the:
- American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), including portions of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
- American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC)
- American Counseling Association (ACA), including the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES—ACA related), and the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC—also ACA related)
- American Psychiatric Association (APiA)
- American Psychological Association (APoA), including APoA General Guidelines for Providers of Psychological Services
- Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS)
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW), including NASW Standards for the Private Practice of Clinical Social Work
- The Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPDR)
Furthermore, many writings influenced this Code, especially by Alister McGrath, on “Doctrine and Ethics,” and Alan Tjeltveit, on “Psychotherapy and Christian Ethics.” Some rules for procedure, for resolution of conflicted values, and the detail in this document was suggested by the legal profession’s Code of Professional Responsibility, and by selected court cases, mental health license statutes, and licensure board administrative rules from California, Virginia, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Washington, and New York.
This Code may be downloaded from the AACC web site, or purchased in paper form from AACC at a nominal cost. We continue to invite your feedback about this code (to George@AACC.net)—ideas and suggestions that will be considered for inclusion into future Code revisions. Also, we are developing a new section on the ethics of remote counseling—using the phone, the Internet, and doing in-home counseling—and a code specifically for lay helping ministry in the church. Your thoughts and comments here are also welcome. Thank you and may God bless your study and use of this new Code of Ethics
George Ohlschlager, JD, LCSW
Chairman, AACC Law & Ethics Committee
APPLICABILITY OF THE CODE
All members of the AACC, the IACC (International Association of Christian Counselors), and Christian counselors everywhere are invited to fully adopt this AACC Code of Ethics (Code) in their work as Christian counselors, ministers, and helpers as soon as they are able. This Code may inform and enlighten all Christian counselors and ministers, but is not strictly enforceable toward non-AACC persons, nor upon AACC members in their private lives apart from professional-ministerial roles.
The Code will become a mandatory ethic for all AACC/IACC members who elect to become credential holders or members of either the American Board of Christian Counselors (ABCC) or the Christian Care Network (CCN).*
INTRODUCTION AND MISSION
The Code is designed to assist AACC members to better serve their clients and congregants and to improve the work of Christian counseling worldwide. It will help achieve the primary goals of the AACC—to bring honor to Jesus Christ and his church, promote excellence in Christian counseling, and bring unity to Christian counselors.
A New Code for an Emerging Profession
The Code is a comprehensive, detailed, and integrative synthesis of biblical, clinical, systemic, ethical, and legal information. It was created this way because vaguely worded, content limited, and overly generalized codes are insufficient for the complexities of the modern, 21st-century counseling environment. A more comprehensive and behavior-specific ethical code is needed for Christian counselors (and all mental health and ministerial professions, we believe) because of:
(1) the mounting evidence of questionable and incompetent practices among Christian counselors, including increasing complaints of client-parishioner harm;
(2) the largely unprotected legal status of Christian counseling, including the increasing state scrutiny, excessive litigation, and unrelenting legalization of professional ethics; and more positively
(3) the vitality and growing maturity of Christian counseling—including its many theories and controversies—indicating the need for an overarching ethical-legal template to guide the development of biblical and empirically sound Christian counseling models.
This Code—beyond defining the boundaries of unethical practice—affirmatively educates counselors in the direction of becoming helpers of ethical excellence, capable of more consistently securing the best counseling outcomes. This Code shows four streams of influence. These include (1) the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) and historic orthodox Christian theology;** (2) accepted standards of counseling and clinical practice from Christian counseling and the established mental health disciplines; (3) codes of ethics from other Christian and mental health professions; and (4) current and developing standards derived from mental health and ministry-related law. ____________________________________________
*NOTE 1. This code is adopted in its entirety by AACC affiliate organizations, the ABCC and the CCN. All ABCC and CCN members will be required to mandatory adherence to this code.
** NOTE 2. Although rooted primarily in an orthodox evangelical biblical theology, this Code is also influenced (according to the paradigm offered by Richard Foster) by the social justice, charismatic-pentecostal, pietistic-holiness, liturgical, and contemplative traditions of Christian theology and church history.
Mission, Uses, and Limits of the Code
The mission of this Code is to
(1) help advance the central mission of the AACC—to bring honor to Jesus Christ and promote excellence and unity in Christian counseling;
(2) promote the welfare and protect the dignity and fundamental rights of all individuals, families, groups, churches, schools, agencies, ministries, and other organizations with whom Christian counselors work;
(3) provide standards of ethical conduct in Christian counseling that are to be advocated and applied by the AACC (and ABCC and CCN) and that can be respected by other professionals and institutions.
This Code defines biblically based values and universal behavioral standards for ethical Christian counseling. We intend this Code to become a core document by which Christian counselors, clients, and the church oversee and evaluate Christian counselors and counseling values, goals, process, and effectiveness. Furthermore, the Code asserts a Christian counseling standard of care that invites respect and application by the courts, the regulatory bodies of church and state, insurance and managed care groups, other professions, and by society.
This Code should be seen as normative but non-exhaustive. It provides a common definition of practice, but does not presume to be a complete picture of Christian counseling nor does it necessarily cover all ethical issues. This Code outlines a foundation of preferred values and agreed professional behavior upon which Christian counselors can shape their identity and build their work. It defines standards upon which practice diversity is acknowledged and encouraged as well as the limits beyond which practice deviance is not allowed.
The Code is aspirational throughout the AACC and enforceable in ABCC and CCN. It consists of four major parts—Introduction and Mission, Biblical-Ethical Foundations, Ethical Standards, and Procedural Rules (which are being developed). It aspires to define, in the mission and the biblical-ethical foundations statements, the best ideals and goals of Christian counseling. The ethical standards and procedural rules are the codes of individual practice and organizational behavior that are to guide the membership of the AACC. The mission and foundations statements are to be consulted in working out the problems and dilemmas of ethics application and procedural rules interpretation.
Concerning language, we have endeavored to avoid pedantic, legalese, and sexist language, but we also avoid a radical inclusivism that de-sexes the name of God. Unless denoted, we use the term "client" to refer to clients, patients, congregants, parishioners, or helpees. "Counseling" is usually a generic reference to clinical, psychiatric, pastoral, and lay helping.
Grace for the Task Ahead
This is a dynamic Code, one that will anchor the mission of the AACC and retain some elements without change, but one that will also live and grow with the life and growth of the Association and its membership. The Code calls us to a life-long commitment to ethical and excellent service; it challenges us to encourage ethical behavior in our colleagues, churches, organizations, and communities. May God give us the grace to own it professionally, the strength to live it honorably, and the hope to see it as a foundation of common identity and corporate unity.
BIBLICAL-ETHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE AACC ETHICS CODE+
1st FOUNDATION: Jesus Christ—and His revelation in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible—is the pre-eminent model for Christian counseling practice, ethics, and caregiving activities.
2nd FOUNDATION: Christian counseling maintains a committed, intimate, and dedicated relationship with the worldwide church, and individual counselors with a local body of believers.
3rd FOUNDATION: Christian counseling, at its best, is a Spirit-led process of change and growth, geared to help others mature in Christ by the skillful synthesis of counselor-assisted spiritual, psycho-social, familial, bio-medical, and environmental interventions.
4th FOUNDATION: Christian counselors are dedicated to Jesus Christ as their ‘first love,’ to excellence in client service, to ethical integrity in practice, and to respect for everyone encountered.
5th FOUNDATION: Christian counselors accord the highest respect to the Biblical revelation regarding the defense of human life, the dignity of human personhood, and the sanctity of marriage and family life.
6th FOUNDATION: The biblical and constitutional rights to Religious Freedom, Free Speech, and Free Association protects Christian counselor public identity, and the explicit incorporation of spiritual practices into all forms of counseling and intervention.
7th FOUNDATION: Christian counselors are mindful of their representation of Christ and his church and are dedicated to honor their commitments and obligations in all social and professional relations.
+ NOTE 4. This statement of “biblical-ethical foundations” is not a doctrinal statement, nor is it intended to substitute for one. The AACC Doctrinal Statement is a separate standard that reflects the baseline religious beliefs and biblical commitments of AACC members. However, it is true that these seven foundation statements are implicitly rooted in the AACC doctrinal statement. Furthermore, combined with the Scriptures, the AACC doctrinal statement, and the statement of “Introduction and Mission” to this code, this section stands as the baseline ethics policy that will ground this code, assist the search for clear meaning and common interpretation, and guide the resolution of disputed applications of ethical standards and procedural rules.
I. ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR CHRISTIAN COUNSELORS
ES1-100 First, Do No Harm
Christian counselors acknowledge that the first rule of professional-ministerial ethical conduct is: do no harm to those served.
1-101 Affirming the God-given Dignity of All Persons
Affirmatively, Christian counselors recognize and uphold the inherent, God-given dignity of every human person, from the pre-born to those on death’s bed. Human beings are God’s creation—in fact, the crown of His creation—and are therefore due all the rights and respect and ordered logic that this fact of creation entails.
Therefore, regardless of how we respond to and challenge harmful attitudes and actions, Christian counselors will express a loving care to any client, service-inquiring person, or anyone encountered in the course of practice or ministry, without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual behavior or orientation, socio-economic status, education, denomination, belief system, values, or political affiliation. God’s love is unconditional and, at this level of concern, so must that of the Christian counselor.
1-102 No Harm or Exploitation Allowed
Prohibitively, then, Christian counselors avoid every manner of harm, exploitation, and unjust discrimination in all client-congregant relations. Christian counselors are also aware of their psychosocial and spiritual influence and the inherent power imbalance of helping relationships—power dynamics that can harm others even without harmful intent.
1-110 Avoidance of Client Harm, Intended or Not
Christian counselors strictly avoid all behavior or suggestion of practice that harms or reasonably could harm clients, client families, client social systems and representatives, students, trainees, supervisees, employees, colleagues, and third-party payors and authorizers.
1-111 Managing Client Conflicts
Christian counselors acknowledge that client conflicts are unavoidable. In fact, conflict and resistance are often a central dynamic of the helping process. We will attempt to resolve all counseling conflicts in the client's best interest. Counselors tempted to respond in harmful ways to clients shall seek out consultative and restorative help. If self-control is not accomplished—and client harm is not avoided—counselors shall terminate counseling relations and make referral in the client's best interest.
1-112 Action Regarding Clients Harmed by Other Helpers
Christian counselors take proper action against the harmful behavior of other counselors and pastors. We will act assertively to challenge or expose those who exploit others, and protect clients against harm wherever it is found, taking care to honor and support client decision-making regarding curative action against violators.
1-113 Managing Problems with Managed Care
Managed care has greatly expanded its influence in health and mental health service delivery. Widespread problems in client-provider-managed care relations are now being reported: breach of confidentiality, client abandonment, failure to maintain continuity of care, incompetent care, restriction of therapist choice and access, and even infliction of emotional distress. Christian counselors acknowledge these legal-ethical problems, and will avoid and work to correct any unethical entanglement and unintended client harm due to managed care relations.
1-120 Refusal to Participate in the Harmful Actions of Clients
Christian counselors refuse to condone, advocate for, or assist the harmful actions of clients, especially those that imperil human life from conception to death. We agree that the protection of human life is always a priority value in any professional or ministerial intervention. We will not abandon clients who do or intend harm, will terminate helping relations only in the most compelling circumstances, and will continue to serve clients in these troubles so far as it is humanly possible.
1-121 Application to Deadly and Threatening Behavior
Christian counselors refuse to condone, advocate for, or assist the suicidal, homicidal, or assaultive/abusive harm done to self or others by clients, including that which is threatened by verbal or other means. In fact, we are under an affirmative ethical duty to prudently intervene for the sake of protecting life, and under certain conditions, to report deadly threats to the proper authorities and those threatened by clients (see Code sections 1-430ff).
1-122 Application to Substance Abuse and Other Addictions
Christian counselors refuse to condone, advocate for, or assist substance abuse or other addictions and addictive behaviors by clients. We recognize and accept the distinction between drug dependence and addiction, and may support or assist clients in the use of necessary drugs—even those from which dependencies may develop for limited periods of time—when medically justified and under a physician’s supervision.
1-123 Application to Abortion
Christian counselors refuse to condone or advocate for abortion and the abortion-related activities of clients. All counselors will consider and inform clients of alternative means to abortion and, as far as it is possible, will continue to serve clients and work compassionately with them through the abortion crisis.
1-124 Application to Divorce
Christian counselors refuse to assume the decision for client divorce. We may assist clients in analyzing and making the decision to divorce, insofar as it is biblically permissible, as God does allow for divorce in some cases. Therefore, we may assist clients through the divorce process without being a divorce advocate, as that divorce decision must always reside in and be owned by the client. Christian counselors working in divorce mediation will be careful to communicate that such work is not an endorsement of divorce, but rather a decision to offer a better choice than adversarial litigation and its destructive family impact when divorce is inevitable.
1-125 Application to Premarital and Extramarital Sexual Behavior
Christian counselors refuse to condone or advocate for the pursuit of or active involvement in pre-marital and extra-marital sexual behavior by clients—promoting an affair is never proper counsel as a solution to marital problems. We acknowledge that sex is God’s good creation and a delightful gift when confined to one man and one woman in marriage. We may agree to and support the wish to work out issues of sexual behavior, identity, and attractions, but will encourage sexual celibacy or biblically proscribed sexual behavior while such issues are being addressed.
1-126 Application to Homosexual and Transgendered Behavior
Christian counselors refuse to condone or advocate for the pursuit of or active involvement in homosexual, transgendered, and cross-dressing behavior, and in the adoption gay & lesbian & transgendered lifestyles by clients. We may agree to and support the wish to work out issues of homosexual and transgendered identity and attractions, but will refuse to describe or reduce human identity and nature to sexual reference or orientation, and will encourage sexual celibacy or biblically proscribed sexual behavior while such issues are being addressed.
Christian counselors differ, on biblical, ethical, and legal grounds, with groups who abhor and condemn reparative therapy, willingly offering it to those who come into counseling with a genuine desire to be set free of homosexual attractions and leave homosexual behavior and lifestyles behind. Either goal of heterosexual relations and marriage or lifelong sexual celibacy is legitimate and a function of client choice in reparative therapy. It is acknowledged that some persons engaged in same-sex change or reparative therapy will be able to change and become free of all homo-erotic behavior and attraction, some will change but will still struggle with homosexual attraction from time to time, and some will not change away from homosexual practices.
1-127 Application to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
Christian counselors refuse to condone or advocate for active forms of euthanasia and assisted suicide. We may agree to and support the wish not to prolong life by artificial means, and will often advocate for hospice care, more effective application of medicine, and other reasonable means to reduce pain and suffering.
Regarding patients or clients who wish to die, we will not deliver, nor advocate for, nor support the use of drugs or devices to be utilized for the purpose of ending a patient’s life. We recognize that the death of a patient may occur as the unintended and secondary result of aggressive action to alleviate a terminally ill patient’s extreme pain and suffering.
So long as there are no other reasonable methods to alleviate such pain and suffering, the Christian counselor is free to support, advocate for, and participate in such aggressive pain management in accordance with sound medical practice, and with the informed consent of the patient or the patient’s authorized representative.
1-130 Sexual Misconduct Forbidden
All forms of sexual misconduct in pastoral, professional, or lay relationships are unethical. This includes every kind of sexual exploitation, deception, manipulation, abuse, harassment, relations where the sexual involvement is invited, and relations where informed consent presumably exists. Due to the inherent power imbalance of helping relationships and the immoral nature of sexual behavior outside of marriage, such apparent consent is illusory and illegitimate.
Forbidden sexual activities and deceptions include, but are not limited to, direct sexual touch or contact; seductive sexual speech or non-verbal behavior; solicitation of sexual or romantic relations; erotic contact or behavior as a response to the sexual invitation or seductive behavior of clients; unnecessary questioning and/or excessive probing into the client's sexual history and practices; inappropriate counselor disclosures of client attractiveness, sexual opinions, or sexual humor; advocacy of the healing value of counselor-client sexual relations; secretive sexual communications and anonymous virtual interaction via the Internet or other electronic and informational means; sexual harassment by comments, touch, or promises/threats of special action; and sexual misconduct as defined by all applicable laws, ethics, and church, organizational, or practice policies.
1-131 Sexual Relations with Former Clients Forbidden
All sexual relations as defined in 1-130 above with former clients are unethical. Furthermore, we do not terminate and refer clients or parishioners, even at first contact, in order to pursue sexual or romantic relations.
1-132 Counseling with Marital/Sexual Partners
Christian counselors do not counsel, but make appropriate referral, with current or former sexual and/or marital partners.
1-133 Marriage with Former Clients/Patients
Since marriage is honorable before God, the lone exception to this rule against marriage to a former client, is a case anticipating marriage, so long as (1) counseling relations were properly terminated, and not for the purpose of pursuing marriage or romantic relations, (2) the client is fully informed that any further counseling must be done by another, (3) there is no harm or exploitation of the client or the client’s family as a result of different relations with the counselor, and (4) the marriage takes place two years or more after the conclusion of a counseling or helping relationship.
1-140 Dual and Multiple Relationships
Dual relationships involve the breakdown of proper professional or ministerial boundaries. A dual relationship is where two or more roles are mixed in a manner that can harm the counseling relationship. Examples include counseling plus personal, fraternal, business, financial, or sexual and romantic relations. Some dual relationships are not unethical—it is client exploitation that is wrong, not the dual relationship itself. Based on an absolute application that harms membership bonds in the Body of Christ, we oppose the ethical-legal view that all dual relationships are per se harmful and therefore invalid on their face. Many dual relations are wrong and indefensible, but some dual relationships are worthwhile and defensible (per section 1-142 below).
1-141 The Rule of Dual Relationships
While in therapy, or when counseling relations are imminent, or for an appropriate time after termination of counseling, Christian counselors do not engage in dual relations with counselees. Some dual relationships are always avoided—sexual or romantic relations, and counseling close friends, family members, employees, or supervisees. Other dual relationships should be presumed troublesome and avoided wherever possible. 1-142 Proving an Exception to the Rule The Christian counselor has the burden of proving a justified dual relationship by showing (1) informed consent, including discussion of how the counseling relationship might be harmed as other relations proceed, and (2) lack of harm or exploitation to the client. As a general rule, all close relations are unethical if they become counselor-client or formal lay helping relations. Dual relations may be allowable, requiring justification by the foregoing rule, if the client is an arms-length acquaintance—if the relationship is not a close one. This distinction is crucial in the applications below.
1-143 Counseling with Family, Friends, and Acquaintances
Christian counselors do not provide counseling to close family or friends. We presume that dual relations with other family members, acquaintances, and fraternal, club, association, or group members are potentially troublesome and best avoided, otherwise requiring justification.
1-144 Business and Economic Relations
Christian counselors avoid partnerships, employment relations, and close business associations with clients. Barter relations are normally avoided as potentially troublesome, and require justification; therefore if done, barter is a rare and not a common occurrence. Unless justified by compelling necessity, customer relations with clients are normally avoided.
1-145 Counseling with Fellow Church Members
Christian counselors do not provide counseling to fellow church members with whom they have close personal, business, or shared ministry relations. We presume that dual relations with any other church members who are clients are potentially troublesome and best avoided, otherwise requiring justification. Pastors and church staff helpers will take all reasonable precautions to limit the adverse impact of any dual relationships.
1-146 Termination to Engage in Dual Relations Prohibited
Christian counselors do not terminate counseling to engage in dual relationships of any kind. Some counselors and their former clients will agree that any future counseling will be done by someone else if, after legitimate termination, they decide to pursue another form of relationship.
ES1-200 Competence in Christian Counseling
1-210 Honoring the Call to Competent Christian Counseling
Christian counselors maintain the highest standards of competence with integrity. We know and respect the boundaries of competence in ourselves and others, especially those under our supervision. We make only truthful, realistic statements about our identity, education, experience, credentials, and about counseling goals and process, avoiding exaggerated and sensational claims. We do not offer services or work beyond the limits of our competence and do not aid or abet the work of Christian counseling by untrained, unqualified, or unethical helpers.
1-220 Duties to Consult and/or Refer
Christian counselors consult with and/or refer to more competent colleagues or supervisors when these limits of counseling competence are reached: (1) when facing issues not dealt with before or not experienced in handling, (2) when clients need further help outside the scope of our training and practice, (3) when either counselor or clients are feeling stuck or confused about counseling and neither is clear what to do about it, or (4) when counselees are deteriorating or making no realistic gain over a number of sessions. Christian counselors shall honor the client's goals and confidential privacy interests in all consultations and referrals.
1-221 Consultation Practice
When counseling help is needed, and with client consent, consultation may be attempted first, when in the client's best interest and to improve helper's knowledge and skill where some competence exists. Counselors shall take all reasonable action to apply consultative help to the case in order to gain/maintain ground toward client objectives. The consultant shall maintain a balanced concern for the client discussed and the practice/education needs of the consultee, directing the counselor-consultee to further training or special resources, if needed.
1-222 Referral Practice
Referral shall be made in situations where client need is beyond the counselor's ability or scope of practice or when consultation is inappropriate, unavailable, or unsuccessful. Referrals should be done only after the client is provided with informed choices among referral sources. As much as possible, counselors referred to shall honor prior commitments between client and referring counselor or church.
1-223 Seek Christian Help,
If Available When consulting or referring, Christian counselors seek out the best Christian help at a higher level of knowledge, skill, and expertise. If Christian help is not available, or when professional skill is more important than the professional's beliefs, Christian counselors shall use the entire network of professional services available.
1-224 Avoid Counsel Against Professional Treatment
Christian counselors do not counsel or advice against professional counseling, medical or psychiatric treatment, the use of medications, legal counsel, or other forms of professional service merely because we believe such practice is per se wrong or because the provider may not be a Christian.
1-230 Duties to Study and Maintain Expertise
Christian counselors keep abreast of and, whenever possible, contribute to new knowledge, issues, and resources in Christian counseling and our respective fields. We maintain an active program of study, continuing education, and personal/professional growth to improve helping effectiveness and ethical practice. We seek out specialized training, supervision, and/or advanced certification if we choose to gain expertise and before we practice and advertise in recognized specialty areas of counseling and clinical practice.
1-240 Maintaining Integrity in Work, Reports, and Relationships
Christian counselors maintain the highest standards of integrity in all their work, in professional reports, and in all professional relationships. We delegate to employees, supervisees, and other subordinates only that work these persons can competently perform, meeting the client's best interest and done with appropriate supervision.
1-250 Protective Action When Personal Problems Interfere
Christian counselors acknowledge that sin, illnesses, mental disorders, interpersonal crises, distress, and self-deception still influence us personally—and that these problems can adversely affect our clients and parishioners. When personal problems flare to a level that harm to one's clients is realized or is highly likely, the Christian counselor will refrain from or reduce those particular professional-ministerial activities that are or could be harmful. During such times, the counselor will seek out and use those reparative resources that will allow for problem resolution and a return to a fully functioning ministry, if possible.
ES1-300 Informed Consent in Christian Counseling
1-310 Securing Informed Consent
Christian counselors secure client consent for all counseling and related services. This includes the video/audio-taping of client sessions, the use of supervisory and consultative help, the application of special procedures and evaluations, and the communication of client data with other professionals and institutions. Christian counselors take care that (1) the client has the capacity to give consent; (2) we have discussed counseling together and the client reasonably understands the nature and process of counseling; the costs, time, and work required; the limits of counseling; and any appropriate alternatives; and (3) the client freely gives consent to counseling, without coercion or undue influence.
1-320 Consent for the Structure and Process of Counseling
Christian counselors respect the need for informed consent regarding the structure and process of counseling. Early in counseling, counselor and client should discuss and agree upon these issues: the nature of and course of therapy; client issues and goals; potential problems and reasonable alternatives to counseling; counselor status and credentials; confidentiality and its limits; fees and financial procedures; limitations about time and access to the counselor, including directions in emergency situations; and procedures for resolution of disputes and misunderstandings. If the counselor is supervised, that fact shall be disclosed and the supervisor's name and role indicated to the client.
1-321 Consent from Parent or Client Representative
Christian counselors obtain consent from parents or the client's legally authorized representative when clients are minors or adults who are legally incapable of giving consent.
1-322 Documentation of Consent
Christian counselors will document client consent in writing by professional service contract or consent form, the standard now required in most professional therapy relations, or by case note at the very least. 1-330 Consent for Biblical-Spiritual Practices in Counseling Christian counselors do not presume that all clients want or will be receptive to explicit spiritual interventions in counseling. We obtain consent that honors client choice, receptivity to these practices, and the timing and manner in which these things are introduced: prayer for and with clients, Bible reading and reference, spiritual meditation, the use of biblical and religious imagery, assistance with spiritual formation and discipline, and other common spiritual practices.
1-331 Special Consent for More Difficult Interventions
Close or special consent is obtained for more difficult and controversial practices. These include, but are not limited to: deliverance and spiritual warfare activities; cult de-programming work; recovering memories and treatment of past abuse or trauma; use of hypnosis and any kind of induction of altered states; authorizing (by MDs) medications, electro-convulsive therapy, or patient restraints; use of aversive, involuntary, or experimental therapies; engaging in reparative therapy with homosexual persons; and counseling around abortion and end-of-life issues. These interventions require a more detailed discussion with patient-clients or client representatives of the procedures, risks, and treatment alternatives, and we secure detailed written agreement for the procedure.
ES1-400 Confidentiality, Privacy, and Privileged Communication
1-410 Maintaining Client Confidentiality
Christian counselors maintain client confidentiality to the fullest extent allowed by law, professional ethics, and church or organizational rules. Confidential client communications include all verbal, written, telephonic, audio or videotaped, or electronic communications arising within the helping relationship. Apart from the exceptions below, Christian counselors shall not disclose confidential client communications without first discussing the intended disclosure and securing written consent from the client or client representative.
1-411 Discussing the Limits of Confidentiality and Privilege
Clients should be informed about both the counselor's commitment to confidentiality and its limits before engaging in counseling. Christian counselors avoid stating or implying that confidentiality is guaranteed or absolute. We will discuss the limits of confidentiality and privacy with clients at the outset of counseling.
1-420 Asserting Confidentiality or Privilege Following Demands for Disclosure
Protecting confidential communications, including the assertion of privilege in the face of legal or court demands, shall be the first response of counselors to demands or requests for client communications and records.
1-421 Disclosure of Confidential Client Communications
Christian counselors disclose only that client information they have written permission from the client to disclose or that which is required by legal or ethical mandates. The counselor shall maintain confidentiality of client information outside the bounds of that narrowly required to fulfill the disclosure and shall limit disclosures only to those people having a direct professional interest in the case. In the face of a subpoena, counselors shall neither deny nor immediately comply with disclosure demands, but will assert privilege in order to give the client time to consult with a lawyer to direct disclosures.
1-430 Protecting Persons from Deadly Harm: The Rule of Mandatory Disclosure
Christian counselors accept the limits of confidentiality when human life is imperiled or abused. We will take appropriate action, including necessary disclosures of confidential information, to protect life in the face of client threats of suicide, homicide, and/or the abuse of children, elders, and dependent persons.
1-431 The Duty to Protect Others
The duty to take protective action is triggered when the counselor (1) has reasonable suspicion, as stated in your state statute, that a minor child (under 18 years), elder person (65 years and older), or dependent adult (regardless of age) has been harmed by the client; or (2) has direct client admissions of serious and imminent suicidal threats; or (3) has direct client admissions of harmful acts or threatened action that is serious, imminent, and attainable against a clearly identified third person or group of persons.
1-432 Guidelines to Ethical Disclosure and Protective Action
Action to protect life, whether you’re a client or a third-person, shall be that which is reasonably necessary to stop or forestall deadly or harmful action in the present situation. This could involve hospitalizing the client, intensifying clinical intervention to the degree necessary to reasonably protect against harmful action, consultation and referral with other professionals, or disclosure of harm or threats to law enforcement, protective services, identifiable third-persons, and/or family members able to help with protective action.
1-433 Special Guidelines When Violence is Threatened Against Others
Action to protect third persons from client violence may involve or, in states that have a third-person protection (Tarasoff) duty, require disclosure of imminent harm to the intended victim, to their family or close friends, and to law enforcement. When child abuse or elder abuse or abuse of dependent adults exists, as defined by state law, Christian counselors shall report to child or elder protective services, or to any designated agency established for protective services. We shall also attempt to defuse the situation and/or take preventive action by whatever means are available and appropriate.
When clients threaten serious and imminent homicide or violence against an identifiable third-person, the Christian counselor shall inform appropriate law enforcement, and/or medical-crisis personnel, and the at-risk person or close family member of the threat, except when precluded by compelling circumstances or by state law.
When the client threat is serious but not imminent, the Christian counselor shall take preventive clinical action that seeks to forestall any further escalation of threat toward violent behavior.
1-440 Disclosures in Cases of Third-party Payment and Managed Care
Christian counselors are diligent to protect client confidences in relations with insurance and third party payors, employee assistance programs, and managed care groups. We are cautious about demands for confidential client information that exceed the need for validation of services rendered or continued care. We do not disclose or submit session notes and details of client admissions solely on demand of third-party payors. We will narrowly disclose information that the client has given written authorization only after we have discussed and are assured that the client understands the full implications of authorizations signed or contemplated to sign.
1-450 Disclosures for Supervision, Consultation, Teaching, Preaching, and Publication
Christian counselors do not disclose confidential client communications in any supervisory, consultation, teaching, preaching, publishing, or other activity without written or other legal authorization by the client. Counselors under supervision will disclose that fact to their clients. We will adequately disguise client identifiers by various means when presenting cases in group or in public forums. We will not presume that disguise alone is sufficient client protection, but will consider seeking client authorization when client identity is hard to conceal.
1-460 Maintaining Privacy and Preserving Written Records
Christian counselors will preserve, store, and transfer written records of client communications in a way that protects client confidentiality and privacy rights. This requires, at minimum, keeping records files in locked storage with access given only to those persons with a direct professional interest in the materials.
1-461 Maintaining Privacy in Electronic Databases
Christian counselors take special precautions to protect client privacy rights with records stored and transferred by electronic means. This requires, at minimum, use of password entry into all electronic client files and/or coded files that do not use client names or easy identifiers. Client information transferred electronically—FAX, E-mail, or other computerized network transfer—shall be done only after the counselor determines that the process of transmission and reception of data is reasonably protected from interception and unauthorized disclosures.
1-470 Advocacy for Privacy Rights Against Intrusive Powers
Christian counselors hear the most private and sensitive details of client lives—information that must be zealously guarded from public disclosure. Rapidly expanding and interlocking electronic information networks are increasingly threatening client privacy rights. Though federal and state laws exist to protect client privacy, these laws are weak, are routinely violated at many levels, and the record of privacy right enforcement is dismal. Accordingly, Christian counselors are called to wisely protect and assertively advocate for privacy protection on behalf of our clients against the pervasive intrusion of personal, corporate, governmental, even religious powers.
ES1-500 Ethical Practice in Christian Counseling and Evaluation
1-510 Fees and Financial Relationships in Christian Counseling
Professional Christian counselors will set fees for services that are fair and reasonable, according to the services contracted and time performed, and with due regard for the client's ability to pay. We avoid all deception, confusion, and misrepresentation about fees and in our financial relationships with clients and client systems.
1-511 Disclosure of Fees and Payment History
Fee schedules and rules for payment shall be outlined clearly for client review at the outset of counseling. Moreover, agreement about fees and payment schedules will be made as early as possible in the course of professional relations. We will provide clients or their representatives with a full and accurate account of previous and current charges upon request.
1-512 Sliding Fee Scales Encouraged
Christian counselors are free, within the bounds of biblical, professional, and community standards, to set their own fees. Clinicians are encouraged, however, to use sliding fee schedules, scaled to client's ability to pay, and other reduced payment methods to increase counseling accessibility to those of lesser financial means.
1-513 Pro Bono Work
Christian counselors are encouraged, beyond their fee schedule, to make a portion of their time and services available without cost or at a greatly reduced fee to those unable to pay.
1-514 Avoiding Self-serving Financial Relations
Christian counselors avoid financial practices that result or appear to result in greedy and self-serving outcomes. We do not select clients or prolong therapy based on their ability to pay high fees, nor do we quickly terminate counseling with low-fee clients. When making referrals, we do not divide fees with other professionals nor accept or give anything of value for making the referral. We do not exaggerate problems nor refer exclusively for specialized services to get clients into special programs or institutions in which we have a proprietary interest.
1-515 Financial Integrity with Insurance and Third-party Payors
Christian counselors maintain financial integrity with client insurers and other third-party payors. We do not charge third-party payors for services not rendered, nor for missed or cancelled appointments, unless specially authorized to do so. We do not distort or change diagnoses to fit restricted reimbursement categories. Any special benefits or reductions in client fees must also be extended in full to third-party payors.
1-520 Case notes and Proper Record-keeping
Christian counselors maintain appropriate documentation of their counseling activities, adequate for competent recall of prior sessions and the provision of later services by oneself or others. Records used in legal and other official capacities will show the quality, detail, objectivity, and timeliness of production expected by professionals who practice in these arenas.
1-521 Records Maintenance and Ownership
Records of professional activities will be created, maintained, stored, and disposed of in accordance with the law and the ethical duties of the counselor, especially maintaining client confidentiality. Ordinarily, client records belong to the employing organization or to the therapist in a private or group practice. However, in view of the expanding right of client record access and the ethic of continuity of care, clients’ records should follow the client. Therefore, in any dispute about record access or ownership at the termination of professional employment, the records will stay with the employer if the therapist is leaving the area and his or her clients, or they should go with the therapist if he or she is staying in the area and the clients are staying with the therapist.
1-530 Ethics in Testing, Assessment, and Clinical Evaluation
Christian counselors do clinical evaluations of clients only in the context of professional relations, in the best interests of clients, and with the proper training and supervision. Christian counselors avoid (1) incompetent and inaccurate evaluations, (2) clinically unnecessary and excessively expensive testing, and (3) unauthorized practice of testing and evaluation that is the province of another clinical or counseling discipline. Referral and consultation are used when evaluation is desired or necessary beyond the competence and/or role of the counselor.
1-531 Use of Appropriate Assessments
Christian counselors use tests and assessment techniques that are appropriate to the needs, resources, capabilities, and understanding of the client. We apply tests skillfully and administer tests properly and safely. We substantiate our findings, with knowledge of the reliability, validity, outcome results, and limits of the tests used. We avoid both the misuse of testing procedures and the creation of confusion or misunderstanding by clients about testing purposes, procedures, and findings.
1-532 Reporting and Interpreting Assessment Results
Christian counselors report testing results in a fair, understandable, and objective manner. We avoid undue testing bias and honor the limits of test results, ensuring verifiable means to substantiate conclusions and recommendations. We recognize the limits of test interpretation, and avoid exaggeration and absolute statements about the certainty of client diagnoses, behavior predictions, clinical judgments, and recommendations. Due regard is given to the unique history, values, family dynamics, sociocultural influences, economic realities, and spiritual maturity of the client. Christian counselors will state any and all reservations about the validity of test results and present reports and recommendations in tentative language and with alternative possibilities.
1-540 Working with Couples, Families, and Groups
Christian counselors often work with multiple persons in session—marriage couples, families or parts of families, and small groups—and should know when these forms of counseling are preferred over or used as an adjunct to individual counseling. In these relationships we will identify a primary client—the group as a unit or the individual members—and will discuss with our client(s) how our differing roles, counseling goals, and confidentiality and consent issues are affected by these dynamics.
1-541 Safety and Integrity in Family and Group Counseling
Christian counselors will maintain their role as fair, unbiased, and effective helpers in all marital, family, and group work. We will remain accessible to all persons, avoiding enmeshed alliances and taking sides unjustly. As group or family counseling leaders, Christian counselors respect the boundary between constructive confrontation and verbal abuse, and will take reasonable precautions to protect client members from any physical, psychological, or verbal abuse from other members of a family or group.
1-542 Confidentiality in Family and Group Counseling (see also ES1-400)
Christian counselors do not promise or guarantee confidentiality in family and group counseling, but rather explain the problems and limits of keeping confidences in these modes of therapy. We communicate the importance of confidentiality and encourage family or group members to honor it, including discussion of consequences for its breach. Christian counselors do not share confidences by one family or group member to others without permission or prior agreement, unless maintaining the secret will likely lead to grave and serious harm to a family member or someone else.
1-543 Avoiding and Resolving Role Conflicts
If/when Christian counselors are asked to perform conflicting roles with possible unethical consequences (i.e.: pressure to keep "secrets" or called to testify as an adverse witness in a client's divorce), we will clarify our therapeutic, neutral, and mediative role and/or decline to serve in a conflicted capacity, if possible. Some counselors will contract for professional neutrality at the beginning of professional relations, securing client agreement not to have oneself or one's records subpoenaed or deposed in any legal proceeding.
1-550 Working with Persons of Different Faiths, Religions, and Values
Christian counselors do not withhold services to anyone of a different faith, religion, denomination, or value system. We work to understand the client's belief system and always maintain respect for the client. We strive to understand when faith and values issues are important to the client and foster values-informed client decision-making in counseling. We share our own faith only as a function of legitimate self-disclosure and when appropriate to client need, always maintaining a humility that exposes and never imposes the way of Christ.
1-551 Action if Value Differences Interfere with Counseling
Christian counselor work to resolve problems—always in the client's best interest—when differences between counselor and client values becomes too great, adversely affecting counseling. This may include discussion of the issue as a therapeutic matter, renegotiation of the counseling agreement, consultation with a supervisor or trusted colleague or, as a last resort, referral to another counselor if the differences cannot be reduced or bridged.
1-560 Continuity of Care and Service Interruption
Christian counselors maintain continuity of care for all patients and clients. We avoid interruptions in service to clients that are too lengthy or disruptive. Care is taken to refer clients and network to provide emergency services when faced with counselor vacations, illnesses, job changes, financial hardships, or any other reason services are interrupted or limited. 1-570 Avoiding Abandonment and Improper Counseling Termination Christian counselors do not abandon clients. To the extent the counselor is able, client services are never abruptly cut-off or ended without giving notice and adequately preparing the client for termination or referral.
1-571 Ethical Termination of Counseling
Discussion and action toward counseling termination and/or referral is indicated when (1) counseling goals have been achieved; (2) when the client no longer wants or does not return to counseling; (3) when the client is no longer benefiting from counseling; or (4) when counseling is harmful to the client. Christian counselors shall discuss termination and/or referral with clients, offer referral if wanted or appropriate, and facilitate termination in the client's best interest. If crisis events alter, even end counseling prematurely the counselor, if it is safe and proper, should follow-through with the client to ensure proper termination and referral.
ES1-600 Ethical Relations in the Professional Workplace
1-610 Honorable Relations Between Professional and Ministerial Colleagues
Christian counselors respect professional and ministerial colleagues, both within and outside the church. We strive to understand and, wherever able, respect differing approaches to counseling. We strive to maintain collaborative and constructive relations with other professionals serving our client, in the client's best interest.
1-611 Solicitation of Clients Under Another’s Care
Christian counselors do not solicit clients nor do we knowingly offer professional services to those under the care of another mental health professional or pastor, except with that provider's knowledge, or when someone is in crisis. When approached by clients being served by other counselors, due regard will be given that relationship with a commitment to encourage client resolution with the other counselor before starting professional relations.
1-612 Maintaining Honor Toward Others When in Conflict
If a counselor learns that a current client is receiving therapy from another pastor or mental health professional, reasonable steps will be taken to inform the other helper and resolve the situation. Professional relations in this case are to be maintained, as much as is possible, with a priority of Christian love and peace.
Any action to challenge or confront the wrongdoing of other service providers will be done with accuracy, humility, and protecting the dignity and reputation of others. Behavior that slanders, libels, or gossips about colleagues, or uncritically accepts these things from others about other service providers, will be strictly avoided.
1-620 Maintaining Honorable Professional and Employment Relations
Christian counselors create and preserve honorable relations in the professional workplace, whether church, counseling agency, or other setting. We maintain the utmost honesty, respect, and integrity in all employment and collegial relations. We shall contract relations that balance the best interests of clients, colleagues, and our organizations, and will honor all contractual obligations, even if it is costly for us to do so. We will avoid all actions and appearances of greed, fraud, manipulation, and self-serving action in all collegial and employment relations, and will disclose and discuss all reasonably foreseen problems to our colleagues before they enter into relations with us.
1-621 Toward Clear Role Boundaries and Work Definitions
All professional/employment relations should be mutually understood and described in sufficient detail by work agreement. Administrators and staff should reasonably understand (1) required work behavior, expectations, and limits; (2) lines of authority and responsibility; (3) bases for and boundaries of accountability; and (4) procedures for voicing and curing disagreements and substandard work performance. When such guidelines do not exist, Christian counselors encourage development of sound collegial and employer-employee rules and relations.
1-630 Christian Counselors as Employers
Employers of Christian counselors shall provide a personnel program that honors the dignity and promotes the welfare of employees. Information will be given about the mission, goals, programs, policies, and procedures of the employing person or organization. Employers should deliver regular programs of in-service training, supervision of staff, and evaluation and review of employee work performance. Employers do not coerce, manipulate, threaten, or exploit employees or colleagues.
1-631 Employers Avoid Discrimination and Promote Meritoriously
Employers hire, evaluate, and promote staff meritoriously—based on staff training, experience, credentials, competence, responsibility, integrity, and ethical excellence. We do not discriminate in hiring or promotion practices on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, medical status, socioeconomic status, or special relationship with employer or other staff.
1-640 Christian Counselors as Employees
Counselors accept employment only when they are qualified for the position—by education, supervised training, credentials, skill, and experience. We will honor and advance the mission, goals, and policies of employing organizations. Employees have duties to both employers and clients and, in the event of conflict between these duties, shall strive to resolve them in ways that harmonize the best interests of both.
1-641 Employees Serve with Integrity and Dedication
Employees serve with dedication, diligence, and honesty, maintaining high professional and ethical standards. We do not abuse our employment positions, nor presume excessive demands or rights against an employer.
1-642 Moving From An Agency to Private Practice
While employed in a counseling agency, and for a reasonable time after employment, we do not take clients from an employing organization to develop a private or group practice of a competing kind. Any part-time practice while employed must be kept strictly separate from the clients and resources of the employing agency. If we develop a full-time private practice with intent to resign employment and take current clients, each client shall be apprised of their right to choose to stay with the employing organization or go with the therapist.
ES1-700 Ethics in Advertising and Public Relations
All advertising and public communications by Christian counselors shall be done with accuracy and humility, with a primary goal of assisting clients to make informed choices about counseling services.
1-710 Unethical Statements in Public Communications
Christian counselors make only factual and straightforward public communications and avoid statements that: (1) are false, inaccurate, exaggerated or sensational; (2) are likely to deceive or mislead others because it is partial or taken out of context; (3) are testimonials by current clients; (4) exploit other's fears or distressing emotions; (5) note the inferiority or negative characteristics of another counselor; and (6) express unique or unusual helping abilities outside the range of accepted Christian counseling practices. 1-720 Communication of Association with the AACC and Other Groups Public communication of AACC or other professional membership should adhere to all the requirements of this section and should not express or imply that such membership confers special status, expertise, or extraordinary competence in counseling.
1-721 Communication About Professional Status and Credentials
Christian counselors do not state that professional credentials—state licenses, graduate degrees, specialized training, church, professional, or governmental certifications, or any other credentials—confer greater status or power than the credentials actually represent. Advanced credentials shall be communicated with accuracy and humility, adhering to the guidelines of the credential itself.
1-722 Communication of Unaccredited and Unrelated Credentials
Christian counselors avoid public communication of degrees or credentials received from schools and organizations (1) not holding or maintaining a reputable and widely-known national stature, (2) not accredited by state, regional, or national authorities, or that (3) are not substantially related to counseling, pastoral counseling, or mental health services. Holders of a religious license or credential for church ministry only shall not state or imply that they are counseling professionals, or that they hold a mental health practice license.
1-730 Communication of Work Products and Training Materials
Christian counselors ensure that advertisements about work products and training events adhere to these ethics. We take care to avoid undue influence and respect informed consumer choice in promoting our work to anyone under our professional influence or authority.
1-740 Ethical Guidelines in Public Statements by Others
Christian counselors ensure adherence to these ethics by third parties we engage to create and make public statements about our work—employers, publishers, producers, sponsors, marketers, organizational clients, and representatives of the media. We do not pay for or compensate the news media for news items about our work. We are responsible to correct, in timely fashion, any misinformation by third parties regarding our work.
ES1-800 Ethical Relations with the State and Other Social Systems
Christian counselors, as individual members and as an Association, will strive to maintain ethical relations with the world-wide and the local church, with the state in its various forms, with the mental health professions and associations to which some of us belong, with other professions and organizations, and with society-at-large.
1-810 Ethical Relations to Other Professions and Institutions
Christian counselors recognize and respect that we are part of larger networks of Christian ministry and of mental health care. To borrow a metaphor, we envision church-based ministry and professional mental health care as the two tracks on which runs the Christian counseling train—tracks with different rather than opposing objectives. Within the AACC are representatives of many different mental health and ministerial disciplines—we invite and welcome them all in the name of Christ. We will honor and preserve these relations, will challenge value differences with respect, and will build the best relations we can with all these professions and institutions that intersect with us as Christian counselors.
1-820 Working for a Caring Church, a Just Government, and a Better Society
Christian counselors are dedicated to build a more caring church, a more just government, and a better society in which to live. We will honor the laws and customs of our culture, and will challenge them when they threaten or abuse our freedoms, dishonor our God, or deny the rights of those most powerless. When critical, we will strive to offer a better alternative—model programs to govern our ecclesiastical, socio-cultural, and governmental life.
We will support the cause of Christ and advocate for Christian counseling in the church, in our ministries and professions, and in society. We will work to shape laws and policies that encourage the acceptance and growth of Christian ministry generally and Christian counseling in particular. We will facilitate harmonious relations between church and state and will serve and advocate the best interests of our clients in church, community, and governmental relations.
1-830 Being Salt and Light in a Post-Christian Culture
Christian counselors acknowledge that we live in a post-Christian and pluralistic culture that no longer shares a common Judeo-Christian value base. We are called by Christ to be "salt and light" throughout our culture, a call of engagement with our culture and the world-at-large. Hence, the AACC will be and our members are encouraged to engage in active and honorable relations with the world around us—relations in which the world can see the light and taste the salt of Christ.
1-831 Christ and Culture: Diversity over Conformity
We accept that there are differing views within our Association on the proper relationship of the Christian life to a modern culture that no longer substantially honors Christ. Our association includes those who are largely apolitical—acknowledging a receding religious-cultural status as Christians but dedicated to building up the church and our profession. There are also those who believe it is necessary to retain a vibrant Christian value base in society and seek to return our culture to these roots, including by political and legal action. We wish to support this diversity and encourage this ongoing debate, respecting the validity of these different views as the healthy evidence of a living church and a vibrant and growing profession.
II. ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR SUPERVISORS, EDUCATORS, RESEARCHERS, AND WRITERS
The Ministry of Christian Counseling Leaders Some Christian counselors serve in senior professional roles—as administrators, supervisors, teachers, consultants, researchers, and writers. They are recognized for their counseling expertise, their dedication to Christ and the ministry or profession to which they belong, and for their exemplary ethics. These leaders are responsible for the development and maturation of the Christian counseling profession, for serving as active and ethical role models, and for raising up the next generation of Christian counselors and leaders. ES2-100 Base Standards for Supervisors and Educators
2-110 Ethics and Excellence in Supervision and Teaching
Christian counseling supervisors and educators maintain the highest levels of clinical knowledge, professional skill, and ethical excellence in all supervision and teaching. They are knowledgeable about the latest professional and ministerial developments and responsibly transmit this knowledge to students and supervisees.
2-111 Preparation for Teaching and Supervision
Christian counseling supervisors and educators have received adequate training and experience in teaching and supervision methods before they deliver these services. Supervisors and educators are encouraged to maintain and enhance their skills through continued clinical practice, advanced training, and continuing education.
2-120 Supervisors and Educators Do Not Exploit Students and Trainees
Christian counseling supervisors and educators avoid exploitation, appearances of exploitation, and harmful dual relations with students and trainees. Students and trainees are taught by example and by explanation, with the mentor responsible to define and maintain clear, proper, and ethical professional and social boundaries.
2-121 Sexual and Romantic Relations Forbidden with Students and Supervisees
Christian counseling supervisors and educators (1) shall not engage in any form of sexual or romantic relations with their students and trainees, (2) nor subject them, by relations with others, to any form of sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment, (3) nor pressure them to engage in any questionable social relationships. The standards of sections 1-130ff, "Sexual Misconduct Forbidden," shall apply fully here.
2-122 Dual Relationships Cautioned
Integrity and caution shall be the hallmark of dual relationships between supervisors and supervisees and between teacher and student. Those relations that harm or are likely to harm students and trainees, or that impair or are likely to distort the professional judgment of supervisors and teachers shall be avoided. The standards of sections 1-140ff, "Dual and Multiple Relationships," and those stated below shall apply here.
2-123 Supervisors and Educators Do Not Provide Psychotherapy
Christian counseling supervisors and educators do not engage in psychotherapeutic relations with supervisees or students. Personal issues can be addressed in supervision and teaching only insofar as they adversely impact counselor supervision and training. Students and supervisees needing or wanting counseling or psychotherapy shall be referred to appropriate resources.
2-124 Acknowledgement of Professional Contributions
Christian counseling supervisors and educators shall fully acknowledge the contributions of students and trainees in any creative professional activity, scholarly work, research, or published material. This shall be done by coauthorship, assistance in speaking or project presentation, or other accepted forms of public acknowledgement.
ES2-200 Ethical Standards for Christian Counseling Supervisors
2-210 Counselor Supervision Programs
Christian counseling supervisors ensure that supervision programs integrate theory and practice and train counselors to respect client rights, promote client welfare, and assist clients in the acquisition of mutually agreed goals in the counseling process. Supervision programs in Christian counseling shall adhere to these ethics, to those of other applicable professional groups, and to all applicable state and federal laws.
2-211 Baseline Program Standards
Counseling programs shall only accept supervisees who are capable of professional practice, are fully informed about the program, and are committed to engage in counselor training following (1) mutual agreement that the supervisee meets base standards of education and experience; (2) disclosure of the training goals, supervisory site policies and procedures, and theoretical orientations to be used; (3) understanding of program relationship to national accreditation and credentialing organizations; (4) understanding of the standards, procedures, and time of evaluations of supervisee skill, professional-ethical awareness, and clinical effectiveness; and (5) disclosure of the manner and expectations regarding remediation of professional deficiencies and substandard performance.
2-220 Supervisors to Provide a Varied Experience
Christian counseling supervisors will provide a varied counseling experience, exposing the trainee to different client populations, clinical activities, and theoretical approaches to counseling. Supervisees should gain experience in direct counseling practice, clinical evaluation, treatment planning, record keeping, case management and consultative presentation, legal and ethical decision-making, and the development of professional identity.
2-221 Supervisors Are Responsible for Services to Clients
Christian counselor supervisors ensure that supervisee work with clients maintains accepted professional and ministerial standards. Supervisors do not allow supervisees to work with clients or in situations where they are not adequately prepared. Supervisors retain full professional-clinical responsibility for all supervisee cases.
2-230 Supervision Evaluation and Feedback Christian counseling supervisors meet frequently and regularly with supervisees and give timely, informative feedback about counselor performance and effectiveness. These evaluations shall minimally require supervisor review of case notes and discussion or brief check of each client case. Evaluative feedback is given in both verbal and written forms, covering counseling content, process, and ethical-legal issues of counselor training.
2-231 Supervisors Are Aware of Licensure and Certification Requirements Christian counseling supervisors are aware of and honor the legal, ethical, and professional requirements of supervisees who are pursuing state licensure and specialized certification standards. ES2-300 Ethical Standards for Christian Counseling Educators 2-310 Counselor Education and Training Programs Counselor education programs are dedicated to train students as competent practitioners using current theories, techniques, and ethical-legal knowledge. Christian counseling educators ensure that prospective students and trainees are fully informed, able to make responsible decisions about program involvement. 2-311 Baseline Program Standards Christian counseling educators accept students on the basis of their educational background, professional promise, ethical integrity, and ability to reasonably complete the program. Program information should clearly disclose (1) the subject matter and coursework to be covered; (2) program relationship to national accreditation and credentialing organizations; (3) the kinds and level of counseling skills necessary to learn; (4) personal and professional growth requirements and opportunities; (5) the requirements and kinds of supervised clinical practicums and field placements offered; (6) the kinds and quality of research opportunities, including thesis/dissertation possibilities and requirements; (7) the basis for student evaluation, including appeal and dismissal policies and procedures; and (8) the latest employment prospects and program placement figures.
2-312 Student and Faculty Diversity
Christian counseling educators ensure that their programs seek and attempt to retain students and faculty of a diverse background, including representation by women, minorities, and people with special needs.
2-320 Student and Trainee Evaluation
Christian counseling educators provide students and trainees with periodic and ongoing evaluation of their progress in classroom, practice, and experimental learning settings. Policies and procedures for student evaluation, remedial training requirements, and program dismissal and appeal shall be clearly stated and delivered to student-trainees. Both the method and timing of evaluations are disclosed to students in advance of program involvement.
2-321 Overcoming Student Limitations
Educators help students overcome limitations and deficiencies that might impede performance as Christian counselors. Student-trainees will be assisted and encouraged to secure remedial help to improve substandard professional development. Honoring student due process, supervisors and educators will retain and fairly exercise their duty to dismiss from programs student-trainees who are unable to overcome substandard performance.
2-322 Student-Trainee Endorsement
Educators and field supervisors endorse the competence of student-trainees for graduation, admission to other degree programs, employment, certification, or licensure only when they have adequate knowledge to judge that the student-trainee is qualified. 2-330 Integration Study and Training Christian counseling educators ensure that programs include both academic and practice dimensions in counselor training and integrate biblical-theological study with learning in the bio-psycho-social sciences, however these are emphasized. Students, if not producing research, should learn to be effective research consumers.
2-331 Exposure to Various Counseling Theories Encouraged
Educators develop programs that expose students to various accepted theoretical models for counseling, including data on their relative efficacy, and will give students opportunities to develop their own practice orientations. If a program adheres to or emphasizes one particular theoretical model, that fact should be clearly stated in all public communications without asserting that the model is superior to all others.
2-332 Teaching Law, Ethics, and the Business of Practice
Training programs should give teach students about the legal, ethical, and business dimensions of Christian counseling. This includes study of these issues throughout didactic and clinical training. Students should be able to make competent ethical judgments and assess their own practice limitations, learning how to analyze and resolve ethical-legal conflicts and do consultation and referral competently.
2-340 Field Placement, Practicum, and Intern Training
Educators develop clear policies and procedures for all field experience, practicum, and intern training experiences. Roles and responsibilities are clearly delineated for student-trainees, site supervisors, and academic supervisors. Training sites shall meet required training standards, including national accreditation standards if applicable. Field supervisors shall be competent and ethical in their clinical and supervisory work. Educators do not solicit and will not accept any form of fee, service, or remuneration for the field placement of a student-trainee.
2-341 Clients of Student-Trainees
Academic and field supervisors ensure that clients of student-trainees are fully informed of trainee status, and the trainees' duty to honor all professional obligations. Trainees shall secure client permission to use, within the bounds of confidential duties, information from the counseling work to advance their counseling education.
ES2-400 Ethical Standards for Christian Counseling Researchers
2-410 Respecting Standards of Science and Research Christian counseling researchers honor accepted scientific standards and research protocol in all research activities. Research is ethically planned and competently conducted. Researchers do not undertake nor do they let subordinates conduct research activities they are not adequately trained for or prepared to conduct.
2-420 Protecting Human Research Participants and Human Rights
Researchers maintain the highest care for human participants and respect human rights in all bio-psycho-social-spiritual research activities. Researchers plan, design, conduct, and report research projects according to all applicable state and federal laws, ethical mandates, and institutional regulations regarding human participants.
2-421 Special Precautions to Protect Persons
Researchers take special precautions and observe stringent standards when (1) a research design suggests deviation from accepted protocol, or (2) when there is any risk of pain or injury to participants, whether of a physical, psychosocial, spiritual, reputational, or financial nature. In all such cases, we will obtain appropriate consultation that apprises participants of these risks and secures informed consent.
2-422 Minimizing Undesirable Consequences
Researchers reasonably anticipate and diligently work to minimize any adverse or undesirable consequences of the research on human participants. This includes a commitment to minimize any possible long-term research effects, including those on the participants' person, family and family life, spiritual beliefs, moral values, reputation, relationships, vocation, finances, or cultural system.
2-430 Informed Consent and Confidentiality in Research
Researchers obtain informed consent from research participants using language that the participant can understand. This consent shall disclose (1) a clear explanation of research purposes and procedures, (2) any risk of harm, injury, or discomfort that the participant might experience, (3) any benefits that the participant might experience, (4) any limitations on confidentiality, (5) a commitment to discuss all concerns of the participant about the research, and (6) instructions on the right and the way to honorably withdraw from the research project. Researchers shall honor all commitments made to research participants. Data and results shall be explained to participants in ways that are understandable and that clarify any confusion or misconceptions.
2-431 Consent from Those Legally Incapable
Researchers obtain consent from parents or a participant's legal representative when the research participants are minors or adults incapable of giving consent. Researchers inform all participants about the research in understandable language, seeking the participant's understanding and assent.
2-432 Concealment and Deception in Research
When a research design requires concealment or deception, the researcher shall apply these methods most narrowly and will inform participants as soon as possible after the procedure. The research value of a deceptive practice must clearly outweigh any reasonably foreseen consequences, especially how such deception may reflect adversely on Christ and the church. Normally, we do not use methods of deception and concealment when alternative research procedures are available to accomplish the project objectives.
2-433 Protecting Confidentiality and Voluntary Participation
Researchers ensure participant confidentiality and privacy, and that subjects are participating voluntarily in the project. Any deviation from these ethics shall (1) be necessary to the project and justifiable upon panel review, (2) shall not harm the participants, and (3) shall be disclosed to the participants, ensuring their consent.
2-440 Reporting Research Results
Researchers report research results fully, accurately, and without alteration or distortion of data. Data and conclusions are reported clearly and simply, with any problems with the research design fully discussed. Researchers do not conduct fraudulent research, distort or misrepresent data, manipulate results, or bias conclusions to conform to preferred agendas or desired outcomes.
2-441 Protecting Participant Identity
Researchers are diligent to protect the identity of research participants in all research reports. Due care will be taken to disguise participant identity in the absence of consent by participants.
2-442 Reporting Challenging or Unfavorable Data
Outcomes that challenge accepted policies, programs, donor/sponsor priorities, and prevailing theory shall be reported and all variables known to have affected the outcomes shall be disclosed. Upon formal request, researchers shall provide sufficient original data to qualified others who wish to replicate the study.
ES2-500 Writing and Publication Ethics in Christian Counseling
2-510 Integrity in Writing and Publication
Christian counselors maintain honesty and integrity in all writing and publication ventures, giving full credit to whom credit is due. Christian counselors recognize the work of others on all projects, avoid plagiarism of other's work, share credit by joint authorship or acknowledgement with others who have directly and substantially contributed to the work published, and honor all copyright and other laws applicable to the work.
2-520 Submission of Manuscripts
Christian counselors honor all publication deadlines, rules of submission of manuscripts, and rules of format when submitting manuscripts or agreeing to write invited works. Articles published whole or in major part in other works shall be done only with the acknowledgement and the permission of the previous publisher.
2-521 Review of Manuscripts
Christian counselors and editors who review manuscripts for publication shall consider the work strictly on its merits, avoiding prejudice for or against a particular author. Reviewers will diligently protect the confidential, reputational, and proprietary rights of all persons submitting materials for publication.
2-522 Encouragement to New Authors
Christian counseling editors and publishers will be diligent to call forth, encourage, and help develop new writers and materials from among the growing community of Christian counselors.
2-530 Avoiding Ghost Writers
Christian counselors shall resist use of ghostwriters, where the name of a prominent leader-author is attached to work substantially or wholly written by someone else. Instead, in accordance with section 2-510 above, Christian counseling authors will give due authorship credit to anyone who has substantially contributed to the published text. Order of authorship should reflect the level of substantive contribution to a work.
III. STANDARDS & EXEMPTIONS FOR ORDAINED PASTORS AND PASTORAL COUNSELORS
ES3-100 Definitions and Roles of Pastors and Pastoral Counselor
3-110 The Pastor and Pastoral Counselor: Ordained Ministers of the Gospel Pastors and pastoral counselors have central roles in the counseling and care ministry of the church. They are normally ordained ministers, recognized by a reputable church denomination as called of God, set apart for special church ministry, and have fulfilled the education and preparatory tasks the church requires for that ministry.
3-111 The Specialized Pastoral Counselor Pastoral counselors and psychotherapists have received advanced training in counseling and psychotherapy and often counsel in a church or a specialized counseling setting. Pastoral counselors often have advanced degrees in counseling, have undergone counseling practicum training under supervision, and may be certified by national associations as a pastoral counselor or pastoral psychotherapist. ES3-200 Rules of Ethics Code Application and Exemption
3-210 General Rule of Ethical Code Application and Exemption Pastors and pastoral counselors shall honor this Code in it entirety, except for those code sections (1) not applicable due to their clinical professional nature, or (2) because a higher duty to church or ministry rules require a narrow exemption from this Code. Anyone claiming exemption to the Code has the burden of proving it, and the duty to draw that exemption as narrowly as possible, honoring all other Code requirements.
3-220 The Call of Christian Counseling to Gospel Fidelity
Pastors and pastoral counselors have a special call as intermediaries between Christian counseling and the church. They can challenge Christian counselors to hold faith to the Gospel and to apply counseling ministry to the mission and work of the church. They can mediate, explain, and refer parishioners to Christian counselors. They can also encourage involvement for those who need help, and communicate and explain the guidelines of the Code so that parishioners can better judge the value and safety of the Christian counseling work.
IV. STANDARDS & EXEMPTIONS FOR LAY HELPERS AND OTHER MINISTERS
ES4-100 Definitions and Roles of Lay Helpers and Non-ordained Ministers
Lay helpers or non-ordained ministers have a significant role in the counseling and care ministry of the church. They are not professional clinicians nor ordained ministers, but may work as salaried staff or as volunteers in designated helping roles. These helpers often function in one-to-one helping roles and are increasingly involved in developing and leading the many small support and recovery group ministries of the contemporary church.
ES4-200 Rules of Ethics Code Application and Exemption
4-210 General Rule of Ethical Code Application and Exemption
Lay helpers and non-ordained ministers shall honor the Code in it entirety, except for those code sections (1) not applicable due to their manifestly professional or pastoral nature, or (2) because a higher duty to church or ministry rules require a narrow exemption. Anyone claiming exemption to the Code has the burden of proving it, and the duty to draw that exemption as narrowly as possible, honoring all other Code requirements.
4-220 Lay Helping Under Supervision of the Church
Lay helpers minister only under the supervision of the church or a Christian counseling organization. Lay helpers seek out and secure supervision and spiritual-ethical covering by pastors and professional clinicians. Independent, unsupervised, and solo practice or ministry by lay and unlicensed helpers and non-ordained staff shall be avoided due to its excessive risk for legal, ethical, spiritual, interpersonal, and ecclesiastical trouble.
4-221 Lay Helpers Do Not Accept Fees or Communicate False Roles
Lay helpers shall not seek or accept fees or other remuneration for ministry. Lay helpers do not state or allow helpees to believe that they are professional or pastoral counselors. Some lay or non-ordained helpers may receive a salary as a church or ministry employee, income that should not be confused with fees for services.
4-222 Aiding and Abetting Unauthorized Practice.
Pastors and professional Christian counselors do not aid and abet the practice of unlicensed, untrained, unqualified, or unethical counseling or lay helping by anyone. In counseling situations requiring help clearly beyond the scope, training, experience, or license required of the helper, supervising pastors and clinicians will require and assist appropriate consultation and/or referral.
V. STANDARDS FOR RESOLVING ETHICAL-LEGAL CONFLICTS
ES5-100 Base Standards for Ethical Conflict Resolution
5-110 Base Rule for Resolving Ethical-Legal Conflicts
Christian counselors acknowledge the sometimes conflicting responsibilities to clients, to colleagues and employing organizations, to professional ethics, to the law, and to Christ. If a higher obligation to Christ or to the client's best interest suggests or requires action against legal, ethical, or organizational rules, we will act peaceably and humbly in its outworking, in a way that honors God and our role as Christian counselors.
5-111 First, Attempt to Harmonize Conflicting Interests
When caught between legal-ethical demands and the way of Christ or the best interests of the client, we will first attempt to harmonize biblical, clinical, legal, ethical, and client interests, if possible. We will secure proper consultation and take action that defines and offers a better and harmonious standard of professional conduct.
5-112 When Conflicts Cannot Be Harmonized
Christian counselors' fidelity to Christ sometimes calls us to respectfully decline adherence to non-Christian values and behavior. When such conflicts cannot be harmonized, some counselors will stand firm or act on Christian principle against the law of the state, the ethics of one's profession, or the rules of one's employing organization. Such action should be (1) defensible biblically and ethically, (2) according to the client's best interest, (3) done without self-seeking purposes, (4) done with sober consideration after consulting with informed colleagues and Christian counseling leaders, and (5) done with a willingness to pay any adverse consequences. Such action must never be done to hide wrongdoing or to justify an obscure or self-promoting position.
The AACC suggests that priority values in the resolution of these conflicts be (a) integrity to Christ and the revelation of Scripture, then (b) the client's best interests, then (c) fulfilling our legal, ethical, and organizational obligations in a way that is least harmful to Christ or our client's interest.
ES5-200 Resolving Conflicts with Employers and Colleagues
5-210 Ethical and Value Differences with Employers and Colleagues
If values and other differences with employers or colleagues become a source of conflict or influence client injustice, Christian counselors shall take appropriate action to resolve these problems in a way that honors Christ while also serving the client's best interest.
5-211 Christian Counselors Working in Public Agencies
Christian counselors working in public agencies will respect fair and circumspect rules against client evangelism or communicating Christian values without client consent. However, we may also challenge unjust prohibitions against the free expression of our beliefs, grounded in our biblical and constitutional right to religious freedom. These legitimate expressions of Christian beliefs include, but are not limited to: (1) serving Christian clients from a Christian value base; (2) sharing Christian values as a legitimate part of counselor self-disclosure; (3) responding to spiritual needs expressed by clients from a Christian frame of reference; and (4) displaying Christian symbols and literature in our office or place of work.
5-212 Conflict Resolution Process with Employers and Colleagues
Resolution of conflicts with employers or colleagues shall honor this process: (1) first attempt direct negotiations, (2) then mediation, and (3) then arbitration and/or binding arbitration. Litigation (4), when considered at all, shall be only as a last resort and only in cases of gross injustice where the offending party refuses or disdains all reasonable offers of non-litigated dispute resolution.
5-220 Law and Ethics Violations by Colleagues and Employers
Christian counselors with credible knowledge of legal or ethical violations by colleagues and employers shall take appropriate action to cure this problem, in the best interests of clients, and according to the requirements of applicable law-ethics. Curative action might include (1) confidential consultations (usually the first step), (2) direct communications with the violator, (3) report to one's own or the violator's supervisor, (4) assisting violated clients to take action, (5) report/complaint to the appropriate state agency or professional association, or (6) any other action appropriate to the matter.
ES5-300 Resolving Professional and Organizational Conflicts
5-310 The Higher Ethics of Jesus Christ
Christian counselors are bound to honor the ethics and rules of one's profession, church, or employing organization in every way possible. However, when these ethics and rules are in direct opposition to God, and if unable to harmonize the mandates of Scripture with these rules, we declare and support the right of Christian counselors to elect nonadherence to those ethics and rules that offend the way of Christ.
5-311 First, Act to Resolve Conflict with Church or Profession
Christian counselors always first seek peaceable and biblically-defensible resolution of disputes. After proper consultation with colleagues and Christian counseling leaders, we will define and advocate for a new ethical standard as an alternative to the offensive rule—one that honors Christ, protects the client's interest, and attempts fulfills the policy behind the ethical rule. 5-312 When Ethical Harmony Is Not Reached If ethical harmony is not possible, and after all attempts at resolution have been exhausted, Christian counselors may elect to violate the offending rule for the sake of Christ or the client. The violative action should be defensible biblically, logically, and clinically and, if possible, in accordance with the ethics intent. Counselors shall (1) define the rule that cannot be respected in the narrowest form possible, (2) declare to honor all other ethical mandates, (3) consult with other colleagues and soberly count the cost of such action and (4) be prepared to face any consequences for breach of ethics or rules.
ES5-400 Resolving Conflicts with the State and Its Laws
5-410 The Higher Law of Jesus Christ
Christian counselors are bound to honor the law in every way possible. However, when the law is in direct opposition to God, and if unable to harmonize the mandates of Scripture and the law, we declare and support the right of Christian counselors to elect nonadherence to those laws that offend the way of Christ.
5-411 First, Act to Resolve Legal Conflict
Christian counselors always seek first the peaceable and biblically-defensible resolution of disputes with the state and its laws. After proper consultation, including consulting with an attorney and with Christian counseling colleagues and leaders, we will attempt to define and advocate for a new and harmonious legal standard as an alternative to the law-offending rule at issue. This newly proposed standard will honor Christ, protects the client's best interest, and shows how the action of the new rule fulfills the intent or policy behind the law.
5-412 When Legal Harmony Is Not Reached
If harmony is not possible with the state and its laws, and after all attempts to resolve the issue have been exhausted, Christian counselor may elect action that violates the law for the sake of Christ or the client. The violative action should be defensible biblically, logically, clinically and, if possible, by the law's intent or policy.
Counselors shall (1) define the law that cannot be respected in the narrowest form possible, (2) declare to honor all other legal mandates, (3) consult with other colleagues, including lawyers, and soberly count the cost of such action, and (4) be prepared to face any consequences that may be imposed for violation of the law.
In order to fulfill its professional and ethical mission the AACC adopts these procedural rules for accurate assessment and the fair hearing and resolution of ethical complaints against its members. These rules purpose to (1) show society, the church, our related professions, and our multitude of clients and parishioners that the AACC has a serious commitment to live by and enforce these ethics, and (2) show our members that we are serious about protecting their ministries and reputations by honoring their right to justice and due process. In any action under these rules, the AACC shall consider this ethics code, its corporate bylaws, and the mandates of Scripture in the resolution of any problems in rule interpretation.
VI. AUTHORITY, JURISDICTION, AND OPERATION OF THE AACC LAW AND ETHICS COMMITTEE (LEC)
PR6-100 Mission, Authority, and Jurisdiction of LEC
6-110 LEC Mission
The mission of the AACC Law and Ethics Committee is to educate, encourage, and help maintain the highest levels of ethical conduct, practice excellence, and ministerial integrity among Christian counselors. This includes protecting clients and society-at-large from unethical conduct, educating and advocating this code to the AACC and the larger church and society, and to aid the AACC in its mission to bring unity and excellence to the Christian counseling field.
6-120 LEC Authority
LEC is authorized to formulate and promulgate ethical standards for Christian counseling that are to be honored by AACC members particularly, and the church and larger society more generally. LEC, or any committee it shall designate, shall investigate, hear, and act to justly resolve ethical complaints against AACC members. LEC shall also have authority to adopt rules and procedures, as needed, to govern the conduct of LEC and any person or matter within its jurisdiction. LEC shall also have authority to publish and publicly communicate its official actions, including disciplinary actions toward its members.
6-130 LEC Jurisdiction
LEC has personal jurisdiction with any member of the AACC. LEC also has subject matter jurisdiction regarding the ethical behavior and rules defined in this Code. LEC may, by the AACC's direction, address any issue or matter that affects the Association's integrity and ethical achievement of its mission.
6-200 General Orientation to Ethical Enforcement
6-210 Attitude and Action Toward Ethical Complaints
Neither LEC nor any member of the AACC shall refuse to hear nor uncritically accept a complaint against another member of the Association. Any LEC or Association member hearing a complaint individually shall take whatever action deemed appropriate to address and resolve the matter. When appropriate and feasible, this shall be done by direct consultation with violators or by working through local or regional collegial networks, taking care to honor the confidential and reputational rights of all those concerned in the matter.
6-211 Reporting Violations to LEC
If resolution attempts were unsuccessful by the member, or if the matter is more serious, or cannot be resolved by personal intervention, the member may direct the complainant to LEC.
6-220 Respecting Fundamental Rights of All Parties Involved
When LEC must act against an AACC member, it shall take care to maintain respect for the member's rights and reputation. The entire membership shall support LEC in this process, both to honor its ruling and to check and warn it when it might begin to stray from these values and purposes. Whenever possible, LEC shall balance and protect the multiple interests of client and community protection, Association integrity, and the legal and ethical rights and professional reputations of both complainants and complainees.
6-230 LEC Duties Toward the Complainant
Toward the complainant, LEC will honor his or her concerns, invite a full hearing of the complaint if needed, will seek to separate fact from rumor, and will take appropriate action to resolve the matter to the best of its ability to honor Christ and the complainant. 6-240 LEC Duties Toward the Complainee Toward the complainee, LEC will honor his or her right to be heard and defend against allegations, will protect the complainee's professional reputation and due process rights, will invite and give reasonable time to fairly respond to a complaint, and will narrow the issue(s) to that which is reasonably beyond dispute. LEC will always pursue the most just result, avoiding the extremes of minimized justice or excessive sanction.
PR6-300 Membership Response to LEC Action
6-310 Commitment to Cooperate with Ethics Process
AACC members assist the Association to honor and help enforce these ethical standards and rules. All members of the AACC shall cooperate fully and in a timely way with LEC and the entire ethics mission to assure the best achievement of our core commitment to excellence and unity in Christian counseling.
6-311 Failure to Cooperate with Ethics Process
Failure to cooperate with LEC or the ethics process in any manner shall not stop LEC from executing its duty. Failure to cooperate is itself a code violation and can result in ethical sanction.
VII. PROCEDURES FOR THE ADJUDICATION OF COMPLAINTS AGAINST AACC MEMBERS
PR7-100 General Rules of LEC Operation
7-110 Making and Amending Rules and Procedures
LEC may adopt and amend rules and procedures to govern the conduct of any matter within its jurisdiction. Any new or amended rule must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Committee and also be ratified by a majority of the National Advisory Board. No new or amended rule shall adversely affect the rights of a member under investigation by LEC at the time of the rules adoption.
7-111 Choice of Procedures and Action
Except as otherwise denoted in these ethics and rules, LEC reserves the right to choose the appropriate procedures to resolve matters justly and efficiently, balancing the interests of the general public, affected clients, the AACC, and its members.
7-120 LEC Meetings and Officers
7-121 Frequency of Meeting and Quorum
LEC shall meet at regular intervals, as needed. Conference calls can substitute for face-to-face meetings. A quorum shall consist of the majority of LEC members and official actions may be authorized by LEC when its members respond in person, by phone, by fax, by letter, or any other agreed means of action.
7-122 Selection of Officers and Sub-committees
Officers and Sub-committees may be appointed by LEC and/or AACC executive leadership action to serve terms and engage issues as are agreed among LEC members and AACC executive leadership.
7-123 Duties of the Chairperson and the Vice-chair
The Chairperson of LEC is responsible for the executive leadership of the Committee. He or she shall direct, in person or through appropriate designees, the work and process of LEC in all its responsibilities to the AACC. The Vice-chair shall be empowered to perform all the duties of Chair when s/he is not able to perform them, and shall perform other duties as are assigned by the Chair.
7-124 Majority Rule
Unless otherwise directed by these rules (see section 7-110 above), all official actions of LEC shall be authorized by a majority vote of its members present, or by any other authorized means of voting (see 7-121).
7-130 Open vs. Confidential LEC Process
LEC meetings and activities shall be either open to the membership or closed and confidential, with access in closed meetings given only to those designated parties with an interest in the particular matter. Closed meetings shall be done in ethical adjudications where the privacy interests of members or others deserve confidential process. All other LEC meetings may be open to any interested member.
7-131 Access to Closed Meetings
LEC and the AACC reserve the right to invite AACC executives or other desired personnel, experts, or consultants into confidential meetings, as may be necessary or desired to assist the adjudicatory process.
7-132 Open vs. Confidential Records
Except to inform the membership of final official disposition of a formal case and to assist the information/disclosure needs of the Association and the parties to the matter, all information and records of ethical adjudication against a member shall held in confidence by LEC. This may be further accepted in cases where client-parishioner risk or risk to the public welfare is judged by LEC to be significant. All other proceedings and records of LEC action shall be open to the membership. PR7-200 Ethical Complaint Procedures
7-210 Reception of a Complaint.
Proceedings against a member are initiated by the reception of a formal complaint, in verbal and written form, by LEC. Complaints may be received from members or nonmembers of AACC.
7-211 LEC (Sua Sponte) Action.
LEC may initiate proceedings on its own when it has sufficient evidence to do so, or as a response against a member who files a frivolous complaint, or if the complainant has a primary intention to harm another member. 7-220 Procedure for Making a Complaint Members shall contact LEC or Association offices to present their complaint. The complaint should be outlined in writing, in no more than one page initially, and note both the alleged violation of AACC ethics or rules, and any direct and other evidence the complainant has to support it.
7-221 Unacceptable Complaints.
LEC will not initiate proceedings in situations of anonymous complaints, complaints against nonmembers, or in counter complaints. In the latter case, LEC may consider whether a counter complaint has cause to proceed further only after the initial complaint is fully resolved.
7-222 Multiple Complaints
When numerous complaints against a member are received simultaneously, LEC may elect to combine them into one action or deal with them separately. When consecutive complaints are heard, LEC may elect to consider the disposition of any previous case against the member in its resolution of a current complaint.
7-230 Warning Against Frivolous and Vindictive Complaints
AACC members shall not make frivolous reports, without substantiation, or that are primarily motivated by anger or vindictiveness, or with an intent to harm the alleged violator. The primary motivations in reporting ethical misconduct are to protect clients and parishioners, to maintain the honor of Christ and the church, the honor of our professions, and to assist the cure and restoration of violators to ethical and effective ministry, if possible.
PR7-300 Complaint Assessment and Initial Action by LEC
7-310 Inability to Take Further Action
Failure of any one of the following standards shall render LEC unable to take further action against an AACC member. If it is dismissed, LEC shall so rule, the complainant notified of LEC's decision, and the matter closed.
7-311 Lack of Jurisdiction
LEC shall first determine whether it has jurisdiction. Personal jurisdiction is met if the complaint is directed toward a member in good standing of the AACC. Subject matter jurisdiction is met when the alleged wrongdoing of a member, acting in a professional-ministerial capacity, intersects the standards of this code.
7-312 Insufficient Information to Act
Further LEC shall then determine whether it has sufficient information to take further action. There must be (a) a clear violation of the Association's ethics, policies, or procedural rules, and (b) the information supporting the violation must be of sufficient weight and quality that, in LEC's judgment, it cannot be dismissed.
7-313 Failure of Procedure or Time Limits
Finally, LEC shall determine that proper procedures and time limits have been honored in the complaint process, as defined by this code.
7-320 Cause for Further Action.
If, in LEC's judgment, the standard of section 7-310 and following are satisfied, then it shall rule that cause for further action exists. It shall then review and decide the steps necessary to seek the most just, restorative, and least costly resolution. It shall gather the most reputable evidence that applies to the matter at hand, rejecting evidence that is speculative, incredible, and unsupportable.
7-321 LEC May Seek Informal Resolution of the Matter.
LEC may empower the Chair or a committee to address the matter directly with the complainee to seek a just resolution. The intervener may then recommend to LEC whether or not to close the matter at this stage and the reasons for its recommendation, and LEC may elect whether or not to accept the recommendation of the committee or pursue further action.
7-330 Initial Notification to Complainee.
If informal resolution is not elected or does not work, the violations and evidence supporting it shall be simply and clearly outlined in a query letter signed by the Chair and Vice-chair of LEC. This letter and a copy of the applicable ethics and rules shall be delivered to the complainee by mail or in person by LEC.
7-331 Requests for Additional Information.
LEC may request additional information from the complainant, the complainee, or any appropriate source to assist resolution of the matter.
7-332 Time for and Response from Complainee—Complaint Stage.
Within 30 days of reception of the letter, the complainee may respond in writing to the allegations. The complainee must respond personally and not through a third-party. The LEC Chairman may waive or adjust the time requirement if good cause is shown.
7-340 Case Closure for Insufficient Evidence.
If it becomes clear that insufficient or competing evidence raises substantial doubt about the occurrence of ethical violation, then LEC will close the case. It this action is taken, LEC shall promptly notify both complainant and complainee of its decision and reasoning.
7-341 Reopening a Closed Case
A case closed for insufficient evidence may be reopened upon the receipt of new evidence significant enough (as defined by section 7-310 ff. above) to justify reopening the matter within a reasonable time from the reception of the original complaint.
7-342 Alternative/Supplementary Action May Be Recommended
LEC reserves the right, whether a case is closed or stays open, to recommend alternative or supplementary action—referral to any relevant professional association, denomination, state licensure board, administrative agency, or any other appropriate body to hear the complaint.
7-350 Case Resolution by Mutual Agreement.
LEC may pursue case closure through a pre-formal agreement with the complainee that is restorative and corrective. By discussion, prayer, reasoning together, and negotiation, LEC will seek to resolve the matter in a way that serves the best interests of both the AACC and its members.
7-351 Structure of Agreement
Such agreement will usually clarify misunderstandings, direct corrective action, establish a time-frame for renewal of ethical relations and proper trust, define a fair assessment of these objectives, or any combination of these things. This agreement shall be signed by the LEC Chair and the complainee and shall be disclosed to the complainant, the complainee, and anyone else agreed to by the signatories.
7-360 Cause for Formal Case Review
If the matter cannot be closed or resolved as defined above and in the judgment of LEC sufficient cause exists to pursue the matter further, LEC shall then decide that "cause for formal case review" exists, so shall rule, will notify the applicable parties, and then move prayerfully to the next level of adjudication.
PR7-400 Formal Case Review Procedures
7-410 Selection and Operation of Case Review Sub-committee
LEC shall form a three-person sub-committee (sub-com), chaired by the Chair or Vice-chair, to hear and resolve a formal ethics complaint. This sub-com shall be given sufficient authority and the necessary resources to resolve the matter, consistent with these ethics and rules, in a just and timely manner. Sub-com recommendations shall be forwarded to and accepted by LEC when 2 votes of the sub-com exist.
7-411 Presentation of a Charge Letter
The complainee shall receive a formal charge letter from LEC, detailing the alleged wrongdoing, the specific code sections implicated, and the supporting evidence. The letter shall instruct the complainee as to the manner and time for response to allegations. Any supporting materials that LEC will use to assist its review shall be copied and sent with the letter.
7-412 Time for and Response from Complainee—Review Stage
The complainee has 30 days from the letter date to respond to the allegations, either in person or in writing. The complainee must follow all charge letter instructions and rules. Any waiver of time and action requirements must be made, in person or in writing, within the 30-day time frame. Legal counsel or other help may be consulted and can attend the case hearing for consultation but cannot speak directly for his or her client at the hearing—this representation must be done directly by the complainee.
7-420 Documentation, Review of the Evidence, and Recommendations
Additional documentation may be sent to LEC by the complainee within the 30-day period. LEC will, within this 30-day period, forward any additional information it receives to the complainee. LEC will review the case and render a judgment no later than 120 days from the date of the charge letter. One of four recommendations will be made to LEC by the sub-com and the appropriate parties notified of this decision.
7-421 Recommendation to Dismiss Charges
If the sub-com finds (1) no evidence or very weak evidence of violation, or (2) has insufficient evidence to render an informed judgment, or (3) finds a slight violation that has been or is in process of being corrected, it shall recommend that LEC dismiss the charge(s).
7-422 Recommendation to Educate and Repair
If the sub-com finds a more weighty violation, or a pattern of violation that is not too serious, and there is evidence of some correction, it may elect to recommend the complainee educate him or herself and repair the violation. Notification of such action will be communicated to the complainee and complainant only.
7-423 Recommendation to Reprimand and Suspend
If the sub-com finds a more serious violation, or a pattern of continuing violations with no repair started, but the likelihood of correction and restored practice is significant, it may recommend that LEC reprimand and suspend the member, with instructions for possible reinstatement. Such action, and the violations related to it, will be communicated to AACC members in official publications.
7-424 Recommendation to Terminate Membership
If the sub-com finds a very serious violation, or a pattern of continuing serious violations, especially after being challenged to change, and the likelihood of correction or value of it is slight (compared to the harm done), it may recommend to LEC that membership in the AACC be terminated. Such action, and the violations related to it, will be communicated to AACC members in official publications.
7-425 Agreed Resignation of Member
A member of the AACC may elect to resign his or her membership, or LEC may elect to offer such resignation to the member prior to termination of membership. Such action, and the violations related to it, will be communicated to AACC members in official publications.
7-430 Final Ruling of the Law and Ethics Committee
Recommendations for case disposition from the sub-com shall be heard and accepted by LEC. LEC rulings, tracking the recommendations of the sub-com, shall include sufficient information and instruction to satisfactorily achieve the stated objectives of the LEC ruling. Except in the case of termination of membership, all rulings by LEC at this stage shall be final, with no consequent appeal.
7-431 Limited Discretion to Modify Sub-committee Recommendations
LEC shall retain limited discretion to modify the recommendations of the sub-com if there is good reason to find that such change will yield a more just and restorative outcome. This discretion shall be used sparingly, and only in cases where there is a general consensus for such change among LEC members.
PR7-500 Formal Appeal Hearing Procedures
7-510 Complainee Election of Formal Appeal—Termination Cases
Only Appeal of rulings by LEC shall be allowed only in case of termination of AACC membership.
7-511 Time and Documentation
Both LEC and the complainee shall receive and argue from the same materials that formed the original judgment, plus any additional materials that are deemed necessary to support the appellate challenge. No hearing will take place within 30 days of the receipt of all relevant documents by both LEC and the complainee.
7-512 LEC Represented by the Chair or Vice-chair
LEC shall be represented by the Chair or Vice-chair of LEC (the other will sit on the appeals panel). They shall be responsible for arguing the case to the appeals panel to support the LEC ruling.
7-520 Standards and Conduct of the Formal Appeal Hearing
There shall one appeals hearing only, on a date and at a place that is most convenient for the appeals panel, whose ruling shall be final as to all matters concerning the case. The appeals panel will review the appeal and render a judgment no later than 30 days from the date of the appeals hearing.
7-521 The Appeals Panel
Appeals shall be heard by a five-person panel, consisting of the LEC Chair or Vice-chair (whoever is not representing LEC in the appeal) and at least two other LEC members (not those hearing the original action). Other panel members, if needed, shall be invited from the National Advisory Board.
7-522 The Appeals Standard—Unjust Result
The appellate panel must rule against the termination of membership if the complainee can show substantial evidence that (1) the sub-com panel or a member of it showed a clear intent to harm the complainee, or (2) that findings of fact or application of the ethics code were clearly erroneous, or (3) the application of termination was a clearly excessive and punitive sanction.
7-523 Representation by Self or with Legal Counsel
The complainee shall represent and speak for him or herself in all appellate actions, though they may choose to retain legal or other counsel who may help the complainee before and during the hearing.
7-524 Retention of Legal Counsel by the AACC
LEC may elect to retain legal counsel, or any other expert help it deems necessary.
7-530 Final Order of the Appeals Panel
The appeals panel shall rule, by at least 3 votes, either to uphold the prior LEC ruling or to reverse it. Upholding the rule will end the matter for the AACC. A reversal will lead to a dismissal of the prior ruling and an order for a new case review hearing with at least 2 new panel members on the sub-committee.
VIII. PROCEDURES FOLLOWING ACTION BY CHURCHES, COURTS, AND OTHER BODIES
PR8-100 LEC Authorized to Act Independently or With Others
8-110 Litigation, License Revocation, or Other Disciplinary Action Not a Bar to Action by LEC
LEC reserves the right to proceed with an ethics action even if the member is engaged in litigation, license revocation, or other disciplinary action for the same or similar issues.
8-111 LEC Election to Stay Process Pending Resolution
LEC reserves the right to suspend an ethics action until case disposition in another legal or disciplinary forum is completed. Any delay in action by LEC shall not waive jurisdiction and any time constraints shall be suspended until the action is begun or resumed.
8-112 Retention and Referral of Jurisdiction to Other Bodies
LEC reserves the right to refer a case to another recognized body for action, and to cooperate or work jointly with another tribunal. Any referral to another body shall not constitute waiver of jurisdiction by LEC, nor shall LEC be barred from acting on its own following referral.
PR8-200 Bases for and Procedure of a Show Cause Hearing
8-210 Five Bases for a Show Cause Hearing
An AACC member may be directed by LEC to show cause why official action by LEC should not be taken if the member is sanctioned for misbehavior substantially related to his or her professional or ministerial tasks, in the form of (1) conviction of a criminal offense, (2) a malpractice judgment, (3) a malpractice settlement of $25,000 or more, (4) a license revocation or suspension action, or (5) any church, denominational, or any other official organizational act of expulsion, suspension, or de-ordination.
8-220 Notice by LEC and Response of Member
Upon receipt from LEC of a show cause letter, the member will have 30 days from the letter date in which to respond. The member may show cause based on either the unjust result standard (see section 7-522 above), or the lack of due process in the other proceeding.
8-230 Review of Prior Action and Recommendation
The LEC Chair or Vice-chair will review the evidence and prior proceeding and determine whether just cause exists to challenge its rule. If so, a recommendation will be made to start a formal case review on the merits according to the procedures of this code. If cause is not shown, a recommendation of termination of membership will be made based of the finding of the prior proceeding. 8-231 Stipulated Resignations The AACC and the member may stipulate and agree on the resignation of the member. Whether termination or resignation, the result will be published in official AACC publications.
8-240 Final Order of the Law and Ethics Committee
Recommendations for case disposition shall be heard and accepted by LEC. LEC rulings, tracking these recommendations, shall include sufficient information and instruction to satisfactorily achieve the stated objectives of the LEC ruling. All rulings by LEC in a show cause hearing shall be final, with no consequent appeal.
May God be exalted, the Holy Spirit invited, and Jesus Christ be seen in all of our counseling and helping endeavors. If done, our clients and parishioners will be blessed and not harmed, their wounds will be healed, their sins forgiven, and they will be given hope for the future. If done, we will participate in a wonderful adventure—one that will likely never grow old or stale—and we will fulfill our call to excellence and ethical integrity in Christian counseling.
End of the 2004 Final Code
Disclaimer: Please note the codes in our collection might not necessarily be the most recent versions. Please contact the individual organizations or their websites to verify if a more recent or updated code of ethics is available. CSEP does not hold copyright on any of the codes of ethics in our collection. Any permission to use the codes must be sought from the individual organizations directly.
Code of Ethics
The purpose of this code is to establish minimum standards of ethical practice for the CCAA Inc. The adherence to the wide range of ethical issues incorporated within the Code of Ethics applies to all levels of membership; that is, Associates, Graduate Members and Clinical Members.
Registered Members, as stated hereafter within this document, refers to Graduate Members and Clinical Members. Counsellors, as stated hereafter, refers to all members irrespective of membership status. In making ethical decisions, all counsellors affiliated with the CCAA are required to adhere to this Code of Ethics.
As Associates are not Registered Members, the CCAA carries no responsibility to investigate or mediate or act on complaints against Associates. The CCAA may choose to investigate, advise or act at discretion or for goodwill.
For an Associate to be responsible in terms of Counselling procedure, the CCAA advises that they should:
- Maintain regular supervision with a suitably qualified supervisor at a ratio of 1 supervision hour to 10 face to face counselling hours
- Maintain appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover either with their employing organisation or as an individual
- Rely upon the involvement of their Supervisor or appropriate people in their Course, church or work for the mediation of any formal complaints according to the CCAA Complaints Procedure.
For CCAA’s Values, Vision and Mission, please refer to the CCAA website, www.ccaa.net.au under ‘About Us’.
1. General Principles
1.1 Members of Committees and counsellors affiliated with the Christian Counsellors Association of Australia, herein called the Association or the CCAA shall subscribe to;
1.1.1 the Statement of Faith of the Association
1.1.2 accept and maintain the highest ethical standards in their own personal life
1.1.3 not judge others by such standards, and
1.1.4 the maintenance and demonstration of both competence and ethical Christian behaviour in their dealings/relationships with clients, colleagues, other professionals and the general public
1.2 The maintenance of high standards of professional competence is a responsibility to be shared by all members of the CCAA in the interests of the public, the Christian community and the helping professions. Each counsellor shall work towards the improvement and refinement of counselling practice through the adherence to the high ethical standards stated herein.
1.3 Counselling is designed to provide encouragement and guidance to stimulate personal growth and development in the client. This will enable the client to cope more effectively with life issues, inner conflict, or crippling emotions. It assists individuals, families and couples to resolve interpersonal tensions, relate more effectively and help overcome self-defeating life patterns. This is the work of skilled, properly trained personnel, who have been recognised by the CCAA for their professional conduct and competency in the therapeutic application of counselling theory, using a variety of healing methods consistent with the integration of faith and practice.
1.4 As distinct from counselling, pastoral care refers broadly to the overall ministries of healing, sustaining, guiding, and reconciling. Lay counselling lends itself well to aspects of pastoral care ministry but is distinct from the training required of professional counsellors. In the practice of counselling, counsellors shall show respect for their client's personal worldview and offer help without bias across the boundaries of gender, race, religion, disability, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.
2. Professional Practice
2.1 In all professional matters, the Christian counsellor shall maintain practices that will protect the public and advance the profession. Counsellors shall not overstate their levels of competence or professional qualifications, nor shall they allow misrepresentation of a counsellor’s qualifications or affiliation. They shall offer only truthful statements of expertise and realistic expectations of counselling outcomes. Counsellors must correct others who represent any counsellor’s professional qualifications or services in a manner incompatible with these guidelines. Counsellors shall not use their knowledge or professional association to secure unfair personal advantage, nor shall they knowingly permit their services to be used by others for purposes inconsistent with the ethical standards of the Association. Communication of Membership of CCAA should not express or imply that membership confers special status, expertise, or extraordinary competence in counselling. Similarly, counsellors do not express or imply that other counsellors not in the CCAA are less competent or less ethical because of their lack of association. Counsellors must not use their affiliation with the Association for purposes that are not consistent with the stated purposes of the Association.
2.2 The recognised categories of membership in the CCAA are: Clinical Members, Graduate Members and Associates. Counsellors affiliated with the Association shall not falsely represent their category of membership. Only Registered Members are authorised to use the name of the Association as a recommendation for their counselling ethics and expertise. Where counsellors are advertising, public speaking or writing, due care must be practised to avoid any emphasis on their own professional expertise.
2.3 Counsellors are not to engage in financial practices that result, or appear to result, in greedy or self-serving outcomes. Counsellors are not to select clients based on their ability to pay high fees. Counsellors are not to unnecessarily prolong therapy or continue counselling with high fee clients or quickly terminate counselling with low fee clients. Financial arrangements for payment of professional service should be contracted before counselling begins, in a manner befitting normal business practice. Fee schedules and payment procedures shall be clearly stated and agreed upon by both counsellor and client. Fees for services should be established having due regard for a client’s ability to pay. In the event of a crisis (i.e. an event that holds immediate significance for recovery), counsellors should first respond to the crisis need. Financial considerations are of secondary importance and may even be waived. Payment of commission for the referral of a client is prohibited.
2.4 Referrals are to be accompanied by appropriate information to assist the referral process. Counsellors shall maintain records indicative of the problems and scope of service offered to each client. They shall be adequate for legal and other official recall, reflecting the level of professionalism presumed by the CCAA of its counsellors. Client communications shall be recorded in such a way as to protect privacy rights and confidentiality. Records shall be maintained, stored and disposed of by the counsellor according to ethical standards of confidentiality and security.
2.5 Counsellors shall avoid disparagement of a colleague to a client. If a counsellor considers that a colleague is worthy of criticism, it is his/her responsibility to approach that colleague personally. Should a counsellor disagree with a colleague in counselling or with another professional on professional issues, the counsellor must nevertheless refrain from criticising in a manner which casts doubt on that colleague/professional’s competence.
2.6 While counsellors are expected to maintain the highest ethical standards at all times in their counselling, they are encouraged to investigate and acquire appropriate insurance to indemnify themselves against legal redress. It is incumbent upon counsellors who are employers to provide such insurance in accordance with federal and state law for their employees. It is also incumbent upon counsellors who are employees to investigate and ensure that adequate insurance arrangements are in place by the organisation by which they are employed.
3. Client Relationship and Confidentiality
3.1 Counsellors shall respect and serve clients with excellence and ethical integrity, strictly avoiding all client harm and exploitation
3.2 Counsellors shall demonstrate sensitivity, humility, honesty, integrity and capability towards the client. In demonstrating respect for a client, counsellors shall avoid undue invasion of privacy in the collection and dissemination of information
3.3 Counsellors shall maintain client confidentiality, clearly defining the boundaries of such. Apart from the exceptions stated below, counsellors shall not disclose confidential client communications without first discussing the intended disclosure and then securing written permission from the client
3.4 Exceptions to maintaining confidentiality are: a client threatening to harm self or another through suicide, homicide, or serious and imminent abuse. It is the duty of counsellors to disclose such information to their supervisors and/or other appropriate professional
3.5 Counsellors must be aware of the power differential that exists between them and the client. The client is in a vulnerable position and the counsellor must adequately discharge their duty of care to protect the client and preserve the integrity of the client-counsellor relationship.
3.6 A counsellor shall maintain a relationship with a client on a professional basis, and avoid dual or multiple relationships. Should a dual relationship arise, counsellors are required to deal with the situation professionally and ethically, realising the potential damages of dual relationships.
3.7 Counsellors should not abruptly cut off or end services without giving notice and adequately preparing the client for termination or referral. Termination or referral is indicated when:
3.7.1 objectives have largely been achieved;
3.7.2 the client declines further counselling;
3.7.3 the client no longer benefits from counselling; and/or
3.7.4 the counselling is harming the client.
3.8 Except when precluded by unforeseen behaviour of the client, counsellors should discuss termination or referral with the client, offer referral if wanted or appropriate, and facilitate termination in the client’s best interest
3.9 Counsellors need to respect the religious convictions of clients and strive to understand their belief system. Bearing in mind the considerable influence counsellors have over clients, they need to avoid any imposition of their own faith.
3.10 A counsellor who wishes to use case material in a publication, conference, public lecture or the like, needs to obtain written permission from the client(s) concerned. It is the responsibility of the member to thoroughly disguise the identity of the client, and the report shall provide a statement to this effect
3.11 A counsellor under supervision will disclose that fact to their clients, including information about discussion of case materials in supervisory sessions. Records of client communications are to be worded respectfully, in light of the client’s right to peruse his/her case notes, or where there are legal or court demands.
3.12 A counsellor will disclose only information that has written permission from the client, or which is required by legal or ethical mandates. The same principles of client confidentiality shall apply to group and family therapy, bearing in mind the problems of keeping confidences in these modes. Family or group members are encouraged to keep a contract of confidentiality with one another. Both supervisors and supervisees are required to maintain confidentiality, having first explained this to the client.
3.13 Counsellors accept the limitations of confidentiality when human life is endangered. Disclosure will be necessary if there is a threat to any person in the case of suicide, homicide, and/or the abuse of children, elders, and dependent persons. Protective action should be taken when the counsellor has:
3.13.1 reasonable suspicion that a minor (under 18 years), older person (over 65), or dependent adult has been harmed by the client; or
3.13.2 direct or implied client admissions of harmful acts or threatened action that is serious, imminent, and attainable against a clearly identified person(s).
3.14 Disclosure in situations, as described above, shall be made to the counsellor’s supervisor, and as appropriate, to the intended victim, to their family or friends, and/or to law enforcement personnel. In the case of child abuse, the counsellor shall report to child protective services or any other designated agency established for protective services.
3.15 Counsellors are responsible for maintaining adequate records that facilitate the rendering of professional services to their clients. These same records need to satisfy the requirement of lawful and regulatory processes, as well as the procedures required of the agency or institution to which the counsellor is associated.
3.16 Counsellors are responsible for securing and maintaining the confidentiality of records they have created. In the event of transfer, records should be secured and transported by authorised personnel only. Counsellors are responsible for the supervision of destroying records according to agency regulations and legal requirements. Clients are to be consulted for permission to electronically record a session, or for enabling observation of the session.
3.17 Counsellors acknowledge that records are maintained for the benefit of clients in the facilitation of rendering a professional service. Whilst client access to records cannot be reasonably refused, it may be appropriate to consider the competence of the client to manage information that may otherwise be misleading or detrimental. Therefore disclosure may be appropriately discouraged. If records pertain to multiple clients (e.g. family case) discretion of disclosure remains the responsibility of the counsellor to contain disclosure of records that pertain only to the inquiring client.
4. Dual Relationships
4.1 A counsellor is prohibited from carrying on sexual activities, inappropriate attachment or cohabitating with a current client under any circumstances. In determining whether a counsellor may marry, have a defacto relationship, engage in a friendship, or liaison with a former client where more than two years have elapsed since the ending or December 2007 Page 4 of 8 Christian Counsellors Association of Australia Code of Ethics termination of the professional relationship, the following matters will be taken into consideration by the Ethics Committee:
4.1.1 the length of the professional relationship;
4.1.2 the nature of the professional relationship;
4.1.3 the client’s mental state at the time he or she commenced the personal relationship with the counsellor;
4.1.4 the circumstances in which the professional relationship ended or was terminated;
4.1.5 the duration of time that has expired since the ending of the professional relationship; or,
4.1.6 whether anything else suggests that the counsellor is exploiting or harming the former client.
4.2 Counsellors must avoid dual relationships that could impair their professional judgement or increase the risk of client exploitation. This prohibition protects the client and reduces trouble with transference and counter-transference dynamics. Specifically, this means that counsellors will not provide counselling for those with whom they have the following relationships: sexual or romantic, family, close friends, employees, trainees or supervisees. Some dual relationships are not per se unethical, but are presumed troublesome and should be avoided whenever possible. Relationships in this category would include: business, church/ministry, fraternal clubs, students and other such acquaintances. Counsellors have the responsibility of proving a justified dual relationship by showing that the client:
4.2.1 has given informed consent (and understands how the relationship might be harmed as counselling proceeds);
4.2.2 will not be harmed or exploited through the counselling process;
4.2.3 will recognise that counselling is a different process to Prayer Ministry or Prayer Counselling and that all types of Prayer Ministry including Theophostic, Word of Knowledge, Spiritual Discernment, Prophecy and other similar practices are not counselling per se; they are practices of the Christian Church. Those engaged in such Prayer Ministries who are untrained counsellors are not covered by this Code of Ethics. There is a distinction between people who engage in Prayer Ministries and those who engage in Counselling.
4.3 Counsellors do not terminate counselling to engage in dual relationships of any kind.
4.4 Counsellors do not enter into closer relationships with former clients without reflecting on, and in most cases discussing with the former client, the potential adverse impact of closer relations on possible future counselling. Some counsellors and their former clients will agree that future counselling will be done by someone else if they decide to pursue another kind of relationship.
5. Inter-professional Relationships
5.1 Each counsellor shall seek to create and maintain collaborative and constructive relations with other helping professionals and inter-professional groups within the community throughout the course of his/her counselling practice.
5.2 Each counsellor must know and respect the limits of his/her expertise, knowledge and competence. Therefore, a counsellor shall not work in isolation, but shall seek out and maintain inter-professional associations for the purposes of clinical consultations, supervision and referrals. When consulting or referring, counsellors will fully consider their faith and value stance in the promotion or commendation of treatment techniques and procedures.
5.3 Counsellors shall consult with and/or refer to others when these limits of counselling competence are reached: when counsellors face issues not dealt with before and need help; when clients need further help which is beyond the training and skill of the counsellors; when counsellors or clients are stuck; when clients cease to benefit from the counselling process. The client’s best interests shall be upheld in all consultations and referrals, with the client’s objectives and confidential privacy interests honoured.
5.4 When possible, a counsellor shall seek out the best Christian help at a higher level of knowledge and expertise. If Christian help is unavailable, the counsellor will refer to another professional who will respect the client’s faith and values.
5.5 Members shall consider the holistic nature of a client, and therefore be willing to refer the client for medical, psychiatric, psychological or spiritual assessment and treatment.
5.6 Counsellors may also consider appropriate legal and social services available to the client.
5.7 Counsellors do not advise against medical or psychiatric treatment, the use of medications, legal counsel, or other forms of professional service solely because of personal Christian beliefs or because the provider is not Christian.
5.8 Counsellors shall not normally offer specialised counselling services to an individual who is currently receiving counselling.
5.9 Counsellors must not solicit business from any client in a similar existing relationship with another professional in pursuit of individual gain.
6. Professional Growth
6.1 Counsellors are obliged to remain as informed as possible and where applicable, contribute to new knowledge, issues, and resources in Christian Counselling.
6.2 Counsellors must maintain an active program of study, continuing education and personal and professional growth to improve helping effectiveness, and ethical practice.
6.3 Counsellors are expected to remain active in the meetings and affairs of the Association. When applicable, counsellors should combine with fellow counsellors and with the representatives of other helping professions to promote mutual professional growth.
7. Publication and Communication
7.1 Counsellors are expected to be scrupulous in any publicity, public announcements or publications to ensure that their private views are differentiated from that of the Association. All advertising and public communications (print media, electronic media or the Internet) by counsellors will proceed with humility, caution and with due regard to the limits of present knowledge. The primary goal of such communications will be assisting clients to make informed choices about counselling services.
7.2 Counsellors must avoid the following in their communications:
7.2.1 False statements, inaccuracy, exaggeration and sensationalism;
7.2.2 Any statement likely to mislead or deceive others because it is taken partially or fully out of context;
7.2.3 Any statement likely to create an exaggerated belief or expectation of a favourable outcome merely because one has chosen you as a counsellor;
7.2.4 Any statement intended to appeal to a client’s fears, anxieties or emotions concerning the possible results of failure to obtain the desired services;
7.2.5 Testimonials by current or former clients;
7.2.6 Any statement concerning the inferiority or negative characteristics of another counsellor, whether in this Association or in another;
7.2.7 Any statement that expresses or implies unique or unusual helping abilities outside the range of accepted professional, pastoral, and lay practices in Christian counselling.
7.3 When expressing professional opinions, a counsellor or an officer shall not make it appear, directly or indirectly, that he or she speaks on behalf of the Association or its official position, unless authorised by the Committee of Management. When announcing or advertising professional services, Registered Members may list the following to describe the provider and services offered: name, postal and email addresses, telephone and facsimile numbers, consultation hours, languages spoken, appropriate information concerning fees, relevant academic qualifications, CCAA membership, and a brief statement of the type of counselling services offered.
8. Unethical Conduct
8.1 All counsellors irrespective of membership status bind themselves to honour and enforce high standards of professional ethics. They must agree to abide by the disciplinary procedure of the Association.
8.2 Counsellors endeavour to assist and support all investigations, proceedings, actions, and rulings of the Ethics Committee that has jurisdiction over those charged with ethical violations. Every party involved in the procedure of investigation should endeavour to safeguard the confidentiality of alleged violators before the allegations have been proven.
8.3 Direct touch or other physical contact between client and counsellor is not advised. Any direct sexual touch or contact is forbidden.
8.4 Counsellors need to be mindful of their influential position and of the inherent power imbalance of helping relationships, thereby avoiding all harm and exploitation of clients. This includes all forms of sexual misconduct, whether by physical contact or non-contact. Non-contact includes sexual innuendoes, harassment or abuse such as seductive speech or non-verbal behaviour, promises/threats with sexual connotations, or any other sexual misconduct as defined by applicable laws, ethics and organisational practice policies.
9. Procedural Guidelines for the Ethics Committee
9.1 If counsellors appear to violate the Statement of Ethics, they may be cautioned through informal and/or formal resolution. Informal resolution is done through friendly remonstrance, a direct consultation with alleged violators or by working through local or regional collegial networks. A formal complaint may be made to the Ethics Committee in accordance with the following procedures:
9.1.1 A written and signed complaint of unethical practice shall be sent to the Ethics Committee.
9.1.2 A copy of the complaint shall be furnished simultaneously to the alleged violator(s).
9.1.3 The Ethics Committee shall decide whether the complaint warrants investigation.
9.1.4 The Ethics Committee shall make one or more local visits to investigate the complaint.
9.1.5 Alleged violators shall have free access to all charges and evidence cited against them. They shall have full freedom to represent themselves before an oral hearing of the Ethics Committee, including the right to be represented by legal counsel.
9.1.6 The Ethics Committee after considering all representations, may advise that the charges are unfounded, or recommend a specified admonishment, reprimand, probation, suspension, or dismissal from membership.
9.1.7 The Ethics Committee may disclose the identity of a counsellor who has been proven to have violated the Association’s Ethical Code of Conduct. Should such disciplinary action result in suspension and/or dismissal from membership, the member’s accreditation certificate shall be surrendered to the Ethics Committee.
9.1.8 Alleged violators shall have a right of appeal to the Committee of Management following the disposition of the case by the Ethics Committee.
9.1.9 If a counsellor is removed for unethical conduct from either his or her denomination, church, faith group or from another professional group, the Ethics Committee shall investigate the matter in the same way as it investigates other resolutions or charges of unethical conduct.
9.1.10 Counsellors who make unfounded allegations for any reason against any counsellor of the Association shall be subjected to the disciplinary procedure by the Ethics Committee.
9.1.11 Members of the Ethics Committee shall disqualify themselves from investigating any allegation against a counsellor in which they are a party to, or have a pecuniary or other interest in.
9.1.12 Members of the Committee of Management shall disqualify themselves from voting on a recommendation of the Ethics Committee if they are party to the allegation examined or have a pecuniary or other interest in it.
10. Ethics in Supervision
10.1 The Association requires that a counsellor shall receive regular and frequent supervision with a qualified and experienced counsellor, in order to best serve the client. It is the duty of a counsellor to report to his/her supervisor when progress with clients is not being made, or there is a possible need for referral.
10.2 It is strongly recommended that counsellors communicate with their supervisors any problems, uncertainties, doubts or challenges that they face in dealing with clients, colleagues or other professionals.
10.3 Counsellors need to be aware of the potential dangers of transference and counter-transference, noting any reactions in themselves to their clients that are either inappropriate or out of control, hence reducing the effectiveness of the therapeutic process.
10.4 Supervision is not to be confused with personal therapy or education for the counsellor, but is a contract of accountability involving skill development. Peer Supervision is also an acceptable and useful form of professional development for counsellors at the Clinical Membership level.
Disclaimer: Please note the codes in our collection might not necessarily be the most recent versions. Please contact the individual organizations or their websites to verify if a more recent or updated code of ethics is available. CSEP does not hold copyright on any of the codes of ethics in our collection. Any permission to use the codes must be sought from the individual organizations directly.
Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Ethics for counselling and psychotherapy
This statement, Ethics for Counselling and Psychotherapy, unifies and replaces all the earlier codes for counsellors, trainers and supervisors. It is intended to guide the practice of counselling and psychotherapy by all members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and inform the practice of closely related roles that are delivered in association with counselling and psychotherapy or as part of the infrastructure to deliver these services. Being ethically mindful and willing to be accountable for the ethical basis of practice are essential requirements of membership of this Association.
In this statement the term ‘practitioner’ is used generically to refer to anyone with responsibility for the provision of counselling or psychotherapy-related services. ‘Practitioner’ includes anyone undertaking the role(s) of counsellor, psychotherapist, trainers and educators for these roles, providers of coaching and mentoring in association with counselling and psychotherapy, supervisors, and practitioner researchers. Members of this Association who are providers of services using counselling skills, embedded counsellors, managers and researchers of therapeutic services, are required to be accountable in accordance with the Ethical Framework in ways appropriate to their role and to communicate appropriately the basis of their ethical accountability and expectations. The term ‘client’ is used as a generic term to refer to the recipient of any of these services. The client may be an individual, couple, family, group, organisation or other specifiable social unit. Alternative names may be substituted for ‘practitioner’ and ‘client’ in the practice setting, according to custom and context.
This statement marks an important development in approach to ethics within the Association. One of the characteristics of contemporary society is the coexistence of different approaches to ethics. This statement reflects this ethical diversity and supports practitioners being responsive to differences in client abilities, needs and culture and taking account of variations between settings and service specialisations by considering:
- Personal moral qualities
This selection of ways of expressing ethical commitments does not seek to invalidate other approaches. The presentation of different ways of approaching ethics alongside each other in this statement is intended to draw attention to the limitations of relying too heavily on any single ethical approach. Ethical principles are well suited to examining the justification for particular decisions and actions. However, reliance on principles alone may detract from the importance of the practitioner’s personal qualities and their ethical significance in the counselling or therapeutic relationship. The provision of contextually sensitive and appropriate services is also a fundamental ethical concern. Variations in client needs and cultural diversity differences are often more easily understood and responded to in terms of values. Therefore, professional values are becoming an increasingly significant way of expressing ethical commitment.
Values of counselling and psychotherapy
The fundamental values of counselling and psychotherapy include a commitment to:
- Respecting human rights and dignity
- Protecting the safety of clients
- Ensuring the integrity of practitioner-client relationships
- Enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application
- Alleviating personal distress and suffering
- Fostering a sense of self that is meaningful to the person(s) concerned
- Increasing personal effectiveness
- Enhancing the quality of relationships between people
- Appreciating the variety of human experience and culture
- Striving for the fair and adequate provision of counselling and psychotherapy services
Values inform principles. They represent an important way of expressing a general ethical commitment that becomes more precisely defined and action-orientated when expressed as a principle.
Ethical principles of counselling and psychotherapy
Principles direct attention to important ethical responsibilities. Each principle is described below and is followed by examples of good practice that have been developed in response to that principle.
Ethical decisions that are strongly supported by one or more of these principles without any contradiction from others may be regarded as reasonably well founded. However, practitioners will encounter circumstances in which it is impossible to reconcile all the applicable principles and choosing between principles may be required. A decision or course of action does not necessarily become unethical merely because it is contentious or other practitioners would have reached different conclusions in similar circumstances. A practitioner’s obligation is to consider all the relevant circumstances with as much care as is reasonably possible and to be appropriately accountable for decisions made.
Being trustworthy: honouring the trust placed in the practitioner (also referred to as fidelity)
Being trustworthy is regarded as fundamental to understanding and resolving ethical issues. Practitioners who adopt this principle: act in accordance with the trust placed in them; strive to ensure that clients’ expectations are ones that have reasonable prospects of being met; honour their agreements and promises; regard confidentiality as an obligation arising from the client’s trust; restrict any disclosure of confidential information about clients to furthering the purposes for which it was originally disclosed.
Autonomy: respect for the client’s right to be self-governing
This principle emphasises the importance of developing a client’s ability to be self-directing within therapy and all aspects of life. Practitioners who respect their clients’ autonomy: ensure accuracy in any advertising or information given in advance of services offered; seek freely given and adequately informed consent; emphasise the value of voluntary participation in the services being offered; engage in explicit contracting in advance of any commitment by the client; protect privacy; protect confidentiality; normally make any disclosures of confidential information conditional on the consent of the person concerned; and inform the client in advance of foreseeable conflicts of interest or as soon as possible after such conflicts become apparent. The principle of autonomy opposes the manipulation of clients against their will, even for beneficial social ends.
Beneficence: a commitment to promoting the client’s well-being
The principle of beneficence means acting in the best interests of the client based on professional assessment. It directs attention to working strictly within one’s limits of competence and providing services on the basis of adequate training or experience. Ensuring that the client’s best interests are achieved requires systematic monitoring of practice and outcomes by the best available means. It is considered important that research and systematic reflection inform practice. There is an obligation to use regular and on-going supervision to enhance the quality of the services provided and to commit to updating practice by continuing professional development. An obligation to act in the best interests of a client may become paramount when working with clients whose capacity for autonomy is diminished because of immaturity, lack of understanding, extreme distress, serious disturbance or other significant personal constraints.
Non-maleficence: a commitment to avoiding harm to the client
Non-maleficence involves: avoiding sexual, financial, emotional or any other form of client exploitation; avoiding incompetence or malpractice; not providing services when unfit to do so due to illness, personal circumstances or intoxication. The practitioner has an ethical responsibility to strive to mitigate any harm caused to a client even when the harm is unavoidable or unintended. Holding appropriate insurance may assist in restitution. Practitioners have personal and professional responsibility to challenge, where appropriate, the incompetence or malpractice of others; and to contribute to any investigation and/or adjudication concerning professional practice which falls below that of a reasonably competent practitioner and/or risks bringing discredit upon the profession.
Justice: the fair and impartial treatment of all clients and the provision of adequate services
The principle of justice requires being just and fair to all clients and respecting their human rights and dignity. It directs attention to considering conscientiously any legal requirements and obligations, and remaining alert to potential conflicts between legal and ethical obligations. Justice in the distribution of services requires the ability to determine impartially the provision of services for clients and the allocation of services between clients. A commitment to fairness requires the ability to appreciate differences between people and to be committed to equality of opportunity, and avoiding discrimination against people or groups contrary to their legitimate personal or social characteristics. Practitioners have a duty to strive to ensure a fair provision of counselling and psychotherapy services, accessible and appropriate to the needs of potential clients.
The principle of self-respect means that the practitioner appropriately applies all the above principles as entitlements for self. This includes seeking counselling or therapy and other opportunities for personal development as required. There is an ethical responsibility to use supervision for appropriate personal and professional support and development, and to seek training and other opportunities for continuing professional development. Guarding against financial liabilities arising from work undertaken usually requires obtaining appropriate insurance. The principle of self-respect encourages active engagement in life-enhancing activities and relationships that are independent of relationships in counselling or psychotherapy.
Personal moral qualities
The challenge of working ethically means that practitioners will inevitably encounter situations where there are competing obligations. In such situations it is tempting to retreat from all ethical analysis in order to escape a sense of what may appear to be unresolvable ethical tension. These ethics are intended to be of assistance in such circumstances by directing attention to the variety of ethical factors that may need to be taken into consideration and to alternative ways of approaching ethics that may prove more useful. No statement of ethics can totally alleviate the difficulty of making professional judgements in circumstances that may be constantly changing and full of uncertainties. By accepting this statement of ethics, members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy are committing themselves to engaging with the challenge of striving to be ethical, even when doing so involves making difficult decisions or acting courageously.
Guidance on good practice in counseling and psychotherapy
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is committed to sustaining and advancing good practice. This guidance on the essential elements of good practice has been written to take into account the changing circumstances in which counselling and psychotherapy are now being delivered, in particular:
- changes in the range of issues and levels of need presented by clients
- the growth in levels of expertise available from practitioners with the expansion in the availability of training and consultative support/supervision
- the accumulated experience of this Association from its founding in 1977 after many years as a Standing Conference.
Variations in client needs and the diversity of settings within which counselling and psychotherapy services are delivered have also been carefully considered. Clients vary in their requirements in order to communicate effectively and to gain access to services. Ethically aware services strive to meet these needs and to avoid excluding someone from receiving a service or lowering the quality of that service solely on the grounds of a client’s learning difficulty or physical disability. Services may be provided by the independent practitioner working alone, one or more practitioners working to provide a service within an agency or large organisation, specialists working in multidisciplinary teams, and by specialist teams of counsellors and psychotherapists. Most work is undertaken face to face but there are also a growing number of telephone and online services. Some practitioners are moving between these different settings and modes of delivery during the course of their work and are therefore required to consider what constitutes good practice in different settings. All practitioners encounter the challenge of responding to the diversity of their clients and finding ways of working effectively with them. This statement therefore responds to the complexity of delivering counselling and psychotherapy services in contemporary society by directing attention to significant issues that practitioners ought to consider and resolve in the specific circumstances of their work.
The terms ‘practitioner’ and ‘client’ are used in the same way as defined in Ethics for counselling and psychotherapy (see page 2). Practitioners’ behaviour may vary from these guidelines provided the variation is ethically justifiable; the client is supportive of the variation; it is demonstrably to the benefit of the client; and that practitioners are willing to be appropriately accountable to people affected, and this Association for their practice and the reputation of therapy in general.
Providing a good standard of practice and care
All clients are entitled to good standards of practice and care from their practitioners in counselling and psychotherapy. Good standards of practice and care require professional competence; good relationships with clients and colleagues; and commitment to being ethically mindful through observance of professional ethics.
Good quality of care
- Good quality of care requires competently delivered services that meet the client’s needs by practitioners who are appropriately supported and accountable.
- Practitioners should give careful consideration to the limitations of their training and experience and work within these limits, taking advantage of available professional support. If work with clients requires the provision of additional services operating in parallel with counselling or psychotherapy, the availability of such services ought to be taken into account, as their absence may constitute a significant limitation.
- Good practice involves clarifying and agreeing the rights and responsibilities of both the practitioner and client at appropriate points in their working relationship.
- Dual relationships arise when the practitioner has two or more kinds of relationship concurrently with a client, for example client and trainee, acquaintance and client, colleague and supervisee. The existence of a dual relationship with a client is seldom neutral and can have a powerful beneficial or detrimental impact that may not always be easily foreseeable. For these reasons practitioners are required to consider the implications of entering into dual relationships with clients, to avoid entering into relationships that are likely to be detrimental to clients, and to be readily accountable to clients and colleagues for any dual relationships that occur.
- Practitioners are advised to keep appropriate records of their work with clients unless there are good and sufficient reasons for not keeping any records. All records should be accurate, respectful of clients and colleagues and protected from unauthorised disclosure. Any records should be kept securely and adequately protected from unauthorised intrusion or disclosure. Practitioners should take into account their responsibilities and their clients’ rights under data protection legislation and any other legal requirements.
- Clients are entitled to competently delivered services that are periodically reviewed by the practitioner. These reviews may be conducted, when appropriate, in consultation with clients, supervisors, managers or other practitioners with relevant expertise.
Maintaining competent practice
- All counsellors, psychotherapists, trainers and supervisors are required to have regular and on-going formal supervision/consultative support for their work in accordance with professional requirements. Managers, researchers and providers of counselling skills are strongly encouraged to review their need for professional and personal support and to obtain appropriate services for themselves.
- Regularly monitoring and reviewing one’s work is essential to maintaining good practice. It is important to be open to, and conscientious in considering, feedback from colleagues, appraisals and assessments. Responding constructively to feedback helps to advance practice.
- A commitment to good practice requires practitioners to keep up to date with the latest knowledge and respond to changing circumstances. They should consider carefully their own need for continuing professional development and engage in appropriate educational activities.
- Practitioners should be aware of and understand any legal requirements concerning their work, consider these conscientiously and be legally and professionally accountable for their practice.
- The practice of counselling and psychotherapy depends on gaining and honouring the trust of clients. Keeping trust requires:
- attentiveness to the quality of listening and respect offered to clients
- culturally appropriate ways of communicating that are courteous and clear
- respect for privacy and dignity
- careful attention to client consent and confidentiality
- Clients should be adequately informed about the nature of the services being offered. Practitioners should obtain adequately informed consent from their clients and respect a client’s right to choose whether to continue or withdraw.
- Practitioners should ensure that services are normally delivered on the basis of the client’s explicit consent. Reliance on implicit consent is more vulnerable to misunderstandings and is best avoided unless there are sound reasons for doing so. Overriding a client’s known wishes or consent is a serious matter that requires adequate and reasoned justification. Practitioners should be prepared to be readily accountable to clients, colleagues and this Association if they override a client’s known wishes.
- Situations in which clients pose a risk of causing serious harm to themselves or others are particularly challenging for the practitioner. These are situations in which the practitioner should be alert to the possibility of conflicting responsibilities between those concerning their client, other people who may be significantly affected, and society generally. Resolving conflicting responsibilities may require due consideration of the context in which the service is being provided. Consultation with a supervisor or experienced practitioner is strongly recommended, whenever this would not cause undue delay. In all cases, the aim should be to ensure for the client a good quality of care that is as respectful of the client’s capacity for self-determination and their trust as circumstances permit.
- Working with young people requires specific ethical awareness and competence. The practitioner is required to consider and assess the balance between young people’s dependence on adults and carers and their progressive development towards acting independently. Working with children and young people requires careful consideration of issues concerning their capacity to give consent to receiving any service independently of someone with parental responsibilities and the management of confidences disclosed by clients.
- Practitioners should normally be willing to respond to their client’s requests for information about the way that they are working and any assessment that they may have made. This professional requirement may not apply if it is considered that imparting this information would be detrimental to the client or inconsistent with the counselling or psychotherapeutic approach previously agreed with the client. Clients may have legal rights to this information and these need to be taken into account.
- Practitioners must not abuse their client’s trust in order to gain sexual, emotional, financial or any other kind of personal advantage. Sexual relations with clients are prohibited. ‘Sexual relations’ include intercourse, any other type of sexual activity or sexualised behaviour. Practitioners should think carefully about, and exercise considerable caution before, entering into personal or business relationships with former clients and should expect to be professionally accountable if the relationship becomes detrimental to the client or the standing of the profession.
- Practitioners should not allow their professional relationships with clients to be prejudiced by any personal views they may hold about lifestyle, gender, age, disability, race, sexual orientation, beliefs or culture.
- Practitioners should be clear about any commitment to be available to clients and colleagues and honour these commitments.
Respecting privacy and confidentiality
- Respecting clients’ privacy and confidentiality are fundamental requirements for keeping trust and respecting client autonomy. The professional management of confidentiality concerns the protection of personally identifiable and sensitive information from unauthorised disclosure. Disclosure may be authorised by client consent or the law. Any disclosures of client confidences should be undertaken in ways that best protect the client’s trust and respect client autonomy.
- Communications made on the basis of client consent do not constitute a breach of confidentiality. Client consent is the ethically preferred way of resolving any dilemmas over confidentiality.
- Exceptional circumstances may prevent the practitioner from seeking client consent to a breach of confidence due to the urgency and seriousness of the situation, for example, preventing the client causing serious harm to self or others. In such circumstances the practitioner has an ethical responsibility to act in ways which balance the client’s right to confidentiality against the need to communicate with others. Practitioners should expect to be ethically accountable for any breach of confidentiality.
Teaching and training
- Confidential information about clients may be shared within teams where the client has consented or knowingly accepted a service on this basis; the information can be adequately protected from unauthorised further disclosures; and the disclosure enhances the quality of service available to clients or improves service delivery.
- Practitioners should be willing to be accountable to their clients and to their profession for their management of confidentiality in general and particularly for any disclosures made without their client’s consent. Good records of existing policy and practice and of situations where the practitioner has breached confidentiality without client consent, greatly assist ethical accountability. In some situations the law forbids the practitioner informing the client that confidential information has been passed to the authorities, nonetheless the practitioner remains ethically accountable to colleagues and the profession.
- All practitioners are encouraged to share their professional knowledge and practice for the benefit of their clients and to promote awareness of counselling and psychotherapy in the public through providing information and education.
- Practitioners who provide formal education and training should acquire the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to be competent teachers and facilitators of learning in their subject.
- Practitioners are required to be fair, accurate and honest in their assessments of their students.
- Prior consent is required from clients if they are to be observed, recorded or if their personally identifiable disclosures are to be used for training purposes.
- All training in counselling and psychotherapy should model standards and practice consistent with those expected of practitioners in the role for which the training is being provided.
- All trainers and educators in counselling and psychotherapy have a responsibility to protect the standards of the profession. Trainers are responsible for taking reasonable steps to prevent clients being exposed to risk or harm by trainees.
- Where information is held by more than one person involved in the assessment of a trainee, it should normally be shared to produce the fairest possible evaluation of the person concerned. Any confidentiality agreements between trainers and trainees ought to be established in ways that permit the appropriate sharing of information for assessment and the protection of clients.
Supervising and managing
- Practitioners are responsible for clarifying who holds responsibility for the work with the client.
- There is a general obligation for all counsellors, psychotherapists, supervisors and trainers to receive supervision/consultative support independently of any managerial relationships.
- Supervisors and managers have a responsibility to maintain and enhance good practice by practitioners, to protect clients from poor practice and to acquire the attitudes, skills and knowledge required by their role.
- Supervisors and managers may form a triangular relationship with a counsellor or psychotherapist, particularly where services are being provided within an agency. All parties to this relationship have a responsibility to clarify their expectations of each other and, in particular, the steps that ought to be taken to address any concerns over client safety. The role of an independent supervisor is widely considered to be desirable in promoting good practice but, to be most effective, requires clarity in how such a role relates to line management and the division of tasks and responsibilities between a supervisor and any line manager.
- The Association is committed to fostering research that will inform and develop practice. All practitioners are encouraged to support research undertaken on behalf of the profession and to participate actively in research work.
- All research should be undertaken with rigorous attentiveness to the quality and integrity both of the research itself and of the dissemination of the results of the research.
- The rights of all research participants should be carefully considered and protected. The minimum rights include the right to freely given and informed consent, and the right to withdraw at any point. A client’s entitlement to receiving a service should not be affected by their willingness or refusal to participate in research.
- The research methods used should comply with the standards of good practice in counselling and psychotherapy and must not adversely affect clients.
Fitness to practise
- Practitioners have a responsibility to monitor and maintain their fitness to practise at a level that enables them to provide an effective service. If their effectiveness becomes impaired for any reason, including health or personal circumstances, they should seek the advice of their supervisor, experienced colleagues or line manager and, if necessary, withdraw from practice until their fitness to practise returns. Suitable arrangements should be made for clients who are adversely affected.
If things go wrong with own clients
- Practitioners should respond promptly and appropriately to any complaint received from their clients. An appropriate response in agency-based services would take account of any agency policy and procedures.
- Practitioners should endeavour to remedy any harm they may have caused to their clients and to prevent any further harm. An apology may be the appropriate response.
- Practitioners should discuss, with their supervisor, manager or other experienced practitioner(s), the circumstances in which they may have harmed a client in order to ensure that the appropriate steps have been taken to mitigate any harm and to prevent any repetition.
- Practitioners are strongly encouraged to ensure that their work is adequately covered by insurance for professional indemnity and liability.
- If practitioners consider that they have acted in accordance with good practice but their client is not satisfied that this is the case, they may wish to use independent dispute resolution, for example: seeking a second professional opinion, mediation, or conciliation where this is both appropriate and practical.
- Clients should be informed about the existence of the Professional Conduct Procedure of this Association and any other applicable complaints or disciplinary procedures. If requested to do so, practitioners should inform their clients about how they may obtain further information concerning these procedures.
Responsibilities to all clients
- Practitioners have a responsibility to protect clients when they have good reason for believing that other practitioners are placing them at risk of harm.
- They should raise their concerns with the practitioner concerned in the first instance, unless it is inappropriate to do so. If the matter cannot be resolved, they should review the grounds for their concern and the evidence available to them and, when appropriate, raise their concerns with the practitioner’s manager, agency or professional body.
- If they are uncertain what to do, their concerns should be discussed with an experienced colleague, a supervisor or raised with this Association.
- All members of this Association share a responsibility to take part in its professional conduct procedures whether as the person complained against or as the provider of relevant information.
Working with colleagues
The increasing availability of counselling and psychotherapy means that most practitioners have other practitioners working in their locality, or may be working closely with colleagues within specialised or multidisciplinary teams. The quality of the interactions between practitioners can enhance or undermine the claim that counselling and psychotherapy enable clients to increase their insight and expertise in personal relationships. This is particularly true for practitioners who work in agencies or teams.
Working in teams
- Professional relationships should be conducted in a spirit of mutual respect. Practitioners should endeavour to attain good working relationships and systems of communication that enhance services to clients at all times.
- Practitioners should treat all colleagues fairly and foster equality opportunity.
- They should not allow their professional relationships with colleagues to be prejudiced by their own personal views about a colleague’s lifestyle, gender, age, disability, race, sexual orientation, beliefs or culture. It is unacceptable and unethical to discriminate against colleagues on any of these grounds.
- Practitioners must not undermine a colleague’s relationships with clients by making unjustified or unsustainable comments.
- All communications between colleagues about clients should be on a professional basis and thus purposeful, respectful and consistent with the management of confidences as declared to clients.
Awareness of Context
- The practitioner is responsible for learning about and taking account of the different protocols, conventions and customs that can pertain to different working contexts and cultures.
- All routine referrals to colleagues and other services should be discussed with the client in advance and the client’s consent obtained both to making the referral and also to disclosing information to accompany the referral. Reasonable care should be taken to ensure that:
- the recipient of the referral is able to provide the required service;
- any confidential information disclosed during the referral process will be adequately protected;
- the referral will be likely to benefit the client.
- Prior to accepting a referral the practitioner should give careful consideration to:
- the appropriateness of the referral;
- the likelihood that the referral will be beneficial to the client;
- the adequacy of the client’s consent for the referral.
- If the referrer is professionally required to retain overall responsibility for the work with the client, it is considered to be professionally appropriate to provide the referrer with brief progress reports. Such reports should be made in consultation with clients and not normally against their explicit wishes.
Probity in professional ethics
Ensuring the probity of practice is important both to those who are directly affected but also to the standing of the profession as a whole.
Providing clients with adequate information
- Practitioners are responsible for clarifying the terms on which their services are being offered in advance of the client incurring any financial obligation or other reasonably foreseeable costs or liabilities.
- All information about services should be honest, accurate, avoid unjustifiable claims, and be consistent with maintaining the good standing of the profession.
- Particular care should be taken over the integrity of presenting qualifications, accreditation and professional standing.
Practitioners are required to be honest, straightforward and accountable in all financial mattersconcerning their clients and other professional relationships.Conflicts of interest
Conflicts of interest
Conflicts of interest are best avoided, provided they can be reasonably foreseen in the first instanceand prevented from arising. In deciding how to respond to conflicts of interest, the protection of theclient’s interests and maintaining trust in the practitioner should be paramount.Care of self as a practitionerAttending to the practitioner’s well-being is essential to sustaining good practice.
Practitioners have a responsibility to themselves to ensure that their work does not becomedetrimental to their health or well-being by ensuring that the way that they undertake their workis as safe as possible and that they seek appropriate professional support and services as theneed arises.
Practitioners are entitled to be treated with proper consideration and respect that is consistent withthis Guidance.
Professional Conduct Procedure
It is the responsibility of all Members and Complainants to ensure that they fully understand the Professional Conduct Procedure and the associated protocols. This procedure forms an essential part of BACP’s commitment to the protection of the public. Members are required to inform any client who indicates that they have a complaint or grievance about the existence of this procedure and any other applicable complaints or disciplinary procedures. If requested to do so, practitioners should inform their clients about how they may obtain further information concerning these procedures. Further information may be obtained by contacting the Professional Conduct Department at BACP directly; alternatively, all documentation is available on the BACP website at www.bacp.co.uk.
The aim of the Professional Conduct Procedure is to provide complainants with an open and transparent route of remedy where complaints are made against members of this Association. In processing such complaints, the Association aims to protect members of the public, the name and reputation of BACP and the professions referred to within the Ethical Framework.
1.2 Bringing a complaint
A complaint can be brought by either:
a) a member of the public who has sought or received a service provided by a member of the Association; or
b) a current member of the Association who may bring complaints for services sought or received directly from another member; or who has witnessed poor practice delivered by another member; or on behalf of another where their written permission has been obtained and where that person is unable to bring the complaint on their own behalf (explanation is required in writing as to the nature of the inability); or
c) a legal guardian or other appropriately authorised adult on behalf of a minor and/or an adult lacking legal capacity for services sought or received; or
d) a third party who can demonstrate sufficient interest and who has been directly affected by the actions of the practitioner, subject to the protocol on third party complaints.
1.3 Complaints against non-members
The Association cannot deal with complaints against individuals or organisations that were not members of the Association at the time of the alleged misconduct and/or are not current members of the Association.
1.4 Complaints against members
A complaint made against a member and brought within the timescale detailed below, may cover the entirety of the professional relationship in so far as the member concerned was a member of the Association at the time of the alleged professional misconduct.
A complaint must be submitted either:
a) within three years of the ending of the professional relationship; or
b) within three years of the date when the Complainant reasonably became aware of the alleged professional misconduct. The Complainant must provide a written explanation as to when/how they became aware and this will be considered by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel which will decide if the explanation given is good and/or sufficient; or
c) within a reasonable time of the alleged professional misconduct.
The Association will not consider any complaints where the substantive matters have previously been considered by the Association under these procedures, unless there is overwhelming and compelling new evidence which suggests that the case should be reconsidered.
All records will be kept for a period of seven years. The Association reserves the right to reconsider complaints previously submitted when similar/other complaints subsequently arise that give good reason to suggest that the practitioner’s continuing membership should be considered under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.
Where the outcome of a complaint has resulted in withdrawal of membership of the Association, all records will be kept unless and/or until such time as the person concerned has successfully re-applied for membership of the Association. Such records will be considered in any re-application for membership of the Association.
The administration of the Professional Conduct Procedure will follow the protocols laid down and as amended from time to time by the Association. These will be administered by the Head of Professional Conduct.
There is benefit in furthering the charitable aims of the Association by carrying out audits and/or research into complaints. The data from complaints will be processed for the purposes of research and statistical analysis. Where this work is carried out, either by BACP or a third party, under strict protocols of confidentiality, the confidentiality of the parties concerned will be respected and any published research and/or analysis will not contain any personally identifiable information.
The Association is not responsible for travel or any other expenses incurred either by the Complainant or the Member Complained Against or any support person/representative in connection with any stage of the complaint. The Association cannot order one party in a complaint to pay another party’s costs.
However, where a witness is called by the Chair of the Panel, BACP will reimburse reasonable travel expenses upon the production of valid receipts and completion of an expense claim form.
1.9 Dual accountability
The Association may decide to hear a complaint against a member when another organisation is involved in a similar process arising out of the same substantive matters. Where information is received for consideration under the Professional Conduct Procedure and where it is known that the member concerned is also a member of another professional body, the Association reserves the right to formally notify any other organisation of the issues being considered.
Before submitting a complaint to BACP, the Complainant is expected to attempt to resolve the issue with the individual or organisational Member Complained Against and details of any attempt at resolution should be included with the complaint. If local resolution is not possible/feasible or is considered inappropriate in the particular circumstances of the case, the Complainant will be required to provide a written explanation as to why this is the case.
1.11 Complaints and findings
The Association reserves the right to notify other professional bodies and/or agencies about complaints and to distribute any findings upheld against a member, where it considers it right and just to do so in all circumstances.
2 Making A Complaint
2.1 The complaint
The complaint must satisfy the following conditions:
a) The Complainant must provide a detailed account of the practice giving rise to the complaint, together with details of dates when the event(s) occurred. Reference may be made to the standards of practice outlined in the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and/or the relevant Codes of Ethics and Practice in force at the time, together with all supporting evidence as appropriate. Reference may also be made to the Ethical guidelines for researching counselling and psychotherapy, as appropriate.
b) The individual or organisational Member Complained Against is named and is a current member of the Association and was a member of the Association at the time the alleged breach occurred.
c) It is in writing, dated, signed and received by the Head of Professional Conduct.
A complaint not satisfying the above conditions will not be accepted or processed under these procedures.
The Member Complained Against will be notified that a complaint has been received, given a copy of that complaint and details of the procedure to be followed. The Member Complained Against is not required to respond at this stage, but will be given an opportunity at a later stage if the complaint is accepted under the formal Professional Conduct Procedure (as set out in section 3).
2.3 Receipt of a complaint
The complaint will be submitted to a Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, whereupon the Panel will decide:
a) whether to accept the complaint to be dealt with at a Professional Conduct Hearing, refer it back for further information/clarification or reject it. The Panel has discretion to interview the Complainant and/or Member Complained Against if deemed appropriate;
b) if further information/clarification is requested, upon receipt of same, the complaint will be re-submitted to the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel which will decide whether to accept it or reject it;
c) once the complaint is accepted, the Complainant and Member Complained Against will be formally notified of this decision in writing. The Head of Professional Conduct will then start the formal Professional Conduct Procedure (as set out in section 3);
d) if the complaint is not accepted by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, the Complainant and Member Complained Against will be formally notified of this decision in writing.
2.4 Appeal following decision of the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel
The Complainant may appeal against the decision of the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel. An appeal must be received by the Head of Professional Conduct within 14 days of notification of the Panel’s decision. The Complainant can appeal on the following grounds:
a) the decision was made against the weight of evidence;
b) there is new evidence that was not available at the time of the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel (subject to the conditions laid down in the relevant protocol).
The intention to appeal must be accompanied by the evidence to support the submission.
The ground(s) of appeal, together with the original submissions and any new evidence considered by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, will be considered by an independent Appeal Assessor. The Appeal Assessor’s decision will be final.
3 The Formal Professional Conduct Procedure
3.1 Acceptance of complaint
The Complainant and Member Complained Against will be notified in writing that the complaint will proceed to a Professional Conduct Hearing.
3.2 Responding to a formal complaint
The Member Complained Against will be notified of the acceptance of the complaint and will have 28 days to respond to it, having previously been supplied with a copy of the complaint. The Member Complained Against will also be furnished with any further information submitted by the Complainant and considered by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel. Any response to the complaint must be forwarded to the Head of Professional Conduct.
All evidence submitted for the purpose of the Professional Conduct Hearing, by either the Complainant or the Member Complained Against, shall be available to the parties involved in the complaint. The Head of Professional Conduct will distribute to the parties copies of all submissions made.
It is the duty of the parties taking part in the Professional Conduct Procedure to comply with the implementation of the Professional Conduct Procedure. Such persons shall comply with the relevant protocols as laid down by the Association. Any failure to comply may result in the termination of the Professional Conduct Procedure or withdrawal of membership under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association.
3.5 Lapsed membership
Failure to renew membership by a Member Complained Against during the course of a complaint will not normally terminate the Professional Conduct Procedure.
A member’s resignation from membership of the Association will not normally terminate nor invalidate the processing and/or hearing of a complaint by the Association.
4 The Professional Conduct Hearing
Professional Conduct Hearings will be held at a neutral venue within the vicinity of the Association’s headquarters, other than in exceptional circumstances.
4.2 Professional Conduct Panel
The Head of Professional Conduct will appoint an independently constituted panel of not less than three persons, including lay representation, to hear the complaint.
4.3 Declaration of interest
Members of the Professional Conduct Panel have a duty to declare any interest which may be considered by the Head of Professional Conduct to affect their impartiality, or likely to be thought so to do.
The purpose of the Professional Conduct Hearing is for the Professional Conduct Panel to examine all the written and oral evidence presented by both parties and decide whether the complaint is proved or not. If proved, the Panel will decide whether or not any sanction should be imposed.
4.5 Presence of a representative/support person
When appearing at the Professional Conduct Hearing, the Complainant and Member Complained Against may each be accompanied by a representative who may support and/or speak on behalf of the party concerned. Such details of a representative/support person must be received by the Head of Professional Conduct not less than 28 days prior to the date fixed for the Professional Conduct Hearing.
4.6 Additional evidence
Written evidence and/or submissions and witness statements must be submitted in advance by the Complainant and the Member Complained Against. Such papers must be received by the Head of Professional Conduct not less than 28 days prior to the date fixed for the Professional Conduct Hearing. Such papers will be circulated to the Professional Conduct Panel, the Complainant and the Member Complained Against, within a reasonable period prior to the Hearing. The Chair of the Professional Conduct Panel may take advice on these papers and/or procedural matters from the Head of Professional Conduct or such relevant person as may be deemed appropriate.
4.7 New evidence
The Chair of the Professional Conduct Panel will determine whether or not new evidence will be accepted on the day of the Hearing. The decision will be based on the conditions laid down in the relevant protocol. The Chair of the Professional Conduct Panel may take advice on such matters from the Head of Professional Conduct.
4.8 Attendance by witnesses
A witness can only be called if the witness has supplied a written statement contained within the parties’ submissions to BACP. Parties wishing to call witnesses must notify the Head of Professional Conduct of the names and details of such witnesses not less than 28 days prior to the date fixed for the Hearing. The Chair of the Panel will only permit the attendance of a witness if the Panel considers their written statement requires further clarification. The Professional Conduct Panel, Complainant and Member Complained Against may call witnesses to attend the Hearing. The Chair of the Panel has discretion to refuse attendance by a witness if it is reasonably believed that such attendance is not relevant and/or will not add any weight to the issue(s) being considered. Witnesses may be questioned by the Panel and by either party connected with the case.
4.9 Failure to attend the Professional Conduct Hearing
Where a Complainant or Member Complained Against fails or refuses to attend a Professional Conduct Hearing, the Head of Professional Conduct has the power to decide to either:
4.10 Notification of findings
The decision of the Professional Conduct Panel will be notified in writing to the parties within 28 days of the Professional Conduct Hearing.
The entirety of the decision of the Professional Conduct Panel, together with the details of any sanction, will be published on the Association’s website and in its journal.
5.1 The Professional Conduct Panel, having regard to the findings, may impose one or more of the sanctions detailed in the relevant protocol.
The Head of Professional Conduct will appoint an independently constituted Sanction Panel which will consist of not less than three people, usually two members of the Association and one lay member, to consider any evidence of compliance.
5.2 Lifting of sanction
The Sanction Panel will decide if the requirements of the sanction have been fulfilled and thus, whether the sanction should be lifted.
The Member Complained Against will be notified in writing of any decision made. Where a sanction has been successfully complied with and, thus, lifted, a Sanction Compliance Notice will be published on the Association’s website and in its journal.
5.3 Failure or refusal to comply with sanction
Failure or refusal to comply with a sanction may result in membership of the Association being withdrawn immediately. The Chair of the Association will notify the Member Complained Against of any such decision in writing. In such circumstances, a Withdrawal of Membership Notice will be published on the Association’s website and in its journal.
6 Formal Appeal Procedure
6.1 The Member Complained Against may appeal on the ground(s) detailed in paragraph 6.5. An appeal against the decision of the Professional Conduct Panel must be submitted in writing by the deadline given (see paragraph 6.6), be accompanied by any supporting documentation and submitted to the Head of Professional Conduct.
6.2 The ground(s) for appeal will be considered by an independent Appeal Assessor who will decide whether the appeal should be accepted to go forward to an Appeal Hearing or not.
6.3 If leave to appeal is accepted under paragraph 6.2, a notice to that effect shall be given to the Head of Professional Conduct and the case will proceed to an Appeal Hearing, where the appeal will be considered by an independent Appeal Panel, as set out in Section 7. The Appellant and the Complainant will be notified of this decision and given details of the procedure to be followed.
6.4 If there is insufficient evidence to satisfy any of the ground(s) for appeal, the leave to appeal will be rejected. The Appellant and the Complainant will be notified in writing of this decision which will be final.
6.5 An appeal will be considered on any of the following ground(s):
a) the facts were found against the weight of evidence;
b) the sanction is disproportionate to the findings and decision of the Professional Conduct Panel and is unjust in all the circumstances;
c) there is evidence to suggest that a procedural impropriety may have had a material affect on the findings and decision of the Professional Conduct Panel;
d) there is new evidence which was not available at the time of the Professional Conduct Hearing, subject to the conditions laid down in the relevant protocol.
6.6 Timescale for appeal
An appeal must be in writing, and must specify which ground(s) it is submitted under and be accompanied by any supporting documentation and served upon the Head of Professional Conduct within 28 days of notification of the findings and decision and/or sanction of the Professional Conduct Panel.
7 Appeal Hearing
Appeal hearings will be held at a neutral venue within the vicinity of the Association’s headquarters, other than in exceptional circumstances.
7.2 Appeal Panel
The Head of Professional Conduct will appoint an independently constituted panel of not less than three persons, including lay representation, to decide the appeal.
7.3 Declaration of interest
Members of an appeal panel have a duty to declare any interest which may be considered by the Head of Professional Conduct to affect their impartiality, or likely to be thought so to do.
The purpose of an appeal hearing is for an appeal panel to examine all the written and oral evidence presented by both parties to decide whether the appeal is upheld or not.
7.5 Format of the Appeal Hearing
The Appeal Hearing will be by way of a review of the Professional Conduct Panel’s decision in light of the evidence put before it. The Appeal Panel will then consider the appeal documentation in its entirety, together with any verbal submissions and mitigating factors before reaching its decision.
7.6 Presence of a representative/support person
When appearing at the Appeal Hearing, both parties may be accompanied by a representative who may support and/or speak on behalf of the party concerned. Such details of a representative/support person must be received by the Head of Professional Conduct not less than 28 days prior to the date fixed for the Appeal Hearing.
7.7 Additional evidence
Written evidence and/or submissions and witness statements must be submitted in advance by the Appellant and the Complainant. Such papers must be received by the Head of Professional Conduct not less than 28 days prior to the date fixed for the Appeal Hearing. Such papers will be circulated to the Appeal Panel, the Appellant and the Complainant, within a reasonable period prior to the Hearing. The Chair of the Appeal Panel may take advice on these papers and/or procedural matters from the Head of Professional Conduct, or such relevant person as may be deemed appropriate.
7.8 New evidence
The Chair of the Appeal Panel will determine whether or not new evidence will be accepted on the day of the Appeal Hearing. The decision will be based on the conditions laid down in the relevant protocol. The Chair of the Appeal Panel may take advice on such matters from the Head of Professional Conduct.
7.9 Attendance by witnesses
A witness can only be called if the witness has supplied a written statement contained within the parties’ submissions to BACP. Parties wishing to call witnesses must notify the Head of Professional Conduct of the names and details of such witnesses not less than 28 days prior to the date fixed for the Hearing. The Chair of the Appeal Panel will only permit the attendance of a witness if the Panel considers that their written statement requires further clarification. The Appeal Panel, Appellant and Complainant may call witnesses to attend the Hearing. The Chair of the Appeal Panel has discretion to refuse attendance by a witness if it is reasonably believed that such attendance is not relevant and/or will not add any weight to the issue(s) being considered. Witnesses may be questioned by the Panel and by either party connected with the case.
7.10 Failure to attend the Appeal Hearing
Where an Appellant fails or refuses to attend an Appeal Hearing, the Head of Professional Conduct has the power to decide to either:
7.11 Notification of decision
The decision of the Appeal Panel will be notified to the parties in writing within 28 days of the Appeal Hearing.
Where an Appeal has not been successful, in whole or in part, the decision of the Appeal Panel, including details of any sanction, incorporating any amendment(s) made by the Appeal Panel, will be published on the Association’s website and in its journal.
If the decision is that the Appellant’s membership of the Association should be withdrawn, the Head of Professional Conduct will communicate this decision to the Chair of the Association who, in turn, will formally notify the Appellant in writing and implement the Panel’s decision. This decision will be final.
8.1 Where a complaint is upheld in whole or in part, the decision of the Professional Conduct and/or Appeal Panel, together with details of any sanction, will be published on the Association’s website and in its journal in such detail as deemed appropriate to the findings.
8.2 The withdrawal of membership under the Professional Conduct Procedure will be published on the Association’s website, in its journal and elsewhere as it considers appropriate and just to do so, and in the interests of public protection.
8.3 Under these procedures, any notification that the Association is entitled to publish on its website and in its journal may be published elsewhere by the Association at its discretion and in the interests of public protection.
9 Effective Date
This Professional Conduct Procedure 2010 will apply to all complaints received by the Association from 1 February 2010.
Heads of Complaint
The Professional Conduct Panel is responsible for determining whether the ground(s) of the complaint are upheld or not, according to the standards of civil law. If upheld, the Panel has to consider its decision and make a finding under one or more of the following heads of complaint. The decision about the head must ultimately rest upon consideration of all the circumstances in the case. The information that follows is intended to inform the choice between the three heads of complaint available to the Panel. These are:
- Professional Misconduct
- Professional Malpractice
- Bringing the Profession into Disrepute
A finding of professional misconduct signifies that the practitioner has contravened the ethical and behavioural standards that should reasonably be expected of a member of this profession. Misconduct is defined as acting in contravention of the written and unwritten guidance of the profession.
A finding of serious professional misconduct is appropriate if the misconduct is of sufficient seriousness to merit a period of suspension of rights of membership and/or the withdrawal of membership of the Association.
A finding of professional malpractice signifies that the service(s) for which the practitioner is responsible have fallen below the standards that would reasonably be expected of a practitioner exercising reasonable care and skill. Examples of malpractice include, but are not restricted to:
- The provision of inadequate professional services
A finding of serious professional malpractice is appropriate if the malpractice is of sufficient seriousness to merit a period of suspension of rights of membership and/or the withdrawal of membership of the Association.
Bringing the Profession into Disrepute
A finding of bringing the profession into disrepute signifies that the practitioner has acted in such an infamous or disgraceful way that the public’s trust in the profession might reasonably be undermined, or might reasonably be undermined if they were accurately informed about all the circumstances of the case.
A finding under this head must amount to ‘disgraceful conduct in a professional respect’. This involves consideration of three elements:
Conduct that is regarded as ‘disgraceful’ need not amount to moral turpitude or be restricted to acts of serious immorality.
The conduct must have had some connection with a professional role in order to be considered as falling ‘in a professional respect’. It ought not to be concerned with matters that can reasonably be viewed as solely personal and private.
Conduct ‘in a professional respect’ is not confined to the pursuit of the profession in question.
What is not considered to be disgraceful to an ordinary person may be considered to be disgraceful to a professional person.
A finding of bringing the profession into disrepute will result in withdrawal of membership.
Code of Ethics
135-7-.01 Responsibility to Clients.
(1) A licensee's primary professional responsibility is to the client. The licensee shall make every reasonable effort to promote the welfare, autonomy and best interests of families and individuals, including respecting the rights of those persons seeking assistance, obtaining informed consent, and making reasonable efforts to ensure that the licensee's services are used appropriately.
(2) Unprofessional conduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(a) exploiting relationships with clients for personal or financial advantages;
(b) using any confidence of a client to the client's disadvantage;
(c) participating in dual relationships with clients that create a conflict of interest which could impair the licensee's professional judgement, harm the client, or compromise the therapy; (d) undertaking a course of treatment when the client, or the client's representative, does not understand and agree with the treatment goals;
(e) knowingly withholding information about accepted and prevailing treatment alternatives that differ from those provided by the licensee;
(f) failing to inform the client of any contractual obligations, limitations, or requirements resulting from an agreement between the licensee and a third party payer which could influence the course of the client's treatment; (g) when there are clear and established risks to the client, failing to provide the client with a description of any foreseeable negative consequences of the proposed treatment;
(h) charging a fee for anything without having informed the client in advance of the fee;
(i) taking any action for nonpayment of fees without first advising the client of the intended action and providing the client with an opportunity to settle the debt;
(j) when termination or interruption of service to the client is anticipated, failing to notify the client promptly and failing to assist the client in seeking alternative services consistent with the client's needs and preferences;
(k) failing to terminate a client relationship when it is reasonably clear that the treatment no longer serves the client's needs or interest;
(l) delegating professional responsibilities to another person when the licensee delegating the responsibilities knows or has reason to know that such person is not qualified by training, by experience, or by licensure to perform them; and (m) failing to provide information regarding a client's evaluation or treatment, in a timely fashion and to the extent deemed prudent and clinically appropriate by the licensee, when that information has been requested and released by the client.
Authority O.C.G.A. 43-7A-5(d). Administrative History . Original Rule entitled "Responsibility to Clients" was filed on October 19, 1987; effective November 8, 1987. Repealed : New Rule, same title, adopted. F. Feb. 28, 2000; ef. Mar. 19, 2000.
(1) The licensee shall act in accordance with the highest standards of professional integrity and competence. The licensee is honest in dealing with clients, students, trainees, colleagues, and the public. The licensee seeks to eliminate incompetence or dishonesty from the profession.
(2) Unprofessional conduct includes, but is not limited to:
(a) practicing inhumane or discriminatory treatment toward any person or group of persons;
(b) engaging in dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation while performing professional activities;
(c) engaging in sexual activities or sexual advances with any client, trainee, or student;
(d) practicing while under the influence of alcohol or drugs not prescribed by a licensed physician;
(e) practicing in an area in which the licensee has not obtained university level graduate training or substantially equivalent supervised experience; (
f) failing either to obtain supervision or consultation, or to refer the client to a qualified practitioner, who faced with treatment, assessment or evaluation issues beyond the licensee's competence;
(g) accepting or giving a fee or anything of value for making or receiving a referral;
(h) using an institutional affiliation to solicit clients for the licensee's private practice; and
(i) allowing an individual or agency that is paying for the professional services to exert undue influence over the licensee's evaluation or treatment of a client.
Authority O.C.G.A. 43-7A-5(d). History . Original Rule entitled "Integrity" was filed on October 19, 1987; effective November 8, 1987. Repealed : New Rule, same title, adopted. F. Feb. 28, 2000; eff. Mar. 19, 2000.
(1) The licensee holds in confidence all information obtained at any time during the course of a professional relationship, beginning with the first professional contact. The licensee safeguards clients' confidences as permitted by law.
(2) Unprofessional conduct includes but is not limited to the following: (a) revealing a confidence of a client, whether living or deceased, to anyone except:
1. as required by law;
2. after obtaining the consent of the client, when the client is a legally competent adult, or the legal custodian, when the client is a minor or a mentally incapacitated adult. The licensee shall provide a description of the information to be revealed and the persons to whom the information will be revealed prior to obtaining such consent. When more than one client has participated in the therapy, the licensee may reveal information regarding only those clients who have consented to the disclosure;
3. where the licensee is a defendant in a civil, criminal, or disciplinary action arising from the therapy, in which case client confidences may be disclosed in the course of that action;
4. where there is clear and imminent danger to the client or others, in which case the licensee shall take whatever reasonable steps are necessary to protect those at risk including, but not limited to, warning any identified victims and informing the responsible authorities; and
5. when discussing case material with a professional colleague for the purpose of consultation or supervision;
(a) failing to obtain written, informed consent from each client before electronically recording sessions with that client or before permitting third party observation of their sessions;
(b) failing to store or dispose of client records in a way that maintains confidentiality, and when providing any client with access to that client's records, failing to protect the confidences of other persons contained in that record;
(c) failing to protect the confidences of the client from disclosure by employees, associates, and others whose services are utilized by the licensee; and
(d) failing to disguise adequately the identity of a client when using material derived from a counseling relationship for purposes of training or research.
Authority O.C.G.A. 43-7A-5(d). History . Original Rule entitled "Confidentiality" was filed on October 19, 1987; effective November 8, 1987. Repealed : New Rule, same title, adopted. F. Feb. 28, 2000; eff. Mar. 19, 2000
135-7-.04 Responsibility to Colleagues.
(1) The licensee respects the rights and responsibilities of professional colleagues and, as the employee of an organization, remains accountable as an individual to the ethical principles of the profession. The licensee treats colleagues with respect and good faith, and relates to the clients of colleagues with full professional consideration.
(2) Unprofessional conduct includes but is not limited to the following:
(a) soliciting the clients of colleagues or assuming professional responsibility for clients of another agency or colleague without appropriate communication with that agency or colleague;
(b) failing to maintain the confidences shared by colleagues and supervisees in the course of professional relationships and transactions with those colleagues;
(c) when a supervisee is unlicensed, failing to inform the supervisee of the legal limitations on unlicensed practice;
(d) when a supervisor is aware that a supervisee is engaging in any unethical, unprofessional or deleterious conduct, failing to provide the supervisee with a forthright evaluation and appropriate recommendations regarding such practice; and
(e) taking credit for work not personally performed, whether by giving inaccurate information or failing to give accurate information.
Authority O.C.G.A. 43-7A-5(d). History . Original Rule entitled "Responsibility to Colleagues" was filed on October 19, 1987; effective November 8, 1987. Repealed : New Rule, same title, adopted. F. Feb. 28, 200; eff. Mar. 19, 2000
135-7-.05 Assessment Instruments.
(1) When using assessment instruments or techniques, the licensee shall make every effort to promote the welfare and best interests of the client. The licensee guards against the misuse of assessment results, and respects the client's right to know the results, the interpretations and the basis for any conclusions or recommendations.
(2) Unprofessional conduct, includes but is not limited to the following:
(a) failing to provide the client with an orientation to the purpose of testing or the proposed use of the test results prior to administration of assessment instruments or techniques;
(b) failing to consider the specific validity, reliability, and appropriateness of test measures for use in a given situation or with a particular client;
(c) using unsupervised or inadequately supervised test-taking techniques with clients, such as testing through the mail, unless the test is specifically self-administered or self-scored;
(d) administering test instruments either beyond the licensee's competence for scoring and interpretation or outside of the licensee's scope of practice, as defined by law; and
(e) failing to make available to the client, upon request, copies of documents in the possession of the licensee which have been prepared for and paid for by the client.
Authority O.C.G.A. 43-7A-5(d). History . Original Rule entitled "Assessment Instruments" was filed on October 19, 1987; effective November 8, 1987. Repealed : New Rule, same title, adopted. F. Feb. 28, 2000; eff. Mar. 19, 2000.
(1) The licensee recognizes that research activities must be conducted with full respect for the rights and dignity of participants and with full concern for their welfare. Participation in research must be voluntary unless it can be demonstrated that involuntary participation will have no harmful effects on the subjects and is essential to the investigation.
(2) Unprofessional conduct includes, but is not limited to:
(a) failing to consider carefully the possible consequences for human beings participating in the research;
(b) failing to protect each research participant from unwarranted physical and mental harm;
(c) failing to ascertain that the consent of the research participant is voluntary and informed; (d) failing to treat information obtained through research as confidential;
(e) knowingly reporting distorted, erroneous, or misleading information.
Authority O.C.G.A. 43-7A-5(d). History . Original Rule entitled "Research" was filed on October 19, 1987; effective November 8, 1987. Repealed : New Rule, same title, adopted. F. Feb. 28, 2000; eff. Mar. 19, 2000
135-7-.07 Advertising and Professional Representation.
(1) The licensee adheres to professional rather than commercial standards when making known their availability for professional services. The licensee may provide information that accurately informs the public of the professional services, expertise, and techniques available.
(2) Unprofessional conduct includes, but is not limited to:
(a) intentionally misrepresenting the licensee's professional competence, education, training, and experience, or knowingly failing to correct any misrepresentations provided by others;
(b)using as a credential an academic degree in a manner which is intentionally misleading or deceiving to the public;
(c) intentionally providing information that contains false, inaccurate, misleading, partial, out-of-context, or otherwise deceptive statements about the licensee's professional services, or knowingly failing to correct inaccurate information provided by others; and
(d) making claims or guarantees which promise more than the licensee can realistically provide.
Authority O.C.G.A. 43-7A-5(d). History . Original Rule entitled "Advertising and Professional Representation" was filed on October 19, 1987; effective November 8, 1987. Repealed : New Rule, same title, adopted. F. Feb. 28, 2000; eff. Mar. 19, 2000
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Principles for AMHCA Code of Ethics
Code of Ethics
by Brigadier General Malham Wakin (Retired)
USOC Ethics Oversight Committee
Members of distinguished professions in civilized societies accept the responsibility for setting the standards of conduct and competence of their practitioners. The American Medical Association and the American Bar Association are classic examples of collegial organizations formed by professions to have an uplifting and standard-setting role.
Like doctors and lawyers, coaches at all levels aspire to be viewed as reputable professionals with high standards of competence and conduct. Those who coach Olympic athletes are in unique positions to influence not only the athletes with whom they work but also the coaching profession itself. A recent "60 Minutes" television segment asked some probing and uncomfortable questions regarding ethical coaching. Most coaches and sports administrators in the Olympic arena resent this tainted image and are committed to high standards of competence and high standards of professional ethics.
Recently, the USOC developed a code of ethics to provide some minimum standards for coaches in the United States. That code is being published in this edition of Olympic Coach for all to review, adopt and support.
No code of ethics can exhaust the many rights and wrongs of human conduct. And codes can be misused when they are viewed as mere laws or regulations which must be literally observed, but whose basic spirit is not embodied in daily practice. But properly accepted, and properly applied, codes of ethics can keep before practitioners a set of appropriate behaviors and aspirations.
A decent code can constitute a commitment by coaches to each other and to their athletes to do the right thing - to avoid the myopia that creeps in when the focus on winning becomes more important than the means used to guarantee victory. When athletes are physically harmed, when the use of banned drugs is encouraged or condoned, when advantage is taken of the coach-athlete relationship for personal benefit, then an aroused public will insist upon intervening-and/or withdrawing its support from Olympic sports. If sport does not police itself, outside agencies will intervene and attempt to regulate all that we do.
Perhaps the existence of a coaches' code of ethics can remind all sport participants to set an honorable example for both young and old in our society. A code can reassure that we are not oblivious to the difference between right and wrong in the coaching profession. The Olympics are the highest level of sports achievement--is it too idealistic to expect that coaches would direct those achievements in an ethical, responsible manner?
This Ethics Code is intended to provide standards of professional conduct that can be applied by the USOC and its member organizations that choose to adopt them. Whether or not a coach has violated the Ethics Code does not by itself determine whether he or she is legally liable in a court action, whether a contract is enforceable, or whether other legal consequences occur. These results are based on legal rather than ethical rules. However, compliance with or violation of the Ethics Code may be admissible as evidence in some legal proceedings, depending on the circumstances.
This Code is intended to provide both the general principles and the decision rules to cover most situations encountered by coaches. It has as its primary goal the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with whom coaches work. This Code also provides a common set of values upon which coaches build their professional work. It is the individual responsibility of each coach to aspire to the highest possible standards of conduct. Coaches respect and protect human and civil rights, and do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices.
Principle A: Competence
Coaches strive to maintain high standards of excellence in their work. They recognize the boundaries of their particular competencies and the limitations of their expertise. They provide only those services and use only those techniques for which they are qualified by education, training, or experience. In those areas in which recognized professional standards do not yet exist, coaches exercise careful judgment and take appropriate precautions to protect the welfare of those with whom they work. They maintain knowledge of relevant scientific and professional information related to the services they tender, and they recognize the need for ongoing education, coaches make appropriate use of scientific, professional, technical, and administrative resources.
Principle B: Integrity
Coaches seek to promote integrity in the practice of coaching. Coaches are honest, fair, and respectful of others. In describing or reporting their qualifications, services, products, or fees, they do not make statements that are false, misleading, or deceptive, coaches strive to be aware of their own belief systems, values, needs, and limitations and the effect of these on their work. To the extent feasible, they attempt to clarify for relevant parties the roles they are performing and to, function appropriately in accordance with those roles. Coaches avoid improper and potentially harmful dual relationships.
Principle C: Professional Responsibility
Coaches uphold professional standards of conduct, clarify their professional roles and obligations, accept appropriate responsibility for their behavior, and adapt their methods to the needs of different athletes. Coaches consult with, refer to, or cooperate with other professionals and institutions to the extent needed to serve the best interest of their athletes, or other recipients of their services. Coaches' moral standards and conduct are personal matters to the same degree as is true for any other person, except when coaches' conduct may compromise their professional responsibilities or reduce the public's trust in the coaching profession and coaches. Coaches are concerned about the ethical compliance of their colleagues' professional conduct. When appropriate, they consult with colleagues in order to prevent or avoid unethical conduct.
Principle D: Respect for Participants* and Dignity
Coaches respect the fundamental rights, dignity, and worth of all participants. Coaches are aware of cultural, individual, and role differences, including those due to age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language. and socioeconomic status. Coaches try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices. *
*Participant: Those taking part in sport (athletes and their family members, coaches, officials, volunteers, administrators and spectators).
Principle E: Concern for Others' Welfare
Coaches seek to contribute to the welfare of those with whom they interact professionally. In their professional actions, coaches consider the welfare and rights of their athletes and other participants. When conflicts occur among coaches' obligations or concerns, they attempt to resolve these conflicts and to perform their roles in a responsible fashion that avoids or minimizes harm. Coaches are sensitive to differences in power between themselves and others, and they do not exploit or mislead other people during or after professional relationships.
Principle F: Responsible Coaching
Coaches are aware of their professional responsibilities to the community and the society in which they work and live. They apply and make public their knowledge of sport in order to contribute to human welfare. Coaches try to avoid misuse of their work. Coaches comply with the law and encourage the development of law and policies that serve the interest of sport. They are encouraged to contribute a portion of their professional time for little or no personal advantage. Return to the top
1. General Standards
These General Standards are applicable to the professional activities of all coaches.
1.01 Applicability of the Ethics Code
While many aspects of personal behavior and private activities seem far removed from official duties of coaching, all coaches should be sensitive to their position as role models for their athletes. Private activities perceived as immoral or illegal can influence the coaching environment and coaches are encouraged to observe the standards of this Ethics Code consistently.
1.02 Boundaries of Competence
(a) Coaches provide services only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education. training, supervised experience, or appropriate professional experience.
(b) Coaches provide services involving new techniques only after first undertaking appropriate study, training, supervision, and/or consultation from persons who are competent in those areas or techniques.
(c) In those emerging areas in which generally recognized standards for preparatory training do not yet exist, coaches nevertheless take reasonable steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect athletes and other participants from harm.
1.03 Maintaining Expertise
Coaches maintain a reasonable level of awareness of current scientific and professional information in their fields of activity, and undertake ongoing efforts to maintain competence in the skills they use.
1.04 Basis for Professional Judgments
Coaches rely on scientifically and professionally derived knowledge when making professional judgments or when engaging in professional endeavors. 1.05 Describing the Nature and Results of Coaching Services When coaches provide services to an individual, a group, or an organization, they provide, using language that is reasonably understandable to the recipient of those services, appropriate information beforehand about the nature of such services and appropriate information later about results and conclusions.
1.06 Respecting Others
Coaches respect the rights of others to hold values, attitudes and opinions that differ from their own.
Coaches do not engage in discrimination based on age, gender, race. ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, socioeconomic status, or any basis proscribed by law.
1.08 Sexual Harassment
(a) Coaches do not engage in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is sexual solicitation, physical advances, or verbal or nonverbal conduct that is sexual in nature, and that either:
(1) is unwelcome, is offensive, or creates a hostile environment, and the coach knows or is told this;
(2) is sufficiently severe or intense to be abusive to a reasonable person in the context. Sexual harassment can consist of a single intense or severe act or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts.
(b) Coaches accord sexual-harassment complaints and respondents dignity and respect. Coaches do not participate in denying an athlete the right to participate based upon their having made, or their being the subject of, sexual harassment charges. 1.09 Other Harassment Coaches do not engage in behavior that is harassing or demeaning to persons with whom they interact in their work based on factors such as those persons' age. gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, or socioeconomic status.
1.10 Personal Problems and Conflicts
(a) Coaches recognize that their personal problems and conflicts may interfere with their effectiveness. Accordingly, they refrain from undertaking an activity when they know or should know that their personal problems are likely to lead to harm to athletes or other participants to whom they may owe a professional obligation.
(b) In addition, coaches have an obligation to be alert to signs of, and to obtain assistance for, their personal problems at an early stage, in order to prevent significantly impaired performance.
(c) When coaches become aware of personal problems that may interfere with their performing work-related duties adequately, they take appropriate measures, such as obtaining professional consultation or assistance, and determine whether they should limit, suspend, or terminate their work-related duties.
1.11 Avoiding Harm
Coaches take reasonable steps to avoid harming their athletes or other participants, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable.
1.12 Misuse of Coaches' Influence
Because coaches' professional judgments and actions may affect the lives of others, they are alert to guard against personal, financial, social, organizational, or political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence.
1.13 Multiple Relationships
(a) In many communities and situations, it may not be feasible or reasonable for coaches to avoid social or other nonprofessional contact with athletes and other participants. Coaches must always be sensitive to the potential harmful effects of other contacts on their work and on those persons with whom they deal. A coach refrains from entering into or promising another personal, professional, financial, or other relationship with such persons if it appears likely that such a relationship reasonably might impair the coach's objectivity or otherwise interfere with the coach's effectively performing his or her functions as a coach, or might harm or exploit the other party.
(b) Likewise, whenever feasible, a coach refrains from taking unprofessional obligations when preexisting relationships would create a risk of such harm.
(c) If a coach finds that, due to unforeseen factors, a potentially harmful multiple relationship has arisen, the coach attempts to resolve it with due regard for the best interests of the affected person and maximal compliance with the Ethics Code.
1.14 Exploitative Relationships
(a) Coaches do not exploit athletes or other participants over whom they have supervisory, evaluative, or other authority.
(b) Coaches do not engage in sexual/romantic relationships with athletes or other participants over whom the coach has evaluative, direct, or indirect authority, because such relationships are likely to impair judgment or be exploitative.
1.15 Consultations and Referrals
When indicated and professionally appropriate, coaches cooperate with other professionals in order to serve their athletes or other participants effectively and appropriately.
1.16 Delegation to and Supervision of Subordinates
(a) Coaches delegate to their employees, supervises, and assistants only those responsibilities that such persons can reasonably be expected to perform competently, on the basis of their education, training, or experience, either independently or with the level of supervision being provided.
(b) Coaches provide proper training and supervision to their employees or supervises and take reasonable steps to see that such persons perform services responsibly, competently, and ethically.
1.17 Fees and Financial Arrangements
(a) As early as is feasible in a professional relationship, the coach and the athlete or other participants reach an agreement specifying the compensation and the billing arrangements.
(b) Coaches do not exploit recipients of services or payers with respect to fees.
(c) Coaches' fee practices are consistent with law.
(d) Coaches do not misrepresent their fees.
(e) If limitations to services can be anticipated because of limitations in financing, this is discussed athlete or other participant as appropriate.
2. Advertising and Other Public Statements
2.01 Definition of Public Statements
Coaches comply with the Ethics Code in public statements relating to their professional services, products, or publications.
2.02 Statements by Others
(a) Coaches who engage others to create or place public statements that promote their professional practice, products, or activities retain professional responsibility for such statements.
(b) In addition, coaches make reasonable efforts to prevent others whom they do not control (such as employers, publishers, sponsors, organizational clients, and representatives of the print or broadcast media) from making deceptive statements concerning the coach or his professional activities.
(c) If coaches learn of deceptive statements about their work made by others, coaches make reasonable efforts to correct such statements.
(d) Coaches do not compensate members of press, radio, television, or other communication media in return for publicity in a news item.
(e) A paid advertisement relating to the coach's activities must be identified as such, unless it is already apparent from the context.
2.03 Avoidance of False or Deceptive Statements
Coaches do not make public statements that are false, deceptive, misleading, or fraudulent, either because of what they state, convey or suggest, or because of what they omit, concerning their work activities or those of persons or organizations with which they are affiliated. As examples (and not in limitation) of this standard, coaches do not make false or deceptive statements concerning:
(1) their training. experience, or competence;
(2) their academic degrees;
(3) their credentials;
(4) their institutional or association affiliations;
(5) their services;
(6) the basis for, or results or degree of success of their services; or
(7) their fees.
2.04 Media Presentations
When coaches provide advice or comment by means of public lectures, demonstrations, radio or television programs, prerecorded tapes, printed articles. mailed material, or other media, they take reasonable precautions to ensure that the statements are consistent with this Ethics Code.
Coaches do not solicit testimonials from current athletes or other participants who, because of their particular circumstances, are vulnerable to undue influence.
Coaches do not engage, directly or through agents, in uninvited in-person solicitation of business from actual or potential athletes or other participants who, because of their particular circumstances, are vulnerable to undue influence. However, this does not preclude recruiting athletes deemed eligible by appropriate governing bodies.
3. Training Athletes
3.01 Structuring the Relationship
(a) Coaches discuss with athletes as early as is feasible appropriate issues, such as the nature and anticipated course of training, fees. and confidentiality.
(b) When the coach's work with athletes will be supervised, the above discussion includes that fact, and the name of the supervisor.
(c) When the coach is uncertified the athlete is informed of that fact.
(d) Coaches make reasonable efforts to answer athletes' questions and to avoid apparent misunderstandings about training. Whenever possible, coaches provide oral and/or written information, using language that is reasonably understandable to the athletes.
3.02 Family Relationships
(a) When a coach agrees to provide services to several persons who have a relationship (such as parents and children), the coach attempts to clarify at the outset (1) which of the individuals are athletes and (2) the relationship the coach will have with each person. This clarification includes the role of the coach and the probable uses of the services provided.
(b) As soon as it becomes apparent that the coach may be called on to perform potentially conflicting roles (such as intermediary between parents and children or sibling teammates), the coach attempts to clarify and adjust, or withdraw from, roles appropriately.
3.03 Providing Coaching Services to Those Served by Others
In deciding whether to offer or provide services to those already receiving coaching services elsewhere, coaches carefully consider the potential athlete's welfare. The coach discusses these issues with the athlete or another legally authorized person on behalf of the athlete, in order to minimize the risk of confusion and conflict.
3.04 Sexual Intimacies With Current Athletes
Coaches do not engage in sexual intimacies with current athletes.
3.05 Coaching Former Sexual Partners
Coaches do not coach athletes with whom they have engaged in sexual intimacies.
3.06 Sexual Intimacies With Former Athletes
(a) Coaches should not engage in sexual intimacies with a former athlete for at least two years after cessation or termination of professional services.
(b) Because sexual intimacies with a former athlete are so frequently harmful to the athlete, and because such intimacies undermine public confidence in the coaching profession and thereby deter the public's use of needed services, coaches do not engage in sexual intimacies with former athletes even after a two-year interval except in the most unusual circumstances. The coach who engages in such activity after the two years following cessation or termination of the coach-athlete at relationship bears the burden of demonstrating that there has been no exploitation, in light of all relevant factors, including:
(1) the amount of time that has passed since the coach-athlete relationship terminated,
2) the circumstances of termination,
(3) the athlete's personal history.
(4) the athlete's current mental status,
(5) the likelihood of adverse impact on the athlete and others, and
(6) any statements or actions made by the coach during the course of the athlete-coach relationship suggesting or inviting the possibility of a post-termination sexual or romantic relationship with the athlete or coach.
3.07 Drug-Free Sport
(a) Coaches do not tolerate the use of performance enhancing drugs and support athletes' efforts to be drug-free.
3.08 Alcohol & Tobacco
(a) Coaches discourage the use of alcohol and tobacco in conjunction with athletic events or victory celebrations at playing sites and forbid use of alcohol by minors.
(b) Coaches refrain from tobacco and alcohol use while they are coaching and make every effort to avoid their use while in the presence of their athletes.
3.09 Interruption of Services
(a) Coaches make reasonable efforts to plan for training in the event that coaching services are interrupted by factors such as the coach's illness, death, unavailability, or relocation or by the client's relocation or financial limitations.
(b) When entering into employment or contractual relationships, coaches provide for orderly and appropriate resolution of responsibility for athlete training in the event that the employment or contractual relationship ends, with paramount consideration given to the welfare of the athlete.
3.10 Terminating the Professional Relationship
(a) Coaches terminate a professional relationship when it becomes reasonably clear that the athlete no longer needs the service, is not benefiting, or is being harmed by continued service.
(b) Prior to termination, for whatever reason, except where precluded by the athlete's conduct, the coach discusses the athlete's views and needs, provides appropriate pre-termination counseling, suggests alternative service providers as appropriate, and takes other reasonable steps to facilitate transfer of responsibility to another provider if the athlete needs one immediately.
4. Training Supervision
4.01 Design of Training Programs
Coaches who are responsible for training programs for other coaches seek to ensure that the programs are competently designed, provide the proper experiences, and meet the requirements for certification or other goals for which claims are made by the program.
4.02 Descriptions of Training Programs
(a) Coaches responsible for training programs for other coaches seek to ensure that there is a current and accurate description of the program content, training goals and objectives, and requirements that must be met for satisfactory completion of the program. This information must be readily available to all interested parties.
(b) Coaches seek to ensure that statements concerning their training programs are accurate and not misleading.
4.03 Accuracy and Objectivity in Coaching
(a) When engaged in coaching, coaches present information accurately and with a reasonable degree of objectivity
(b) When engaged in coaching, coaches recognize the power they hold over athletes and therefore make reasonable efforts to avoid engaging in conduct that is personally demeaning to athletes and other participants.
4.04 Assessing Athlete Performance
(a)In coach-athlete relationships, coaches establish an appropriate process for providing feedback to athletes.
(b) Coaches evaluate athletes on the basis of their actual performance on relevant end established program requirements.
4.05 Honoring Commitments
Coaches take reasonable measures to honor all commitments they have made to athletes.
5. Team Selection
(a) Coaches perform evaluations or team selection only within the context of a defined professional relationship.
(b) Coaches' assessments, recommendations, reports, and evaluative statements used to select, team members are based on information and techniques sufficient to provide appropriate substantiation for their findings.
6. Resolving Ethical Issues
6.01 Familiarity With Ethics Code
Coaches have an obligation to be familiar with this Ethics Code, other applicable ethics codes, and their application to the coaches' work. Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of an ethical standard is not itself a defense to a charge of unethical conduct.
6.02 Confronting Ethical Issues
When a coach is uncertain whether a particular situation or course of action would violate the Ethics Code, the coach ordinarily consults with other coaches knowledgeable about ethical issues, with NGB or USOC ethics committees, or with other appropriate authorities in order to choose a proper response.
6.03 Conflicts Between Ethics and Organizational Demands
If the demands of an organization with which coaches are affiliated conflict with this Ethics Code, coaches clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code, and to the extent feasible, seek to resolve the conflict in a way that permits the fullest adherence to the Ethics Code.
6.04 Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations
When coaches believe that there may have been an ethical violation by another coach, they attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that individual if an informal resolution appears appropriate and when intervention does not violate any athlete rights that may be involved.
6.05 Reporting Ethical Violations
If an apparent ethical violation is not appropriate for informal resolution under Standard 6.04 or is not resolved properly in that fashion, coaches take further action appropriate to the situation, unless such action conflicts with athlete rights in ways that cannot be resolved. Such action might include referral to NGB or USOC committees on professional ethics.
6.06 Cooperating With Ethics Committees
Coaches cooperate in ethics investigations, proceedings, and resulting requirements of the USOC and any NGB to which they belong. Failure to cooperate is itself an ethics violation. 6.07 Improper Complaints Coaches do not file or encourage the filing of ethics complaints that are frivolous and are intended to harm the respondent rather than to protect the public.
7. Process Relating to Violation of Code
7.01 The coach acknowledges that this Ethics Code is administered under the authority of their NGB or other responsible organization and that a violation of this Code subjects the coach to the processes of the NGB or other such organization required to be provided in the event of disciplinary action. The NGB or other such organization acknowledges that all violations of the Ethics Code will be reviewed for possible disciplinary action and it will provide a written report to the USOC on all reviews and actions.
7.02 In the event that a violation of the Ethics Code occurs during an authorized U.S. Olympic Training Center activity, USOC may, as landlord of the facility, take action separate and independent from that of the NGB or member of the USOC in order to protect its interests and those of athletes, coaches and others at the location.
7.03 Any action taken by an NGB or member of the USOC which affects the opportunity of a coach to participate in "protected" competition as defined in the USOC Constitution shall be entitled to processes assured under the USOC Constitution and the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. This includes process within the NGB, the USOC and the American Arbitration Association.
7.04 If the violation of the Ethics Code occurs while a member of a USOC team or event, the coach and NGB acknowledge that the USOC may institute its own proceeding regarding the violation, which action shall not restrict the ability or obligation of the NGB to take its own separate and independent action.
7.05 In the event that a coach is found to have violated the Ethics Code, such action is separate and apart from any other legal consequences which may occur as a result of the act.
This Coaching Code of Ethics is the result of the work of many people and committees. The approach, structure, and contents of this code were inspired by the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, December 1992 (American Psychological Association, Vol. 47, No. 12. 1597-1611). Many of the ideas for ethical standards were drawn from numerous other codes. The most significant of these were developed by the Coaching Association of Canada, The British Institute of Sport Coaches, and the NCAA. In particular, the USOC would like to thank:
USOC Coaching Committee
Ray Essick, Chair
USOC Ethics Oversight Committee
Harry Groves, Chair
USOC Games Preparation and Services Committee
Joe Kearney, Chair
USOC Training Centers Committee
Mike Jacki, Chair
USOC Vice President
Michael B. Lenard
General Counsel Ronald T. Rowan
Regulations Governing The Practice Of Psychology
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH PROFESSIONS
BOARD OF PSYCHOLOGY
TITLE OF REGULATIONS: 18 VAC 125-20-10 et seq.
REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE PRACTICE OF PSYCHOLOGY
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: §54.1 of the Code of Virginia
Adopted July 9, 1996
Effective September 13, 1996
18 VAC 125-20-10. Definitions.
The following words and terms, in addition to the words and terms defined in § 54.1-3600 of the Code of Virginia, when used in these regulations, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Applicant" means a person who submits a completed application for ensure with the appropriate fees.
"Board" means the Virginia Board of Psychology.
"Candidate for licensure" means a person who has satisfactorily completed the appropriate educational and experience requirements for licensure and has been deemed eligible by the board to sit for the required examinations.
"Demonstrable areas of competence" means those therapeutic and assessment methods and techniques, and populations served, for which one can document adequate graduate training, workshops, or appropriate supervised experience.
"Internship" means a supervised and planned practical experience obtained in an integrated training program in a setting included as an integral and required part of the applicant's program of study.
"Professional psychology program" means an integrated program of doctoral study designed to train professional psychologists to deliver services in psychology.
"Regional accrediting agency" means one of the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the United States Secretary of Education established to accredit senior institutions of higher education.
"Supervision" means the ongoing process performed by a supervisor who monitors the performance of the person supervised and provides regular, documented individual consultation, guidance and instruction with respect to the skills and competencies of the person supervised.
"Supervisor" means an individual who assumes full responsibility for the education and training activities of a person and provides the supervision required by such a person.
18 VAC 125-20-20. Classification of Licensees. (Repealed)
18 VAC 125-20-30. Fees required by the board.
A. The board has established fees for the following:
. Registration of residency (per residency request)....................................................$100
2. Application processing ..............................................................................................$150
3. Biennial renewal of license..........................................................................................$125
4. Late renewal.....................................................................................................................$10
5. Endorsement to another jurisdiction............................................................................$10
6. Additional or replacement license/wall certificate......................................................$15
7. Returned check................................................................................................................$15
8. Re-review fee ..................................................................................................................$25
B. Fees shall be paid by check or money order made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia and forwarded to the board. All fees are non-refundable.
C. Examination fees shall be paid directly to the examination service according to its requirements.
REQUIREMENTS FOR LICENSURE
18 VAC 125-20-40. General requirements.
A. No person shall practice psychology in the Commonwealth of Virginia except as provided for in the Code of Virginia and these regulations.
B. Licensure of all applicants shall be by examination by this board.
C. A psychologist, clinical psychologist or a school psychologist who desires to practice in other areas of psychology shall obtain a license from this board for the additional area in which the licensee seeks to practice.
D. Every applicant for examination by the board shall:
1. Meet the education and experience requirements prescribed in 18 VAC 125-2050 or 18 VAC 125-20-60 of these regulations, whichever is applicable, for the particular license sought; and
2. Submit to the executive director of the board, not less than 90 days prior to the date of the written examination:
a. A completed application, on forms provided by the board;
b. Documentation of having fulfilled the experience requirements of 18 VAC 125-20-50 or 18 VAC 125-20-60 where applicable; and
c. The application processing fee prescribed by the board; and
3. Have the institution that awarded the graduate degree(s) submit directly to the executive director of the board, at least 90 days prior to the date of the written examinations, official transcripts documenting:
a. The graduate work completed; and
b. The degree(s) awarded.
18 VAC 125-20-50. Education and experience requirements: Graduates of American Institutions.
A graduate of an American higher education institution who applies for examination for licensure shall meet the requirements of subsection A., B. or C. of this section, whichever is applicable.
A. Applied Psychologist.
1. Program of Study. The applicant shall hold a doctorate in psychology from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting agency. Further, the applicant's program must conform to the following criteria for doctoral programs in psychology:
a. The program, wherever it may be administratively housed, shall be clearly identified and labeled as a psychology program. Such a program must specify in pertinent institutional catalogues and brochures its intent to educate and train professional psychologists.
b. The psychology program shall stand as a recognizable, coherent organizational entity within the institution.
c. There shall be a clear authority and primary responsibility for the core and specialty areas whether or not the program cuts across administrative lines.
d. The promam shall be an integrated, organized sequence of study.
e. There shall be an identifiable psychology faculty and a psychologist responsible for the program.
f. The program shall have an identifiable body of students who are matriculated in that program for a degree.
2. Education. The applicant's program shall have included at least one three semestercredit hour course in each of the following areas of study:
a. Statistics and research design;
b. Physiological psychology or sensation and perception;
d. Social psychology;
e. Study of the individual;
f. History and systems; and
g. Scientfic and professional ethics and standards.
3. Experience. No supervised experience is required for licensure as an Applied Psychologist.
B. Clinical Psychologist.
1. The applicant shall hold a doctorate from a professional psychology program in a regionally accredited university, which:
a. Was accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) prior to the applicant's graduation from the program; or
b. Was accredited by the APA within four years after the applicant graduated from the program; or
c. If not APA accredited, was a program which met the criteria outlined in 18 VAC 125-20- 50.A. 1. Further, the program must have required successful completion by the applicant of all the following:
(1) At least one three semester-credit hour course in each of the areas of study prescribed in subsection A.2. of this section for an Applied Psychologist.
(2) At least one three semester-credit hour course in each of the following additional areas of study:
(a) Personality theory;
(b) Diagnostic interviewing and behavioral assessment;
(c) Psychometric, psychodiagnostic, and projective testing; (d) Psychopathology;
(e) Psychotherapy, both individual and group; and,
(f) Practicum: Supervision in assessment/diagnosis and psychotherapy; and
(3) A one-year, full-time internship approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) or consistent with the requirements for APA approval and approved by the applicant's doctoral program.
2. Experience. Applicants shall possess post-doctoral experience as defined in this subparagraph and shall inform the board, when they apply, how they propose to meet this experience requirement. This requirement may be met in one of two ways:
a. By waiver based on lengthy experience. Applicants possessing many years of relevant post- doctoral experience in another jurisdiction may obtain a waiver of residency requirements by demonstrating to the board that they have received the substantial equivalent of the supervised experience required in B.2.b. described below; or
b. Residency requirements. The applicant under this provision shall show documentation of the successful completion of a one-year, full-time post-doctoral residency, or its equivalent in part-time experience for a period not to exceed three years, consisting of supervised experience in the delivery of clinical services acceptable to the board; or, the applicant may request approval to begin a residency with the following conditions:
(1) Applicants shall apply for licensure and residency concurrently.
(2) Prior to initiating the proposed residency training, the applicant shall:
(a) Register with the board;
(b) Pay the registration fee;
(c) Submit an agreement signed by the applicant and proposed Virginia licensed supervisor(s) stating the nature of the services to be rendered, the number of hours of supervision, and the nature of the supervision; and,
(d) Receive approval from the board to begin the residency training. (Applicants who do not apply before beginning residency training, cannot be guaranteed the residency will be approved.)
(3) Supervision shall be provided by a licensed applied psychologist, clinical psychologist, or school psychologist.
(4) The supervisor shall not provide supervision for activities beyond the supervisor's demonstrable areas of competence, nor for activities for which the applicant has not had appropriate education and training.
(5) There shall be a minimum of two hours of individual supervision per week. Group supervision of up to five residents may be substituted for one of the two hours per week on the basis that two hours of group supervision equals one hour of individual supervision, but in no case shall the resident receive less than one hour of individual supervision per week
(6) Residents may not call themselves applied psychologists, clinical psychologists, or school psychologists, solicit clients, bill for services, or in any way represent themselves as professional psychologists. During the residency period they- shall use their names, the initials of their degree, and the title, "Resident in Psychology."
(7) At the end of the residency training period, the supervisor(s) shall submit to the board, a written evaluation of the applicant's performance.
C. School psychologist.
1. Education. The applicant shall hold at least a master's degree in school psychology, with a minimum of at least 60 semester credit hours, from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting agency. The program requirements must
a. Reflect a planned, integrated, and supervised program of graduate study as outlined for programs approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) or by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); and
b. Include an internship approved by the applicant's training program.
2. Experience. Applicants shall possess post-master's degree experience as defined in this section and shall inform the board when they apply as to how they propose to meet this experience requirement. This requirement may be met in one of two ways:
a. By waiver based on lengthy experience. Applicants possessing many years of relevant post- master's degree experience in another jurisdiction may obtain a waiver of residency requirements by demonstrating to the board that they have received the substantial equivalent of the supervised experience required in C.2.b. described below; or
b. By residency. The applicant shall show documentation of a previous full-time residency of at least one school year, or the equivalent in part-time experience or request approval to begin a current residency with the following conditions:
(1) Applicants shall apply for licensure and residency concurrently.
(2) Prior to initiating the proposed residency training, the applicant shall:
(a) Register with the board;
(b) Pay the registration fee;
(c) Submit an agreement signed by the applicant and proposed Virginia licensed supervisor(s) stating the nature of the services to be rendered, the number of hours of supervision, and the nature of the supervision, and
(d) Receive approval from the board to begin the residency training. (Applicants who do not apply before beginning residency training, cannot be guaranteed the residency will be approved.)
(3) Supervision shall be provided by a licensed school psychologist, licensed applied psychologist, or licensed clinical psychologist.
(4) The supervisor shall not provide supervision for activities beyond the supervisor's demonstrable areas of competence, nor for activities for which the applicant has not had appropriate education and training.
(5) There shall be a minimum of two hours of individual supervision per week. Group supervision of up to five residents may be substituted for one of the two hours per week on the basis that two hours of group supervision equals one hour of individual supervision, but in no case shall the resident receive less than one hour of individual supervision per week.
(6) Residents may not call themselves applied psychologists, clinical psychologists, or school psychologists, solicit clients, bill for services, or in any way represent themselves as professional psychologists. During the residency period they shall use their names, the initials of their degree, and the title, "Resident in School Psychology."
(7) At the end of the residency training period, the supervisor(s) shall submit to the board a written evaluation of the applicant's performance.
(8) The applicant shall not continue in residency status for more than three years.
D. Applicants for additional licenses. To obtain additional licenses, all requirements shall be met as prescribed by the board. Applicants shall complete a new application and submit new application fees. A complete new application process may be initiated at the board's discretion.
IS VAC 125-20-60. Graduates of foreign institutions.
A graduate of a foreign higher education institution who applies for examination for licensure as a psychologist or clinical psychologist shall:
1. Hold a doctorate in psychology;
2. Present documentation that the degree is from a planned, integrated, and supervised program of graduate study that meets requirements judged by the board to be equivalent with the requirements for approval by the American Psychological Association (APA) and/or equivalent with those requirements prescribed by the board and met by approved domestic institutions;
3. Meet the course and practicum requirements outlined in 18 VAC 125-20-50; and
4. Pay the application processing fee prescribed in 18 VAC 125-20-30 for graduates of foreign institutions.
18 VAC 125-20-70. Out-of-state applicants with lengthy experience.
An applicant who is licensed in another state may practice in Virginia in accordance with the provisions of this section.
1. Until such time as the applicant receives a Virginia license, the applicant may practice only under the supervision of a Virginia licensee.
2. The supervised practice of the applicant shall be performed in accordance with all of the provisions prescribed in these regulations for a residency. After a Virginia license is granted, the applicant may terminate residency status and begin independent practice.
3. The applicant shall take the examination(s) deemed appropriate by the board within one year of board approval of application.
4. The applicant may not practice independently until the Virginia license is granted.
18 VAC 125-20-80. General examination requirements.
A. In order to be licensed, each candidate shall take and pass the examination(s) determined by the board to be required according to the candidate's individual qualifications under the general provisions of this section. The complete examination process consists of two components:
1 A nationally normed standardized examination in the practice of psychology;
2. The Board of Psychology written examination(s);
B. An applicant enrolled in an approved residency training program required in 18 VAC 125-20-50 who has met all requirements for licensure except completion of that program shall be eligible to take the national and state written examinations.
C. Waivers; modifications.
1. Diplornate applicant. The board may waive the written examination(s) except for the state jurisprudence examination, for an applicant who has been awarded a diploma by the American Board of Professional Psychology in either clinical, counseling, or school psychology.
2. Endorsement. The board may waive only the national written examination for an applicant licensed or certified in another jurisdiction by standards and procedures equivalent to those of the board and meeting the educational requirements set forth in these regulations. The state written examination(s) cannot be waived.
1. At least 30 days prior to the date of examinations, the executive director will notify all candidates in writing of the time and place of examinations.
2. The candidate shall then submit the applicable fees.
3. If the candidate fails to appear for the examination without providing written notice at least two weeks before the examination, the examination fee shall be forfeited.
E. Deferrals by candidate: time limit.
A candidate licensed in another jurisdiction shall follow the requirements in 18 VAC 125-20-50.
A candidate approved by the board to sit for an examination and who has never been licensed in any jurisdiction shall take that examination within two years of the date of the initial board approval. If the candidate has not taken the examination by the end of the two-year period here prescribed:
1. The initial board approval to sit for the examination shall then become invalid; and
2. In order to be considered for the examination later, the applicant shall file a complete new application with the board and pay the applicable fee.
18 VAC 125-20-90. Written examinations.
A. The nationally normed standardized examination in the practice of psychology.
1. This examination shall consists of multiple-choice questions that sample a broad range of psychology content areas.
2. A passing grade shall be a score that is determined by the board for all doctoral level examinees.
B. The Board of Psychology written examination.
1. These examination(s) may consist of essay or multiple choice questions or both related to:
a. The practice of psychology and
b. Virginia laws and board regulations governing the practice of psychology.
2. A passing score shall be determined by the board.
18 VAC 125-20-100. Reexamination.
Reexamination of candidates will be required only on the examination(s) failed.
1. After paying the reexamination fee, a candidate may be reexamined once within a 12 month period after the failed examination(s) without filing a formal reapplication and without presenting evidence of additional education and/or experience.
2. A candidate who fails any examination twice shall wait at least one year between the second failure and the next re-examination. Such candidate shall submit to the board:
a. An updated application;
b. Documentation of additional education and experience gained since the last failure; and
c. New application and examination fee(s) as prescribed by the board.
18 VAC 125-20-110. Licensure. (Repealed)
LICENSURE RENEWAL; REINSTATEMENT
18 VAC 125-20-120. Biennial renewal of licensure.
Every license issued by the board shall expire on the last day of the licensee's birth month of each even- numbered year.
1. Every licensee N%-,ho intends to continue to practice shall, on or before the expiration date of the license, submit to the board:
a. A license renewal application on forms supplied by the board; and
b. The renewal fees prescribed in 18 VAC 125-20-30.
2. Failure of a licensee to receive a renewal notice and application form(s) from the board shall not excuse the licensee from the renewal requirement.
18 VAC 125-20-130. Late renewal; reinstatement.
A. A person whose license has expired may renew it within two years after its expiration date by paying the penalty fee prescribed in 18 VAC 125-20-30 and the license renewal fee for the biennium the license was not renewed.
B. A person whose license has not been renewed for two years or more and who wishes to resume practice shall:
1. Present evidence satisfactory to the board regarding continued competency to perform the duties regulated by the board; and
2. Upon approval for reinstatement, pay the penalty fee and the license, fee for the renewal period the license was not renewed, as prescribed by the board and pay a rereview fee as prescribed in 18 VAC 125-20-30.
18 VAC 125-20-140. Advisory and Examining Committees.
A. The board may establish examining and advisory committees to assist it in evaluating the professional qualifications of applicants and candidates for licensure and in other matters.
B. The board may establish an advisory committee to evaluate the mental and/or emotional competence of any licensee or candidate for licensure when such competence is at issue before the board.
C. The chair of all advisory and examining committees shall be a member of the Board of Psychology or board designee who will moderate the proceedings and report the results to the full board.
STANDARDS OF PRACTICE; UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT;
DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS; REINSTATEMENT
18 VAC 125-20-150. Standards of practice.
A. The protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and the best interest of the public shall be the primary guide in determining the appropriate professional conduct of all persons whose activities are regulated by the board.
B. Persons licensed by the board shall:
1. Provide only services and use only techniques for which they are qualified by training and experience.
2. When advertising services to the public, ensure that such advertising is neither fraudulent nor misleading.
3. Represent accurately their competency, education, training, and experience.
4. Neither accept nor give commissions, rebates or other forms of remuneration for referral of clients for professional services.
5. Make advance financial arrangements that safeguard the best interests of and are clearly understood by their clients.
6. Refrain from undertaking any activity in which their personal problems are likely to lead to inadequate or harmful services.
7. Avoid dual relationships with clients that could impair professional judgment or compromise the clients well-being (to include but not limited to treatment of close friends, relatives, employees; sexual intimacies with clients; bartering services; romantic or sexualized relationships with any current supervisee).
8. Avoid any action that will violate or diminish the legal and civil rights of clients or of others who may be affected by the action.
9. Keep confidential their professional relationships with clients, including their records and reports, except when a client is a danger to self or others, or when the licensee is under a court order to disclose such information.
10. Terminate a professional psychological relationship when it is clear that services are not benefiting the client.
11. Ensure that the welfare of clients is not compromised in any experimentation or research involving those clients.
12. Report to the board known violations of the laws and regulations governing the practice of psychology.
13. Represent oneself as a licensed psychologist only when licensed by the board as a psychologist.
14. Not represent oneself as "board certified" without specifying the complete name of the specialty board.
15. Keep pertinent, confidential records for at least seven years with adults and organizations and ten years with minors after termination of services to any consumer.
18 VAC 125-20-160. Grounds for revocation, suspension, or denial of renewal of license.
A. In accordance -Mth §54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia, the board may, after a hearing, revoke, suspend or decline to renew a license for just cause.
B. Action by the board to revoke, suspend or decline to renew a license shall be taken in accord with the following conduct:
1. Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.
2. Procuring of a license by fraud or misrepresentation.
3. Misuse of drugs and/or alcohol to the extent that it interferes with professional functioning.
4. Negligence in professional conduct or violation of practice standards.
5. Performing functions outside areas of competency.
6. Mental, emotional, or physical incompetence to practice the profession.
7. Violating or aiding and abetting another to violate any provision of Chapter 36, Title 54. 1, of the Code of Virginia; any other statute applicable to the practice of the profession regulated; or any provision of these regulations.
C. Appeal of decision. An appeal may be made to the board for reinstatement upon good cause or as a result of substantial new evidence being obtained that would alter the determination reached in subsection B. of this section.
18 VAC 125-20-170. Reinstatement following disciplinary action.
A. Any person whose license has been suspended, revoked, or not renewed by the board under the provisions of 18 VAC 125-20-160 may, two years subsequent to such board action, submit a new application to the board for licensure.
B. The board in its discretion may, after a hearing, grant the reinstatement sought in subsection A. of this section.
C. The applicant for such reinstatement, if approved, shall be licensed upon payment of the appropriate fees applicable at the time of reinstatement, as prescribed by the board.
Disclaimer: Please note the codes in our collection might not necessarily be most recent versions. Please contact the individual organizations or their websites to verify if a more recent or updated code of ethics is available. CSEP does not hold copyright on any of the codes of ethics in our collection. Any permission to use the codes must be sought from the individual organizations directly.
Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists
Every discipline that has relatively autonomous control over its entry requirements, training, development of knowledge, standards, methods, and practices does so only within the context of a contract with the society in which it functions. This social contract is based on attitudes of mutual respect and trust, with society granting support for the autonomy of a discipline in exchange for a commitment by the discipline to do everything it can to assure that its members act ethically in conducting the affairs of the discipline within society; in particular, a commitment to try to assure that each member will place the welfare of the society and individual members of that society above the welfare of the discipline and its own members.
The Canadian Psychological Association recognizes its responsibility to help assure ethical behaviour and attitudes on the part of psychologists. Attempts to assure ethical behaviour and attitudes include articulating ethical principles, values and standards; promoting those principles, values, and standards through education, peer modelling, and consultation; developing and implementing methods to help psychologists monitor the ethics of their behaviour and attitudes; adjudicating complaints of unethical behaviour; and, taking corrective action when warranted.
This Code articulates ethical principles, values, and standards to guide all members of the Canadian Psychological Association, whether scientists, practitioners, or scientist practitioners, or whether acting in a research, direct service, teaching, student, administrative, supervisory, consultative, peer review, editorial, expert witness, social policy, or any other role related to the discipline of psychology.
Structure and Derivation of Code
Structure. Four ethical principles, to be considered and balanced in ethical decision making, are presented. Each principle is followed by a statement of those values which are included in and give definition to the principle. Each values statement is followed by a list of ethical standards which illustrate the application of the specific principle and values to the activities of psychologists. The standards range from minimal behavioural expectations (e.g., Standards I.14, II.34, III.1, IV.24) to more idealized, but achievable, attitudinal and behavioural expectations (e.g., Standards I.16, II.10, III.10, IV.5). In the margin, to the left of the standards, key words are placed to guide the reader through the standards and to illustrate the relationship of the specific standards to the values statement.
Derivation. The four principles represent those ethical principles used most consistently by Canadian psychologists to resolve hypothetical ethical dilemmas sent to them by the CPA Committee on Ethics during the initial development of the Code. In addition to the responses provided by Canadian psychologists, the values statements and ethical standards have been derived from interdisciplinary and international ethics codes, provincial and specialty codes of conduct, and ethics literature.
When Principles Conflict
All four principles are to be taken into account and balanced in ethical decision making. However, there are circumstances in which ethical principles will conflict and it will not be possible to give each principle equal weight.
The complexity of ethical conflicts precludes a firm ordering of the principles. However, the four principles have been ordered according to the weight each generally should be given when they conflict, namely:
- Principle I: Respect for the Dignity of Persons. This principle, with its emphasis on moral rights, generally should be given the highest weight, except in circumstances in which there is a clear and imminent danger to the physical safety of any individual.
- Principle II: Responsible Caring. This principle generally should be given the second highest weight. Responsible caring requires competence and should be carried out only in ways that respect the dignity of persons.
- Principle III: Integrity in Relationships. This principle generally should be given the third highest weight. Psychologists are expected to demonstrate the highest integrity in all of their relationships. However, in rare circumstances, values such as openness and straightforwardness may need to be subordinated to the values contained in the Principles of Respect for the Dignity of Persons and Responsible Caring.
- Principle IV: Responsibility to Society. This principle generally should be given the lowest weight of the four principles when it conflicts with one or more of them. Although it is necessary and important to consider responsibility to society in every ethical decision, adherence to this principle must be subject to and guided by Respect for the Dignity of Persons, Responsible Caring, and Integrity in Relationships. When individual welfare appears to conflict with benefits to society, it is often possible to find ways of working for the benefit of society which do not violate respect and responsible caring for individuals. However, if this is not possible, then greater weight must be given to individual welfare.
Even with the above ordering of the principles, psychologists will be faced with ethical dilemmas which are difficult to resolve. In these circumstances, psychologists are expected to engage in an ethical decision-making process that is explicit enough to bear public scrutiny. In some cases, resolution may be a matter of personal conscience. However, decisions of personal conscience are also expected to be the result of a decision-making process which is based on a reasonably coherent set of ethical principles and which can bear public scrutiny. If the psychologist can demonstrate that every reasonable effort was made to apply the ethical principles of this Code and resolution of the conflict has had to depend on the personal conscience of the psychologist, such a psychologist would be deemed to have followed this Code.
The Ethical Decision-Making Process
The ethical decision-making process may occur very rapidly, leading to an easy resolution of an ethical issue. This is particularly true of issues for which clear-cut guidelines or standards exist and for which there is no conflict between principles. On the other hand, some ethical issues (particularly those in which ethical principles conflict) are not easily resolved and might require time-consuming deliberation.
The following basic steps typify approaches to ethical decision making:
- Identification of ethically relevant issues and practices.
- Development of alternative courses of action.
- Analysis of likely short-term, ongoing, and long-term risks and benefits of each course of action on the individual(s)/group(s) involved or likely to be affected (e.g., client, client's family or employees, employing institution, students, research participants, colleagues, the discipline, society, self).
- Choice of course of action after conscientious application of existing principles, values, and standards.
- Action, with a commitment to assume responsibility for the consequences of the action.
- Evaluation of the results of the course of action.
- Assumption of responsibility for consequences of action, including correction of negative consequences, if any, or re- engaging in the decision-making process if the ethical issue is not resolved.
Psychologists engaged in time-consuming deliberation are encouraged and expected to consult with colleagues and/or advisory bodies when such persons can add knowledge and/or objectivity to the decision- making process. Although the decision for action remains with the individual psychologist, the seeking and consideration of such assistance reflects an ethical approach to ethical decision making.
Uses of the Code
This Code is intended to guide psychologists in their everyday conduct, thinking and planning, and in the resolution of ethical dilemmas; that is, it advocates the practice of both proactive and reactive ethics.
The Code is also intended to serve as an umbrella document for the development of codes of conduct or other more specific codes. For example, the Code could be used as an ethical framework for the identification of behaviours which would be considered enforceable in a certain jurisdiction, the violation of which would constitute misconduct; and/or, certain jurisdictions could identify those standards in the Code that would be considered of a more serious nature and, therefore, reportable and subject to possible discipline. Also, the principles and values could be used to help specialty areas develop standards which are specific to those areas. Some work in this direction has already occurred within CPA (e.g., use of animals in research, therapy and counselling with women, practice guidelines for providers of psychological services). The principles and values incorporated into this Code, insofar as they come to be reflected in other documents guiding the behaviour of psychologists, will reduce inconsistency and conflict between documents.
A third use of the Code is to assist in the adjudication of complaints against psychologists. A body charged with this responsibility is required to investigate allegations, judge whether unacceptable behaviour has occurred, and determine what corrective action should be taken. In determining corrective action, one of the judgements the adjudicating body needs to make is whether an individual conscientiously engaged in an ethical decision-making process and acted in good faith, or whether there was a negligent or wilful disregard of ethical principles. The articulation of the ethical decision-making process contained in this Code provides guidance for making such judgements.
Responsibility of the individual psychologist
Responsibility for ethical action by psychologists depends foremost on the integrity of each individual psychologist; that is, on each psychologist's commitment to behave as ethically as possible in every situation. This commitment is essential to the fulfilment of any discipline's contract with society. Acceptance to membership in the Canadian Psychological Association, a scientific and professional association of psychologists, commits members:
- To adhere to the ethical Code adopted by the Association.
- To assess and discuss ethical issues and practices with colleagues on a regular basis.
- To bring concerns about possible unethical actions by a psychologist directly to the psychologist, when appropriate, and to attempt to reach an agreement on the issue and, if needed, on the appropriate action to be taken.
- To consider seriously others' concerns about one's own possibly unethical actions and attempt to reach an agreement on the issue and, if needed, take appropriate action.
- To cooperate with duly constituted committees of the Association which are concerned with ethics and ethical conduct.
- To bring to the attention of the Association ethical issues which require clarification or the development of new guidelines or standards.
Relationship of Code to personal behaviour
This Code is intended to guide and regulate only those activities a psychologist engages in by virtue of being a psychologist. There is no intention to guide or regulate a psychologist's activities outside of this context. Personal behaviour becomes a concern of the discipline only if it is of such a nature that it undermines public trust in the discipline as a whole or if it raises questions about the psychologist's ability to carry out appropriately his/her responsibilities as a psychologist.
Relationship of Code to provincial regulatory bodies
In exercising its responsibility to articulate ethical principles, values, and standards for those who wish to become and remain members in good standing, the Canadian Psychological Association recognizes the multiple membership that some psychologists have (both regulatory and voluntary). The Code has attempted to encompass and incorporate those ethical principles most prevalent in the discipline as a whole, thereby minimizing the possibility of variance with provincial/territorial regulations and guidelines. Psychologists are expected to respect the requirements of their provincial/territorial regulatory bodies. Such requirements may define particular behaviours which constitute misconduct, are reportable to the regulatory body, and/or which are subject to discipline.
Definition of Terms
For the purposes of this Code:
a) Psychologist means any person who is a Fellow, Member, Student Affiliate or Foreign Affiliate of the Canadian Psychological Association, or a member of any psychology voluntary association or regulatory body adopting this Code. (Readers are reminded that provincial/territorial jurisdictions may restrict the legal use of the term psychologist in their jurisdiction and that such restrictions are to be honoured.)
b) Client means a person, family, or group (including an organization or community) receiving service from a psychologist.
c) Clients, research participants, students and any other persons with whom psychologists come in contact in the course of their work, are independent if they can independently contract or give informed consent. Such persons are partially dependent if the decision to contract or give informed consent is shared between two or more parties (e.g., parents and school boards, workers and Worker Compensation Boards, adult members of a family). Such persons are considered to be fully dependent if they have little or no choice about whether or not to receive service or participate in an activity (e.g., patients who have been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility, or very young children involved in a research project).
d) Others means any individual or group with whom psychologists come in contact in the course of their work. It may include, but is not limited to: research participants; clients seeking help with personal, family, organizational, industrial or community issues; students; supervisees; employees; colleagues; employers; third party payers; and, members of the general public.
e) Legal or civil rights means those rights protected under laws and statutes recognized by the province in which the psychologist is working.
f) Moral rights means fundamental and inalienable human rights which may or may not be fully protected by existing laws and statutes. Of particular significance to psychologists, for example, are rights to: equal justice; fairness and due process; and, developmentally appropriate privacy, self-determination, and personal liberty. Protection of some aspects of these rights may involve practices which are not contained or controlled within current laws and statutes. Moral rights are not limited to those mentioned in this definition.
g) Unjust discrimination or unjustly discriminatory means activities which are prejudicial or promote prejudice to persons because of their culture, nationality, ethnicity, colour, race, religion, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities, age, socio-economic status, and/or any other preference or personal characteristic, condition, or status.
h) Sexual harassment includes either or both of the following: (i) The use of power or authority in an attempt to coerce another person to engage in or tolerate sexual activity. Such uses include explicit or implicit threats of reprisal for noncompliance or promises of reward for compliance. (ii) Engaging in deliberate and/or repeated unsolicited sexually oriented comments, anecdotes, gestures, or touching, if such behaviours: are offensive and unwelcome; create an offensive, hostile or intimidating working environment; or, can be expected to be harmful to the recipient.(1)
i) The discipline of psychology refers to the scientific and applied methods and knowledge of psychology, and to the structures and procedures used by its members for conducting their work in relationship to society, to members of the public, to students, and to each other.
Guidelines for the elimination of sexual harassment.
Old Chelsea, Qc. Author
In order to maintain the relevance and responsiveness of this Code, it will be reviewed by the CPA Board of Directors in three years, and revised as needed. You are invited to forward comments and suggestions, at any time, to the CPA office. In addition to psychologists, this invitation is extended to all readers, including members of other disciplines and the public. principle i: respect for the dignity of persons.
In the course of their work as scientists,practitioners, or scientist-practitioners, psychologists come into contact with many different individuals and groups, including: research participants; clients seeking help with personal, family, organizational, industrial or community issues; students; supervisees; employees; colleagues; employers; third party payers; and, the general public.
In these contacts, psychologists accept as fundamental the principle of respect for the dignity of persons; that is, the belief that each person should be treated primarily as a person or an end in him/herself, not as an object or a means to an end. In so doing, psychologists acknowledge that all persons have a right to have their innate worth as human beings appreciated and that this worth is not enhanced or reduced by their culture, nationality, ethnicity, colour, race, religion, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities, age, socio-economic status, and/or any other preference or personal characteristic, condition, or status.
Although psychologists have a responsibility to respect the dignity of all persons with whom they come in contact in their role as psychologists, the nature of their contract with society demands that their greatest responsibility be to those persons directly receiving or involved in the psychologist's activities and, therefore, normally in a more vulnerable position (e.g., research participants, clients, students). This responsibility is almost always greater than their responsibility to those indirectly involved (e.g., employers, third party payers, the general public).
Adherence to the concept of moral rights is an essential component of respect for the dignity of persons. Rights to privacy, self- determination, personal liberty, and natural justice are of particular importance to psychologists, and they have a responsibility to protect and promote these rights in all of their activities. As such, psychologists have a responsibility to develop and follow procedures for informed consent, confidentiality, fair treatment, and due process that are consistent with those rights.
As individual rights exist within the context of the rights of others and of responsible caring (see Principle II), there may be circumstances in which the possibility of serious detrimental consequences to themselves or others, a diminished capacity to be autonomous, or a court order, might disallow some aspects of the rights to privacy, self-determination, and personal liberty. Indeed, such circumstances might be serious enough to create a duty to warn others (see Standards I.40 and II.36). However, psychologists still have a responsibility to respect the rights of the person(s) involved to the greatest extent possible under the circumstances, and to do what is necessary and reasonable to reduce the need for future disallowances.
In addition, psychologists recognize that as individual, family, group, or community vulnerabilities increase and/or as the power of persons to control their environment or their lives decreases, psychologists have an increasing responsibility to seek ethical advice and to establish safeguards to protect the rights of the persons involved. For this reason, psychologists consider it their responsibility to increase safeguards to protect and promote the rights of persons involved in their activities proportionate to the degree of dependency and the lack of voluntary initiation. For example, this would mean that there would be more safeguards to protect and promote the rights of fully dependent persons than partially dependent persons, and more safeguards for partially- dependent than independent persons.
Respect for the dignity of persons also includes the concept of equal justice. With respect to psychologists, this concept implies that all persons are entitled to benefit equally from the contributions of psychology and to equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being conducted by psychologists. Although individual psychologists might specialize and direct their activities to particular populations, psychologists must not exclude persons on a capricious or unjustly discriminatory basis.
Principle I: Respect for the Dignity of Persons
In adhering to the Principle of Respect for the Dignity of Persons, psychologists would:
I.1 Demonstrate appropriate respect for the knowledge, insight, experience, and areas of expertise of others.
I.2 Not engage publicly (e.g., in public statements, presentations, research reports, or with clients) in demeaning descriptions of others, including jokes based on culture, nationality, ethnicity, colour, race, religion, gender, etc., or other remarks which reflect adversely on the dignity of others.
I.3 Use language that conveys respect for the dignity of others (e.g., gender-neutral terms) in all written or verbal communication.
I.4 Abstain from all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment.
I.5 Avoid or refuse to participate in practices disrespectful of the legal, civil, or moral rights of others.
I.6 Refuse to advise, train, or supply information to anyone who, in the psychologist's judgement, will use the knowledge or skills to infringe on human rights.
I.7 Make every reasonable effort to ensure that psychological knowledge is not misused, intentionally or unintentionally, to infringe on human rights.
I.8 Respect the right of recipients of service, research participants, employees, supervisees, students, and others, to safeguard their own dignity.
I.9 Not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of unjust discrimination.
I.10 Act to prevent or correct practices that are unjustly discriminatory.
I.11 Seek as full and active participation as possible from others in decisions which affect them.
I.12 Respect and integrate as much as possible the opinions and wishes of others regarding decisions which affect them.
I.13 Obtain informed consent from all independent and partially dependent persons for any psychological services provided to them except in circumstances of urgent need (e.g., suicidal gesture). In such circumstances, psychologists would proceed with the assent of such persons, but fully informed consent would be obtained as soon as possible. (Also see Standard I.22.)
I.14 Obtain informed consent for all research activities which involve obtrusive measures, invasion into the private lives of research participants, risks to the participant, or any attempt to change the behaviour of research participants.
I.15 Establish and use signed consent forms which specify the dimensions of informed consent or which acknowledge that such dimensions have been explained and are understood, if such forms are required by law or if such forms are desired by the psychologist, the person(s) giving consent, or the organization for whom the psychologist works.
I.16 Recognize that informed consent is the result of a process of reaching an agreement to work collaboratively, rather than of simply having a consent form signed.
I.17 Provide, in obtaining informed consent, as much information as a reasonable or prudent person, family, group, or community would want to know before making a decision or consenting to an activity. The psychologist would relay this information in language which the persons understand (including providing translation into another language, if necessary) and would take whatever reasonable steps are necessary to assure that the information was, in fact, understood.
I.18 Assure, in the process of obtaining informed consent, that at least the following points are understood: purpose and nature of the activity; mutual responsibilities; likely benefits and risks; alternatives; the likely consequences of non-action; the option to refuse or withdraw at any time, without prejudice; over what period of time the consent applies; and, how to rescind consent if desired.
I.19 Clarify the nature of multiple relationships to all concerned parties before obtaining consent, if providing services to or conducting research with individuals, families, groups, or communities at the request or for the use of third parties. This would include, but not be limited to: the purpose of the service or research; the use that will be made of information collected; and, the limits on confidentiality. Third parties may include schools, courts, government agencies, insurance companies, police, and special funding bodies.
Freedom of consent
I.20 Take all reasonable steps to ensure that of consent is not given under conditions coercion or undue pressure. (Also see Standard III.31.)
I.21 Not proceed with any research activity, if consent is given under any condition of coercion or undue pressure. (Also see Standard III.31.)
I.22 Take all reasonable steps to confirm or re-establish freedom of consent, if consent for service is given under conditions of duress or conditions of extreme need.
I.23 Respect the right of individuals to discontinue participation or service at any time, and be responsive to non-verbal indications of a desire to discontinue if the individual has difficulty with verbally communicating such a desire (e.g., young children, verbally disabled persons).
Fair treatment/Due process
I.24 Work and act in a spirit of fair treatment to others.
I.25 Help to establish and abide by due process or other natural justice procedures for employment, evaluation, adjudication, editorial, and peer review activities.
I.26 Compensate others justly for the use of their time, energy, and intelligence, unless such compensation is refused in advance.
I.27 Seek an independent and adequate ethical review of human rights issues and protections for any research involving vulnerable groups and/or persons of diminished capacity to give informed consent, before making a decision to proceed.
I.28 Not use persons of diminished capacity to give informed consent in research studies, if the research involved might equally well be carried out with persons who have a fuller capacity to give informed consent.
I.29 Carry out informed consent processes with those persons who are legally responsible or appointed to give informed consent on behalf of individuals who are not competent to consent on their own behalf.
I.30 Seek willing and adequately informed participation from any person of diminished capacity to give informed consent, and proceed without this assent only if the service or research activity is considered to be of direct benefit to that person.
I.31 Be particularly cautious in establishing the freedom of consent of any individual who is in a dependent relationship to the psychologist (e,g., student, employee). This may include, but is not limited to, offering that person an alternative activity to fulfil their educational or employment goals, or offering a range of research studies or experience opportunities from which the person can select.
I.32 Explore and collect only that information which is germane to the purpose(s) for which consent has been obtained.
I.33 Take care not to infringe, in research or service activities, on the personally or culturally defined private space of individuals or groups unless clear permission is granted to do so.
I.34 Record only that private information necessary for the provision of continuous, coordinated service, or for the goals of the particular research study being conducted, or which is required by law (see Standards IV.15, and IV.16).
I.35 Respect the right of employees, supervisees, students, or psychologists-in-training to reasonable personal privacy.
I.36 Store, handle, and transfer all records, both written and unwritten (e.g., computer files, video-tapes), in a way that attends to the needs for privacy and security. This would include having adequate plans for records in circumstances of one's own serious illness or death.
I.37 Take all reasonable steps to ensure that records over which they have control remain personally identifiable only as long as is necessary in the interests of those to whom they refer and/or to the research project for which they were collected, or as required by law, and render anonymous or destroy any records under their control that no longer need to be personally identifiable.
I.38 Be careful not to relay information which they have gained about colleagues, colleagues' clients, students, and members of organizations gained in the process of their activities as psychologists and which the psychologist has reason to believe is considered confidential by those persons, except as required or justified by law (see Standards IV.15 and IV.16).
I.39 Clarify what measures will be taken to protect confidentiality, and what responsibilities family, group, and community members have for the protection of each other's confidentiality, when engaged in services to or research with individuals, families, groups, or communities.
I.40 Share confidential information with others only with the informed consent of those involved, or in a manner that the individuals involved cannot be identified, except as required or justified by law, or in circumstances of actual or possible serious physical harm or death (see Standard II.36).
I.41 Encourage others, if appropriate, to respect the dignity of persons and to expect respect for their own dignity.
I.42 Assume overall responsibility for the scientific and professional activities of their assistants, students, supervisees, and employees with regard to Respect for the Dignity of Persons, all of whom, however, incur similar obligations.
Principle II: Responsible Caring
A basic ethical expectation of any discipline is that its activities will benefit members of society or, at least, do no harm. Therefore, psychologists demonstrate an active concern for the welfare of any individual, family, group, or community with whom they relate in their role as psychologists. This concern includes both those directly involved and those indirectly involved in their activities. However, as with Principle I, psychologists' greatest responsibility is to protect the welfare of those directly involved in their activities and, therefore, normally in a more vulnerable position (e.g., research participants, clients, students). Their responsibility to those indirectly involved (e,g., employers, third party payers, the general public) is secondary.
As individuals are usually concerned about their own welfare, obtaining informed consent (see Principle I) is one of the best methods for ensuring that their welfare will be protected. However, it is only when informed consent is combined with the responsible caring of the psychologist that there is considerable ethical protection of the welfare of the person(s) involved.
Responsible caring leads psychologists to take care to discern the potential harm and benefits involved, to predict the likelihood of their occurrence, to proceed only if the potential benefits outweigh the potential harms, to develop and use methods that will minimize harms and maximize benefits, and to take responsibility for correcting any harmful effects that have occurred as a result of their activities.
In order to carry out these steps, psychologists recognize the need for competence and self-knowledge. They consider incompetent action to be unethical per se, as it is unlikely to be of benefit and likely to be harmful. They engage only in those activities in which they have competence, and they perform their activities as competently as possible. They acquire, contribute to, and use the existing knowledge most relevant to the best interests of those concerned. They also engage in self-reflection regarding how their own values, attitudes, experiences, and social context (e.g., culture, ethnicity, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability level, age, and socio-economic status) influence their actions, interpretations, choices, and recommendations. This is done with the intent of increasing the probability that their activities will benefit and not harm the individuals, families, groups and communities to whom they relate in their role as psychologists. Psychologists define harm and benefit in terms of both physical and psychological dimensions. They are concerned about such factors as feelings of self-worth, fear, humiliation, interpersonal trust, cynicism, self-knowledge and general knowledge, as well as such factors as physical safety, comfort, pain, and injury. They are concerned about immediate, short-term, and long-term effects.
Responsible caring recognizes and acknowledges (e.g., through obtaining informed consent) the ability of individuals, families, groups, and communities to care for themselves and each other. It does not replace or undermine such ability. However, psychologists recognize that as vulnerabilities increase and/or as power to control one's own life decreases, they have an increasing responsibility to protect the wellbeing of the individual, family, group, or community involved. For this reason, as in Principle I, psychologists consider it their responsibility to increase safeguards proportionate to the degree of dependency and the lack of voluntary initiation on the part of the persons involved. However, for Principle II, the safeguards are for the well-being of persons rather than for the rights of persons.
Psychologists' treatment and use of animals in their research and teaching activities are also a component of responsible caring. Although animals do not have the same rights as persons (e.g., informed consent), they do have the right to be treated humanely and not to be exposed to unnecessary discomfort, pain, or disruption.
In adhering to the Principle of Responsible Caring, psychologists would:
II.1 Protect and promote the welfare of clients, students, research participants, colleagues, and others.
II.2 Avoid doing harm to clients, students, research participants, colleagues, and others.
II.3 Accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
II.4 Refuse to advise, train, or supply information to anyone who, in the psychologist's judgement, will use the knowledge or skills to harm others.
II.5 Make every reasonable effort to ensure that psychological knowledge is not misused, intentionally or unintentionally, to harm others.
Competence and self-knowledge
II.6 Offer or carry out (without supervision) only those activities for which they have established their competence to carry them out to the benefit of others.
II.7 Not delegate activities to persons not competent to carry them out to the benefit of others.
II.8 Take immediate steps to obtain consultation or to refer a client to a colleague or other appropriate professional, whichever is more likely to result in providing the client with competent service, if it becomes apparent that a client's problems are beyond their competence.
II.9 Keep themselves up to date with relevant knowledge, research methods, and techniques, through the reading of relevant literature, peer consultation, and continuing education activities, in order that their service or research activities and conclusions will benefit and not harm others.
II.10 Evaluate how their own experiences, attitudes, culture, beliefs, values, social context, individual differences, and stresses influence their interactions with others, and integrate this awareness into all efforts to benefit and not harm others.
II.11 Seek appropriate help and/or discontinue scientific or professional activity for an appropriate period of time, if a physical or psychological condition reduces their ability to benefit and not harm others.
II.12 Engage in self-care activities which help to avoid conditions (e.g., burnout, addictions) which could result in impaired judgement and interfere with their ability to benefit and not harm others.
II.13 Assess the individuals, families, groups, and communities involved in their activities adequately enough to ensure that they will be able to discern what will benefit and not harm those persons.
II.14 Be sufficiently sensitive to and knowledgeable about individual differences and vulnerabilities to discern what will benefit and not harm persons involved in their activities.
II.15 Carry out pilot studies to determine the effects of all new procedures and techniques which might carry some risks, before considering their use on a broader scale.
II.16 Seek an independent and adequate ethical review of the balance of risks and potential benefits of all research which involves procedures of unknown consequence, or where pain, discomfort, or harm are possible, before making a decision to proceed.
II.17 Not carry out any scientific or professional activity unless the probable benefit is proportionately greater than the risk involved.
II.18 Provide services which are coordinated over time and with other service providers, in order to avoid duplication or working at cross purposes.
-Such coordination would be promoted by the maintenance of adequate records and communication with other service providers.
II.19 Make themselves aware of the knowledge and skills of other disciplines (e.g., law, medicine) and advise the use of such knowledge and skills, where relevant to the benefit of others.
II.20 Strive to obtain the best possible service for those needing and seeking psychological service. This includes recommending professionals other than psychologists, if appropriate.
II.21 Monitor and evaluate the effect of their activities, record their findings and, if appropriate, communicate new knowledge to others in the field.
II.22 Debrief research participants in such a way that the participants' knowledge is enhanced and the participants have a sense of contribution to knowledge.
II.23 Perform their teaching duties on the basis of careful preparation, so that their instruction is current and scholarly.
II.24 Act on their obligation to facilitate the professional and scientific development of their students, trainees, employees, and supervisees by assuring that these persons understand the values and ethical prescriptions of the discipline, and by providing or arranging for adequate working conditions, timely evaluations, and constructive consultation and experience opportunities.
II.25 Encourage and assist students in publication of worthy student papers.
II.26 Be acutely aware of the power relationship intherapy and, therefore, not encourage or engage in sexual intimacy with therapy clients, neither during therapy, nor for that period of time following therapy during which the power relationship reasonably could be expected to influence the client's personal decision making.
II.27 Be careful not to engage in activities in a way that could place incidentally involved individuals at risk.
II.28 Be acutely aware of the need for discretion in the recording and communication of information, in order that the information not be interpreted or used to the detriment of others. This includes, but is not limited to: not recording information which could lead to misinterpretation and misuse; avoiding conjecture; clearly labelling opinion; and, communicating information in language that can be understood clearly by the particular recipient of the information.
II.29 Give reasonable assistance to secure needed psychological services or activities, if personally unable to meet requests for needed psychological services or activities.
II.30 Maintain appropriate contact, support, and responsibility for caring until a colleague or other professional begins service, if referring a client to a colleague or other professional.
II.31 Give reasonable notice and be reasonably assured that discontinuation will cause no harm to the client, before discontinuing services.|
II.32 Screen appropriate research participants and select those not likely to be harmed, if risk or harm to some research participants is possible.
II.33 Act to minimize the impact of their research activities on research participants' personality or their physical or mental integrity.
II.34 Terminate an activity when it is clear that the activity is more harmful than beneficial, or when the activity is no longer needed.
II.35 Refuse to help individuals, families, groups, or communities to carry out or submit to activities which, according to current knowledge and/or legal and professional guidelines, would cause serious physical or psychological harm to themselves or others.
II.36 Do everything reasonably possible to stop or offset the consequences of actions by others when these actions are likely to cause serious physical harm or death. This may include reporting to appropriate authorities (e.g., the police) or an intended victim, and would be done even when a confidential relationship is involved. (See Standard I.40)
II.37 Act to stop or offset the consequences of clearly harmful activities being carried out by another psychologist or member of another discipline, when these activities have come to their attention outside of a confidential client relationship with that psychologist or member of another discipline. Depending on the nature of the harmful activities, this may include talking informally with the psychologist or member of the other discipline, obtaining objective information and, if possible, the assurance that the harm will discontinue and be corrected. However, if the harm is serious and/or continues to persist, the situation would be reported to the appropriate regulatory body, authority, and/or committee for action.
II.38 Not place an individual, group, family, or community needing service at a serious disadvantage by offering them no service over an unreasonable period of time in order to fulfill the conditions of a control condition in a research study and, where resources allow, offer such person(s) the service found to be most effective after the research study is completed.
II.39 Debrief research participants in such a way that any harm caused can be discerned, and act to correct any resultant harm.
Care of animals
II.40 Not use animals in their research unless there is a reasonable expectation that the research will increase understanding of the structures and processes underlying behaviour, or increase understanding of the particular animal species used in the study, or result eventually in benefits to the health and welfare of humans or other animals.
II.41 Use a procedure subjecting animals to pain, stress, or privation only if an alternative procedure is unavailable and the goal is justified by its prospective scientific, educational, or applied value.
II.42 Make every effort to minimize the discomfort, illness, and pain of animals. This would include performing surgical procedures only under appropriate anaesthesia, using techniques to avoid infection and minimize pain during and after surgery and, if disposing of experimental animals is carried out at the termination of the study, doing so in a humane way.
II.43 Use animals in classroom demonstrations only if the instructional objectives cannot be achieved through the use of video-tapes, films, or other methods, and if the type of demonstration is warranted by the anticipated instructional gain.
II.44 Encourage others, if appropriate, to care responsibly.
II.45 Assume overall responsibility for the scientific and professional activities of their assistants, students, supervisees, and employees with regard to the Principle of Responsible Caring, all of whom, however, incur similar obligations.
Principle III: Integrity in Relationships
The relationships formed by psychologists in the course of their work embody explicit and implicit mutual expectations of integrity that are vital to the advancement of scientific knowledge and to the maintenance of public confidence in the discipline of psychology. These expectations include: accuracy and honesty; straight-forwardness and openness; the maximization of objectivity and minimization of bias; and, avoidance of conflicts of interest. Psychologists have a responsibility to meet these expectations and to encourage reciprocity.
In addition to accuracy, honesty, and the obvious prohibitions of fraud or misrepresentation, meeting expectations of integrity is enhanced by self-knowledge and the use of critical analysis. Although it can be argued that science is value-free, scientists are not. Personal values can affect the questions psychologists ask, how they ask those questions, what assumptions they make, their selection of methods, what they observe and what they fail to observe, and how they interpret their data.
Psychologists are not expected to be value-free in conducting their activities. However, they are expected to understand how their backgrounds and values interact with their activities, to be open and honest about the influence of such factors, and to be as objective and unbiased as possible under the circumstances.
The values of openness and straightforwardness exist within the context of Respect for the Dignity of Persons (Principle I) and Responsible Caring (Principle II). As such, there will be circumstances in which openness and straightforwardness will need to be tempered. Full disclosure may not be needed or desired by others and, in some circumstances, may be a risk to their dignity or well-being. In such circumstances, however, psychologists have a responsibility to ensure that their decision not to be fully open or straightforward is justified by higher-order values.
Of special concern to psychologists is the use of deception in research, or the use of any technique (e.g., temporary withholding of information) which could be interpreted as deception by research participants or clients. Although research which uses such techniques can lead to knowledge which is beneficial, and service which uses techniques which might be interpreted as deception can lead to beneficial changes for the client, such benefits must be weighed against the individual's right to self-determination and the importance of public and individual trust in psychology. Psychologists have a serious obligation never to use deception in service activities, and to avoid as much as possible the use of deception in research or the use of any technique which could be interpreted as deception in either research or service activities. They also have a serious obligation to consider the need for, the possible consequences of, and their responsibility to correct any resulting mistrust or other harmful effects from the use of such techniques.
As public trust in the discipline of psychology includes trusting that psychologists will act in the best interests of members of the public, situations which present real or potential conflicts of interest are of concern to psychologists. Conflict-of-interest situations can readily motivate psychologists to act in ways which meet their own personal, political, or business interests at the expense of the best interests of members of the public. Although avoidance of all situations which present a conflict of interest is not possible, it is the responsibility of psychologists to avoid as many as possible and, when such situations cannot be avoided, to ensure that the best interests of members of the public are protected.
Integrity in relationships implies that psychologists, as a matter of honesty, have a responsibility to maintain competence in any speciality area for which they declare competence, whether or not they are currently practising in that area. It also requires that psychologists, in as much as they present themselves as members and representatives of a specific discipline, have a responsibility to actively rely on and be guided by that discipline and its guidelines and requirements.
In adhering to the Principle of Integrity in Relationships, psychologists would:
III.1 Not participate in, condone, or be associated with dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation.
III.2 Accurately represent their own and their associates' qualifications, education, experience, competence, and affiliations, in all spoken, written, or printed communications, being careful not to use descriptions or information which could be misinterpreted.
III.3 Carefully protect their own and their associates' credentials from being misrepresented by others, and act quickly to correct any such misrepresentation.
III.4 Maintain competence in their declared area(s) of psychological competence, as well as in their current area(s) of activity. (See Standard II.9.)
III.5 Accurately represent their activities, functions, and likely or actual outcomes of their work, in all spoken, written, or printed communication. This includes, but is not limited to: advertisements of services; course and workshop descriptions; academic grading requirements; and, research reports.
III.6 Ensure that their activities, functions, and likely or actual outcomes of their activities are not misrepresented by others, and act quickly to correct any such misrepresentation.
III.7 Take credit only for the work and ideas that they have actually done or generated, and give credit for work done or ideas contributed by others (including students) in proportion to their contribution.
III.8 Acknowledge the limitations of their knowledge, methods, findings, interventions, and views.
III.9 Not suppress disconfirming evidence of their findings and views, acknowledging alternative hypotheses and explanations.
Objectivity/lack of bias
III.10 Evaluate how their personal experiences, attitudes, values, social context, individual of differences, and stresses influence their activities and thinking, integrating this awareness into all attempts to be objective and unbiased in their research, service and other activities.
III.11 Take care to communicate as completely and objectively as possible, and to clearly differentiate facts, opinions, theories, hypotheses, and ideas, if communicating their knowledge, findings, and views.
III.12 Present instructional information accurately, avoiding bias in the selection and presentation of information, and publicly acknowledge any personal values or bias which influence the selection and presentation of information.
III.13 Act quickly to clarify any distortion by a sponsor, client, or other persons, of the findings of their research.
III.14 Be clear and straightforward about all information needed to establish informed consent or any other valid written or unwritten agreement (for example: fees; concerns; mutual responsibilities; ethical responsibilities of psychologists; purpose and nature of the relationship; alternatives; likely experiences; possible conflicts; possible outcomes; and, expectations for processing, using, and sharing any information generated).
III.15 Provide suitable information about the results of assessments, evaluations, or research findings to the persons involved, if appropriate and/or if asked. This information would be communicated in understandable language.
III.16 Fully explain reasons for their actions to persons who have been affected by their actions, if appropriate and/or if asked.
III.17 Honour all promises and commitments included in any written or verbal agreement unless serious and unexpected circumstances (e.g., illness) intervene. If such circumstances occur, then the psychologist would make a full and honest explanation to other parties involved.
III.18 Make clear whether they are acting as private citizens, as members of specific organizations or groups, or as representatives of the discipline of psychology, when making statements or when involved in public activities.
III.19 Conduct research in a way that is consistent with a commitment to honest, open inquiry, and to clear communication of any research aims, sponsorship, social context, personal values, or financial interests that may affect or appear to affect their research.
III.20 Submit their research, in some accurate form and within the limits of confidentiality, to independent colleagues with expertise in the research area, for their comments and evaluations.
III.21 Encourage the free exchange of ideas between themselves and their students.
III.22 Make no attempt to conceal the status of a trainee.
Avoidance of deception
III.23 Not engage in deception in any service activity.
III.24 Not engage in deception in research or the use of techniques which might be interpreted as deception, in research or service activities, if there are alternative procedures available and/or if the negative effects cannot be predicted or offset.
III.25 Not engage in deception in research or the use of techniques which might be interpreted as deception in research or service activities, if it would interfere with the individual's understanding of facts which clearly might influence a decision to give informed consent.
III.26 Use the minimum necessary deception in research or techniques which might be interpreted as deception in research, or service activities.
III.27 Provide research participants, during debriefing, with a clarification of the nature of the study, if deception or the use of techniques which could be interpreted as deception has occurred. In such circumstances, psychologists would seek to remove any misconceptions which might have arisen and to re-establish any trust which might have been lost, assuring the participant during debriefing that the real or apparent deception was neither arbitrary nor capricious. (Also, see Standard II.22.)
III.28 Act to re-establish with clients any trust which might have been lost due to the use of techniques which might be interpreted as deception.
III.29 Seek an independent and adequate ethical review of the risks to public or individual trust and of safeguards to protect such trust for any research which uses deception or techniques which might be interpreted as deception, before making a decision to proceed
Avoidance of conflict of interest
III.30 Not exploit any relationship established as a psychologist to further personal, political, or business interests at the expense of the best interests of their clients, research participants, students, employers, or others. This includes, but is not limited to: soliciting clients of one's employing agency for private practice; taking advantage of trust or dependency to engage in sexual activities or to frighten clients into receiving services; appropriating student's ideas, research or work; using the resources of one's employing institution for purposes not agreed to; securing or accepting significant financial or material benefit for activities which are already awarded by salary or other compensation; and, prejudicing others against a colleague for reasons of personal gain.
III.31 Not offer rewards sufficient to motivate an individual or group to participate in an activity that has possible or known risks to themselves or others. (See Standards I.20; I.21; II.2; and, II.44.)
III.32 Avoid dual relationships (e.g.. with students, employees, or clients) and other situations which might present a conflict of interest or which might reduce their ability to be objective and unbiased in their determinations of what might be in the best interests of others.
III.33 Inform all parties, if a real or potential conflict of interest arises, of the need to resolve the situation in a manner that is consistent with Respect for the Dignity of Persons (Principle I) and Responsible Caring (Principle II), and take all reasonable steps to resolve the issue in such a manner.
Reliance on the discipline
III.34 Familiarize themselves with their discipline's rules and regulations, and abide by them, unless abiding by them would be seriously detrimental to the rights or well-being of others as demonstrated in the Principles of Respect for the Dignity of Persons or Responsible Caring. (See Standard IV.16 for guidelines regarding the resolution of such conflicts.)
III.35 Familiarize themselves with and demonstrate a commitment to maintaining the standards of their discipline.
III.36 Seek consultation from colleagues and/or appropriate groups and committees, and give due regard to their advice in arriving at a responsible decision, if faced with difficult situations.
III.37 Encourage others, if appropriate, to relate with integrity.
III.38 Assume overall responsibility for the scientific and professional activities of their assistants, students, supervisers, and employees with regard to the Principle of Integrity in Relationships, all of whom, however, incur similar obligations.
Principle IV: Responsibility to Society
Psychology functions as a discipline within the context of human society.(2)Psychologists, both in their work and as private citizens, have responsibilities to the societies in which they live and work, such as the neighbourhood or city, and to the welfare of all human beings in those societies.
Two of the legitimate expectations of psychology as a science and a profession are that it will increase knowledge and that it will conduct its affairs in such ways that it will promote the welfare of all human beings.
In the context of society, the above expectations imply that scientific freedom will be balanced by scientific responsibility; that is, psychologists will actively increase knowledge only through the use of activities and methods that are consistent with ethical requirements, and be willing to demonstrate that such requirements have been met.
The expectations also imply that psychologists will do whatever they can to ensure that psychological knowledge, when used in the development of social structures and policies, will be used for beneficial purposes, and that the discipline's own structures and policies will support those beneficial purposes. Within the context of this document, social structures and policies which have beneficial purposes are defined as those which more readily support and reflect respect for the dignity of persons, responsible caring, integrity in relationships, and responsibility to society. If psychological knowledge or structures are used against these purposes, psychologists have an ethical responsibility to try to draw attention to and correct the misuse. Although this is a collective responsibility, those psychologists having direct involvement in the structures of the discipline, in social development, and/or in the theoretical or research data base that is being used (e.g., through research, expert testimony, or policy advice) have the greatest responsibility to act. Other psychologists must decide for themselves the most appropriate and beneficial use of their time and talents to help meet this collective responsibility.
In carrying out their work, psychologists acknowledge that many social structures have evolved slowly over time in response to human need, are valued by society, and are primarily beneficial. In such circumstances, psychologists convey respect for these social structures and avoid unwarranted or unnecessary disruption. Suggestions for and action toward changes or enhancement of such structures are carried out only through processes which seek to achieve a consensus within society through democratic means.
On the other hand, if structures or policies seriously ignore or oppose the principles of respect for the dignity of the person, responsible caring, integrity in relationships, or responsibility to society, psychologists involved have a responsibility to be critical and advocate for change to occur as quickly as possible.
In order to be responsible to society and to contribute constructively to its ongoing evolution, psychologists need to be self-reflective about the place of the discipline of psychology in society. They need to engage in even-tempered observation and interpretation of the effects of societal structures and policies, and their process of change, developing the ability of psychologists to increase the beneficial use of psychological knowledge and structures, and avoid their misuse. The discipline needs to be willing to set high standards for its members, to do what it can to assure that such standards are met, and to support its members in their attempts to maintain the standards. Once again, individual psychologists must decide for themselves the most appropriate and beneficial use of their time and talents in helping to meet these collective responsibilities.
Footnote 2: Society is used here in the broad sense of a body of individuals living as members of one or more human communities, rather than in the limited sense of state or government.
In adhering to the Principle of Responsibility to Society, psychologists would:
Development of knowledge
IV.1 Contribute to the discipline of psychology and of society's understanding of itself and human beings generally, through a free pursuit and sharing of knowledge, unless such activity conflicts with other basic ethical requirements.
IV.2 Keep informed of progress in their area(s) of psychological activity, take this progress into account in their work, and try to make their own contributions to this progress.
IV.3 Participate in and contribute to continuing education and the professional and scientific growth of self and colleagues.
IV.4 Assist in the development of those who enter the discipline of psychology by helping them to acquire a full understanding of the ethics, responsibilities, and needed competencies of their chosen area(s), including an understanding of critical analysis and of the variations, uses, and possible misuses of the scientific paradigm.
IV.5 Participate in the process of critical self-evaluation of the discipline's place in society and in the development and implementation of structures and procedures which help the discipline to contribute to beneficial societal functioning and changes.
IV.6 Engage in regular monitoring, assessment, and reporting (e.g., through peer review, and in program reviews, case management reviews, and reports of one's own research) of their ethical practices and safeguards.
IV.7 Help develop, promote, and participate in accountability processes and procedures related to their work.
IV.8 Uphold the discipline's responsibility to society by promoting and maintaining the highest standards of the discipline.
IV.9 Protect the skills, knowledge, and interpretations of psychology from being misused, used incompetently, or made useless (e.g., loss of security of assessment techniques) by others.
IV.10 Contribute to the general welfare of society (e.g., improving accessibility of services, regardless of ability to pay) and/or to the general welfare of their discipline by offering a portion of their time to work for which they receive little or no financial return.
IV.11 Uphold the discipline's responsibility to society by bringing incompetent or unethical behaviour, including misuses of psychological knowledge and techniques, to the attention of ap- propriate regulatory bodies, authorities, and/or committees, in a manner consistent with the ethical principles of this Code, if informal resolution or correction of the situation is not appropriate or possible.
IV.12 Only enter into agreements or contracts which allow them to act in accordance with the ethical principles and standards of this Code.
Respect for society
IV.13 Acquire an adequate knowledge of the culture, social structure, and customs of a community before beginning any major work there.
IV.14 Convey respect for and abide by prevailing community mores, social customs, and cultural expectations in their scientific and professional activities, provided that this does not contravene any of the ethical principles of this Code.
IV.15 Abide by the laws of the society in which they work. If those laws seriously conflict with the ethical principles contained herein, psychologists would do whatever they could to uphold the ethical principles. If upholding the ethical principles could result in serious personal consequences (e.g., jail or physical harm), decision for final action would be considered a matter of personal conscience.
IV.16 Consult with colleagues, if faced with an apparent conflict between keeping a law and following an ethical principle, unless in an emergency, and seek consensus as to the most ethical course of action and the most responsible, knowledgeable, effective, and respectful way to carry it out.
Development of society
IV.17 Act to change those aspects of the discipline of psychology which detract from beneficial societal changes, where appropriate and possible.
IV.18 Be sensitive to the needs, current issues, and problems of society, if determining research questions to be asked, services to be developed, information to be collected, or the interpretation of results or findings.
IV.19 Be especially careful to keep well informed through relevant reading, peer consultation and continuing education, if their work is related to societal issues.
IV.20 Speak out, in a manner consistent with the four principles of this Code, when they possess expert knowledge that bears on important societal issues being studied or discussed.
IV.21 Provide thorough discussion of the limits of their data, if their work touches on social policy and structure.
IV.22 Make themselves aware of the current social and political climate and of previous and possible future societal misuses of psychological knowledge, and exercise due discretion in communicating psychological information (e.g., research results, theoretical knowledge) in order to discourage any further misuse.
IV.23 Exercise particular care when reporting the results of any work regarding vulnerable groups, ensuring that results are not likely to be misinterpreted or misused in the development of social policy, attitudes, and practices (e.g., encouraging manipulation of vulnerable persons or reinforcing discrimination against any specific population).
IV.24 Not contribute to nor engage in research or any other activity which promotes or is intended for use in the torture of persons, the development of prohibited weapons, destruction of the environment, or any other act which contravenes international law.
IV.25 Provide the public with any psychological knowledge relevant to the public's informed participation in the shaping of social policies and structures, if involved in public policy issues.
IV.26 Speak out and/or act, in a manner consistent with the four principles of this Code, if the policies, practices or regulations of the social structure within which they work seriously ignore or oppose any of the principles of this Code.
IV.27 Encourage others, if appropriate, to exercise responsibility to society.
IV.28 Assume overall responsibility for the scientific and professional activities of their assistants, students, supervisees, and employees with regard to the Principle of Responsibility to Society, all of whom, however, incur similar obligations.
Copyright Canadian Psychological Association (1995)
Provisions of Ethics for Psychoanalysts and Provisions for Implementation of the Principles of Ethics for Psychoanalysts (1983)
Provisions of Ethics for Psychoanalysts and Provisions for Implementation of the Principles of Ethics for Psychoanalysts
Revised by the Board on Professional Standards and the Executive Council April 1983, December 1983.
Preamble. These principles are intended to aid psychoanalysts individually and collectively in maintaining a high level of ethical conduct. They are not laws, but standards by which a psychoanalyst, or one in training to be a psychoanalyst, may determine the propriety of his conduct in his relationship with patients, with colleagues, with students, with members of allied professions, and with the public.
Objectives of the Profession and the Individual Psychoanalyst
Section 1. The principal objective of the profession of psychoanalysis is to offer a particular contribution to humanity, with full respect for enhancing the dignity of man. A psychoanalyst should strive continually to improve psychoanalytic knowledge and skill. He should make available to his patients and colleagues, as well as to other physicians, to other qualified professional persons, and to students, the benefits of his professional attainments.
Responsibilities to the Individual and to Society
Section 2. The honored ideals of the profession of psychoanalysis imply that the responsibilities of the psychoanalyst extend primarily to the individual, but also to society; these secondary responsibilities deserve his interest and participation in activities which have the purpose of preserving and improving both the health and the well-being of the individual and the community. When the interests of his patient conflict with the welfare of the community at large, the psychoanalyst must weigh the consequences of any action and arrive at a judgment based on all considerations.
Treatment to Have a Scientific Basis
Section 3. A psychoanalyst should practice a method of treatment founded on a scientific basis; he should not knowingly and voluntarily endorse anyone who violates this principle.
General Conduct of the Psychoanalyst
Section 4. A psychoanalyst should be courteous, considerate, professional and ethical in all his relationships. He should respect all laws, uphold the dignity and honor of the profession, and accept its self-imposed disciplines. He should accord members of allied professions the respect due their areas of competence.
Relationships with Patients and Colleagues
Section 5. A psychoanalyst should not solicit patients; he may choose whom he will treat. In an emergency, however, he should render service to the best of his ability unless he is of the opinion, based on his professional judgment, that it would be inappropriate or unwise to do so. In all situations, a psychoanalyst should merit the confidence of patients entrusted to his care, rendering to each a full measure of service. Having undertaken the care of a patient, he may not neglect him; and unless he has been discharged he may discontinue his services only after giving adequate notice. He should not render any professional service to the patient of a colleague, including therapists in allied professions, without the colleague's knowledge, unless, in his professional judgment, it would be in the best interests of the patient to do so. When he becomes aware that his patient is or has recently been in treatment with another therapist, he should ascertain that the patient has informed the other therapist of the consultation or desire for a change of therapists or, if the patient has not done so, obtain consent, provided this will not interfere with the treatment, to inform the other therapist himself as soon as may be practicable. He should, however, recognize and respect the patient's right to terminate a relationship, including psychoanalytic treatment, and/or seek consultation or advice from others. In professional relationships, the first responsibility of the psychoanalyst is to the patient.
Protection of Confidentiality
Section 6. Except as required by law, a psychoanalyst may not reveal the confidences entrusted to him in the course of his professional work, or the particularities that he may observe in the characters of patients. Should he be required by a court of law to give testimony relating to the confidences of his patient, he should make use of all legal means to safeguard his patient's right to confidentiality.
When a psychoanalyst uses case material in exchanges with colleagues for scientific, educational or consultative purposes, he should exercise every precaution to assure that, unless specifically authorized by the patient, the identity of the patient is not revealed. When a psychoanalyst learns confidential information from a source other than the patient involved, he should, nonetheless, fully and appropriately respect its confidentiality.
Emoluments for Services
Section 7. A psychoanalyst is entitled to establish and to receive reasonable fees for his services. When undertaking the treatment of a patient, the psychoanalyst and the patient should agree on the fee and the conditions of payment. While it is expected that these terms will be fulfilled as a requirement for treatment, a psychoanalyst should implement them tactfully and humanely and with adequate regard for the realistic and therapeutic aspects of the fee and its payment. Fees may be charged for sessions missed by the patient when this policy has been prearranged. A psychoanalyst should neither pay nor receive a commission for referral of patients. He must not exploit the treatment of a patient for his own financial gain or to promote his personal advantage.
Dispensing of Drugs
Section 8. To the extent permitted by law, drugs or remedies may be dispensed, supplied, or prescribed by the psychoanalyst provided he is legally licensed to do so, and such action is appropriate to the treatment and done in the best interest of the patient.
Section 9. A psychoanalyst should feel free to seek consultation on his own initiative or at the patient's request whenever he believes that this action may benefit the treatment. Consultation should be carefully considered in difficult cases.
Sexual Misconduct in Relation to Patients
Section 10. Sexual relationships between analyst and patient are antithetic to treatment and unacceptable under any circumstances. Any sexual activity with a patient constitutes a violation of this principle of ethics.
Remedial Measures for the Psychoanalyst
Section 11. When disorder within the psychoanalyst, however evidenced, is threatening or disturbing to the quality of his work, he should avail himself promptly of remedial measures.
Safeguarding the Public and the Profession
Section 12. To safeguard the public and the profession:
(A) Each psychoanalyst should strive to protect against practice by psychoanalysts deficient in moral character or professional competence and should, consistent with the patient's right to confidentiality, report to the appropriate ethical body any unethical conduct by fellow members of the profession.
(B) Each psychoanalyst should strive to maintain and improve his psychoanalytic knowledge and to help his colleagues in this aim. When he is able, and when circumstances are appropriate, he should willingly promote knowledge of psychoanalysis and its derived applications.
(C) Training in the practice of psychoanalysis should reflect awareness of the special implications for the welfare of present and future patients and for the standards of psychoanalysis; the highest ethical and educational standards are required. While more than ethical standards are involved, the manner and spirit in which psychoanalytic education is offered clearly involves ethical issues. The psychoanalyst-teacher has responsibilities to the public, his students, his profession, and himself. These responsibilities must be given full attention both by the individual analyst, and, in the establishment of all training standards, by the Board on Professional Standards and its affiliated training programs. Accordingly, the educational standards and procedures of the Board on Professional Standards embody these ethical considerations and should be so accepted.
(D) Training in the practice of psychoanalysis, i.e., teaching courses, or conducting training analyses or providing supervision of psychoanalytic treatment, should be offered only when the highest ethical and educational standards are employed, and when there is careful selection of participants and thorough evaluation of the training and the progress of those enrolled in it. No psychoanalyst may claim or imply that training in psychoanalysis is directly or indirectly connected with or authorized by the American Psychoanalytic Association unless the educational standards and procedures of the Board on Professional Standards are fully observed and the training is conducted under the auspices of the Board on Professional Standards.
PROVISIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRINCIPLES OF
ETHICS FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS
1. Committee on Ethics - There shall be a joint standing Committee Ethics of the Board on Professional Standards and the Executive Council.
The Committee will consist of five members appointed jointly by the President of the Association (the President), and the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards. Each member, except for the first appointment, is to serve a term of five years, with terms overlapping on a staggered basis. One new member is to be added to this Committee each year as the term of an outgoing member is completed.
The President and the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards will jointly designate one member to act as Chairman of the Committee on Ethics for a term of two years. Should vacancies occur on the Committee, the President and the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards will jointly appoint replacement(s) to complete the unexpired term(s) of the member(s) who is being replaced.
The responsibilities of the Committee on Ethics will be:
1. To consider and respond to communications regarding the Principles of Ethics and the procedures for implementation of the Principles, and to make recommendations for appropriate additions or modifications as indicated by experience. All recommended changes will be subject to approval by the Board on Professional Standards and the Executive Council.
2. To issue advisory opinions regarding questions about ethical conduct submitted to it.
3. To consider complaints concerning any alleged breach of the Principles of Ethics by a member of the Association referred to the Committee in accordance with the Procedures outlined, and to make recommendations concerning the disposition of such matters.
II. Procedures of the Committee on Ethics and of the Association in Regard to Questions of Ethical Conduct.
A. Advisory Opinions
1. When there is a complaint or an inquiry, but no alleged breach of the Principles of Ethics, any communications regarding the issue, to whomever addressed, may be referred to the Chairman of the Committee on Ethics, who will respond, with or without consulting the Committee, as he may deem appropriate. Copies of such correspondence shall be sent to the President and the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards.
2. At appropriate intervals the Committee shall prepare summaries of advisory opinions and decisions regarding ethical questions. After approval by the Executive Committee, or by the Board on Professional Standards and Executive Council if the Executive Committee so decides, such summaries shall be published and distributed to the membership.
B. Adjudication: Complaints regarding alleged breaches of the Principles of Ethics by a member of the Association may be made to local societies, or to training facilities, or to the Association.
III. Adjudication at the Local Level
Each local group (Affiliate Societies and Study Groups, Accredited and provisionally Accredited Training Institutes) should have a Committee on Ethics or an equivalent thereof for dealing with complaints. Due process should be observed in the actions of the local group. Upon recommendation of the Committee on Ethics, complaints made directly to the Association will be referred to the local group for evaluation and any necessary action. In all proceedings involving an alleged breach of the Principles of Ethics, adequate records must be kept, and the Association informed of all actions in the matter.
A. When a complaint is made directly or referred to the local group, every effort should be made to resolve the issue at that level. The local group shall advise the President or the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards of each complaint and of any action taken with respect thereto.
B. Should the local group fail to deal with the issue to the satisfaction of all parties, a formal request may be sent by the complainant, or by the persons charged, or by the local group to the President, seeking consideration of the matter at the Association level. Such requests must be made not later than 60 days after the concerned parties have been notified of the local group's disposition of the matter.
C. If a member of the Association is suspended or expelled from a local group as a result of adjudication of complaints regarding alleged breaches of the Principles of Ethics, a review of the case by the Association shall promptly be undertaken.
D. The President, at any time, may, in his discretion, refer a matter for consideration by the Association as described in IV, B, 4 and 5 below.
IV. Adjudication by the Association
Complaints regarding alleged breaches of the Principles of Ethics by a member of the Association may be made directly to the Association (of necessity if there is no appropriate local group), or may be referred to the Association after attempt at adjudication at the local level, as provided in 111, B, C and D above.
A. Requirements regarding complaint or request for review of local action.
1. A complaint, or a request for referral of the matter from a local group, must be made in writing to the President and be signed by the party making the complaint or request.
2. The complainant must clearly describe the alleged breach(es), including the name of the member and any other persons involved, and the reasons for dissatisfaction with the action, if any, taken at the local level.
3. In the case of a request for a review of local action by the person charged with a violation, adequate information must be provided regarding the charge against him, his defense, and his reasons for dissatisfaction with the disposition of the case at the local level.
4. In the case of a referral from the local group, the request should specify the charge, the persons involved, the action taken by that group in attempts to resolve the issue, and the reasons for the referral to the Association.
5. In all cases of a complaint fulfilling the above conditions, the Association will initiate all necessary action in accordance with these Provisions of Implementation. While a complaint will be presumed to be a request for the Association to take action and to include permission for the complaint to be shown to those persons whom the President may designate, the person making the complaint or request shall provide permission for copies to be sent to the other local parties and to such other persons as the President may deem necessary. The complaint or request must also state the signer's willingness to discuss the matter (with his legal counsel present, should he so wish) with the President or with a person or persons designated by the President, including legal counsel of the Association.
6. No formal action will be taken without due process.
B. Handling of Complaints about Unethical Conduct
1. Communications regarding an alleged breach of the Principles of Ethics will be sent to the President who will then refer the matter to the Committee on Ethics. The President will promptly inform the charged analyst of the full details of the complaint or the request from a local group for consideration of the matter by the Association.
2. Upon receipt of such referral as described in IV, B, I above, the Committee on Ethics shall consider all available information, confer with legal counsel of the Association and the President, and make whatever inquiries are necessary to determine if there are sufficient grounds for proceeding with the matter. Members of the Association may be appointed as "Fact Finders", as described in IV, B, 5, (a) to gather information. No judgment of the validity of the charges will be implied by this determination, except that if it is determined that there are not sufficient grounds for proceeding, the charged analyst shall be considered exonerated.
3. If there are sufficient grounds for proceeding and if the matter has not yet been adjudicated by the appropriate local group, the matter will be referred to that group for investigation and any indicated action as described in III above.
4. After adjudication by the local group and in the event that the charged member has been suspended or expelled from the local group, or if any of the parties has indicated, as provided in section III, B above, dissatisfaction with the disposition of the local group, or, at any time, in the discretion of the President, the Association shall review the matter.
This review will be undertaken by the Committee on Ethics, unless in the discretion of the President and the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards the Committee on Ethics cannot perform its duties under the circumstances, in which case the President and the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards will jointly appoint an ad hoc committee consisting of five members of the Association to deal with the matter. Such ad hoc committee will be held to the same rules and follow the same procedures as the Committee on Ethics. The Committee on Ethics, or the ad hoc committee, will review all pertinent records, will seek the advice of legal counsel as it deems appropriate, and will, after consultation with the President, decide whether sufficient information is available to arrive at a decision. It may, but shall not be required to, request written briefs from counsel for the complainant, counsel for the charged analyst and counsel for the local group. It may, but it shall not be required to, hold a hearing as described in IV, 5, (b) below.
When making its decision, the Committee on Ethics or the ad hoc committee shall vote for one of the following measures:
(a) Exoneration (the accused is cleared from blame where the evidence shows no unethical conduct by the accused).
(b) Dismissal of complaint (for example, when a determination on the merits cannot be made because of insufficient reliable evidence or other procedural defects), without prejudice to the right of the Committee on Ethics or an ad hoc committee at a later date to recommend the commencement of new proceedings with respect to the same charges.
(d) Suspension from membership in the Association for a stipulated period, but for not more than three years.
(e) Separation from the rolls, but with new application for membership to be entertained in not less than five years.
(f) Permanent expulsion from membership in the Association.
To reach a decision on these measures, at least four members of the Committee on Ethics, or of the ad hoc committee, must vote in favor of the measure, with no more than one member voting against. If this majority is not attained, the charges shall be considered to be dismissed as in (b) above.
(a) In the event that there is no appropriate local group to which the matter can be referred, it shall be the responsibility of the Committee on Ethics, or an ad hoc committee appointed under circumstances described in IV, B, 4 above, to evaluate and investigate the charges. It will seek advice of legal counsel and the President as it deems appropriate. It may be aided by members of the Association jointly appointed by the President and the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards as "Fact Finders" who will gather preliminary information. After gathering sufficient information, the Committee on Ethics or an ad hoc committee may decide to dismiss the complaint or to proceed with further investigation. In the event that the decision is to dismiss the complaint, the President shall notify all parties concerned, and the charged analyst shall be considered exonerated.
(b) If a hearing is required, or is otherwise considered appropriate by the Committee on Ethics or by an ad hoc committee, it shall be held at such reasonable time and place designated by the Chairman of the Committee. The hearing shall be conducted by the Committee on Ethics, or an ad hoc committee, unless in the discretion of the President and the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards the Committee on Ethics is not able to perform its duties under the circumstances, in which case the President and the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards will jointly appoint a "Hearing Committee" consisting of five members of the Association. Such "Hearing Committee" shall follow the same rules and procedures as the Committee on Ethics except as provided in IV, B, 5, (c) and (d) below. The charged psychoanalyst shall receive not less than 30 days notice of the hearing. Attendance at the hearing may be limited to the Committee members; the charged analyst; the complainant; counsel for the Association, for the charged analyst and for the complainant, each of whom may speak on behalf of his client; and witnesses, if any. Those present shall have such rights as are set forth below in VIII
(c) If the hearing was conducted by a "Hearing Committee", it shall send a full report and recommendations to the Committee on Ethics.
(d) After receiving the report of the "Hearing Committee", or at the conclusion of the hearing if it has been conducted by the Committee on Ethics, the Committee on Ethics shall vote as described in Section IV, B, 4.
(e) If the hearing has been conducted by an ad hoc committee, the ad hoc committee shall vote as described in IV, B, 4.
V. Executive Council Ratification
The President shall notify all concerned parties of the decision, pursuant to IV, B, 4 or IV, B, 5, (d), or (e), of the Committee on Ethics or of the ad hoc committee.* The charged analyst must indicate in writing within 30 days from the date of mailing of the notice, either that he accepts the decision, or that he wishes to appeal it. Unless written notification from the charged analyst is received within the specified time, the right to appeal will have been forfeited.
The Chairman of the Committee on Ethics will present a summary of the matter to the Executive Council sitting in Executive Session. This summary will include the investigations, if any, undertaken by the local group as well as that of the Committee on Ethics, including its decision and the response, if any, from the charged analyst.
Except in those cases where the charged analyst has indicated his intention to appeal the decision of the Committee on Ethics, the Executive Council will then vote to ratify the decision of the Committee on Ethics, a majority vote being required. Upon ratification by a majority vote of the Executive Council, the decision will be considered final.
A. If a majority vote of the Executive Council does not support ratification, the Council can then refer the matter back to the Committee on Ethics for further deliberation. A majority vote of the Executive Council is required for such referral. The Executive Council may, if it chooses, indicate to the Committee on Ethics specific questions which it may have concerning the matter and which it wishes to call to the attention of the Committee.
When a matter is referred back to the Committee on Ethics by the Executive Council, the Committee on Ethics will proceed to gather any fur
*From this point in these "Provisions for Implementation", unless clearly stated otherwise, the term "Committee on Ethics" will also be intended to mean an ad hoc committee, should one have been appointed.
the information it deems necessary. It will arrive at its decision following the same procedures and rules as described in IV, B, 4 and IV, B, 5 above. The President shall notify all parties concerned of the new decision of the Committee on Ethics; the charged analyst will then have the same right to appeal as described above.
If tie charged analyst has not exercised his right to appeal, the matter will then be presented to the Executive Council, sitting in Executive Session, for its ratification. A majority vote of the Executive Council is required for such ratification.
If the charged analyst has not exercised his right to appeal, and if the Executive Council, by a majority vote, neither ratifies the decision of the committee on Ethics nor refers the matter back to the Committee on Ethics, the charges shall be considered "dismissed" as provided in IV, B, 4 above.
VI Executive Council Appeal
If the charged member exercises his right to appeal the decision of the committee on Ethics, the President, and the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards shall jointly appoint an Executive Council Appeals Committee consisting of five members of the Executive Council, including at least two Councilors-at-Large. The appointment of the Appeals Committee must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Executive Council. The Appeals Committee is empowered to act on behalf of the Executive Council in adjudicating the appeal, and its decision will be considered final.
The Executive Council Appeals Committee shall review the record of the proceedings, but shall not be required, unless it so decides, to hold additional fact finding hearings. It shall proceed as does the Committee on Ethics as described in IV, Be 4 and IV, B, 5 above, except that a majority vote is required for its decision.
VII. Inability to Serve
If, for any reason, a member or members of the Committee on Ethics or of the Executive Council Appeals Committee or of an ad hoc committee, or of the Committee on Ethics Hearing Committee is temporarily unable to serve, the President and the Chairman of the Board on Professional Standards shall jointly appoint a member(s) to fill the vacancy during the time of the original member's incapacity.
VIII. Rights and Privileges of All Parties Come
In all hearings:
(1) The due process rights of all conceserved in implementing these provisions.
(2) The charged member's right of appel
(3) Hearing bodies shall not be bound employed in legal proceedings, but may a propriate and pertinent.
(4) Should the complainant, the charge appear at any hearing, the appropriate postpone, dismiss, or proceed with the hearing
(5) A notice of the decision of the Committee, or the relevant decision of the Executive Council Appeals Committe the charged analyst and the other parties
Disclaimer: Please note the codes in our collection might not necessarily be most recent versions. Please contact the individual organizations or their websites to verify if a more recent or updated code of ethics is available. CSEP does not hold copyright on any of the codes of ethics in our collection. Any permission to use the codes must be sought from the individual organizations directly.
Code of Ethics
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is a professional organization whose members are certified/licensed in school counseling with unique qualifications and skills to address the academic, personal/ social and career development needs of all students. Professional school counselors are advocates, leaders, collaborators and consultants who create opportunities for equity in access and success in educational opportunities by connecting their programs to the mission of schools and subscribing to the following tenets of professional responsibility:
• Each person has the right to be respected, be treated with dignity and have access to a comprehensive school counseling program that advocates for and affirms all students from diverse populations
regardless of ethnic/racial status, age, economic status, special needs, English as a second language or other language group, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, family type, religious/spiritual identity and appearance.
• Each person has the right to receive the information and support needed to move toward self-direction and self-development and affirmation within one's group identities, with special care being given to students who have historically not received adequate educational services: students of color, low socio-economic students,
students with disabilities and students with nondominant language backgrounds.
• Each person has the right to understand the full magnitude and meaning of his/her educational choices and how those choices will affect future opportunities.
• Each person has the right to privacy and thereby the right to expect the counselor-student relationship to comply with all laws, policies and ethical standards pertaining to confidentiality in the school setting.
In this document, ASCA specifies the principles of ethical behavior necessary to maintain the high standards of integrity, leadership and professionalism among its members. The Ethical Standards for School Counselors were developed to clarify the nature of ethical responsibilities held in common by school counseling professionals.
The purposes of this document are to:
• Serve as a guide for the ethical practices of all professional school counselors regardless of level, area, population served or membership in this professional association;
• Provide self-appraisal and peer evaluations regarding counselor responsibilities to students, parents/guardians, colleagues and professional associates, schools, communities and the counseling profession; and
• Inform those served by the school counselor of acceptable counselor practices and expected professional behavior.
Revised June 26, 2004
Ethical Standards for School Counselors was adopted by the ASCA Delegate Assembly, March 19,1984,
revised March 27, 1992, June 25, 1998, and June 26, 2004.
A.1. Responsibilities to Students
The professional school counselor:
a. Has a primary obligation to the student, who is to be treated with respect as a unique individual.
b. Is concerned with the educational, academic, career, personal and social needs and encourages the maximum development of every student.
c. Respects the student's values and beliefs and does not impose the counselor's personal values.
d. Is knowledgeable of laws, regulations and policies relating to students and strives to protect and inform students regarding their rights.
The professional school counselor:
a. Informs students of the purposes, goals, techniques and rules of procedure under which they may receive counseling at or before the time when the counseling relationship is entered. Disclosure notice includes the limits of confidentiality such as the possible necessity for consulting with other professionals, privileged communication, and legal or authoritative restraints. The meaning and limits of confidentiality are defined in developmentally appropriate terms to students.
b. Keeps information confidential unless disclosure is required to prevent clear and imminent danger to the student or others or when legal requirements demand that confidential information be revealed. Counselors will consult with appropriate professionals when in doubt as to the validity of an exception.
c. In absence of state legislation expressly forbidding disclosure, considers the ethical responsibility to provide information to an identified third party who, by his/her relationship with the student, is at a high risk of contracting a disease that is commonly known to be communicable and fatal. Disclosure requires satisfaction of all of the following conditions:
• Student identifies partner or the partner is highly identifiable
• Counselor recommends the student notify partner and refrain
from further high-risk behavior
• Student refuses
• Counselor informs the student of the intent to notify the partner
• Counselor seeks legal consultation as to the legalities of informing
d. Requests of the court that disclosure not be required when the release of confidential information may potentially harm a student or the counseling relationship.
e. Protects the confidentiality of students' records and releases personal data in accordance with prescribed laws and school policies. Student information stored and transmitted electronically is treated
with the same care as traditional student records.
f. Protects the confidentiality of information received in the counseling relationship as specified by federal and state laws, written policies and applicable ethical standards. Such information is only to be
revealed to others with the informed consent of the student, consistent with the counselor's ethical obligation.
g. Recognizes his/her primary obligation for confidentiality is to the student but balances that obligation with an understanding of the legal and inherent rights of parents/guardians to be the guiding voice in their children's lives.
A.3. Counseling Plans
The professional school counselor:
a. Provides students with a comprehensive school counseling program that includes a strong emphasis on working jointly with all students to develop academic and career goals.
b. Advocates for counseling plans supporting students right to choose from the wide array of options when they leave secondary education. Such plans will be regularly reviewed to update students regarding critical information they need to make informed decisions.
A.4. Dual Relationships
The professional school counselor:
a. Avoids dual relationships that might impair his/her objectivity and increase the risk of harm to the student (e.g., counseling one's family members, close friends or associates). If a dual relationship is
unavoidable, the counselor is responsible for taking action to eliminate or reduce the potential for harm. Such safeguards might include informed consent, consultation, supervision and documentation.
b. Avoids dual relationships with school personnel that might infringe on the integrity of the counselor/student relationship
A.5. Appropriate Referrals
The professional school counselor:
a. Makes referrals when necessary or appropriate to outside
resources. Appropriate referrals may necessitate informing both parents/guardians and students of applicable resources and making proper plans for transitions with minimal interruption of services.
Students retain the right to discontinue the counseling relationship at any time.
A.6. Group Work
The professional school counselor:
a. Screens prospective group members and maintains an awareness of participants' needs and goals in relation to the goals of the group. The counselor takes reasonable precautions to protect members from
physical and psychological harm resulting from interaction within the group.
b. Notifies parents/guardians and staff of group participation if the counselor deems it appropriate and if consistent with school board policy or practice.
c. Establishes clear expectations in the group setting and clearly states that confidentiality in group counseling cannot be guaranteed. Given the developmental and chronological ages of minors in schools, the counselor recognizes the tenuous nature of confidentiality for minors renders some topics inappropriate for group work in a school setting.
d. Follows up with group members and documents proceedings as appropriate.
A.7. Danger to Self or Others
The professional school counselor:
a. Informs parents/guardians or appropriate authorities when the student's condition indicates a clear and imminent danger to the student or others. This is to be done after careful deliberation and, where possible, after consultation with other counseling professionals.
b. Will attempt to minimize threat to a student and may choose to 1) inform the student of actions to be taken, 2) involve the student in a three-way communication with parents/guardians when breaching confidentiality or 3) allow the student to have input as to how and to whom the breach will be made.
A.8. Student Records
The professional school counselor:
a. Maintains and secures records necessary for rendering professional services to the student as required by laws, regulations, institutional procedures and confidentiality guidelines.
b. Keeps sole-possession records separate from students' educational records in keeping with state laws.
c. Recognizes the limits of sole-possession records and understands these records are a memory aid for the creator and in absence of privilege communication may be subpoenaed and may become educational
records when they 1) are shared with others in verbal or written form, 2) include information other than professional opinion or personal observations and/or 3) are made accessible to others.
d. Establishes a reasonable timeline for purging sole-possession records or case notes. Suggested guidelines include shredding sole possession records when the student transitions to the next level,
transfers to another school or graduates. Careful discretion and deliberation should be applied before destroying sole-possession records that may be needed by a court of law such as notes on child abuse,
suicide, sexual harassment or violence.
A.9. Evaluation, Assessment and Interpretation
The professional school counselor:
a. Adheres to all professional standards regarding selecting, administering and interpreting assessment measures and only utilizes assessment measures that are within the scope of practice for school counselors.
b. Seeks specialized training regarding the use of electronically based testing programs in administering, scoring and interpreting that may differ from that required in more traditional assessments.
c. Considers confidentiality issues when utilizing evaluative or assessment instruments and electronically based programs.
d. Provides interpretation of the nature, purposes, results and potential impact of assessment/evaluation measures in language the student(s) can understand.
e. Monitors the use of assessment results and interpretations, and takes reasonable steps to prevent others from misusing the information.
f. Uses caution when utilizing assessment techniques, making evaluations and interpreting the performance of populations not represented in the norm group on which an instrument is standardized.
g. Assesses the effectiveness of his/her program in having an impact on students' academic, career and personal/social development through accountability measures especially examining efforts to close
achievement, opportunity and attainment gaps.
The professional school counselor:
a. Promotes the benefits of and clarifies the limitations of various appropriate technological applications. The counselor promotes technological applications (1) that are appropriate for the student's individual
needs, (2) that the student understands how to use and (3) for which follow-up counseling assistance is provided.
b. Advocates for equal access to technology for all students, especially those historically underserved.
c. Takes appropriate and reasonable measures for maintaining confidentiality of student information and educational records stored or transmitted over electronic media including although not limited to
fax, electronic mail and instant messaging.
d. While working with students on a computer or similar technology, takes reasonable and appropriate measures to protect students from objectionable and/or harmful online material.
e. Who is engaged in the delivery of services involving technologies such as the telephone, videoconferencing and the Internet takes responsible steps to protect students and others from harm.
A.11. Student Peer Support Program
The professional school counselor:
Has unique responsibilities when working with student-assistance programs. The school counselor is responsible for the welfare of students participating in peer-to-peer programs under his/her direction.
B. RESPONSIBILITIES TO PARENTS/GUARDIANS
B.1. Parent Rights and Responsibilities
The professional school counselor:
a. Respects the rights and responsibilities of parents/guardians for their children and endeavors to establish, as appropriate, a collaborative relationship with parents/guardians to facilitate the student's maximum development.
b. Adheres to laws, local guidelines and ethical standards of practice when assisting parents/guardians experiencing family difficulties that interfere with the student's effectiveness and welfare.
c. Respects the confidentiality of parents/guardians.
d. Is sensitive to diversity among families and recognizes that all parents/guardians, custodial and noncustodial, are vested with certain rights and responsibilities for the welfare of their children by virtue of their role and according to law.
B.2. Parents/Guardians and Confidentiality
The professional school counselor:
a. Informs parents/guardians of the counselor's role with emphasis on the confidential nature of the counseling relationship between the counselor and student.
b. Recognizes that working with minors in a school setting may require counselors to collaborate with students' parents/guardians.
c. Provides parents/guardians with accurate, comprehensive and relevant information in an objective and caring manner, as is appropriate and consistent with ethical responsibilities to the student.
d. Makes reasonable efforts to honor the wishes of parents/guardians concerning information regarding the student, and in cases of divorce or separation exercises a good-faith effort to keep both parents informed with regard to critical information with the exception of a court order.
C. RESPONSIBILITIES TO COLLEAGUES AND PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATES
C.1. Professional Relationships
The professional school counselor:
a. Establishes and maintains professional relationships with faculty, staff and administration to facilitate an optimum counseling program.
b. Treats colleagues with professional respect, courtesy and fairness. The qualifications, views and findings of colleagues are represented to accurately reflect the image of competent professionals.
c. Is aware of and utilizes related professionals, organizations and other resources to whom the student may be referred.
C.2. Sharing Information with Other Professionals
The professional school counselor:
a. Promotes awareness and adherence to appropriate guidelines regarding confidentiality, the distinction between public and private information and staff consultation.
b. Provides professional personnel with accurate, objective, concise and meaningful data necessary to adequately evaluate, counsel and assist the student.
c. If a student is receiving services from another counselor or other mental health professional, the counselor, with student and/or parent/guardian consent, will inform the other professional and develop clear agreements to avoid confusion and conflict for the student.
d. Is knowledgeable about release of information and parental rights in sharing information.
D. RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY
D.1. Responsibilities to the School
The professional school counselor:
a. Supports and protects the educational program against any infringement not in students' best interest.
b. Informs appropriate officials in accordance with school policy of conditions that may be potentially disruptive or damaging to the school's mission, personnel and property while honoring the confidentiality between the student and counselor.
c. Is knowledgeable and supportive of the school's mission and connects his/her program to the school's mission.
d. Delineates and promotes the counselor's role and function in meeting the needs of those served. Counselors will notify appropriate officials of conditions that may limit or curtail their effectiveness in providing
programs and services.
e. Accepts employment only for positions for which he/she is qualified by education, training, supervised experience, state and national professional credentials and appropriate professional experience.
f. Advocates that administrators hire only qualified and competent individuals for professional counseling positions.
g. Assists in developing: (1) curricular and environmental conditions appropriate for the school and community, (2) educational procedures and programs to meet students' developmental needs and (3) a systematic evaluation process for comprehensive, developmental, standards-based school counseling programs, services and personnel. The counselor is guided by the findings of the evaluation data in
planning programs and services.
D.2. Responsibility to the Community
The professional school counselor:
a. Collaborates with agencies, organizations and individuals in the community in the best interest of students and without regard to personal reward or remuneration.
b. Extends his/her influence and opportunity to deliver a comprehensive school counseling program to all students by collaborating with community resources for student success.
E. RESPONSIBILITIES TO SELF
E.1. Professional Competence
The professional school counselor:
a. Functions within the boundaries of individual professional competence and accepts responsibility for the consequences of his/her actions.
b. Monitors personal well-being and effectiveness and does not participate in any activity that may lead to inadequate professional services or harm to a student.
c. Strives through personal initiative to maintain professional competence including technological literacy and to keep abreast of professional information. Professional and personal growth are ongoing throughout the counselor's career.
The professional school counselor:
a. Affirms the diversity of students, staff and families.
b. Expands and develops awareness of his/her own attitudes and beliefs affecting cultural values and biases and strives to attain cultural competence.
c. Possesses knowledge and understanding about how oppression, racism, discrimination and stereotyping affects her/him personally and professionally.
d. Acquires educational, consultation and training experiences to improve awareness, knowledge, skills and effectiveness in working with diverse populations: ethnic/racial status, age, economic status, special needs, ESL or ELL, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, family type, religious/spiritual identity and appearance.
F. RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE PROFESSION
The professional school counselor:
a. Accepts the policies and procedures for handling ethical violations as a result of maintaining membership in the American School Counselor Association.
b. Conducts herself/himself in such a manner as to advance individual ethical practice and the profession.
c. Conducts appropriate research and report findings in a manner consistent with acceptable educational and psychological research practices. The counselor advocates for the protection of the individual student's identity when using data for research or program planning.
d. Adheres to ethical standards of the profession, other official policy statements, such as ASCA's position statements, role statement and the ASCA National Model, and relevant statutes established by federal,
state and local governments, and when these are in conflict works responsibly for change.
e. Clearly distinguishes between statements and actions made as a private individual and those made as a representative of the school counseling profession.
f. Does not use his/her professional position to recruit or gain clients, consultees for his/her private practice or to seek and receive unjustified personal gains, unfair advantage, inappropriate relationships or unearned goods or services.
F.2. Contribution to the Profession
The professional school counselor:
a. Actively participates in local, state and national associations fostering the development and improvement of school counseling.
b. Contributes to the development of the profession through the sharing of skills, ideas and expertise with colleagues.
c. Provides support and mentoring to novice professionals.
G. MAINTENANCE OF STANDARDS
Ethical behavior among professional school counselors, association members and nonmembers, is expected at all times. When there exists serious doubt as to the ethical behavior of colleagues or if counselors
are forced to work in situations or abide by policies that do not reflect the standards as outlined in these Ethical Standards for School Counselors, the counselor is obligated to take appropriate action to rectify the condition. The following procedure may serve as a guide:
- The counselor should consult confidentially with a professional colleague to discuss the nature of a complaint to see if the professional colleague views the situation as an ethical violation.
- When feasible, the counselor should directly approach the colleague whose behavior is in question to discuss the complaint and seek resolution.
- If resolution is not forthcoming at the personal level, the counselor shall utilize the channels established within the school, school district, the state school counseling association and ASCA's Ethics Committee.
- If the matter still remains unresolved, referral for review and appropriate action should be made to the Ethics Committees in the following sequence:
- state school counselor association
- American School Counselor Association
- The ASCA Ethics Committee is responsible for:
At the national level, complaints should be submitted in writing to the ASCA Ethics Committee, c/o the Executive Director, American School Counselor Association, 1101 King St., Suite 625, Alexandria, VA 22314.