Code of Ethic

1 January 2017

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 members are dedicated to the enhancement of human development throughout the life span. Association members recognize diversity and embrace a cross- cultural approach in support of the worth, dignity, potential, and uniqueness of people within their social and cultural contexts. Professional values are an important way of living out an ethical commitment. Values inform principles. Inherently held values that guide our behaviors or exceed prescribed behaviors are deeply ingrained in the counselor and developed out of personal dedication, rather than the mandatory requirement of an external organization.

ACA Code of Ethics Purpose The ACA Code of Ethics serves five main purposes: 1. The Code enables the association to clarify to current and future members, and to those served by members, the nature of the ethical responsibilities held in common by its members. 2. The Code helps support the mission of the association. 3. The Code establishes principles that define ethical behavior and best practices of association members.

The Code serves as an ethical guide designed to assist members in constructing a professional course of action that best serves those utilizing counseling services and est promotes the values of the counseling profession. 5. The Code serves as the basis for processing of ethical complaints and inquiries initiated against members of the association. The ACA Code of Ethics contains eight main sections that address the following areas: Section A: The Counseling Relationship Section B: Confidentiality, Privileged Communication, 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: Resolving Ethical Issues Each section of the ACA Code of Ethics begins with an Introduction. The introductions to each section discuss what counselors should aspire to with regard to ethical behavior and responsibility. The Introduction helps set the tone for that particular section and provides a starting point that invites reflection on the ethical mandates contained in each part of the ACA Code of Ethics. When counselors are faced with ethical dilemmas that are difficult to resolve, they are expected to engage in a carefully considered ethical decision-making process.

Reasonable differences of opinion can and do exist among counselors with respect to the ways in which values, ethical principles, and ethical standards would be applied when they conflict. While there is no specific ethical decision-making model that is most effective, counselors are expected to be familiar with a credible model of decision making that can bear public scrutiny and its application. Through a chosen ethical decision-making process and evaluation of the context of the situation, counselors are empowered to make decisions that help expand the capacity of people to grow and develop.

A brief glossary is given to provide readers with a concise description of some of the terms used in the ACA Code of Ethics. 3 Section A The Counseling Relationship Introduction Counselors encourage client growth and development in ways that foster the interest and welfare of clients and promote formation of healthy relationships. Counselors actively attempt to understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of the clients they serve.

Counselors also explore their own cultural identities and how these affect their values and beliefs about the counseling process. Counselors are encouraged to contribute to society by devoting a portion of heir professional activity to services for which there is little or no financial return (pro bono publico). A. 1. Welfare of Those Served by Counselors A. 1. a. Primary Responsibility The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients. A. 1. b. Records Counselors maintain records necessary for rendering professional services to their clients and as required by laws, regulations, or agency or institution procedures. Counselors include sufficient and timely documentation in their client records to facilitate the delivery and continuity of needed ervices.

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