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ACA Code of Ethics

As approved by the ACA Governing Council, 2005

Contents 2. The Code helps support the mission of the association.


3. The Code establishes principles that define ethical be-
ACA Code of Ethics Preamble 235 havior and best practices of association members.
ACA Code of Ethics Purpose 235 4. The Code serves as an ethical guide designed to as-
Section A sist members in constructing a professional course of
The Counseling Relationship 236 action that best serves those utilizing counseling ser-
Section B vices and best promotes the values of the counseling
Confidentiality, Privileged Communication, profession.
and Privacy 239 5. The Code serves as the basis for processing of ethical
Section C complaints and inquiries initiated against members of
Professional Responsibility 242 the association.
Section D
The ACA Code of Ethics contains eight main sections
Relationships With Other Professionals 244
that address the following areas:
Section E
Evaluation, Assessment, and Interpretation 245 Section A: The Counseling Relationship
Section F Section B: Confidentiality, Privileged Communication,
Supervision, Training, and Teaching 247 and Privacy
Section G Section C: Professional Responsibility
Research and Publication 250 Section D: Relationships With Other Professionals
Section H Section E: Evaluation, Assessment, and Interpretation
Resolving Ethical Issues 252 Section F: Supervision, Training, and Teaching
Glossary of Terms 254 Section G: Research and Publication
Section H: Resolving Ethical Issues
ACA Code of Ethics Preamble
Each section of the ACA Code of Ethics begins with an
The American Counseling Association is an educational, Introduction. The introductions to each section discuss what
scientific, and professional organization whose members counselors should aspire to with regard to ethical behavior
work in a variety of settings and serve in multiple capacities. and responsibility. The Introduction helps set the tone for
ACA members are dedicated to the enhancement of human that particular section and provides a starting point that in-
development throughout the life span. Association members vites reflection on the ethical mandates contained in each
recognize diversity and embrace a cross-cultural approach in part of the ACA Code of Ethics.
support of the worth, dignity, potential, and uniqueness of When counselors are faced with ethical dilemmas that
people within their social and cultural contexts. are difficult to resolve, they are expected to engage in a
Professional values are an important way of living out an carefully considered ethical decision-making process. Rea-
ethical commitment. Values inform principles. Inherently sonable differences of opinion can and do exist among coun-
held values that guide our behaviors or exceed prescribed selors with respect to the ways in which values, ethical prin-
behaviors are deeply ingrained in the counselor and devel- ciples, and ethical standards would be applied when they
oped out of personal dedication, rather than the mandatory conflict. While there is no specific ethical decision-making
requirement of an external organization. model that is most effective, counselors are expected to be
familiar with a credible model of decision making that can
ACA Code of Ethics Purpose bear public scrutiny and its application.
Through a chosen ethical decision-making process and
The ACA Code of Ethics serves five main purposes:
evaluation of the context of the situation, counselors are
1. The Code enables the association to clarify to current empowered to make decisions that help expand the capacity
and future members, and to those served by members, of people to grow and develop.
the nature of the ethical responsibilities held in com- A brief glossary is given to provide readers with a concise
mon by its members. description of some of the terms used in the ACA Code of Ethics.

2006 by the American Counseling Association. All rights reserved. Note. This document may be reproduced without permission
for educational purposes.

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ACA Code of Ethics

Section A ity and effectiveness, respecting the free- poses, goals, techniques, procedures,
dom of choice of clients. (See A.2.a., limitations, potential risks, and benefits
The Counseling Relationship
A.2.d., A.12.g.) of services; the counselors qualifications,
Introduction A.1.d. Support Network credentials, and relevant experience; con-
Involvement tinuation of services upon the incapaci-
Counselors encourage client growth and
tation or death of a counselor; and other
development in ways that foster the in- Counselors recognize that support net-
pertinent information. Counselors take
terest and welfare of clients and promote works hold various meanings in the lives
steps to ensure that clients understand the
formation of healthy relationships. of clients and consider enlisting the
implications of diagnosis, the intended
Counselors actively attempt to under- support, understanding, and involve-
use of tests and reports, fees, and billing
stand the diverse cultural backgrounds ment of others (e.g., religious/spiritual/
arrangements. Clients have the right to
of the clients they serve. Counselors community leaders, family members,
confidentiality and to be provided with
also explore their own cultural identities friends) as positive resources, when ap-
an explanation of its limitations (includ-
and how these affect their values and propriate, with client consent.
ing how supervisors and/or treatment
beliefs about the counseling process. A.1.e. Employment Needs team professionals are involved); to ob-
Counselors are encouraged to con-
Counselors work with their clients con- tain clear information about their records
tribute to society by devoting a portion
sidering employment in jobs that are to participate in the ongoing counseling
of their professional activity to services
consistent with the overall abilities, plans; and to refuse any services or mo-
for which there is little or no financial
vocational limitations, physical restric- dality change and to be advised of the
return (pro bono publico).
tions, general temperament, interest and consequences of such refusal.
A.1. Welfare of Those Served aptitude patterns, social skills, educa- A.2.c. Developmental and
by Counselors tion, general qualifications, and other Cultural Sensitivity
relevant characteristics and needs of
A.1.a. Primary Responsibility Counselors communicate information in
clients. When appropriate, counselors
The primary responsibility of counse- ways that are both developmentally and
appropriately trained in career develop-
lors is to respect the dignity and to pro- culturally appropriate. Counselors use
ment will assist in the placement of cli-
mote the welfare of clients. clear and understandable language when
ents in positions that are consistent with
discussing issues related to informed
A.1.b. Records the interest, culture, and the welfare of
consent. When clients have difficulty
Counselors maintain records necessary clients, employers, and/or the public.
understanding the language used by
for rendering professional services to A.2. Informed Consent in the counselors, they provide necessary ser-
their clients and as required by laws, vices (e.g., arranging for a qualified in-
Counseling Relationship
regulations, or agency or institution terpreter or translator) to ensure compre-
(See A.12.g., B.5., B.6.b., E.3., E.13.b.,
procedures. Counselors include suffi- hension by clients. In collaboration with
F.1.c., G.2.a.)
cient and timely documentation in their clients, counselors consider cultural im-
client records to facilitate the delivery A.2.a. Informed Consent plications of informed consent proce-
and continuity of needed services. Clients have the freedom to choose dures and, where possible, counselors
Counselors take reasonable steps to en- whether to enter into or remain in a coun- adjust their practices accordingly.
sure that documentation in records ac- seling relationship and need adequate A.2.d. Inability to Give Consent
curately reflects client progress and ser- information about the counseling pro-
vices provided. If errors are made in cli- cess and the counselor. Counselors have When counseling minors or persons un-
ent records, counselors take steps to an obligation to review in writing and able to give voluntary consent, counse-
properly note the correction of such er- verbally with clients the rights and re- lors seek the assent of clients to services,
rors according to agency or institutional sponsibilities of both the counselor and and include them in decision making as
policies. (See A.12.g.7., B.6., B.6.g., the client. Informed consent is an on- appropriate. Counselors recognize the
G.2.j.) going part of the counseling process, need to balance the ethical rights of cli-
and counselors appropriately document ents to make choices, their capacity to
A.1.c. Counseling Plans give consent or assent to receive services,
discussions of informed consent
Counselors and their clients work jointly and parental or familial legal rights and
throughout the counseling relationship.
in devising integrated counseling plans responsibilities to protect these clients
that offer reasonable promise of success A.2.b. Types of Information Needed and make decisions on their behalf.
and are consistent with abilities and cir- Counselors explicitly explain to clients
cumstances of clients. Counselors and the nature of all services provided. They A.3. Clients Served by Others
clients regularly review counseling inform clients about issues such as, but When counselors learn that their clients
plans to assess their continued viabil- not limited to, the following: the pur- are in a professional relationship with

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ACA Code of Ethics

another mental health professional, they A.5.c. Nonprofessional 2. changing from a nonforensic
request release from clients to inform Interactions or Relationships evaluative role to a therapeutic
the other professionals and strive to es- (Other Than Sexual or Romantic role, or vice versa;
tablish positive and collaborative pro- Interactions or Relationships) 3. changing from a counselor to a
fessional relationships. Counselorclient nonprofessional rela- researcher role (i.e., enlisting cli-
tionships with clients, former clients, ents as research participants), or
A.4. Avoiding Harm and vice versa; and
their romantic partners, or their family
Imposing Values members should be avoided, except 4. changing from a counselor to a
A.4.a. Avoiding Harm when the interaction is potentially ben- mediator role, or vice versa.
Counselors act to avoid harming their eficial to the client. (See A.5.d.) Clients must be fully informed of any
clients, trainees, and research partici- A.5.d. Potentially Beneficial anticipated consequences (e.g., finan-
pants and to minimize or to remedy un- Interactions cial, legal, personal, or therapeutic) of
avoidable or unanticipated harm. counselor role changes.
When a counselorclient nonprofes-
A.4.b. Personal Values sional interaction with a client or former A.6. Roles and Relationships at
Counselors are aware of their own client may be potentially beneficial to
the client or former client, the counse-
Individual, Group, Institutional,
values, attitudes, beliefs, and behav-
iors and avoid imposing values that lor must document in case records, prior and Societal Levels
are inconsistent with counseling to the interaction (when feasible), the A.6.a. Advocacy
goals. Counselors respect the diver- rationale for such an interaction, the When appropriate, counselors advocate
sity of clients, trainees, and research potential benefit, and anticipated con- at individual, group, institutional, and
participants. sequences for the client or former client societal levels to examine potential bar-
and other individuals significantly in- riers and obstacles that inhibit access and/
A.5. Roles and Relationships volved with the client or former client. or the growth and development of clients.
With Clients Such interactions should be initiated
(See F.3., F.10., G.3.) A.6.b. Confidentiality and
with appropriate client consent. Where
Advocacy
A.5.a. Current Clients unintentional harm occurs to the client
or former client, or to an individual sig- Counselors obtain client consent prior
Sexual or romantic counselorclient to engaging in advocacy efforts on be-
interactions or relationships with nificantly involved with the client or
former client, due to the nonprofessional half of an identifiable client to improve
current clients, their romantic part- the provision of services and to work
ners, or their family members are interaction, the counselor must show evi-
dence of an attempt to remedy such harm. toward removal of systemic barriers or
prohibited. obstacles that inhibit client access,
Examples of potentially beneficial inter-
A.5.b. Former Clients actions include, but are not limited to, growth, and development.
Sexual or romantic counselorclient attending a formal ceremony (e.g., a wed- A.7. Multiple Clients
interactions or relationships with ding/commitment ceremony or gradua-
tion); purchasing a service or product pro- When a counselor agrees to provide
former clients, their romantic partners,
vided by a client or former client (except- counseling services to two or more per-
or their family members are prohibited
ing unrestricted bartering); hospital vis- sons who have a relationship, the coun-
for a period of 5 years following the
its to an ill family member; mutual mem- selor clarifies at the outset which per-
last professional contact. Counselors,
bership in a professional association, or- son or persons are clients and the na-
before engaging in sexual or romantic
ganization, or community. (See A.5.c.) ture of the relationships the counselor
interactions or relationships with cli-
will have with each involved person. If
ents, their romantic partners, or client A.5.e. Role Changes in the it becomes apparent that the counselor
family members after 5 years follow- Professional Relationship may be called upon to perform poten-
ing the last professional contact, dem-
When a counselor changes a role from the tially conflicting roles, the counselor
onstrate forethought and document (in
original or most recent contracted relation- will clarify, adjust, or withdraw from
written form) whether the interactions
ship, he or she obtains informed consent roles appropriately. (See A.8.a., B.4.)
or relationship can be viewed as
from the client and explains the right of
exploitive in some way and/or whether
the client to refuse services related to the A.8. Group Work
there is still potential to harm the
change. Examples of role changes include (See B.4.a.)
former client; in cases of potential ex-
ploitation and/or harm, the counselor 1. changing from individual to re- A.8.a. Screening
avoids entering such an interaction or lationship or family counseling, Counselors screen prospective group
relationship. or vice versa; counseling/therapy participants. To the

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ACA Code of Ethics

extent possible, counselors select mem- stances of the situation and after seek- ognize that in some cultures, small
bers whose needs and goals are compat- ing consultation or supervision from gifts are a token of respect and show-
ible with goals of the group, who will appropriate professional and legal par- ing gratitude. When determining
not impede the group process, and ties. (See B.5.c., B.7.c.) whether or not to accept a gift from
whose well-being will not be jeopar- clients, counselors take into account
dized by the group experience. A.10. Fees and Bartering the therapeutic relationship, the mon-
A.8.b. Protecting Clients A.10.a. Accepting Fees From etary value of the gift, a clients moti-
Agency Clients vation for giving the gift, and the
In a group setting, counselors take rea-
Counselors refuse a private fee or other counselors motivation for wanting or
sonable precautions to protect clients
remuneration for rendering services to declining the gift.
from physical, emotional, or psycho-
logical trauma. persons who are entitled to such services A.11. Termination and Referral
through the counselors employing
A.9. End-of-Life Care for A.11.a. Abandonment Prohibited
agency or institution. The policies of a
Terminally Ill Clients particular agency may make explicit Counselors do not abandon or neglect
provisions for agency clients to receive clients in counseling. Counselors assist
A.9.a. Quality of Care
counseling services from members of its in making appropriate arrangements for
Counselors strive to take measures that the continuation of treatment, when nec-
staff in private practice. In such in-
enable clients essary, during interruptions such as vaca-
stances, the clients must be informed of
1. to obtain high-quality end-of- other options open to them should they tions, illness, and following termination.
life care for their physical, emo- seek private counseling services. A.11.b. Inability to Assist Clients
tional, social, and spiritual A.10.b. Establishing Fees If counselors determine an inability to
needs; be of professional assistance to clients,
In establishing fees for professional
2. to exercise the highest degree of they avoid entering or continuing
counseling services, counselors con-
self-determination possible; counseling relationships. Counselors
sider the financial status of clients and
3. to be given every opportunity are knowledgeable about culturally
locality. In the event that the estab-
possible to engage in informed and clinically appropriate referral re-
lished fee structure is inappropriate for
decision making regarding their sources and suggest these alternatives.
a client, counselors assist clients in at-
end-of-life care; and If clients decline the suggested refer-
tempting to find comparable services
4. to receive complete and ad- rals, counselors should discontinue the
of acceptable cost.
equate assessment regarding relationship.
their ability to make competent, A.10.c. Nonpayment of Fees
A.11.c. Appropriate Termination
rational decisions on their own If counselors intend to use collection
behalf from a mental health pro- agencies or take legal measures to col- Counselors terminate a counseling re-
fessional who is experienced in lect fees from clients who do not pay for lationship when it becomes reasonably
end-of-life care practice. services as agreed upon, they first inform apparent that the client no longer needs
clients of intended actions and offer cli- assistance, is not likely to benefit, or is
A.9.b. Counselor Competence, being harmed by continued counseling.
ents the opportunity to make payment.
Choice, and Referral Counselors may terminate counseling
Recognizing the personal, moral, and A.10.d. Bartering when in jeopardy of harm by the client,
competence issues related to end-of-life Counselors may barter only if the rela- or another person with whom the client
decisions, counselors may choose to tionship is not exploitive or harmful and has a relationship, or when clients do
work or not work with terminally ill cli- does not place the counselor in an un- not pay fees as agreed upon. Counse-
ents who wish to explore their end-of- fair advantage, if the client requests it, lors provide pretermination counseling
life options. Counselors provide appro- and if such arrangements are an accepted and recommend other service providers
priate referral information to ensure that practice among professionals in the when necessary.
clients receive the necessary help. community. Counselors consider the A.11.d. Appropriate Transfer of
A.9.c. Confidentiality cultural implications of bartering and Services
discuss relevant concerns with clients
Counselors who provide services to ter- and document such agreements in a When counselors transfer or refer clients
minally ill individuals who are consid- clear written contract. to other practitioners, they ensure that
ering hastening their own deaths have appropriate clinical and administrative
A.10.e. Receiving Gifts processes are completed and open com-
the option of breaking or not breaking
confidentiality, depending on appli- Counselors understand the challenges munication is maintained with both cli-
cable laws and the specific circum- of accepting gifts from clients and rec- ents and practitioners.

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A.12. Technology Applications fidentiality of electronically 1. Regularly check that electronic


transmitted communications. links are working and profes-
A.12.a. Benefits and Limitations 2. Inform clients of all colleagues, sionally appropriate.
Counselors inform clients of the ben- supervisors, and employees, 2. Establish ways clients can con-
efits and limitations of using informa- such as Informational Technol- tact the counselor in case of tech-
tion technology applications in the ogy (IT) administrators, who nology failure.
counseling process and in business/bill- might have authorized or unau- 3. Provide electronic links to rel-
ing procedures. Such technologies in- thorized access to electronic evant state licensure and profes-
clude but are not limited to computer transmissions. sional certification boards to pro-
hardware and software, telephones, the 3. Urge clients to be aware of all au- tect consumer rights and facili-
World Wide Web, the Internet, online thorized or unauthorized users in- tate addressing ethical concerns.
assessment instruments, and other com- cluding family members and fel- 4. Establish a method for verifying
munication devices. low employees who have access client identity.
A.12.b. Technology-Assisted to any technology clients may 5. Obtain the written consent of the
Services use in the counseling process. legal guardian or other autho-
When providing technology-assisted 4. Inform clients of pertinent legal rized legal representative prior
distance counseling services, counse- rights and limitations governing to rendering services in the event
lors determine that clients are intellec- the practice of a profession over the client is a minor child, an
tually, emotionally, and physically ca- state lines or international adult who is legally incompe-
pable of using the application and that boundaries. tent, or an adult incapable of giv-
the application is appropriate for the 5. Use encrypted Web sites and e- ing informed consent.
needs of clients. mail communications to help 6. Strive to provide a site that is acces-
ensure conf identiality when sible to persons with disabilities.
A.12.c. Inappropriate Services possible. 7. Strive to provide translation ca-
When technology-assisted distance coun- 6. When the use of encryption is pabilities for clients who have a
seling services are deemed inappropriate not possible, counselors notify different primary language
by the counselor or client, counselors con- clients of this fact and limit elec- while also addressing the imper-
sider delivering services face to face. tronic transmissions to general fect nature of such translations.
A.12.d. Access communications that are not cli- 8. Assist clients in determining the va-
Counselors provide reasonable access ent specific. lidity and reliability of information
to computer applications when provid- 7. Inform clients if and for how found on the World Wide Web and
ing technology-assisted distance coun- long archival storage of trans- other technology applications.
seling services. action records are maintained.
A.12.e. Laws and Statutes
8. Discuss the possibility of tech- Section B
nology failure and alternate Confidentiality, Privileged
Counselors ensure that the use of tech- methods of service delivery. Communication, and Privacy
nology does not violate the laws of any 9. Inform clients of emergency pro-
local, state, national, or international cedures, such as calling 911 or a Introduction
entity and observe all relevant statutes. local crisis hotline, when the
Counselors recognize that trust is a cor-
A.12.f. Assistance counselor is not available.
nerstone of the counseling relationship.
Counselors seek business, legal, and 10. Discuss time zone differences,
Counselors aspire to earn the trust of
technical assistance when using tech- local customs, and cultural or
clients by creating an ongoing partner-
nology applications, particularly when language differences that might
ship, establishing and upholding appro-
the use of such applications crosses impact service delivery.
priate boundaries, and maintaining con-
state or national boundaries. 11. Inform clients when technology-
fidentiality. Counselors communicate
assisted distance counseling ser-
A.12.g. Technology and Informed the parameters of confidentiality in a
vices are not covered by insur-
Consent culturally competent manner.
ance. (See A.2.)
As part of the process of establishing A.12.h. Sites on the World Wide B.1. Respecting Client Rights
informed consent, counselors do the Web B.1.a. Multicultural/Diversity
following: Considerations
Counselors maintaining sites on the
1. Address issues related to the dif- World Wide Web (the Internet) do the Counselors maintain awareness and sen-
ficulty of maintaining the con- following: sitivity regarding cultural meanings of

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ACA Code of Ethics

confidentiality and privacy. Counselors behaviors that may be harmful to an chines, and other electronic or computer
respect differing views toward disclo- identifiable third party. technology. (See A.12.g.)
sure of information. Counselors hold B.2.c. Court-Ordered Disclosure B.3.f. Deceased Clients
ongoing discussions with clients as to
When subpoenaed to release confiden- Counselors protect the confidentiality of
how, when, and with whom information
tial or privileged information without a deceased clients, consistent with legal re-
is to be shared.
clients permission, counselors obtain quirements and agency or setting policies.
B.1.b. Respect for Privacy written, informed consent from the cli-
Counselors respect client rights to pri- ent or take steps to prohibit the disclo- B.4. Groups and Families
vacy. Counselors solicit private infor- sure or have it limited as narrowly as B.4.a. Group Work
mation from clients only when it is ben- possible due to potential harm to the In group work, counselors clearly ex-
eficial to the counseling process. client or counseling relationship. plain the importance and parameters of
B.1.c. Respect for Confidentiality B.2.d. Minimal Disclosure confidentiality for the specific group
Counselors do not share confidential in- To the extent possible, clients are in- being entered.
formation without client consent or with- formed before confidential information B.4.b. Couples and Family
out sound legal or ethical justification. is disclosed and are involved in the dis- Counseling
B.1.d. Explanation of Limitations closure decision-making process. When In couples and family counseling, coun-
At initiation and throughout the coun- circumstances require the disclosure of selors clearly define who is considered
seling process, counselors inform clients confidential information, only essential the client and discuss expectations
of the limitations of confidentiality and information is revealed. and limitations of conf identiality.
seek to identify foreseeable situations Counselors seek agreement and docu-
B.3. Information Shared With ment in writing such agreement among
in which conf identiality must be
Others all involved parties having capacity to
breached. (See A.2.b.)
B.3.a. Subordinates give consent concerning each
B.2. Exceptions Counselors make every effort to ensure individuals right to confidentiality and
B.2.a. Danger and Legal that privacy and confidentiality of cli- any obligation to preserve the confiden-
Requirements ents are maintained by subordinates, tiality of information known.
The general requirement that counse- including employees, supervisees, stu-
B.5. Clients Lacking Capacity
lors keep information confidential does dents, clerical assistants, and volunteers.
(See F.1.c.) to Give Informed Consent
not apply when disclosure is required
to protect clients or identified others B.3.b. Treatment Teams B.5.a. Responsibility to Clients
from serious and foreseeable harm or When counseling minor clients or adult
When client treatment involves a con-
when legal requirements demand that clients who lack the capacity to give
tinued review or participation by a treat-
confidential information must be re- voluntary, informed consent, counselors
ment team, the client will be informed
vealed. Counselors consult with other protect the confidentiality of informa-
of the teams existence and composi-
professionals when in doubt as to the tion received in the counseling relation-
tion, information being shared, and the
validity of an exception. Additional ship as specified by federal and state
purposes of sharing such information.
considerations apply when addressing laws, written policies, and applicable
B.3.c. Confidential Settings ethical standards.
end-of-life issues. (See A.9.c.)
Counselors discuss confidential infor-
B.2.b. Contagious, Life- B.5.b. Responsibility to Parents
mation only in settings in which they
Threatening Diseases and Legal Guardians
can reasonably ensure client privacy.
When clients disclose that they have a Counselors inform parents and legal
B.3.d. Third-Party Payers
disease commonly known to be both guardians about the role of counselors
communicable and life threatening, Counselors disclose information to and the confidential nature of the coun-
counselors may be justified in disclos- third-party payers only when clients seling relationship. Counselors are sen-
ing information to identifiable third have authorized such disclosure. sitive to the cultural diversity of fami-
parties, if they are known to be at de- B.3.e. Transmitting Confidential lies and respect the inherent rights and
monstrable and high risk of contracting Information responsibilities of parents/guardians
the disease. Prior to making a disclo- Counselors take precautions to ensure over the welfare of their children/
sure, counselors confirm that there is the confidentiality of information trans- charges according to law. Counselors
such a diagnosis and assess the intent mitted through the use of computers, work to establish, as appropriate, col-
of clients to inform the third parties electronic mail, facsimile machines, laborative relationships with parents/
about their disease or to engage in any telephones, voicemail, answering ma- guardians to best serve clients.

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B.5.c. Release of Confidential B.6.f. Disclosure or Transfer lations of privacy and confidentiality
Information Unless exceptions to confidentiality and disclose to participants any limits
When counseling minor clients or adult exist, counselors obtain written permis- of confidentiality that reasonably can
clients who lack the capacity to give sion from clients to disclose or transfer be expected. Regardless of the degree
voluntary consent to release confiden- records to legitimate third parties. Steps to which confidentiality will be main-
tial information, counselors seek permis- are taken to ensure that receivers of tained, investigators must disclose to
sion from an appropriate third party to counseling records are sensitive to their participants any limits of confidential-
disclose information. In such instances, confidential nature. (See A.3., E.4.) ity that reasonably can be expected.
counselors inform clients consistent B.6.g. Storage and Disposal (See G.2.e.)
with their level of understanding and After Termination B.7.d. Disclosure of Research
take culturally appropriate measures to Counselors store records following ter- Information
safeguard client confidentiality. mination of services to ensure reason- Counselors do not disclose confiden-
B.6. Records able future access, maintain records in tial information that reasonably could
accordance with state and federal stat- lead to the identification of a research
B.6.a. Confidentiality of Records utes governing records, and dispose of participant unless they have obtained
Counselors ensure that records are kept client records and other sensitive mate- the prior consent of the person. Use of
in a secure location and that only au- rials in a manner that protects client data derived from counseling relation-
thorized persons have access to records. confidentiality. When records are of an ships for purposes of training, research,
B.6.b. Permission to Record artistic nature, counselors obtain client or publication is confined to content
Counselors obtain permission from cli- (or guardian) consent with regard to that is disguised to ensure the anonym-
ents prior to recording sessions through handling of such records or documents. ity of the individuals involved. (See
electronic or other means. (See A.1.b.) G.2.a., G.2.d.)
B.6.c. Permission to Observe B.6.h. Reasonable Precautions B.7.e. Agreement for
Counselors obtain permission from cli- Counselors take reasonable precautions Identification
ents prior to observing counseling ses- to protect client confidentiality in the Identification of clients, students, or
sions, reviewing session transcripts, or event of the counselors termination of supervisees in a presentation or publica-
viewing recordings of sessions with su- practice, incapacity, or death. (See C.2.h.) tion is permissible only when they have
pervisors, faculty, peers, or others within reviewed the material and agreed to its
B.7. Research and Training presentation or publication. (See G.4.d.)
the training environment.
B.7.a. Institutional Approval
B.6.d. Client Access B.8. Consultation
When institutional approval is required,
Counselors provide reasonable access
counselors provide accurate information B.8.a. Agreements
to records and copies of records when
about their research proposals and ob- When acting as consultants, counselors
requested by competent clients. Coun-
tain approval prior to conducting their seek agreements among all parties involved
selors limit the access of clients to their
research. They conduct research in ac- concerning each individuals rights to con-
records, or portions of their records,
cordance with the approved research fidentiality, the obligation of each indi-
only when there is compelling evi-
protocol. vidual to preserve confidential informa-
dence that such access would cause
harm to the client. Counselors docu- B.7.b. Adherence to Guidelines tion, and the limits of confidentiality of
ment the request of clients and the ra- Counselors are responsible for under- information shared by others.
tionale for withholding some or all of standing and adhering to state, federal, B.8.b. Respect for Privacy
the record in the files of clients. In situ- agency, or institutional policies or ap- Information obtained in a consulting re-
ations involving multiple clients, plicable guidelines regarding confiden- lationship is discussed for professional
counselors provide individual clients tiality in their research practices. purposes only with persons directly in-
with only those parts of records that B.7.c. Confidentiality of volved with the case. Written and oral
related directly to them and do not in- Information Obtained in reports present only data germane to the
clude confidential information related Research purposes of the consultation, and every
to any other client. Violations of participant privacy and effort is made to protect client identity
B.6.e. Assistance With Records confidentiality are risks of participation and to avoid undue invasion of privacy.
When clients request access to their in research involving human partici- B.8.c. Disclosure of Confidential
records, counselors provide assistance pants. Investigators maintain all re- Information
and consultation in interpreting coun- search records in a secure manner. They When consulting with colleagues, coun-
seling records. explain to participants the risks of vio- selors do not disclose confidential in-

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ACA Code of Ethics

formation that reasonably could lead to on their education, training, supervised C.2.g. Impairment
the identification of a client or other experience, state and national profes- Counselors are alert to the signs of im-
person or organization with whom they sional credentials, and appropriate pro- pairment from their own physical, men-
have a confidential relationship unless fessional experience. Counselors gain tal, or emotional problems and refrain
they have obtained the prior consent of knowledge, personal awareness, sensi- from offering or providing professional
the person or organization or the dis- tivity, and skills pertinent to working services when such impairment is likely
closure cannot be avoided. They dis- with a diverse client population. (See to harm a client or others. They seek as-
close information only to the extent A.9.b., C.4.e., E.2., F.2., F.11.b.) sistance for problems that reach the level
necessary to achieve the purposes of the C.2.b. New Specialty Areas of of professional impairment, and, if nec-
consultation. (See D.2.d.) Practice essary, they limit, suspend, or terminate
Counselors practice in specialty areas new their professional responsibilities until
Section C to them only after appropriate education, such time it is determined that they may
Professional Responsibility training, and supervised experience. safely resume their work. Counselors as-
While developing skills in new specialty sist colleagues or supervisors in recog-
Introduction areas, counselors take steps to ensure the nizing their own professional impair-
Counselors aspire to open, honest, and competence of their work and to protect ment and provide consultation and as-
accurate communication in dealing with others from possible harm. (See F.6.f.) sistance when warranted with col-
the public and other professionals. They leagues or supervisors showing signs of
C.2.c. Qualified for Employment
practice in a non-discriminatory man- impairment and intervene as appropri-
Counselors accept employment only for ate to prevent imminent harm to clients.
ner within the boundaries of profes-
positions for which they are qualified (See A.11.b., F.8.b.)
sional and personal competence and
by education, training, supervised ex-
have a responsibility to abide by the ACA C.2.h. Counselor Incapacitation
perience, state and national profes-
Code of Ethics. Counselors actively par- or Termination of Practice
sional credentials, and appropriate pro-
ticipate in local, state, and national as- When counselors leave a practice, they
fessional experience. Counselors hire
sociations that foster the development follow a prepared plan for transfer of
for professional counseling positions
and improvement of counseling. Coun- clients and files. Counselors prepare
only individuals who are qualified and
selors advocate to promote change at the and disseminate to an identified col-
competent for those positions.
individual, group, institutional, and so- league or records custodian a plan for
cietal levels that improves the quality of C.2.d. Monitor Effectiveness
the transfer of clients and files in the
life for individuals and groups and re- Counselors continually monitor their case of their incapacitation, death, or
move potential barriers to the provision effectiveness as professionals and take termination of practice.
or access of appropriate services being steps to improve when necessary. Coun-
offered. Counselors have a responsibil- selors in private practice take reasonable C.3. Advertising and Soliciting
ity to the public to engage in counsel- steps to seek peer supervision as needed Clients
ing practices that are based on rigorous to evaluate their efficacy as counselors.
research methodologies. In addition, C.3.a. Accurate Advertising
C.2.e. Consultation on Ethical
counselors engage in self-care activities Obligations When advertising or otherwise repre-
to maintain and promote their emo- senting their services to the public,
Counselors take reasonable steps to con- counselors identify their credentials in
tional, physical, mental, and spiritual
sult with other counselors or related pro- an accurate manner that is not false,
well-being to best meet their profes-
fessionals when they have questions misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent.
sional responsibilities.
regarding their ethical obligations or
C.1. Knowledge of Standards professional practice. C.3.b. Testimonials
Counselors have a responsibility to read, C.2.f. Continuing Education Counselors who use testimonials do
understand, and follow the ACA Code not solicit them from current clients
Counselors recognize the need for continu-
of Ethics and adhere to applicable laws nor former clients nor any other per-
ing education to acquire and maintain a
and regulations. sons who may be vulnerable to undue
reasonable level of awareness of current
influence.
scientific and professional information in
C.2. Professional Competence C.3.c. Statements by Others
their fields of activity. They take steps to
C.2.a. Boundaries of maintain competence in the skills they use, Counselors make reasonable efforts to
Competence are open to new procedures, and keep cur- ensure that statements made by others
Counselors practice only within the rent with the diverse populations and spe- about them or the profession of counsel-
boundaries of their competence, based cific populations with whom they work. ing are accurate.

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C.3.d. Recruiting Through doctoral-level competence when only 2. is sufficiently severe or intense
Employment possessing a masters degree in coun- to be perceived as harassment to a
Counselors do not use their places of seling or a related field by referring to reasonable person in the context
employment or institutional affiliation themselves as Dr. in a counseling con- in which the behavior occurred.
to recruit or gain clients, supervisees, text when their doctorate is not in coun-
Sexual harassment can consist of a
or consultees for their private practices. seling or a related field.
single intense or severe act or multiple
C.3.e. Products and Training C.4.e. Program Accreditation persistent or pervasive acts.
Advertisements Status
C.6.b. Reports to Third Parties
Counselors who develop products re- Counselors clearly state the accredita-
Counselors are accurate, honest, and
lated to their profession or conduct work- tion status of their degree programs at
objective in reporting their professional
shops or training events ensure that the the time the degree was earned.
activities and judgments to appropriate
advertisements concerning these prod- C.4.f. Professional Membership third parties, including courts, health
ucts or events are accurate and disclose Counselors clearly differentiate be- insurance companies, those who are the
adequate information for consumers to tween current, active memberships and recipients of evaluation reports, and
make informed choices. (See C.6.d.) former memberships in associations. others. (See B.3., E.4.)
C.3.f. Promoting to Those Served Members of the American Counseling C.6.c. Media Presentations
Counselors do not use counseling, Association must clearly differentiate
When counselors provide advice or com-
teaching, training, or supervisory rela- between professional membership,
ment by means of public lectures, dem-
tionships to promote their products or which implies the possession of at least
onstrations, radio or television programs,
training events in a manner that is de- a masters degree in counseling, and
prerecorded tapes, technology-based
ceptive or would exert undue influence regular membership, which is open to
applications, printed articles, mailed
on individuals who may be vulnerable. individuals whose interests and activi-
material, or other media, they take rea-
However, counselor educators may ties are consistent with those of ACA
sonable precautions to ensure that
adopt textbooks they have authored for but are not qualified for professional
instructional purposes. membership. 1. the statements are based on ap-
propriate professional counsel-
C.4. Professional Qualifications C.5. Nondiscrimination ing literature and practice,
C.4.a. Accurate Representation Counselors do not condone or engage 2. the statements are otherwise
Counselors claim or imply only profes- in discrimination based on age, culture, consistent with the ACA Code of
sional qualif ications actually com- disability, ethnicity, race, religion/spiri- Ethics, and
pleted and correct any known misrepre- tuality, gender, gender identity, sexual 3. the recipients of the information
sentations of their qualifications by oth- orientation, marital status/partnership, are not encouraged to infer that
ers. Counselors truthfully represent the language preference, socioeconomic sta- a professional counseling rela-
qualifications of their professional col- tus, or any basis proscribed by law. Coun- tionship has been established.
leagues. Counselors clearly distinguish selors do not discriminate against cli-
between paid and volunteer work experi- ents, students, employees, supervisees, C.6.d. Exploitation of Others
ence and accurately describe their con- or research participants in a manner that Counselors do not exploit others in
tinuing education and specialized train- has a negative impact on these persons. their professional relationships. (See
ing. (See C.2.a.) C.3.e.)
C.6.Public Responsibility
C.4.b. Credentials C.6.e. Scientific Bases for
C.6.a. Sexual Harassment
Counselors claim only licenses or cer- Treatment Modalities
Counselors do not engage in or condone
tifications that are current and in good Counselors use techniques/ proce-
sexual harassment. Sexual harassment
standing. dures/modalities that are grounded in
is defined as sexual solicitation, physi-
C.4.c. Educational Degrees theory and/or have an empirical or sci-
cal advances, or verbal or nonverbal
entific foundation. Counselors who do
Counselors clearly differentiate between conduct that is sexual in nature, that
not must define the techniques/proce-
earned and honorary degrees. occurs in connection with professional
dures as unproven or developing
C.4.d. Implying Doctoral-Level activities or roles, and that either
and explain the potential risks and
Competence 1. is unwelcome, is offensive, or ethical considerations of using such
Counselors clearly state their highest creates a hostile workplace or techniques/procedures and take steps
earned degree in counseling or closely learning environment, and coun- to protect clients from possible harm.
related field. Counselors do not imply selors know or are told this; or (See A.4.a., E.5.c., E.5.d.)

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C.7. Responsibility to Other D.1.d. Confidentiality licensure organizations, or voluntary


When counselors are required by law, termination of employment.
Professionals
institutional policy, or extraordinary D.1.i. Protection From Punitive
C.7.a. Personal Public
circumstances to serve in more than one Action
Statements
role in judicial or administrative pro- Counselors take care not to harass or
When making personal statements in a ceedings, they clarify role expectations
public context, counselors clarify that they dismiss an employee who has acted in
and the parameters of confidentiality a responsible and ethical manner to ex-
are speaking from their personal perspec- with their colleagues. (See B.1.c., B.1.d.,
tives and that they are not speaking on pose inappropriate employer policies
B.2.c., B.2.d., B.3.b.) or practices.
behalf of all counselors or the profession.
D.1.e. Establishing Professional
Section D and Ethical Obligations D.2. Consultation
Relationships With Other Counselors who are members of interdis- D.2.a. Consultant Competency
Professionals ciplinary teams clarify professional and
ethical obligations of the team as a whole Counselors take reasonable steps to
Introduction and of its individual members. When a ensure that they have the appropriate
team decision raises ethical concerns, resources and competencies when pro-
Professional counselors recognize that
counselors first attempt to resolve the viding consultation services. Counse-
the quality of their interactions with
concern within the team. If they cannot lors provide appropriate referral re-
colleagues can influence the quality of
reach resolution among team members, sources when requested or needed.
services provided to clients. They work
counselors pursue other avenues to ad- (See C.2.a.)
to become knowledgeable about col-
leagues within and outside the field of dress their concerns consistent with cli- D.2.b. Understanding Consultees
counseling. Counselors develop posi- ent well-being.
When providing consultation, counse-
tive working relationships and systems D.1.f. Personnel Selection and lors attempt to develop with their
of communication with colleagues to Assignment consultees a clear understanding of
enhance services to clients. Counselors select competent staff and problem definition, goals for change,
assign responsibilities compatible with and predicted consequences of inter-
D.1. Relationships With
their skills and experiences. ventions selected.
Colleagues, Employers, and
D.1.g. Employer Policies D.2.c. Consultant Goals
Employees
The acceptance of employment in an The consulting relationship is one in
D.1.a. Different Approaches
agency or institution implies that which consultee adaptability and
Counselors are respectful of approaches counselors are in agreement with its growth toward self-direction are con-
to counseling services that differ from general policies and principles. sistently encouraged and cultivated.
their own. Counselors are respectful of Counselors strive to reach agreement
traditions and practices of other profes- D.2.d. Informed Consent in
with employers as to acceptable stan- Consultation
sional groups with which they work. dards of conduct that allow for
D.1.b. Forming Relationships changes in institutional policy con- When providing consultation, counse-
ducive to the growth and develop- lors have an obligation to review, in
Counselors work to develop and
ment of clients. writing and verbally, the rights and re-
strengthen interdisciplinary relations
sponsibilities of both counselors and
with colleagues from other disciplines D.1.h. Negative Conditions consultees. Counselors use clear and
to best serve clients.
Counselors alert their employers of in- understandable language to inform all
D.1.c. Interdisciplinary Teamwork appropriate policies and practices. They parties involved about the purpose of
Counselors who are members of inter- attempt to effect changes in such poli- the services to be provided, relevant
disciplinary teams delivering multifac- cies or procedures through constructive costs, potential risks and benefits, and
eted services to clients keep the focus action within the organization. When the limits of confidentiality. Working
on how to best serve the clients. They such policies are potentially disruptive in conjunction with the consultee,
participate in and contribute to deci- or damaging to clients or may limit the counselors attempt to develop a clear
sions that affect the well-being of cli- effectiveness of services provided and definition of the problem, goals for
ents by drawing on the perspectives, change cannot be effected, counselors change, and predicted consequences of
values, and experiences of the counsel- take appropriate further action. Such interventions that are culturally re-
ing profession and those of colleagues action may include referral to appropri- sponsive and appropriate to the needs
from other disciplines. (See A.1.a.) ate certification, accreditation, or state of consultees. (See A.2.a., A.2.b.)

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Section E ensure the proper use of psychological the consent of the client or the clients
and career assessment techniques by per- legal representative. Such data are re-
Evaluation, Assessment, and
sons under their supervision. (See A.12.) leased only to persons recognized by
Interpretation
E.2.b. Appropriate Use counselors as qualified to interpret the
Introduction data. (See B.1., B.3., B.6.b.)
Counselors are responsible for the ap-
Counselors use assessment instruments propriate application, scoring, interpre- E.5. Diagnosis of Mental
as one component of the counseling tation, and use of assessment instru- Disorders
process, taking into account the client ments relevant to the needs of the cli- E.5.a. Proper Diagnosis
personal and cultural context. Counse- ent, whether they score and interpret
lors promote the well-being of indi- such assessments themselves or use tech- Counselors take special care to provide
vidual clients or groups of clients by nology or other services. proper diagnosis of mental disorders. As-
developing and using appropriate edu- sessment techniques (including personal
E.2.c. Decisions Based on interview) used to determine client care
cational, psychological, and career as-
Results (e.g., locus of treatment, type of treatment,
sessment instruments.
Counselors responsible for decisions or recommended follow-up) are carefully
E.1. General involving individuals or policies that selected and appropriately used.
E.1.a. Assessment are based on assessment results have a E.5.b. Cultural Sensitivity
The primary purpose of educational, thorough understanding of educational,
Counselors recognize that culture affects
psychological, and career assessment is psychological, and career measurement,
the manner in which clients problems are
to provide measurements that are valid including validation criteria, assess-
defined. Clients socioeconomic and cul-
and reliable in either comparative or ment research, and guidelines for assess-
tural experiences are considered when
absolute terms. These include, but are ment development and use.
diagnosing mental disorders. (See A.2.c.)
not limited to, measurements of ability,
E.3. Informed Consent in E.5.c. Historical and Social
personality, interest, intelligence,
achievement, and performance. Coun- Assessment Prejudices in the Diagnosis of
Pathology
selors recognize the need to interpret E.3.a. Explanation to Clients
the statements in this section as apply- Counselors recognize historical and so-
Prior to assessment, counselors explain
ing to both quantitative and qualitative cial prejudices in the misdiagnosis and
the nature and purposes of assessment
assessments. pathologizing of certain individuals and
and the specific use of results by poten-
groups and the role of mental health pro-
E.1.b. Client Welfare tial recipients. The explanation will be
fessionals in perpetuating these preju-
Counselors do not misuse assessment given in the language of the client (or
dices through diagnosis and treatment.
results and interpretations, and they take other legally authorized person on be-
half of the client), unless an explicit E.5.d. Refraining From Diagnosis
reasonable steps to prevent others from
misusing the information these tech- exception has been agreed upon in ad- Counselors may refrain from making
niques provide. They respect the clients vance. Counselors consider the clients and/or reporting a diagnosis if they be-
right to know the results, the interpreta- personal or cultural context, the level lieve it would cause harm to the client
tions made, and the bases for counse- of the clients understanding of the re- or others.
lors conclusions and recommendations. sults, and the impact of the results on
the client. (See A.2., A.12.g., F.1.c.) E.6. Instrument Selection
E.2. Competence to Use and E.3.b. Recipients of Results E.6.a. Appropriateness of
Interpret Assessment Instruments
Counselors consider the examinees wel-
Instruments fare, explicit understandings, and prior
Counselors carefully consider the va-
E.2.a. Limits of Competence lidity, reliability, psychometric limita-
agreements in determining who receives
tions, and appropriateness of instru-
Counselors utilize only those testing the assessment results. Counselors in-
ments when selecting assessments.
and assessment services for which they clude accurate and appropriate interpre-
have been trained and are competent. tations with any release of individual or E.6.b. Referral Information
Counselors using technology-assisted group assessment results. (See B.2.c., B.5.) If a client is referred to a third party for
test interpretations are trained in the assessment, the counselor provides spe-
construct being measured and the spe-
E.4. Release of Data to cific referral questions and sufficient
cific instrument being used prior to us- Qualified Professionals objective data about the client to en-
ing its technology-based application. Counselors release assessment data in sure that appropriate assessment instru-
Counselors take reasonable measures to which the client is identified only with ments are utilized. (See A.9.b., B.3.)

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E.6.c. Culturally Diverse istration and interpretation, and place selors make every effort to prevent the
Populations test results in proper perspective with misuse of obsolete measures and assess-
Counselors are cautious when selecting other relevant factors. (See A.2.c., E.5.b.) ment data by others.
assessments for culturally diverse popula-
E.9. Scoring and Interpretation E.12. Assessment
tions to avoid the use of instruments that
lack appropriate psychometric properties of Assessments Construction
for the client population. (See A.2.c., E.5.b.) E.9.a. Reporting Counselors use established scientific pro-
In reporting assessment results, coun- cedures, relevant standards, and current
E.7. Conditions of Assessment selors indicate reservations that exist professional knowledge for assessment
Administration regarding validity or reliability due to design in the development, publication,
(See A.12.b, A.12.d.) circumstances of the assessment or the and utilization of educational and psy-
E.7.a. Administration Conditions inappropriateness of the norms for the chological assessment techniques.
Counselors administer assessments under person tested.
the same conditions that were established E.9.b. Research Instruments
E.13. Forensic Evaluation:
in their standardization. When assess- Counselors exercise caution when in-
Evaluation for Legal
ments are not administered under stan- terpreting the results of research instru- Proceedings
dard conditions, as may be necessary to ments not having sufficient technical E.13.a. Primary Obligations
accommodate clients with disabilities, or data to support respondent results. The When providing forensic evaluations,
when unusual behavior or irregularities specific purposes for the use of such the primary obligation of counselors is
occur during the administration, those instruments are stated explicitly to the to produce objective findings that can
conditions are noted in interpretation, and examinee. be substantiated based on information
the results may be designated as invalid E.9.c. Assessment Services and techniques appropriate to the evalu-
or of questionable validity. ation, which may include examination
Counselors who provide assessment
E.7.b. Technological scoring and interpretation services to of the individual and/or review of records.
Administration support the assessment process confirm Counselors are entitled to form profes-
Counselors ensure that administration the validity of such interpretations. sional opinions based on their profes-
programs function properly and provide They accurately describe the purpose, sional knowledge and expertise that can
clients with accurate results when tech- norms, validity, reliability, and appli- be supported by the data gathered in
nological or other electronic methods cations of the procedures and any spe- evaluations. Counselors will define the
are used for assessment administration. cial qualifications applicable to their limits of their reports or testimony, espe-
E.7.c. Unsupervised use. The public offering of an automated cially when an examination of the indi-
Assessments test interpretations service is considered vidual has not been conducted.
Unless the assessment instrument is de- a professional-to-professional consulta- E.13.b. Consent for Evaluation
signed, intended, and validated for self- tion. The formal responsibility of the Individuals being evaluated are in-
administration and/or scoring, counselors consultant is to the consultee, but the formed in writing that the relationship
do not permit inadequately supervised use. ultimate and overriding responsibility is for the purposes of an evaluation and
is to the client. (See D.2.) is not counseling in nature, and entities
E.7.d. Disclosure of Favorable
Conditions E.10. Assessment Security or individuals who will receive the
evaluation report are identified. Writ-
Prior to administration of assessments, condi- Counselors maintain the integrity and
ten consent to be evaluated is obtained
tions that produce most favorable assessment security of tests and other assessment
from those being evaluated unless a
results are made known to the examinee. techniques consistent with legal and
court orders evaluations to be conducted
contractual obligations. Counselors do
E.8. Multicultural Issues/ not appropriate, reproduce, or modify
without the written consent of individu-
Diversity in Assessment als being evaluated. When children or
published assessments or parts thereof
vulnerable adults are being evaluated,
Counselors use with caution assessment without acknowledgment and permis-
informed written consent is obtained
techniques that were normed on popu- sion from the publisher.
from a parent or guardian.
lations other than that of the client.
Counselors recognize the effects of age, E.11. Obsolete Assessments E.13.c. Client Evaluation
color, culture, disability, ethnic group, and Outdated Results Prohibited
gender, race, language preference, reli- Counselors do not use data or results Counselors do not evaluate individuals
gion, spirituality, sexual orientation, from assessments that are obsolete or for forensic purposes they currently coun-
and socioeconomic status on test admin- outdated for the current purpose. Coun- sel or individuals they have counseled in

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the past. Counselors do not accept as counseling relationship. Supervisees F.3.d. Close Relatives and
counseling clients individuals they are provide clients with professional disclo- Friends
evaluating or individuals they have evalu- sure information and inform them of how Counseling supervisors avoid accept-
ated in the past for forensic purposes. the supervision process influences the ing close relatives, romantic partners,
E.13.d. Avoid Potentially Harmful limits of confidentiality. Supervisees or friends as supervisees.
Relationships make clients aware of who will have
F.3.e. Potentially Beneficial
access to records of the counseling re-
Counselors who provide forensic evalu- Relationships
lationship and how these records will
ations avoid potentially harmful profes- Counseling supervisors are aware of the
be used. (See A.2.b., B.1.d.)
sional or personal relationships with power differential in their relationships
family members, romantic partners, and F.2. Counselor Supervision with supervisees. If they believe non-
close friends of individuals they are Competence professional relationships with a super-
evaluating or have evaluated in the past. visee may be potentially beneficial to
F.2.a. Supervisor Preparation
the supervisee, they take precautions
Section F Prior to offering clinical supervision ser-
similar to those taken by counselors
Supervision, Training, and vices, counselors are trained in supervision
when working with clients. Examples
Teaching methods and techniques. Counselors who
of potentially beneficial interactions or
offer clinical supervision services regularly
relationships include attending a formal
Introduction pursue continuing education activities in-
ceremony; hospital visits; providing
cluding both counseling and supervision
Counselors aspire to foster meaningful support during a stressful event; or mu-
topics and skills. (See C.2.a., C.2.f.)
and respectful professional relationships tual membership in a professional asso-
and to maintain appropriate boundaries F.2.b. Multicultural Issues/ ciation, organization, or community.
with supervisees and students. Counse- Diversity in Supervision Counseling supervisors engage in open
lors have theoretical and pedagogical Counseling supervisors are aware of and discussions with supervisees when they
foundations for their work and aim to be address the role of multiculturalism/di- consider entering into relationships
fair, accurate, and honest in their assess- versity in the supervisory relationship. with them outside of their roles as clini-
ments of counselors-in-training. cal and/or administrative supervisors.
F.3. Supervisory Relationships Before engaging in nonprofessional re-
F.1. Counselor Supervision F.3.a. Relationship Boundaries lationships, supervisors discuss with
and Client Welfare With Supervisees supervisees and document the rationale
F.1.a. Client Welfare Counseling supervisors clearly define for such interactions, potential benefits
A primary obligation of counseling su- and maintain ethical professional, per- or drawbacks, and anticipated conse-
pervisors is to monitor the services pro- sonal, and social relationships with their quences for the supervisee. Supervisors
vided by other counselors or counselors- supervisees. Counseling supervisors clarify the specific nature and limita-
in-training. Counseling supervisors moni- avoid nonprofessional relationships with tions of the additional role(s) they will
tor client welfare and supervisee clinical current supervisees. If supervisors must have with the supervisee.
performance and professional develop- assume other professional roles (e.g.,
clinical and administrative supervisor, F.4. Supervisor
ment. To fulfill these obligations, super-
visors meet regularly with supervisees to instructor) with supervisees, they work Responsibilities
review case notes, samples of clinical to minimize potential conflicts and ex- F.4.a. Informed Consent for
work, or live observations. Supervisees plain to supervisees the expectations and Supervision
have a responsibility to understand and responsibilities associated with each
Supervisors are responsible for incorpo-
follow the ACA Code of Ethics. role. They do not engage in any form of
rating into their supervision the prin-
nonprofessional interaction that may
F.1.b. Counselor Credentials ciples of informed consent and partici-
compromise the supervisory relationship.
Counseling supervisors work to ensure pation. Supervisors inform supervisees
F.3.b. Sexual Relationships of the policies and procedures to which
that clients are aware of the qualifica-
tions of the supervisees who render ser- Sexual or romantic interactions or rela- they are to adhere and the mechanisms
vices to the clients. (See A.2.b.) tionships with current supervisees are for due process appeal of individual
prohibited. supervisory actions.
F.1.c. Informed Consent and
Client Rights F.3.c. Sexual Harassment F.4.b. Emergencies and
Supervisors make supervisees aware of Counseling supervisors do not condone Absences
client rights including the protection of or subject supervisees to sexual harass- Supervisors establish and communicate
client privacy and confidentiality in the ment. (See C.6.a.) to supervisees procedures for contact-

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ACA Code of Ethics

ing them or, in their absence, alterna- F.5.c. Counseling for F.6.d. Teaching Ethics
tive on-call supervisors to assist in han- Supervisees Counselor educators make students and
dling crises. If supervisees request counseling, super- supervisees aware of the ethical respon-
F.4.c. Standards for Supervisees visors provide them with acceptable re- sibilities and standards of the profession
Supervisors make their supervisees aware ferrals. Counselors do not provide coun- and the ethical responsibilities of stu-
of professional and ethical standards and seling services to supervisees. Supervi- dents to the profession. Counselor edu-
legal responsibilities. Supervisors of sors address interpersonal competencies cators infuse ethical considerations
postdegree counselors encourage these in terms of the impact of these issues on throughout the curriculum. (See C.1.)
counselors to adhere to professional stan- clients, the supervisory relationship, and F.6.e. Peer Relationships
dards of practice. (See C.1.) professional functioning. (See F.3.a.)
Counselor educators make every effort to
F.4.d. Termination of the F.5.d. Endorsement ensure that the rights of peers are not com-
Supervisory Relationship Supervisors endorse supervisees for cer- promised when students or supervisees
Supervisors or supervisees have the tification, licensure, employment, or lead counseling groups or provide clini-
right to terminate the supervisory rela- completion of an academic or training cal supervision. Counselor educators take
tionship with adequate notice. Reasons program only when they believe steps to ensure that students and
for withdrawal are provided to the other supervisees are qualified for the en- supervisees understand they have the
party. When cultural, clinical, or pro- dorsement. Regardless of qualifications, same ethical obligations as counselor edu-
fessional issues are crucial to the viabil- supervisors do not endorse supervisees cators, trainers, and supervisors.
ity of the supervisory relationship, both whom they believe to be impaired in F.6.f. Innovative Theories and
parties make efforts to resolve differ- any way that would interfere with the Techniques
ences. When termination is warranted, performance of the duties associated
When counselor educators teach coun-
supervisors make appropriate referrals with the endorsement.
seling techniques/procedures that are
to possible alternative supervisors.
F.6. Responsibilities of innovative, without an empirical foun-
F.5. Counseling Supervision Counselor Educators dation, or without a well-grounded theo-
Evaluation, Remediation, and retical foundation, they define the coun-
F.6.a. Counselor Educators seling techniques/procedures as un-
Endorsement
Counselor educators who are respon- proven or developing and explain to
F.5.a. Evaluation sible for developing, implementing, and students the potential risks and ethical
Supervisors document and provide supervising educational programs are considerations of using such techniques/
supervisees with ongoing performance skilled as teachers and practitioners. procedures.
appraisal and evaluation feedback and They are knowledgeable regarding the F.6.g. Field Placements
schedule periodic formal evaluative ethical, legal, and regulatory aspects of
sessions throughout the supervisory the profession, are skilled in applying Counselor educators develop clear poli-
relationship. that knowledge, and make students and cies within their training programs re-
supervisees aware of their responsibili- garding field placement and other clini-
F.5.b. Limitations
ties. Counselor educators conduct coun- cal experiences. Counselor educators
Through ongoing evaluation and ap- provide clearly stated roles and respon-
praisal, supervisors are aware of the limi- selor education and training programs
in an ethical manner and serve as role sibilities for the student or supervisee,
tations of supervisees that might impede the site supervisor, and the program su-
performance. Supervisors assist models for professional behavior. (See
C.1., C.2.a., C.2.c.) pervisor. They confirm that site super-
supervisees in securing remedial assis- visors are qualified to provide supervi-
tance when needed. They recommend F.6.b. Infusing Multicultural sion and inform site supervisors of their
dismissal from training programs, ap- Issues/Diversity professional and ethical responsibilities
plied counseling settings, or state or Counselor educators infuse material re- in this role.
voluntary professional credentialing lated to multiculturalism/diversity into
processes when those supervisees are F.6.h. Professional Disclosure
all courses and workshops for the de-
unable to provide competent profes- velopment of professional counselors. Before initiating counseling services,
sional services. Supervisors seek con- counselors-in-training disclose their sta-
sultation and document their decisions F.6.c. Integration of Study and tus as students and explain how this sta-
to dismiss or refer supervisees for assis- Practice tus affects the limits of confidentiality.
tance. They ensure that supervisees are Counselor educators establish education Counselor educators ensure that the cli-
aware of options available to them to and training programs that integrate aca- ents at field placements are aware of the
address such decisions. (See C.2.g.) demic study and supervised practice. services rendered and the qualifications

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of the students and supervisees render- demic standards that are separate and do cies that might impede performance.
ing those services. Students and not depend on the students level of self- Counselor educators
supervisees obtain client permission disclosure. Counselor educators may require
1. assist students in securing reme-
before they use any information con- trainees to seek professional help to address
dial assistance when needed,
cerning the counseling relationship in any personal concerns that may be affect-
2. seek professional consultation
the training process. (See A.2.b.) ing their competency.
and document their decision to
F.7. Student Welfare F.8. Student Responsibilities dismiss or refer students for as-
F.8.a. Standards for Students sistance, and
F.7.a. Orientation
3. ensure that students have recourse
Counselor educators recognize that ori- Counselors-in-training have a respon-
in a timely manner to address de-
entation is a developmental process that sibility to understand and follow the
cisions to require them to seek
continues throughout the educational ACA Code of Ethics and adhere to ap-
assistance or to dismiss them and
and clinical training of students. Coun- plicable laws, regulatory policies, and
provide students with due process
seling faculty provide prospective stu- rules and policies governing profes-
according to institutional poli-
dents with information about the coun- sional staff behavior at the agency or
cies and procedures. (See C.2.g.)
selor education programs expectations: placement setting. Students have the
same obligation to clients as those re- F.9.c. Counseling for Students
1. the type and level of skill and quired of professional counselors. (See If students request counseling or if coun-
knowledge acquisition required C.1., H.1.) seling services are required as part of a
for successful completion of the F.8.b. Impairment remediation process, counselor educa-
training; tors provide acceptable referrals.
Counselors-in-training refrain from of-
2. program training goals, objec-
fering or providing counseling services
tives, and mission, and subject
when their physical, mental, or emo-
F. 10. Roles and Relationships
matter to be covered; Between Counselor Educators
tional problems are likely to harm a cli-
3. bases for evaluation;
ent or others. They are alert to the signs and Students
4. training components that encour-
of impairment, seek assistance for prob- F.10.a. Sexual or Romantic
age self-growth or self-disclosure
lems, and notify their program supervi- Relationships
as part of the training process;
sors when they are aware that they are
5. the type of supervision settings Sexual or romantic interactions or relation-
unable to effectively provide services.
and requirements of the sites for ships with current students are prohibited.
In addition, they seek appropriate pro-
required clinical field experiences; F.10.b. Sexual Harassment
fessional services for themselves to
6. student and supervisee evalua-
remediate the problems that are inter- Counselor educators do not condone or
tion and dismissal policies and
fering with their ability to provide ser- subject students to sexual harassment.
procedures; and
vices to others. (See A.1., C.2.d., C.2.g.) (See C.6.a.)
7. up-to-date employment pros-
pects for graduates. F.10.c. Relationships With
F.9. Evaluation and Former Students
F.7.b. Self-Growth Experiences Remediation of Students
Counselor education programs delineate Counselor educators are aware of the
F.9.a. Evaluation power differential in the relationship
requirements for self-disclosure or self-
growth experiences in their admission Counselors clearly state to students, prior between faculty and students. Faculty
and program materials. Counselor edu- to and throughout the training program, members foster open discussions with
cators use professional judgment when the levels of competency expected, ap- former students when considering en-
designing training experiences they con- praisal methods, and timing of evalua- gaging in a social, sexual, or other inti-
duct that require student and supervisee tions for both didactic and clinical com- mate relationship. Faculty members dis-
self-growth or self-disclosure. Students petencies. Counselor educators provide cuss with the former student how their
and supervisees are made aware of the students with ongoing performance ap- former relationship may affect the
ramifications their self-disclosure may praisal and evaluation feedback through- change in relationship.
have when counselors whose primary out the training program. F.10.d. Nonprofessional
role as teacher, trainer, or supervisor re- F.9.b. Limitations Relationships
quires acting on ethical obligations to Counselor educators, throughout ongo- Counselor educators avoid nonprofes-
the profession. Evaluative components ing evaluation and appraisal, are aware sional or ongoing professional relation-
of experiential training experiences ex- of and address the inability of some stu- ships with students in which there is a
plicitly delineate predetermined aca- dents to achieve counseling competen- risk of potential harm to the student or

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ACA Code of Ethics

that may compromise the training ex- F.11.b. Student Diversity G.1.b. Deviation From Standard
perience or grades assigned. In addition, Counselor educators actively attempt to Practice
counselor educators do not accept any recruit and retain a diverse student Counselors seek consultation and ob-
form of professional services, fees, com- body. Counselor educators demonstrate serve stringent safeguards to protect the
missions, reimbursement, or remunera- commitment to multicultural/diversity rights of research participants when a
tion from a site for student or supervi- competence by recognizing and valu- research problem suggests a deviation
see placement. ing diverse cultures and types of abili- from standard or acceptable practices.
F.10.e. Counseling Services ties students bring to the training expe- G.1.c. Independent Researchers
Counselor educators do not serve as rience. Counselor educators provide
When independent researchers do not
counselors to current students unless this appropriate accommodations that en-
have access to an Institutional Review
is a brief role associated with a training hance and support diverse student well-
Board (IRB), they should consult with
experience. being and academic performance.
researchers who are familiar with IRB pro-
F.10.f. Potentially Beneficial F.11.c. Multicultural/Diversity cedures to provide appropriate safeguards.
Relationships Competence
G.1.d. Precautions to Avoid
Counselor educators are aware of the Counselor educators actively infuse Injury
power differential in the relationship multicultural/diversity competency in
Counselors who conduct research with
between faculty and students. If they their training and supervision practices.
human participants are responsible for
believe a nonprofessional relationship They actively train students to gain
the welfare of participants throughout
with a student may be potentially ben- awareness, knowledge, and skills in the
the research process and should take rea-
eficial to the student, they take precau- competencies of multicultural practice.
sonable precautions to avoid causing
tions similar to those taken by counse- Counselor educators include case ex-
injurious psychological, emotional,
lors when working with clients. Ex- amples, role-plays, discussion ques-
physical, or social effects to participants.
amples of potentially beneficial inter- tions, and other classroom activities that
promote and represent various cultural G.1.e. Principal Researcher
actions or relationships include, but are
perspectives. Responsibility
not limited to, attending a formal cer-
emony; hospital visits; providing sup- The ultimate responsibility for ethical
port during a stressful event; or mutual Section G research practice lies with the principal
membership in a professional associa- Research and Publication researcher. All others involved in the re-
tion, organization, or community. Coun- search activities share ethical obligations
selor educators engage in open discus- Introduction and responsibility for their own actions.
sions with students when they consider Counselors who conduct research are G.1.f. Minimal Interference
entering into relationships with students encouraged to contribute to the knowl- Counselors take reasonable precautions
outside of their roles as teachers and edge base of the profession and promote to avoid causing disruptions in the lives
supervisors. They discuss with students a clearer understanding of the condi- of research participants that could be
the rationale for such interactions, the tions that lead to a healthy and more caused by their involvement in research.
potential benefits and drawbacks, and just society. Counselors support efforts G.1.g. Multicultural/Diversity
the anticipated consequences for the of researchers by participating fully and Considerations in Research
student. Educators clarify the specific willingly whenever possible. Counse-
nature and limitations of the additional lors minimize bias and respect diversity When appropriate to research goals,
role(s) they will have with the student in designing and implementing re- counselors are sensitive to incorporat-
prior to engaging in a nonprofessional search programs. ing research procedures that take into
relationship. Nonprofessional relation- account cultural considerations. They
ships with students should be time-lim- G.1. Research Responsibilities seek consultation when appropriate.
ited and initiated with student consent. G.1.a. Use of Human Research G.2. Rights of Research
F.11. Multicultural/Diversity Participants
Participants
Competence in Counselor Counselors plan, design, conduct, and
(See A.2., A.7.)
Education and Training report research in a manner that is con-
sistent with pertinent ethical principles, G.2.a. Informed Consent in
Programs Research
federal and state laws, host institutional
F.11.a. Faculty Diversity regulations, and scientific standards Individuals have the right to consent to
Counselor educators are committed to governing research with human re- become research participants. In seeking
recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty. search participants. consent, counselors use language that

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ACA Code of Ethics

1. accurately explains the purpose native to fulfill their academic or clini- ies and authorities are given pertinent
and procedures to be followed, cal requirements. information and acknowledgment.
2. identifies any procedures that G.2.d. Client Participation G.2.j. Disposal of Research
are experimental or relatively Counselors conducting research involv- Documents and Records
untried, ing clients make clear in the informed Within a reasonable period of time fol-
3. describes any attendant discom- consent process that clients are free to lowing the completion of a research
forts and risks, choose whether or not to participate in project or study, counselors take steps
4. describes any benef its or research activities. Counselors take nec- to destroy records or documents (audio,
changes in individuals or orga- essary precautions to protect clients video, digital, and written) containing
nizations that might be reason- from adverse consequences of declin- confidential data or information that
ably expected, ing or withdrawing from participation. identifies research participants. When
5. discloses appropriate alterna-
G.2.e. Confidentiality of records are of an artistic nature, research-
tive procedures that would be
Information ers obtain participant consent with re-
advantageous for participants,
Information obtained about research gard to handling of such records or docu-
6. offers to answer any inquiries
participants during the course of an in- ments. (See B.4.a., B.4.g.)
concerning the procedures,
7. describes any limitations on vestigation is confidential. When the G.3. Relationships With
confidentiality, possibility exists that others may ob-
Research Participants (When
8. describes the format and potential tain access to such information, ethical
research practice requires that the pos-
Research Involves Intensive or
target audiences for the dissemi-
nation of research findings, and sibility, together with the plans for pro- Extended Interactions)
9. instructs participants that they tecting confidentiality, be explained to G.3.a. Nonprofessional
are free to withdraw their con- participants as a part of the procedure Relationships
sent and to discontinue partici- for obtaining informed consent. Nonprofessional relationships with re-
pation in the project at any time G.2.f. Persons Not Capable of search participants should be avoided.
without penalty. Giving Informed Consent G.3.b. Relationships With
G.2.b. Deception When a person is not capable of giving Research Participants
informed consent, counselors provide an Sexual or romantic counselorresearch
Counselors do not conduct research in-
appropriate explanation to, obtain participant interactions or relationships
volving deception unless alternative
agreement for participation from, and with current research participants are
procedures are not feasible and the pro-
obtain the appropriate consent of a le- prohibited.
spective value of the research justifies
gally authorized person.
the deception. If such deception has the G.3.c. Sexual Harassment and
potential to cause physical or emotional G.2.g. Commitments to Research Participants
harm to research participants, the re- Participants
Researchers do not condone or subject
search is not conducted, regardless of Counselors take reasonable measures to research participants to sexual harassment.
prospective value. When the method- honor all commitments to research par-
ological requirements of a study neces- ticipants. (See A.2.c.) G.3.d. Potentially Beneficial
sitate concealment or deception, the Interactions
G.2.h. Explanations After Data
investigator explains the reasons for this Collection When a nonprofessional interaction
action as soon as possible during the between the researcher and the research
After data are collected, counselors pro-
debriefing. participant may be potentially benefi-
vide participants with full clarification of
cial, the researcher must document, prior
G.2.c. Student/Supervisee the nature of the study to remove any mis-
to the interaction (when feasible), the
Participation conceptions participants might have re-
rationale for such an interaction, the
garding the research. Where scientific or
Researchers who involve students or potential benefit, and anticipated con-
human values justify delaying or with-
supervisees in research make clear to sequences for the research participant.
holding information, counselors take rea-
them that the decision regarding Such interactions should be initiated
sonable measures to avoid causing harm.
whether or not to participate in research with appropriate consent of the research
activities does not affect ones academic G.2.i. Informing Sponsors participant. Where unintentional harm
standing or supervisory relationship. Counselors inform sponsors, institu- occurs to the research participant due
Students or supervisees who choose not tions, and publication channels regard- to the nonprofessional interaction, the
to participate in educational research ing research procedures and outcomes. researcher must show evidence of an at-
are provided with an appropriate alter- Counselors ensure that appropriate bod- tempt to remedy such harm.

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G.4. Reporting Results G.5. Publication G.5.h. Professional Review


G.4.a. Accurate Results G.5.a. Recognizing Contributions Counselors who review material submit-
ted for publication, research, or other
Counselors plan, conduct, and report re- When conducting and reporting research, scholarly purposes respect the confiden-
search accurately. They provide thorough counselors are familiar with and give rec- tiality and proprietary rights of those who
discussions of the limitations of their data ognition to previous work on the topic, submitted it. Counselors use care to make
and alternative hypotheses. Counselors observe copyright laws, and give full publication decisions based on valid and
do not engage in misleading or fraudu- credit to those to whom credit is due. defensible standards. Counselors review
lent research, distort data, misrepresent G.5.b. Plagiarism article submissions in a timely manner
data, or deliberately bias their results. They and based on their scope and compe-
Counselors do not plagiarize; that is,
explicitly mention all variables and con- tency in research methodologies. Coun-
they do not present another persons
ditions known to the investigator that may selors who serve as reviewers at the re-
work as their own work.
have affected the outcome of a study or quest of editors or publishers make ev-
the interpretation of data. They describe G.5.c. Review/Republication of
Data or Ideas ery effort to only review materials that
the extent to which results are applicable are within their scope of competency and
for diverse populations. Counselors fully acknowledge and use care to avoid personal biases.
G.4.b. Obligation to Report make editorial reviewers aware of prior
Unfavorable Results publication of ideas or data where such Section H
ideas or data are submitted for review Resolving Ethical Issues
Counselors report the results of any
or publication.
research of professional value. Results
that reflect unfavorably on institu- G.5.d. Contributors Introduction
tions, programs, services, prevailing Counselors give credit through joint Counselors behave in a legal, ethical, and
opinions, or vested interests are not authorship, acknowledgment, footnote moral manner in the conduct of their pro-
withheld. statements, or other appropriate means fessional work. They are aware that cli-
G.4.c. Reporting Errors to those who have contributed signifi- ent protection and trust in the profession
cantly to research or concept develop- depend on a high level of professional
If counselors discover significant er-
ment in accordance with such contribu- conduct. They hold other counselors to
rors in their published research, they
tions. The principal contributor is listed the same standards and are willing to take
take reasonable steps to correct such
first, and minor technical or profes- appropriate action to ensure that these
errors in a correction erratum, or
sional contributions are acknowledged standards are upheld.
through other appropriate publication
in notes or introductory statements. Counselors strive to resolve ethical
means.
G.5.e. Agreement of Contributors dilemmas with direct and open commu-
G.4.d. Identity of Participants nication among all parties involved and
Counselors who conduct joint research
Counselors who supply data, aid in seek consultation with colleagues and
with colleagues or students/supervisees
the research of another person, report supervisors when necessary. Counselors
establish agreements in advance regard-
research results, or make original data incorporate ethical practice into their
ing allocation of tasks, publication
available take due care to disguise daily professional work. They engage
credit, and types of acknowledgment
the identity of respective participants in ongoing professional development
that will be received.
in the absence of specific authoriza- regarding current topics in ethical and
tion from the participants to do oth- G.5.f. Student Research legal issues in counseling.
erwise. In situations where partici- For articles that are substantially based
pants self-identify their involvement on students course papers, projects, dis- H.1. Standards and the Law
in research studies, researchers take sertations or theses, and on which stu- (See F.9.a.)
active steps to ensure that data are dents have been the primary contribu- H.1.a. Knowledge
adapted/changed to protect the iden- tors, they are listed as principal authors.
Counselors understand the ACA Code
tity and welfare of all parties and that G.5.g. Duplicate Submission of Ethics and other applicable ethics
discussion of results does not cause
Counselors submit manuscripts for con- codes from other professional organi-
harm to participants.
sideration to only one journal at a time. zations or from certification and licen-
G.4.e. Replication Studies Manuscripts that are published in whole sure bodies of which they are members.
Counselors are obligated to make avail- or in substantial part in another journal or Lack of knowledge or misunderstand-
able sufficient original research data published work are not submitted for pub- ing of an ethical responsibility is not a
to qualified professionals who may lication without acknowledgment and defense against a charge of unethical
wish to replicate the study. permission from the previous publication. conduct.

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H.1.b. Conflicts Between Ethics tion or is not resolved properly, coun- H.2.f. Unwarranted Complaints
and Laws selors take further action appropriate to Counselors do not initiate, participate
If ethical responsibilities conflict with the situation. Such action might include in, or encourage the filing of ethics com-
law, regulations, or other governing le- referral to state or national committees plaints that are made with reckless dis-
gal authority, counselors make known on professional ethics, voluntary na- regard or willful ignorance of facts that
their commitment to the ACA Code of tional certification bodies, state licens- would disprove the allegation.
Ethics and take steps to resolve the con- ing boards, or to the appropriate insti-
tutional authorities. This standard does H.2.g. Unfair Discrimination
flict. If the conflict cannot be resolved Against Complainants and
by such means, counselors may adhere not apply when an intervention would
violate confidentiality rights or when Respondents
to the requirements of law, regulations,
or other governing legal authority. counselors have been retained to review Counselors do not deny persons employ-
the work of another counselor whose ment, advancement, admission to aca-
H.2. Suspected Violations professional conduct is in question. demic or other programs, tenure, or pro-
H.2.a. Ethical Behavior Expected motion based solely upon their having
H.2.d. Consultation made or their being the subject of an
Counselors expect colleagues to adhere
When uncertain as to whether a particu- ethics complaint. This does not preclude
to the ACA Code of Ethics. When coun-
lar situation or course of action may be taking action based upon the outcome
selors possess knowledge that raises
in violation of the ACA Code of Ethics, of such proceedings or considering
doubts as to whether another counselor
counselors consult with other counse- other appropriate information.
is acting in an ethical manner, they take
lors who are knowledgeable about ethics
appropriate action. (See H.2.b., H.2.c.)
and the ACA Code of Ethics, with col- H.3. Cooperation With Ethics
H.2.b. Informal Resolution leagues, or with appropriate authorities. Committees
When counselors have reason to believe H.2.e. Organizational Conflicts Counselors assist in the process of en-
that another counselor is violating or has
If the demands of an organization with forcing the ACA Code of Ethics. Coun-
violated an ethical standard, they at-
which counselors are affiliated pose a selors cooperate with investigations,
tempt first to resolve the issue informally
conflict with the ACA Code of Ethics, proceedings, and requirements of the
with the other counselor if feasible, pro-
counselors specify the nature of such ACA Ethics Committee or ethics com-
vided such action does not violate con-
conflicts and express to their supervi- mittees of other duly constituted asso-
fidentiality rights that may be involved.
sors or other responsible officials their ciations or boards having jurisdiction
H.2.c. Reporting Ethical commitment to the ACA Code of Ethics. over those charged with a violation.
Violations When possible, counselors work toward Counselors are familiar with the ACA
If an apparent violation has substan- change within the organization to al- Policies and Procedures for Processing
tially harmed, or is likely to substan- low full adherence to the ACA Code of Complaints of Ethical Violations and
tially harm, a person or organization and Ethics. In doing so, they address any use it as a reference for assisting in the
is not appropriate for informal resolu- confidentiality issues. enforcement of the ACA Code of Ethics.

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ACA Code of Ethics

Glossary of Terms
Advocacy promotion of the well-being of individuals and groups Documents any written, digital, audio, visual, or artistic recording
and of the counseling profession within systems and organiza- of the work within the counseling relationship between counse-
tions. Advocacy seeks to remove barriers and obstacles that in- lor and client.
hibit access, growth, and development. Examinee a recipient of any professional counseling service that
Assent to demonstrate agreement, when a person is otherwise not includes educational, psychological, and career appraisal utiliz-
capable or competent to give formal consent (e.g., informed con- ing qualitative or quantitative techniques.
sent) to a counseling service or plan. Forensic Evaluation any formal assessment conducted for court
Client an individual seeking or referred to the professional ser- or other legal proceedings.
vices of a counselor for help with problem resolution or decision Multicultural/Diversity Competence a capacity whereby coun-
making. selors possess cultural and diversity awareness and knowledge
Counselor a professional (or a student who is a counselor-in- about self and others, and how this awareness and knowledge is
training) engaged in a counseling practice or other counseling- applied effectively in practice with clients and client groups.
related services. Counselors fulfill many roles and responsibili- Multicultural/Diversity Counseling counseling that recognizes
ties such as counselor educators, researchers, supervisors, prac- diversity and embraces approaches that support the worth, dig-
titioners, and consultants. nity, potential, and uniqueness of individuals within their histori-
Counselor Educator a professional counselor engaged primarily cal, cultural, economic, political, and psychosocial contexts.
in developing, implementing, and supervising the educational Student an individual engaged in formal educational preparation
preparation of counselors-in-training. as a counselor-in-training.
Counselor Supervisor a professional counselor who engages in Supervisee a professional counselor or counselor-in-training
a formal relationship with a practicing counselor or counselor-in- whose counseling work or clinical skill development is being
training for the purpose of overseeing that individuals counsel- overseen in a formal supervisory relationship by a qualified
ing work or clinical skill development. trained professional.
Culture membership in a socially constructed way of living, which Supervisor counselors who are trained to oversee the professional
incorporates collective values, beliefs, norms, boundaries, and clinical work of counselors and counselors-in-training.
lifestyles that are cocreated with others who share similar Teaching all activities engaged in as part of a formal educational
worldviews comprising biological, psychosocial, historical, psy- program designed to lead to a graduate degree in counseling.
chological, and other factors. Training the instruction and practice of skills related to the counsel-
Diversity the similarities and differences that occur within and across ing profession. Training contributes to the ongoing proficiency of
cultures, and the intersection of cultural and social identities. students and professional counselors.

254 Journal of Counseling & Development Spring 2006 Volume 84