2014ACA Code of Ethics


2014ACA Code of Ethics

As approved by the ACA Governing Council




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© 2014 by the American Counseling Association. All rights reserved. Note: This document may be reproduced in its entirety without permission for non-commercial purposes only.

ACA Code of Ethics Preamble • 3 ACA Code of Ethics Purpose • 3

Section A The Counseling Relationship • 4

Section B Confidentiality and Privacy • 6

Section C Professional Responsibility • 8

Section D Relationships With Other Professionals • 10

Section E Evaluation, Assessment, and

Interpretation • 11

Section F Supervision, Training, and Teaching • 12

Section G Research and Publication • 15

Section H Distance Counseling, Technology,

and Social Media • 17

Section I Resolving Ethical Issues • 18

Glossary of Terms • 20

Index • 21

Mission The mission of the American Counseling Association is to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity.




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ACA Code of Ethics Purpose The ACA Code of Ethics serves six main purposes:

1. The Code sets forth the ethical obligations of ACA members and provides guidance intended to inform the ethical practice of professional counselors.

2. The Code identifies ethical considerations relevant to professional counselors and counselors-in-training. 3. The Code enables the association to clarify for current and prospective members, and for those served by members,

the nature of the ethical responsibilities held in common by its members. 4. The Code serves as an ethical guide designed to assist members in constructing a course of action that best serves

those utilizing counseling services and establishes expectations of conduct with a primary emphasis on the role of the professional counselor.

5. The Code helps to support the mission of ACA. 6. The standards contained in this Code serve as the basis for processing inquiries and ethics complaints

concerning ACA members.

The ACA Code of Ethics contains nine main sections that ad- dress the following areas:

Section A: The Counseling Relationship Section B: Confidentiality and Privacy Section C: Professional Responsibility Section D: Relationships With Other Professionals Section E: Evaluation, Assessment, and Interpretation Section F: Supervision, Training, and Teaching Section G: Research and Publication Section H: Distance Counseling, Technology, and Social Media Section I: Resolving Ethical Issues

Each section of the ACA Code of Ethics begins with an introduction. The introduction to each section describes the ethical behavior and responsibility to which counselors aspire. The introductions help set the tone for each particular sec- tion and provide a starting point that invites reflection on the ethical standards contained in each part of the ACA Code of Ethics. The standards outline professional responsibilities and provide direction for fulfilling those ethical responsibilities.

When counselors are faced with ethical dilemmas that are difficult to resolve, they are expected to engage in a care- fully considered ethical decision-making process, consulting available resources as needed. Counselors acknowledge that resolving ethical issues is a process; ethical reasoning includes consideration of professional values, professional ethical principles, and ethical standards.

Counselors’ actions should be consistent with the spirit as well as the letter of these ethical standards. No specific ethical decision-making model is always most effective, so counselors are expected to use a credible model of deci- sion making that can bear public scrutiny of its applica- tion. Through a chosen ethical decision-making process and evaluation of the context of the situation, counselors work collaboratively with clients to make decisions that promote clients’ growth and development. A breach of the standards and principles provided herein does not neces- sarily constitute legal liability or violation of the law; such action is established in legal and judicial proceedings.

The glossary at the end of the Code provides a concise description of some of the terms used in the ACA Code of Ethics.

ACA Code of Ethics Preamble The American Counseling Association (ACA) is an educational, scientific, and professional organization whose members work in a variety of settings and serve in multiple capacities. Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.

Professional values are an important way of living out an ethical commitment. The following are core professional values of the counseling profession:

1. enhancing human development throughout the life span; 2. honoring diversity and embracing a multicultural approach in support of the worth, dignity, potential, and

uniqueness of people within their social and cultural contexts; 3. promoting social justice; 4. safeguarding the integrity of the counselor–client relationship; and 5. practicing in a competent and ethical manner.

These professional values provide a conceptual basis for the ethical principles enumerated below. These principles are the foundation for ethical behavior and decision making. The fundamental principles of professional ethical behavior are

• autonomy, or fostering the right to control the direction of one’s life; • nonmaleficence, or avoiding actions that cause harm; • beneficence, or working for the good of the individual and society by promoting mental health and well-being; • justice, or treating individuals equitably and fostering fairness and equality; • fidelity, or honoring commitments and keeping promises, including fulfilling one’s responsibilities of trust in

professional relationships; and • veracity, or dealing truthfully with individuals with whom counselors come into professional contact.



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A.2.c. Developmental and Cultural Sensitivity

Counselors communicate information in ways that are both developmentally and culturally appropriate. Counselors use clear and understandable language when discussing issues related to informed consent. When clients have difficulty understanding the language that counselors use, counselors provide necessary services (e.g., arranging for a qualified interpreter or translator) to ensure comprehension by clients. In collaboration with clients, coun- selors consider cultural implications of informed consent procedures and, where possible, counselors adjust their practices accordingly.

A.2.d. Inability to Give Consent When counseling minors, incapaci- tated adults, or other persons unable to give voluntary consent, counselors seek the assent of clients to services and include them in decision making as appropriate. Counselors recognize the need to balance the ethical rights of clients to make choices, their capac- ity to give consent or assent to receive services, and parental or familial legal rights and responsibilities to protect these clients and make decisions on their behalf.

A.2.e. Mandated Clients Counselors discuss the required limitations to confidentiality when working with clients who have been mandated for counseling services. Counselors also explain what type of information and with whom that information is shared prior to the beginning of counseling. The client may choose to refuse services. In this case, counselors will, to the best of their ability, discuss with the client the potential consequences of refusing counseling services.

A.3. Clients Served by Others When counselors learn that their clients are in a professional relationship with other mental health professionals, they request release from clients to inform the other professionals and strive to establish positive and collaborative professional relationships.

A.4. Avoiding Harm and Imposing Values

A.4.a. Avoiding Harm Counselors act to avoid harming their clients, trainees, and research par- ticipants and to minimize or to remedy unavoidable or unanticipated harm.

A.1.d. Support Network Involvement

Counselors recognize that support networks hold various meanings in the lives of clients and consider en- listing the support, understanding, and involvement of others (e.g., reli- gious/spiritual/community leaders, family members, friends) as positive resources, when appropriate, with client consent.

A.2. Informed Consent in the Counseling Relationship

A.2.a. Informed Consent Clients have the freedom to choose whether to enter into or remain in a counseling relationship and need adequate information about the counseling process and the counselor. Counselors have an obligation to re- view in writing and verbally with cli- ents the rights and responsibilities of both counselors and clients. Informed consent is an ongoing part of the counseling process, and counselors appropriately document discussions of informed consent throughout the counseling relationship.

A.2.b. Types of Information Needed

Counselors explicitly explain to clients the nature of all services provided. They inform clients about issues such as, but not limited to, the follow- ing: the purposes, goals, techniques, procedures, limitations, potential risks, and benefits of services; the counselor’s qualifications, credentials, relevant experience, and approach to counseling; continuation of services upon the incapacitation or death of the counselor; the role of technol- ogy; and other pertinent information. Counselors take steps to ensure that clients understand the implications of diagnosis and the intended use of tests and reports. Additionally, counselors inform clients about fees and billing arrangements, including procedures for nonpayment of fees. Clients have the right to confidentiality and to be provided with an explanation of its limits (including how supervisors and/or treatment or interdisciplinary team professionals are involved), to obtain clear information about their records, to participate in the ongoing counseling plans, and to refuse any services or modality changes and to be advised of the consequences of such refusal.

Section A The Counseling


Introduction Counselors facilitate client growth and development in ways that foster the interest and welfare of clients and promote formation of healthy relation- ships. Trust is the cornerstone of the counseling relationship, and counselors have the responsibility to respect and safeguard the client’s right to privacy and confidentiality. Counselors actively attempt to understand the diverse cul- tural backgrounds of the clients they serve. Counselors also explore their own cultural identities and how these affect their values and beliefs about the coun- seling process. Additionally, counselors are encouraged to contribute to society by devoting a portion of their profes- sional activities for little or no financial return (pro bono publico).

A.1. Client Welfare A.1.a. Primary Responsibility

The primary responsibility of counsel- ors is to respect the dignity and promote the welfare of clients.

A.1.b. Records and Documentation

Counselors create, safeguard, and maintain documentation necessary for rendering professional services. Regardless of the medium, counselors include sufficient and timely docu- mentation to facilitate the delivery and continuity of services. Counselors take reasonable steps to ensure that documentation accurately reflects cli- ent progress and services provided. If amendments are made to records and documentation, counselors take steps to properly note the amendments according to agency or institutional policies.

A.1.c. Counseling Plans Counselors and their clients work jointly in devising counseling plans that offer reasonable promise of success and are consistent with the abilities, temperament, developmental level, and circumstances of clients. Counselors and clients regularly re- view and revise counseling plans to assess their continued viability and effectiveness, respecting clients’ free- dom of choice.



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A.4.b. Personal Values Counselors are aware of—and avoid imposing—their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Counselors respect the diversity of clients, train- ees, and research participants and seek training in areas in which they are at risk of imposing their values onto clients, especially when the counselor ’s values are inconsistent with the client’s goals or are discrimina- tory in nature.

A.5. Prohibited Noncounseling Roles and Relationships

A.5.a. Sexual and/or Romantic Relationships Prohibited

Sexual and/or romantic counselor– client interactions or relationships with current clients, their romantic partners, or their family members are prohibited. This prohibition applies to both in- person and electronic interactions or relationships.

A.5.b. Previous Sexual and/or Romantic Relationships

Counselors are prohibited from engag- ing in counseling relationships with persons with whom they have had a previous sexual and/or romantic relationship.

A.5.c. Sexual and/or Romantic Relationships With Former Clients

Sexual and/or romantic counselor– client interactions or relationships with former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members are prohibited for a period of 5 years following the last professional contact. This prohibition applies to both in-person and electronic interactions or relationships. Counsel- ors, before engaging in sexual and/or romantic interactions or relationships with former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members, dem- onstrate forethought and document (in written form) whether the interaction or relationship can be viewed as exploitive in any way and/or whether there is still potential to harm the former client; in cases of potential exploitation and/or harm, the counselor avoids entering into such an interaction or relationship.

A.5.d. Friends or Family Members

Counselors are prohibited from engaging in counseling relationships with friends or family members with whom they have an inability to remain objective.

A.5.e. Personal Virtual Relationships With Current Clients

Counselors are prohibited from engaging in a personal virtual re- lationship with individuals with whom they have a current counseling relationship (e.g., through social and other media).

A.6. Managing and Maintaining Boundaries and Professional Relationships

A.6.a. Previous Relationships Counselors consider the risks and benefits of accepting as clients those with whom they have had a previous relationship. These potential clients may include individuals with whom the counselor has had a casual, distant, or past relationship. Examples include mutual or past membership in a pro- fessional association, organization, or community. When counselors accept these clients, they take appropriate pro- fessional precautions such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs.

A.6.b. Extending Counseling Boundaries

Counselors consider the risks and benefits of extending current counsel- ing relationships beyond conventional parameters. Examples include attend- ing a client’s formal ceremony (e.g., a wedding/commitment ceremony or graduation), purchasing a service or product provided by a client (excepting unrestricted bartering), and visiting a cli- ent’s ill family member in the hospital. In extending these boundaries, counselors take appropriate professional precau- tions such as informed consent, consul- tation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no harm occurs.

A.6.c. Documenting Boundary Extensions

If counselors extend boundaries as described in A.6.a. and A.6.b., they must officially document, prior to the interaction (when feasible), the rationale for such an interaction, the potential benefit, and anticipated consequences for the client or former client and other individuals significantly involved with the client or former client. When un- intentional harm occurs to the client or former client, or to an individual

significantly involved with the client or former client, the counselor must show evidence of an attempt to remedy such harm.

A.6.d. Role Changes in the Professional Relationship

When counselors change a role from the original or most recent contracted relationship, they obtain informed consent from the client and explain the client’s right to refuse services related to the change. Examples of role changes include, but are not limited to

1. changing from individual to re- lationship or family counseling, or vice versa;

2. changing from an evaluative role to a therapeutic role, or vice versa; and

3. changing from a counselor to a mediator role, or vice versa.

Clients must be fully informed of any anticipated consequences (e.g., financial, legal, personal, therapeutic) of counselor role changes.

A.6.e. Nonprofessional Interactions or Relationships (Other Than Sexual or Romantic Interactions or Relationships)

Counselors avoid entering into non- professional relationships with former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members when the interaction is potentially harmful to the client. This applies to both in-person and electronic interactions or relationships.

A.7. Roles and Relationships at Individual, Group, Institutional, and Societal Levels

A.7.a. Advocacy When appropriate, counselors advocate at individual, group, institutional, and societal levels to address potential bar- riers and obstacles that inhibit access and/or the growth and development of clients.

A.7.b. Confidentiality and Advocacy

Counselors obtain client consent prior to engaging in advocacy efforts on be- half of an identifiable client to improve the provision of services and to work toward removal of systemic barriers or obstacles that inhibit client access, growth, and development.



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being harmed by continued counseling. Counselors may terminate counseling when in jeopardy of harm by the client or by another person with whom the cli- ent has a relationship, or when clients do not pay fees as agreed upon. Counselors provide pretermination counseling and recommend other service providers when necessary.

A.11.d. Appropriate Transfer of Services

When counselors transfer or refer clients to other practitioners, they ensure that appropriate clinical and administra- tive processes are completed and open communication is maintained with both clients and practitioners.

A.12. Abandonment and Client Neglect Counselors do not abandon or neglect clients in counseling. Counselors assist in making appropriate arrangements for the continuation of treatment, when neces- sary, during interruptions such as vaca- tions, illness, and following termination.

Section B Confidentiality

and Privacy

Introduction Counselors recognize that trust is a cor- nerstone of the counseling relationship. Counselors aspire to earn the trust of cli- ents by creating an ongoing partnership, establishing and upholding appropriate boundaries, and maintaining confi- dentiality. Counselors communicate the parameters of confidentiality in a culturally competent manner.

B.1. Respecting Client Rights B.1.a. Multicultural/Diversity

Considerations Counselors maintain awareness and sen- sitivity regarding cultural meanings of confidentiality and privacy. Counselors respect differing views toward disclosure of information. Counselors hold ongo- ing discussions with clients as to how, when, and with whom information is to be shared.

B.1.b. Respect for Privacy Counselors respect the privacy of prospective and current clients. Coun- selors request private information from clients only when it is beneficial to the counseling process.

A.8. Multiple Clients When a counselor agrees to provide counseling services to two or more persons who have a relationship, the counselor clarifies at the outset which person or persons are clients and the nature of the relationships the counselor will have with each involved person. If it becomes apparent that the counselor may be called upon to perform poten- tially conflicting roles, the counselor will clarify, adjust, or withdraw from roles appropriately.

A.9. Group Work A.9.a. Screening

Counselors screen prospective group counseling/therapy participants. To the extent possible, counselors select members whose needs and goals are compatible with the goals of the group, who will not impede the group process, and whose well-being will not be jeop- ardized by the group experience.

A.9.b. Protecting Clients In a group setting, counselors take rea- sonable precautions to protect clients from physical, emotional, or psychologi- cal trauma.

A.10. Fees and Business Practices

A.10.a. Self-Referral Counselors working in an organization (e.g., school, agency, institution) that provides counseling services do not refer clients to their private practice unless the policies of a particular orga- nization make explicit provisions for self-referrals. In such instances, the cli- ents must be informed of other options open to them should they seek private counseling services.

A.10.b. Unacceptable Business Practices

Counselors do not participate in fee splitting, nor do they give or receive commissions, rebates, or any other form of remuneration when referring clients for professional services.

A.10.c. Establishing Fees In establishing fees for professional counseling services, counselors con- sider the financial status of clients and locality. If a counselor’s usual fees cre- ate undue hardship for the client, the counselor may adjust fees, when legally permissible, or assist the client in locat- ing comparable, affordable services.

A.10.d. Nonpayment of Fees If counselors intend to use collection agencies or take legal measures to col-

lect fees from clients who do not pay for services as agreed upon, they include such information in their informed consent documents and also inform clients in a timely fashion of intended actions and offer clients the opportunity to make payment.

A.10.e. Bartering Counselors may barter only if the bar- tering does not result in exploitation or harm, if the client requests it, and if such arrangements are an accepted practice among professionals in the community. Counselors consider the cultural implications of bartering and discuss relevant concerns with clients and document such agreements in a clear written contract.

A.10.f. Receiving Gifts Counselors understand the challenges of accepting gifts from clients and rec- ognize that in some cultures, small gifts are a token of respect and gratitude. When determining whether to accept a gift from clients, counselors take into account the therapeutic relationship, the monetary value of the gift, the client’s motivation for giving the gift, and the counselor’s motivation for wanting to accept or decline the gift.

A.11. Termination and Referral

A.11.a. Competence Within Termination and Referral

If counselors lack the competence to be of professional assistance to clients, they avoid entering or continuing counseling relationships. Counselors are knowledgeable about culturally and clinically appropriate referral resources and suggest these alternatives. If clients decline the suggested referrals, counsel- ors discontinue the relationship.

A.11.b. Values Within Termination and Referral

Counselors refrain from referring pro- spective and current clients based solely on the counselor’s personally held val- ues, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Counselors respect the diversity of clients and seek training in areas in which they are at risk of imposing their values onto clients, especially when the counselor’s values are inconsistent with the client’s goals or are discriminatory in nature.

A.11.c. Appropriate Termination Counselors terminate a counseling re- lationship when it becomes reasonably apparent that the client no longer needs assistance, is not likely to benefit, or is



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B.1.c. Respect for Confidentiality

Counselors protect the confidential information of prospective and current clients. Counselors disclose information only with appropriate consent or with sound legal or ethical justification.

B.1.d. Explanation of Limitations

At initiation and throughout the counsel- ing process, counselors inform clients of the limitations of confidentiality and seek to identify situations in which confiden- tiality must be breached.

B.2. Exceptions B.2.a. Serious and Foreseeable

Harm and Legal Requirements

The general requirement that counsel- ors keep information confidential does not apply when disclosure is required to protect clients or identified others from serious and foreseeable harm or when legal requirements demand that confidential information must be re- vealed. Counselors consult with other professionals when in doubt as to the validity of an exception. Additional considerations apply when addressing end-of-life issues.

B.2.b. Confidentiality Regarding End-of-Life Decisions

Counselors who provide services to terminally ill individuals who are con- sidering hastening their own deaths have the option to maintain confidentiality, depending on applicable laws and the specific circumstances of the situation and after seeking consultation or super- vision from appropriate professional and legal parties.

B.2.c. Contagious, Life- Threatening Diseases

When clients disclose that they have a disease commonly known to be both communicable and life threatening, counselors may be justified in disclos- ing information to identifiable third parties, if the parties are known to be at serious and foreseeable risk of con- tracting the disease. Prior to making a disclosure, counselors assess the intent of clients to inform the third parties about their disease or to engage in any behaviors that may be harmful to an identifiable third party. Counselors adhere to relevant state laws concern- ing disclosure about disease status.

B.2.d. Court-Ordered Disclosure When ordered by a court to release confidential or privileged information

without a client’s permission, coun- selors seek to obtain written, informed consent from the client or take steps to prohibit the disclosure or have it limited as narrowly as possible because of po- tential harm to the client or counseling relationship.

B.2.e. Minimal Disclosure To the extent possible, clients are informed before confidential infor- mation is disclosed and are involved in the disclosure decision-making process. When circumstances require the disclosure of confidential infor- mation, only essential information is revealed.

B.3. Information Shared With Others

B.3.a. Subordinates Counselors make every effort to ensure that privacy and confidentiality of clients are maintained by subordi- nates, including employees, supervisees, students, clerical assistants, and volunteers.

B.3.b. Interdisciplinary Teams When services provided to the client involve participation by an interdisci- plinary or treatment team, the client will be informed of the team’s existence and composition, information being shared, and the purposes of sharing such information.

B.3.c. Confidential Settings Counselors discuss confidential infor- mation only in settings in which they can reasonably ensure client privacy.

B.3.d. Third-Party Payers Counselors disclose information to third-party payers only when clients have authorized such disclosure.

B.3.e. Transmitting Confidential Information

Counselors take precautions to ensure the confidentiality of all information transmitted through the use of any medium.

B.3.f. Deceased Clients Counselors protect the confidentiality of deceased clients, consistent with le- gal requirements and the documented preferences of the client.

B.4. Groups and Families B.4.a. Group Work

In group work, counselors clearly explain the importance and param- eters of confidentiality for the specific group.

B.4.b. Couples and Family Counseling

In couples and family counseling, coun- selors clearly define who is considered “the client” and discuss expectations and limitations of confidentiality. Counselors seek agreement and document in writing such agreement among all involved parties regarding the confidentiality of informa- tion. In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, the couple or family is considered to be the client.

B.5. Clients Lacking Capacity to Give Informed Consent

B.5.a. Responsibility to Clients When counseling minor clients or adult clients who lack the capacity to give voluntary, informed consent, counselors protect the confidentiality of informa- tion received—in any medium—in the counseling relationship as specified by federal and state laws, written policies, and applicable ethical standards.

B.5.b. Responsibility to Parents and Legal Guardians

Counselors inform parents and legal guardians about the role of counselors and the confidential nature of the coun- seling relationship, consistent with cur- rent legal and custodial arrangements. Counselors are sensitive to the cultural diversity of families and respect the inherent rights and responsibilities of parents/guardians regarding the wel- fare of their children/charges according to law. Counselors work to establish, as appropriate, collaborative relation- ships with parents/guardians to best serve clients.

B.5.c. Release of Confidential Information

When counseling minor clients or adult clients who lack the capacity to give voluntary consent to release confidential information, counselors seek permission from an appropriate third party to disclose information. In such instances, counselors inform clients consistent with their level of understanding and take appropriate measures to safeguard client confi- dentiality.

B.6. Records and Documentation

B.6.a. Creating and Maintaining Records and Documentation

Counselors create and maintain records and documentation necessary for ren- dering professional services.



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B.6.i. Reasonable Precautions Counselors take reasonable precautions to protect client confidentiality in the event of the counselor’s termination of practice, incapacity, or death and ap- point a records custodian when identi- fied as appropriate.

B.7. Case Consultation B.7.a. Respect for Privacy

Information shared in a consulting relationship is discussed for profes- sional purposes only. Written and oral reports present only data germane to the purposes of the consultation, and every effort is made to protect client identity and to avoid undue invasion of privacy.

B.7.b. Disclosure of Confidential Information

When consulting with colleagues, counselors do not disclose confidential information that reasonably could lead to the identification of a client or other person or organization with whom they have a confidential relationship unless they have obtained the prior consent of the person or organization or the disclosure cannot be avoided. They disclose information only to the extent necessary to achieve the purposes of the consultation.

Section C Professional


Introduction Counselors aspire to open, honest, and accurate communication in deal- ing with the public and other profes- sionals. Counselors facilitate access to counseling services, and they practice in a nondiscriminatory manner within the boundaries of professional and personal competence; they also have a responsibility to abide by the ACA Code of Ethics. Counselors actively participate in local, state, and national associations that foster the develop- ment and improvement of counseling. Counselors are expected to advocate to promote changes at the individual, group, institutional, and societal lev- els that improve the quality of life for individuals and groups and remove potential barriers to the provision or access of appropriate services being of- fered. Counselors have a responsibility to the public to engage in counseling practices that are based on rigorous re-

B.6.b. Confidentiality of Records and Documentation

Counselors ensure that records and documentation kept in any medium are secure and that only authorized persons have access to them.

B.6.c. Permission to Record Counselors obtain permission from cli- ents prior to recording sessions through electronic or other means.

B.6.d. Permission to Observe Counselors obtain permission from cli- ents prior to allowing any person to ob- serve counseling sessions, review session transcripts, or view recordings of sessions with supervisors, faculty, peers, or others within the training environment.

B.6.e. Client Access Counselors provide reasonable access to records and copies of records when requested by competent clients. Coun- selors limit the access of clients to their records, or portions of their records, only when there is compelling evidence that such access would cause harm to the client. Counselors document the request of clients and the rationale for withholding some or all of the records in the files of clients. In situations involving multiple clients, counselors provide individual clients with only those parts of records that relate directly to them and do not include confidential information related to any other client.

B.6.f. Assistance With Records When clients request access to their re- cords, counselors provide assistance and consultation in interpreting counseling records.

B.6.g. Disclosure or Transfer Unless exceptions to confidentiality exist, counselors obtain written permis- sion from clients to disclose or transfer records to legitimate third parties. Steps are taken to ensure that receivers of counseling records are sensitive to their confidential nature.

B.6.h. Storage and Disposal After Termination

Counselors store records following ter- mination of services to ensure reasonable future access, maintain records in ac- cordance with federal and state laws and statutes such as licensure laws and policies governing records, and dispose of client records and other sensitive materials in a manner that protects client confidentiality. Counselors apply careful discretion and deliberation before destroying records that may be needed by a court of law, such as notes on child abuse, suicide, sexual harassment, or violence.

search methodologies. Counselors are encouraged to contribute to society by devoting a portion of their professional activity to services for which there is little or no financial return (pro bono publico). In addition, counselors engage in self-care activities to maintain and promote their own emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being to best meet their professional responsibilities.

C.1. Knowledge of and Compliance With Standards Counselors have a responsibility to read, understand, and follow the ACA Code of Ethics and adhere to applicable laws and regulations.

C.2. Professional Competence C.2.a. Boundaries of

Competence Counselors practice only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, super- vised experience, state and national professional credentials, and appropri- ate professional experience. Whereas multicultural counseling competency is required across all counseling specialties, counselors gain knowledge, personal awareness, sensitivity, dispositions, and skills pertinent to being a culturally competent counselor in working with a diverse client population.

C.2.b. New Specialty Areas of Practice

Counselors practice in specialty areas new to them only after appropriate education, training, and supervised experience. While developing skills in new specialty areas, counselors take steps to ensure the competence of their work and protect others from possible harm.

C.2.c. Qualified for Employment Counselors accept employment only for positions for which they are quali- fied given their education, training, supervised experience, state and national professional credentials, and appropriate professional experience. Counselors hire for professional coun- seling positions only individuals who are qualified and competent for those positions.

C.2.d. Monitor Effectiveness Counselors continually monitor their effec- tiveness as professionals and take steps to improve when necessary. Counselors take reasonable steps to seek peer supervision to evaluate their efficacy as counselors.



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C.2.e. Consultations on Ethical Obligations

Counselors take reasonable steps to consult with other counselors, the ACA Ethics and Professional Standards Department, or related professionals when they have questions regarding their ethical obligations or professional practice.

C.2.f. Continuing Education Counselors recognize the need for con- tinuing education to acquire and main- tain a reasonable level of awareness of current scientific and professional information in their fields of activity. Counselors maintain their competence in the skills they use, are open to new procedures, and remain informed re- garding best practices for working with diverse populations.

C.2.g. Impairment Counselors monitor themselves for signs of impairment from their own physical, mental, or emotional problems and refrain from offering or providing professional services when impaired. They seek assistance for problems that reach the level of professional impair- ment, and, if necessary, they limit, suspend, or terminate their professional responsibilities until it is determined that they may safely resume their work. Counselors assist colleagues or supervisors in recognizing their own professional impairment and provide consultation and assistance when war- ranted with colleagues or supervisors showing signs of impairment and intervene as appropriate to prevent imminent harm to clients.

C.2.h. Counselor Incapacitation, Death, Retirement, or Termination of Practice

Counselors prepare a plan for the trans- fer of clients and the dissemination of records to an identified colleague or records custodian in the case of the counselor’s incapacitation, death, retire- ment, or termination of practice.

C.3. Advertising and Soliciting Clients

C.3.a. Accurate Advertising When advertising or otherwise rep- resenting their services to the public, counselors identify their credentials in an accurate manner that is not false, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent.

C.3.b. Testimonials Counselors who use testimonials do not solicit them from current clients, former clients, or any other persons who

may be vulnerable to undue influence. Counselors discuss with clients the implications of and obtain permission for the use of any testimonial.

C.3.c. Statements by Others When feasible, counselors make reason- able efforts to ensure that statements made by others about them or about the counseling profession are accurate.

C.3.d. Recruiting Through Employment

Counselors do not use their places of employment or institutional affiliation to recruit clients, supervisors, or consultees for their private practices.

C.3.e. Products and Training Advertisements

Counselors who develop products related to their profession or conduct workshops or training events ensure that the advertisements concerning these products or events are accurate and disclose adequate information for consumers to make informed choices.

C.3.f. Promoting to Those Served Counselors do not use counseling, teaching, training, or supervisory rela- tionships to promote their products or training events in a manner that is de- ceptive or would exert undue influence on individuals who may be vulnerable. However, counselor educators may adopt textbooks they have authored for instructional purposes.

C.4. Professional Qualifications C.4.a. Accurate Representation

Counselors claim or imply only profes- sional qualifications actually completed and correct any known misrepresenta- tions of their qualifications by others. Counselors truthfully represent the qual- ifications of their professional colleagues. Counselors clearly distinguish between paid and volunteer work experience and accurately describe their continuing education and specialized training.

C.4.b. Credentials Counselors claim only licenses or certifica- tions that are current and in good standing.

C.4.c. Educational Degrees Counselors clearly differentiate be- tween earned and honorary degrees.

C.4.d. Implying Doctoral-Level Competence

Counselors clearly state their highest earned degree in counseling or a closely related field. Counselors do not imply doctoral-level competence when pos- sessing a master’s degree in counseling or a related field by referring to them-

selves as “Dr.” in a counseling context when their doctorate is not in counsel- ing or a related field. Counselors do not use “ABD” (all but dissertation) or other such terms to imply competency.

C.4.e. Accreditation Status Counselors accurately represent the accreditation status of their degree pro- gram and college/university.

C.4.f. Professional Membership Counselors clearly differentiate between current, active memberships and former memberships in associations. Members of ACA must clearly differentiate be- tween professional membership, which implies the possession of at least a mas- ter’s degree in counseling, and regular membership, which is open to indi- viduals whose interests and activities are consistent with those of ACA but are not qualified for professional membership.

C.5. Nondiscrimination Counselors do not condone or engage in discrimination against prospective or current clients, students, employees, su- pervisees, or research participants based on age, culture, disability, ethnicity, race, religion/spirituality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital/ partnership status, language preference, socioeconomic status, immigration status, or any basis proscribed by law.

C.6. Public Responsibility C.6.a. Sexual Harassment

Counselors do not engage in or condone sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can consist of a single intense or severe act, or multiple persistent or pervasive acts.

C.6.b. Reports to Third Parties Counselors are accurate, honest, and objective in reporting their professional activities and judgments to appropriate third parties, including courts, health insurance companies, those who are the recipients of evaluation reports, and others.

C.6.c. Media Presentations When counselors provide advice or com- ment by means of public lectures, dem- onstrations, radio or television programs, recordings, technology-based applica- tions, printed articles, mailed material, or other media, they take reasonable precautions to ensure that

1. the statements are based on ap- propriate professional counsel- ing literature and practice,

2. the statements are otherwise consistent with the ACA Code of Ethics, and



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3. the recipients of the information are not encouraged to infer that a professional counseling relation- ship has been established.

C.6.d. Exploitation of Others Counselors do not exploit others in their professional relationships.

C.6.e. Contributing to the Public Good (Pro Bono Publico)

Counselors make a reasonable effort to provide services to the public for which there is little or no financial return (e.g., speaking to groups, shar- ing professional information, offering reduced fees).

C.7. Treatment Modalities C.7.a. Scientific Basis for

Treatment When providing services, counselors use techniques/procedures/modalities that are grounded in theory and/or have an empirical or scientific foundation.

C.7.b. Development and Innovation

When counselors use developing or innovative techniques/procedures/ modalities, they explain the potential risks, benefits, and ethical considerations of using such techniques/procedures/ modalities. Counselors work to minimize any potential risks or harm when using these techniques/procedures/modalities.

C.7.c. Harmful Practices Counselors do not use techniques/pro- cedures/modalities when substantial evidence suggests harm, even if such services are requested.

C.8. Responsibility to Other Professionals

C.8.a. Personal Public Statements

When making personal statements in a public context, counselors clarify that they are speaking from their personal perspec- tives and that they are not speaking on behalf of all counselors or the profession.

Section D Relationships With Other Professionals

Introduction Professional counselors recognize that the quality of their interactions

with colleagues can influence the quality of services provided to clients. They work to become knowledgeable about colleagues within and outside the field of counseling. Counselors develop positive working relation- ships and systems of communication with colleagues to enhance services to clients.

D.1. Relationships With Colleagues, Employers, and Employees

D.1.a. Different Approaches Counselors are respectful of approaches that are grounded in theory and/or have an empirical or scientific founda- tion but may differ from their own. Counselors acknowledge the expertise of other professional groups and are respectful of their practices.

D.1.b. Forming Relationships Counselors work to develop and strengthen relationships with col- leagues from other disciplines to best serve clients.

D.1.c. Interdisciplinary Teamwork

Counselors who are members of in- terdisciplinary teams delivering mul- tifaceted services to clients remain focused on how to best serve clients. They participate in and contribute to decisions that affect the well-being of clients by drawing on the perspectives, values, and experiences of the counsel- ing profession and those of colleagues from other disciplines.

D.1.d. Establishing Professional and Ethical Obligations

Counselors who are members of inter- disciplinary teams work together with team members to clarify professional and ethical obligations of the team as a whole and of its individual members. When a team decision raises ethical concerns, counselors first attempt to resolve the concern within the team. If they cannot reach resolution among team members, counselors pursue other avenues to address their concerns consistent with client well-being.

D.1.e. Confidentiality When counselors are required by law, institutional policy, or extraordinary circumstances to serve in more than one role in judicial or administrative pro- ceedings, they clarify role expectations and the parameters of confidentiality with their colleagues.

D.1.f. Personnel Selection and Assignment

When counselors are in a position requiring personnel selection and/or assigning of responsibilities to others, they select competent staff and assign responsibilities compatible with their skills and experiences.

D.1.g. Employer Policies The acceptance of employment in an agency or institution implies that counsel- ors are in agreement with its general poli- cies and principles. Counselors strive to reach agreement with employers regard- ing acceptable standards of client care and professional conduct that allow for changes in institutional policy conducive to the growth and development of clients.

D.1.h. Negative Conditions Counselors alert their employers of inap- propriate policies and practices. They attempt to effect changes in such policies or procedures through constructive action within the organization. When such poli- cies are potentially disruptive or damaging to clients or may limit the effectiveness of services provided and change cannot be af- fected, counselors take appropriate further action. Such action may include referral to appropriate certification, accreditation, or state licensure organizations, or voluntary termination of employment.

D.1.i. Protection From Punitive Action

Counselors do not harass a colleague or employee or dismiss an employee who has acted in a responsible and ethical manner to expose inappropriate employer policies or practices.

D.2. Provision of Consultation Services

D.2.a. Consultant Competency Counselors take reasonable steps to ensure that they have the appropri- ate resources and competencies when providing consultation services. Coun- selors provide appropriate referral resources when requested or needed.

D.2.b. Informed Consent in Formal Consultation

When providing formal consultation services, counselors have an obligation to review, in writing and verbally, the rights and responsibilities of both counselors and consultees. Counselors use clear and understandable language to inform all parties involved about the purpose of the services to be provided, relevant costs, potential risks and benefits, and the limits of confidentiality.



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Section E Evaluation, Assessment,

and Interpretation

Introduction Counselors use assessment as one com- ponent of the counseling process, taking into account the clients’ personal and cultural context. Counselors promote the well-being of individual clients or groups of clients by developing and using ap- propriate educational, mental health, psychological, and career assessments.

E.1. General E.1.a. Assessment

The primary purpose of educational, mental health, psychological, and career assessment is to gather information regarding the client for a variety of purposes, including, but not limited to, client decision making, treatment planning, and forensic proceedings. As- sessment may include both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

E.1.b. Client Welfare Counselors do not misuse assessment results and interpretations, and they take reasonable steps to prevent others from misusing the information pro- vided. They respect the client’s right to know the results, the interpretations made, and the bases for counselors’ conclusions and recommendations.

E.2. Competence to Use and Interpret Assessment Instruments

E.2.a. Limits of Competence Counselors use only those testing and as- sessment services for which they have been trained and are competent. Counselors using technology-assisted test interpreta- tions are trained in the construct being measured and the specific instrument being used prior to using its technology- based application. Counselors take reason- able measures to ensure the proper use of assessment techniques by persons under their supervision.

E.2.b. Appropriate Use Counselors are responsible for the appropriate application, scoring, inter- pretation, and use of assessment instru- ments relevant to the needs of the client, whether they score and interpret such assessments themselves or use technol- ogy or other services.

E.2.c. Decisions Based on Results

Counselors responsible for decisions involving individuals or policies that are based on assessment results have a thor- ough understanding of psychometrics.

E.3. Informed Consent in Assessment

E.3.a. Explanation to Clients Prior to assessment, counselors explain the nature and purposes of assessment and the specific use of results by po- tential recipients. The explanation will be given in terms and language that the client (or other legally authorized person on behalf of the client) can understand.

E.3.b. Recipients of Results Counselors consider the client’s and/ or examinee’s welfare, explicit under- standings, and prior agreements in de- termining who receives the assessment results. Counselors include accurate and appropriate interpretations with any release of individual or group as- sessment results.

E.4. Release of Data to Qualified Personnel Counselors release assessment data in which the client is identified only with the consent of the client or the client’s legal representative. Such data are released only to persons recognized by counselors as qualified to interpret the data.

E.5. Diagnosis of Mental Disorders

E.5.a. Proper Diagnosis Counselors take special care to provide proper diagnosis of mental disorders. Assessment techniques (including personal interviews) used to determine client care (e.g., locus of treatment, type of treatment, recommended follow-up) are carefully selected and appropri- ately used.

E.5.b. Cultural Sensitivity Counselors recognize that culture affects the manner in which clients’ problems are defined and experienced. Clients’ socioeconomic and cultural experiences are considered when diag- nosing mental disorders.

E.5.c. Historical and Social Prejudices in the Diagnosis of Pathology

Counselors recognize historical and so- cial prejudices in the misdiagnosis and

pathologizing of certain individuals and groups and strive to become aware of and address such biases in themselves or others.

E.5.d. Refraining From Diagnosis

Counselors may refrain from making and/or reporting a diagnosis if they believe that it would cause harm to the client or others. Counselors carefully consider both the positive and negative implications of a diagnosis.

E.6. Instrument Selection E.6.a. Appropriateness of

Instruments Counselors carefully consider the validity, reliability, psychometric limi- tations, and appropriateness of instru- ments when selecting assessments and, when possible, use multiple forms of assessment, data, and/or instruments in forming conclusions, diagnoses, or recommendations.

E.6.b. Referral Information If a client is referred to a third party for assessment, the counselor provides specific referral questions and suf- ficient objective data about the client to ensure that appropriate assessment instruments are utilized.

E.7. Conditions of Assessment Administration

E.7.a. Administration Conditions

Counselors administer assessments under the same conditions that were established in their standardization. When assessments are not administered under standard conditions, as may be necessary to accommodate clients with disabilities, or when unusual behavior or irregularities occur during the admin- istration, those conditions are noted in interpretation, and the results may be designated as invalid or of question- able validity.

E.7.b. Provision of Favorable Conditions

Counselors provide an appropriate environment for the administration of assessments (e.g., privacy, comfort, freedom from distraction).

E.7.c. Technological Administration

Counselors ensure that technologi- cally administered assessments func- tion properly and provide clients with accurate results.



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adults who lack the capacity to give voluntary consent are being evaluated, informed written consent is obtained from a parent or guardian.

E.13.c. Client Evaluation Prohibited

Counselors do not evaluate current or former clients, clients’ romantic partners, or clients’ family members for forensic purposes. Counselors do not counsel individuals they are evaluating.

E.13.d. Avoid Potentially Harmful Relationships

Counselors who provide forensic evaluations avoid potentially harmful professional or personal relationships with family members, romantic part- ners, and close friends of individuals they are evaluating or have evaluated in the past.

Section F Supervision, Training,

and Teaching

Introduction Counselor supervisors, trainers, and educators aspire to foster meaningful and respectful professional relation- ships and to maintain appropriate boundaries with supervisees and students in both face-to-face and elec- tronic formats. They have theoretical and pedagogical foundations for their work; have knowledge of supervision models; and aim to be fair, accurate, and honest in their assessments of counselors, students, and supervisees.

F.1. Counselor Supervision and Client Welfare

F.1.a. Client Welfare A primary obligation of counseling supervisors is to monitor the services provided by supervisees. Counseling supervisors monitor client welfare and supervisee performance and profes- sional development. To fulfill these obligations, supervisors meet regularly with supervisees to review the super- visees’ work and help them become prepared to serve a range of diverse clients. Supervisees have a responsibil- ity to understand and follow the ACA Code of Ethics.

F.1.b. Counselor Credentials Counseling supervisors work to ensure that supervisees communicate their

E.7.d. Unsupervised Assessments

Unless the assessment instrument is designed, intended, and validated for self-administration and/or scoring, counselors do not permit unsupervised use.

E.8. Multicultural Issues/ Diversity in Assessment Counselors select and use with cau- tion assessment techniques normed on populations other than that of the client. Counselors recognize the effects of age, color, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, language pref- erence, religion, spirituality, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status on test administration and interpre- tation, and they place test results in proper perspective with other relevant factors.

E.9. Scoring and Interpretation of Assessments

E.9.a. Reporting When counselors report assessment re- sults, they consider the client’s personal and cultural background, the level of the client’s understanding of the results, and the impact of the results on the client. In reporting assessment results, counselors indicate reservations that exist regarding validity or reliability due to circumstances of the assessment or inappropriateness of the norms for the person tested.

E.9.b. Instruments With Insufficient Empirical Data

Counselors exercise caution when interpreting the results of instruments not having sufficient empirical data to support respondent results. The specific purposes for the use of such instruments are stated explicitly to the examinee. Counselors qualify any conclusions, di- agnoses, or recommendations made that are based on assessments or instruments with questionable validity or reliability.

E.9.c. Assessment Services Counselors who provide assessment, scoring, and interpretation services to support the assessment process confirm the validity of such interpretations. They accurately describe the purpose, norms, validity, reliability, and applica- tions of the procedures and any special qualifications applicable to their use. At all times, counselors maintain their ethical responsibility to those being assessed.

E.10. Assessment Security Counselors maintain the integrity and security of tests and assessments consistent with legal and contractual obligations. Counselors do not appro- priate, reproduce, or modify published assessments or parts thereof without acknowledgment and permission from the publisher.

E.11. Obsolete Assessment and Outdated Results Counselors do not use data or results from assessments that are obsolete or outdated for the current purpose (e.g., noncurrent versions of assessments/ instruments). Counselors make every effort to prevent the misuse of obsolete measures and assessment data by others.

E.12. Assessment Construction Counselors use established scientific procedures, relevant standards, and current professional knowledge for assessment design in the development, publication, and utilization of assess- ment techniques.

E.13. Forensic Evaluation: Evaluation for Legal Proceedings

E.13.a. Primary Obligations When providing forensic evaluations, the primary obligation of counselors is to produce objective findings that can be substantiated based on information and techniques appropriate to the evalua- tion, which may include examination of the individual and/or review of records. Counselors form professional opinions based on their professional knowledge and expertise that can be supported by the data gathered in evaluations. Counselors define the limits of their reports or testimony, especially when an examination of the individual has not been conducted.

E.13.b. Consent for Evaluation Individuals being evaluated are in- formed in writing that the relationship is for the purposes of an evaluation and is not therapeutic in nature, and enti- ties or individuals who will receive the evaluation report are identified. Coun- selors who perform forensic evalua- tions obtain written consent from those being evaluated or from their legal representative unless a court orders evaluations to be conducted without the written consent of the individuals being evaluated. When children or



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qualifications to render services to their clients.

F.1.c. Informed Consent and Client Rights

Supervisors make supervisees aware of client rights, including the protection of client privacy and confidentiality in the counseling relationship. Supervis- ees provide clients with professional disclosure information and inform them of how the supervision process influences the limits of confidential- ity. Supervisees make clients aware of who will have access to records of the counseling relationship and how these records will be stored, transmitted, or otherwise reviewed.

F.2. Counselor Supervision Competence

F.2.a. Supervisor Preparation Prior to offering supervision services, counselors are trained in supervision methods and techniques. Counselors who offer supervision services regularly pursue continuing education activities, including both counseling and supervi- sion topics and skills.

F.2.b. Multicultural Issues/ Diversity in Supervision

Counseling supervisors are aware of and address the role of multiculturalism/ diversity in the supervisory relationship.

F.2.c. Online Supervision When using technology in supervision, counselor supervisors are competent in the use of those technologies. Supervi- sors take the necessary precautions to protect the confidentiality of all information transmitted through any electronic means.

F.3. Supervisory Relationship F.3.a. Extending Conventional

Supervisory Relationships Counseling supervisors clearly define and maintain ethical professional, personal, and social relationships with their supervisees. Supervisors con- sider the risks and benefits of extend- ing current supervisory relationships in any form beyond conventional parameters. In extending these bound- aries, supervisors take appropriate professional precautions to ensure that judgment is not impaired and that no harm occurs.

F.3.b. Sexual Relationships Sexual or romantic interactions or rela- tionships with current supervisees are prohibited. This prohibition applies to

both in-person and electronic interac- tions or relationships.

F.3.c. Sexual Harassment Counseling supervisors do not con- done or subject supervisees to sexual harassment.

F.3.d. Friends or Family Members

Supervisors are prohibited from engag- ing in supervisory relationships with individuals with whom they have an inability to remain objective.

F.4. Supervisor Responsibilities

F.4.a. Informed Consent for Supervision

Supervisors are responsible for incor- porating into their supervision the principles of informed consent and participation. Supervisors inform su- pervisees of the policies and procedures to which supervisors are to adhere and the mechanisms for due process appeal of individual supervisor actions. The issues unique to the use of distance supervision are to be included in the documentation as necessary.

F.4.b. Emergencies and Absences

Supervisors establish and communi- cate to supervisees procedures for con- tacting supervisors or, in their absence, alternative on-call supervisors to assist in handling crises.

F.4.c. Standards for Supervisees Supervisors make their supervisees aware of professional and ethical standards and legal responsibilities.

F.4.d. Termination of the Supervisory Relationship

Supervisors or supervisees have the right to terminate the supervisory relationship with adequate notice. Rea- sons for considering termination are discussed, and both parties work to resolve differences. When termination is warranted, supervisors make appro- priate referrals to possible alternative supervisors.

F.5. Student and Supervisee Responsibilities

F.5.a. Ethical Responsibilities Students and supervisees have a re- sponsibility to understand and follow the ACA Code of Ethics. Students and supervisees have the same obligation to clients as those required of professional counselors.

F.5.b. Impairment Students and supervisees monitor themselves for signs of impairment from their own physical, mental, or emotional problems and refrain from offering or providing professional services when such impairment is likely to harm a client or others. They notify their faculty and/or supervi- sors and seek assistance for problems that reach the level of professional impairment, and, if necessary, they limit, suspend, or terminate their professional responsibilities until it is determined that they may safely resume their work.

F.5.c. Professional Disclosure Before providing counseling services, students and supervisees disclose their status as supervisees and explain how this status affects the limits of confidentiality. Supervisors ensure that clients are aware of the services rendered and the qualifications of the students and supervisees rendering those services. Students and super- visees obtain client permission before they use any information concerning the counseling relationship in the training process.

F.6. Counseling Supervision Evaluation, Remediation, and Endorsement

F.6.a. Evaluation Supervisors document and provide supervisees with ongoing feedback regarding their performance and schedule periodic formal evaluative sessions throughout the supervisory relationship.

F.6.b. Gatekeeping and Remediation

Through initial and ongoing evalua- tion, supervisors are aware of super- visee limitations that might impede performance. Supervisors assist su- pervisees in securing remedial assis- tance when needed. They recommend dismissal from training programs, applied counseling settings, and state or voluntary professional credential- ing processes when those supervisees are unable to demonstrate that they can provide competent professional services to a range of diverse clients. Supervisors seek consultation and document their decisions to dismiss or refer supervisees for assistance. They ensure that supervisees are aware of options available to them to address such decisions.



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F.6.c. Counseling for Supervisees

If supervisees request counseling, the supervisor assists the supervisee in identifying appropriate services. Su- pervisors do not provide counseling services to supervisees. Supervisors address interpersonal competencies in terms of the impact of these issues on clients, the supervisory relationship, and professional functioning.

F.6.d. Endorsements Supervisors endorse supervisees for certification, licensure, employment, or completion of an academic or train- ing program only when they believe that supervisees are qualified for the endorsement. Regardless of qualifi- cations, supervisors do not endorse supervisees whom they believe to be impaired in any way that would inter- fere with the performance of the duties associated with the endorsement.

F.7. Responsibilities of Counselor Educators

F.7.a. Counselor Educators Counselor educators who are respon- sible for developing, implementing, and supervising educational programs are skilled as teachers and practitio- ners. They are knowledgeable regard- ing the ethical, legal, and regulatory aspects of the profession; are skilled in applying that knowledge; and make students and supervisees aware of their responsibilities. Whether in traditional, hybrid, and/or online formats, counselor educators conduct counselor education and training programs in an ethical manner and serve as role models for professional behavior.

F.7.b. Counselor Educator Competence

Counselors who function as counselor educators or supervisors provide in- struction within their areas of knowl- edge and competence and provide instruction based on current informa- tion and knowledge available in the profession. When using technology to deliver instruction, counselor educators develop competence in the use of the technology.

F.7.c. Infusing Multicultural Issues/Diversity

Counselor educators infuse material related to multiculturalism/diver- sity into all courses and workshops for the development of professional counselors.

F.7.d. Integration of Study and Practice

In traditional, hybrid, and/or online formats, counselor educators establish education and training programs that integrate academic study and super- vised practice.

F.7.e. Teaching Ethics Throughout the program, counselor educators ensure that students are aware of the ethical responsibilities and standards of the profession and the ethical responsibilities of students to the profession. Counselor educators infuse ethical considerations throughout the curriculum.

F.7.f. Use of Case Examples The use of client, student, or supervisee information for the purposes of case ex- amples in a lecture or classroom setting is permissible only when (a) the client, student, or supervisee has reviewed the material and agreed to its presentation or (b) the information has been suf- ficiently modified to obscure identity.

F.7.g. Student-to-Student Supervision and Instruction

When students function in the role of counselor educators or supervisors, they understand that they have the same ethical obligations as counselor educators, trainers, and supervisors. Counselor educators make every effort to ensure that the rights of students are not compromised when their peers lead experiential counseling activities in tra- ditional, hybrid, and/or online formats (e.g., counseling groups, skills classes, clinical supervision).

F.7.h. Innovative Theories and Techniques

Counselor educators promote the use of techniques/procedures/modalities that are grounded in theory and/or have an empirical or scientific founda- tion. When counselor educators discuss developing or innovative techniques/ procedures/modalities, they explain the potential risks, benefits, and ethical con- siderations of using such techniques/ procedures/modalities.

F.7.i. Field Placements Counselor educators develop clear policies and provide direct assistance within their training programs regard- ing appropriate field placement and other clinical experiences. Counselor educators provide clearly stated roles and responsibilities for the student or supervisee, the site supervisor, and the program supervisor. They confirm that

site supervisors are qualified to provide supervision in the formats in which services are provided and inform site supervisors of their professional and ethical responsibilities in this role.

F.8. Student Welfare F.8.a. Program Information and

Orientation Counselor educators recognize that program orientation is a developmen- tal process that begins upon students’ initial contact with the counselor educa- tion program and continues throughout the educational and clinical training of students. Counselor education fac- ulty provide prospective and current students with information about the counselor education program’s expecta- tions, including

1. the values and ethical principles of the profession;

2. the type and level of skill and knowledge acquisition required for successful completion of the training;

3. technology requirements; 4. program training goals, objectives,

and mission, and subject matter to be covered;

5. bases for evaluation; 6. training components that encour-

age self-growth or self-disclosure as part of the training process;

7. the type of supervision settings and requirements of the sites for required clinical field experiences;

8. student and supervisor evalua- tion and dismissal policies and procedures; and

9. up-to-date employment pros- pects for graduates.

F.8.b. Student Career Advising Counselor educators provide career advisement for their students and make them aware of opportunities in the field.

F.8.c. Self-Growth Experiences Self-growth is an expected component of counselor education. Counselor edu- cators are mindful of ethical principles when they require students to engage in self-growth experiences. Counselor educators and supervisors inform stu- dents that they have a right to decide what information will be shared or withheld in class.

F.8.d. Addressing Personal Concerns

Counselor educators may require stu- dents to address any personal concerns that have the potential to affect profes- sional competency.



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F.11.b. Student Diversity Counselor educators actively attempt to recruit and retain a diverse student body. Counselor educators demonstrate commitment to multicultural/diversity competence by recognizing and valuing the diverse cultures and types of abili- ties that students bring to the training experience. Counselor educators pro- vide appropriate accommodations that enhance and support diverse student well-being and academic performance.

F.11.c. Multicultural/Diversity Competence

Counselor educators actively infuse multicultural/diversity competency in their training and supervision practices. They actively train students to gain awareness, knowledge, and skills in the competencies of multicultural practice.

Section G Research and Publication

Introduction Counselors who conduct research are encouraged to contribute to the knowl- edge base of the profession and promote a clearer understanding of the condi- tions that lead to a healthy and more just society. Counselors support the efforts of researchers by participating fully and willingly whenever possible. Counselors minimize bias and respect diversity in designing and implement- ing research.

G.1. Research Responsibilities G.1.a. Conducting Research

Counselors plan, design, conduct, and report research in a manner that is con- sistent with pertinent ethical principles, federal and state laws, host institutional regulations, and scientific standards governing research.

G.1.b. Confidentiality in Research

Counselors are responsible for under- standing and adhering to state, federal, agency, or institutional policies or appli- cable guidelines regarding confidential- ity in their research practices.

G.1.c. Independent Researchers When counselors conduct independent research and do not have access to an institutional review board, they are bound to the same ethical principles and

F.9. Evaluation and Remediation

F.9.a. Evaluation of Students Counselor educators clearly state to stu- dents, prior to and throughout the train- ing program, the levels of competency expected, appraisal methods, and timing of evaluations for both didactic and clini- cal competencies. Counselor educators provide students with ongoing feedback regarding their performance throughout the training program.

F.9.b. Limitations Counselor educators, through ongoing evaluation, are aware of and address the inability of some students to achieve counseling competencies. Counselor educators do the following:

1. assist students in securing reme- dial assistance when needed,

2. seek professional consultation and document their decision to dismiss or refer students for assistance, and

3. ensure that students have recourse in a timely manner to address decisions requiring them to seek assistance or to dismiss them and provide students with due process according to institutional policies and procedures.

F.9.c. Counseling for Students If students request counseling, or if counseling services are suggested as part of a remediation process, counselor educators assist students in identifying appropriate services.

F.10. Roles and Relationships Between Counselor Educators and Students

F.10.a. Sexual or Romantic Relationships

Counselor educators are prohibited from sexual or romantic interactions or relationships with students currently enrolled in a counseling or related pro- gram and over whom they have power and authority. This prohibition applies to both in-person and electronic interac- tions or relationships.

F.10.b. Sexual Harassment Counselor educators do not condone or subject students to sexual harassment.

F.10.c. Relationships With Former Students

Counselor educators are aware of the power differential in the relationship between faculty and students. Faculty

members discuss with former students potential risks when they consider engaging in social, sexual, or other in- timate relationships.

F.10.d. Nonacademic Relationships

Counselor educators avoid nonacademic relationships with students in which there is a risk of potential harm to the student or which may compromise the training experience or grades assigned. In addition, counselor educators do not accept any form of professional services, fees, commissions, reimbursement, or remuneration from a site for student or supervisor placement.

F.10.e. Counseling Services Counselor educators do not serve as counselors to students currently enrolled in a counseling or related pro- gram and over whom they have power and authority.

F.10.f. Extending Educator– Student Boundaries

Counselor educators are aware of the power differential in the relationship between faculty and students. If they believe that a nonprofessional relation- ship with a student may be potentially beneficial to the student, they take pre- cautions similar to those taken by counselors when working with clients. Examples of potentially beneficial in- teractions or relationships include, but are not limited to, attending a formal ceremony; conducting hospital visits; providing support during a stressful event; or maintaining mutual mem- bership in a professional association, organization, or community. Coun- selor educators discuss with students the rationale for such interactions, the potential benefits and drawbacks, and the anticipated consequences for the student. Educators clarify the specific nature and limitations of the additional role(s) they will have with the student prior to engaging in a nonprofessional relationship. Nonprofessional relation- ships with students should be time limited and/or context specific and initiated with student consent.

F.11. Multicultural/Diversity Competence in Counselor Education and Training Programs

F.11.a. Faculty Diversity Counselor educators are committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty.



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federal and state laws pertaining to the review of their plan, design, conduct, and reporting of research.

G.1.d. Deviation From Standard Practice

Counselors seek consultation and ob- serve stringent safeguards to protect the rights of research participants when research indicates that a deviation from standard or acceptable practices may be necessary.

G.1.e. Precautions to Avoid Injury

Counselors who conduct research are responsible for their participants’ wel- fare throughout the research process and should take reasonable precautions to avoid causing emotional, physical, or social harm to participants.

G.1.f. Principal Researcher Responsibility

The ultimate responsibility for ethical research practice lies with the principal researcher. All others involved in the re- search activities share ethical obligations and responsibility for their own actions.

G.2. Rights of Research Participants

G.2.a. Informed Consent in Research

Individuals have the right to decline requests to become research partici- pants. In seeking consent, counselors use language that 1. accurately explains the purpose

and procedures to be followed; 2. identifies any procedures that

are experimental or relatively untried;

3. describes any attendant discom- forts, risks, and potential power differentials between researchers and participants;

4. describes any benefits or changes in individuals or organizations that might reasonably be expected;

5. discloses appropriate alternative procedures that would be advan- tageous for participants;

6. offers to answer any inquiries concerning the procedures;

7. describes any limitations on confidentiality;

8. describes the format and potential target audiences for the dissemi- nation of research findings; and

9. instructs participants that they are free to withdraw their con- sent and discontinue participa- tion in the project at any time, without penalty.

G.2.b. Student/Supervisee Participation

Researchers who involve students or supervisees in research make clear to them that the decision regarding par- ticipation in research activities does not affect their academic standing or supervisory relationship. Students or supervisees who choose not to partici- pate in research are provided with an appropriate alternative to fulfill their academic or clinical requirements.

G.2.c. Client Participation Counselors conducting research involv- ing clients make clear in the informed consent process that clients are free to choose whether to participate in re- search activities. Counselors take neces- sary precautions to protect clients from adverse consequences of declining or withdrawing from participation.

G.2.d. Confidentiality of Information

Information obtained about research participants during the course of re- search is confidential. Procedures are implemented to protect confidentiality.

G.2.e. Persons Not Capable of Giving Informed Consent

When a research participant is not capable of giving informed consent, counselors provide an appropriate explanation to, obtain agreement for participation from, and obtain the ap- propriate consent of a legally authorized person.

G.2.f. Commitments to Participants

Counselors take reasonable measures to honor all commitments to research participants.

G.2.g. Explanations After Data Collection

After data are collected, counselors provide participants with full clarifi- cation of the nature of the study to re- move any misconceptions participants might have regarding the research. Where scientific or human values justify delaying or withholding infor- mation, counselors take reasonable measures to avoid causing harm.

G.2.h. Informing Sponsors Counselors inform sponsors, insti- tutions, and publication channels regarding research procedures and outcomes. Counselors ensure that appropriate bodies and authorities are given pertinent information and acknowledgment.

G.2.i. Research Records Custodian

As appropriate, researchers prepare and disseminate to an identified colleague or records custodian a plan for the transfer of research data in the case of their inca- pacitation, retirement, or death.

G.3. Managing and Maintaining Boundaries

G.3.a. Extending Researcher– Participant Boundaries

Researchers consider the risks and ben- efits of extending current research rela- tionships beyond conventional param- eters. When a nonresearch interaction between the researcher and the research participant may be potentially ben- eficial, the researcher must document, prior to the interaction (when feasible), the rationale for such an interaction, the potential benefit, and anticipated con- sequences for the research participant. Such interactions should be initiated with appropriate consent of the research participant. Where unintentional harm occurs to the research participant, the researcher must show evidence of an attempt to remedy such harm.

G.3.b. Relationships With Research Participants

Sexual or romantic counselor–research participant interactions or relationships with current research participants are prohibited. This prohibition applies to both in-person and electronic interactions or relationships.

G.3.c. Sexual Harassment and Research Participants

Researchers do not condone or subject re- search participants to sexual harassment.

G.4. Reporting Results G.4.a. Accurate Results

Counselors plan, conduct, and report research accurately. Counselors do not engage in misleading or fraudulent re- search, distort data, misrepresent data, or deliberately bias their results. They describe the extent to which results are applicable for diverse populations.

G.4.b. Obligation to Report Unfavorable Results

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