Unit 1.1 db: benefits and limitationsunit

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 Discuss the benefits and limitations of ethical codes for helping professionals. In response to your classmates, explore how the identified limitations can be considered benefits. 

My name is Micah Mann and I am the designer of the Post University Course Human 
Services 400, Ethics and Legal Practices.  This presentation is based upon chapter 1 of the 
text Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions by Corey, Corey, and Callanan.  This chapter 
is titled Introduction to Professional Ethics.

1

Laws and ethics defines the minimumLaws and ethics defines the minimum
standards society will tolerate and is
enforced by government. Specifically,
ethics represents the ideal standards set
and is enforced by professional
associations. The legal and ethical
practice of most mental health
professionals is regulated in all 50professionals is regulated in all 50
states.
State licensing laws establish the scope
of practice of professionals and how
these laws will be enforced by licensing
b dboards.

2

The major duties of regulating boards are: to determine standards for admission into the 
profession; to screen applicants applying for certification or licensure; to regulate the 
practice of psychotherapy for the public good; to conduct disciplinary proceedings involving 
violations of standards of professional conduct as defined by law. 

3

The next two slides cover some key terms related to ethics.  Values are beliefs and attitudes 
that provide direction to everyday living.  Ethics are beliefs we hold about what constitutes 
right conduct. Ethics are moral principles adopted by an individual or group to provide rules 
for right conduct. Morality is our perspectives of right and proper conduct and involves an 
evaluation of actions on the basis of some broader cultural context or religious standard 

4

Community Standards (or mores) defineCommunity Standards (or mores) define
what is considered reasonable behavior
when a case involving malpractice is
litigated. They vary on interdisciplinary,
theoretical, and geographical bases.
Reasonableness is the care that isReasonableness is the care that is
ordinarily exercised by others practicing
within that specialty in the professional
community. Professionalism has some
relationship to ethical behavior, yet it isrelationship to ethical behavior, yet it is
possible to act unprofessionally and still not
act unethically.

5

The levels of ethical practice include: Mandatory Ethics which are a level of ethical 
functioning wherein counselors comply with minimal standards, acknowledging the basic 
“musts” and “must nots” An example of Mandatory ethics is providing for informed 
consent in professional relationships.  Aspirational Ethics refer to the highest professional 
standards of conduct to which counselors can aspire.  An example is providing services pro 
bono for those in the community who cannot afford needed services 

6

It is important to understand the difference between principle ethics and virtue ethics.  
Principle Ethics focuses on moral issues with the goal of solving a particular dilemma  and 
establishing a framework to guide future ethical thinking and behavior.  This type of ethics 
asks “Is this situation unethical?” Virtue Ethics focuses on character traits of the counselor 
and non‐obligatory ideals, it asks “Am I doing what is best for my client?” 

7

There are several terms that guide the clinician towards moral decisions.  These include: 
Autonomy which is important to promote self‐determination, Beneficence which is to do 
good for others and promote the well‐being of clients, Non‐maleficence or avoid doing 
harm, Justice which is to be fair by giving equally to others and to treat others justly, 
Fidelity which is to make realistic commitments and keep these promises, and Veracity or 
to be truthful and deal honestly with clients 

8

This slide describes three models of ethical decision making.  The feminist model calls for 
maximum involvement of the client at every stage of the process.  It is based on the 
feminist principle that power should be equalized in the therapeutic relationship.  The 
transcultural integrative model addresses the need for including cultural factors in the 
process of resolving ethical dilemmas 
Finally, the social constructionist model focuses primarily on the social aspects of decision 
making in counseling , redefines the ethical decision‐making process as an interactive 
rather than an individual or intrapsychic process and places the decision in the socialrather than an individual or intrapsychic process and places the decision in the social 
context itself 

9

Here are the steps needed in making good ethical decisions
1. Identify the problem or dilemma
2. Identify the potential issues involved
3. Review the relevant ethics codes
4. Know the applicable laws and regulations
5. Obtain consultation
6. Consider possible and probable courses of action
7 Enumerate the consequences of various decisions7. Enumerate the consequences of various decisions
8. Choose what appears to be the best course of action

10

p t e r
Introduction to Professional Ethics
learning objectives
1. Identify common themes of ethics codes
2. Understand the limitations of codes of ethics
3. Describe three objectives fulfilled by codes of ethics
4. Explain the difference between law and ethics
5. Differentiate between aspirational ethics and mandatory ethics
6. Compare principle ethics and virtue ethics
7. Apply the six moral principles to ethical dilemmas
8. Recognize the steps in working through an ethical dilemma
9. Assess your attitudes and beliefs pertaining to a range of ethical and professional issues addressed in this book

Professional Codes of Ethics
Various professional organizations (counseling, social work, psychiatry, psychol- ogy, marriage and family therapy, human services) have established codes of eth- ics that provide broad guidelines for their members. The codes of these national professional organizations have similarities and also differences. Publications by
Common Themes of Codes of Ethics
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Each major mental health professional organization has its own code of ethics. Obtain a copy of the ethics code of the profession you are planning to enter and familiarize yourself with its basic standards for ethical practice. You do not need to memorize every standard, but lacking knowledge of the ethics code of your pro- fession is not an acceptable excuse for engaging in unethical behavior. The ethics codes are broad and general; they do not provide specific answers to the ethical dilemmas you will encounter. Although there are specific differences among the ethics codes of the various professional organizations, there are a number of sim- ilar themes:
• Being interested in the welfare of clients • Practicing within the scope of one’s competence • Understanding and respecting the cultural values of clients • Distinguishing between personal values and professional values • Avoiding harm and exploitation • Establishing and maintaining appropriate professional boundaries • Protecting client’s confidentiality and privacy • Practicing within an ethical and legal framework • Avoiding discrimination in providing services to clients • Striving for the highest level of ethical practice • Recognizing the importance of self-care as a basis for competent practice

Common Themes of Codes of Ethics
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Each major mental health professional organization has its own code of ethics. Obtain a copy of the ethics code of the profession you are planning to enter and familiarize yourself with its basic standards for ethical practice. You do not need to memorize every standard, but lacking knowledge of the ethics code of your pro- fession is not an acceptable excuse for engaging in unethical behavior. The ethics codes are broad and general; they do not provide specific answers to the ethical dilemmas you will encounter. Although there are specific differences among the ethics codes of the various professional organizations, there are a number of sim- ilar themes:
• Being interested in the welfare of clients • Practicing within the scope of one’s competence • Understanding and respecting the cultural values of clients • Distinguishing between personal values and professional values • Avoiding harm and exploitation • Establishing and maintaining appropriate professional boundaries • Protecting client’s confidentiality and privacy • Practicing within an ethical and legal framework • Avoiding discrimination in providing services to clients • Striving for the highest level of ethical practice • Recognizing the importance of self-care as a basis for competent practice

Using Ethics Codes as Guides
Formal ethical principles can never be substituted for an active, deliberative, and creative approach to meeting ethical responsibilities (Pope & Vasquez, 2016). Eth- ics codes cannot be applied in a rote manner because each client’s situation is unique and may call for a different solution, which demands professional judg- ment. A rule-based approach to ethics is limited in providing meaningful assistance to clinicians who are concerned with practicing at the highest level of ethical functioning.
Becoming a professional is somewhat like learning to adjust to a different culture, and both students and professionals experience an ethical acculturation process. From our perspective, practitioners are faced with assuming the respon- sibility of making ethical decisions and ultimately taking responsibility for the outcomes. This process takes time, and it should include consultation. Even with many years of field experience, consultation with colleagues provides an impor- tant check on our thinking about various ethical issues.
Herlihy and Corey (2015a) suggest that codes of ethics fulfill three objectives. The first objective is to educate professionals about sound ethical conduct. Read- ing and reflecting on the standards can help practitioners expand their aware- ness and clarify their values in dealing with the challenges of their work. Second,
ethical standards provide a mechanism for professional accountability. Practitioners are obliged not only to monitor their own behavior but also to encourage ethical conduct in their colleagues. One of the best ways for practitioners to guard the welfare of their clients or students and to protect themselves from malpractice suits is to practice within the spirit of the ethics codes. Third, codes of ethics serve as catalysts for improving practice. When practitioners interpret and apply the codes in their own practices, the questions raised help to clarify their positions on dilem- mas that do not have simple or absolute answers. You can imagine the chaos if people were to practice without guidelines so that the resolution of ethical dilem- mas rested solely with the individual clinician.
We must never forget that the primary purpose of a code of ethics is to safe- guard the welfare of clients. Ethics codes are also designed to safeguard the public and to guide professionals in their work so that they can provide the best service possible. The community standard (what professionals actually do) is generally less rigorous than the ethical standard (what professionals should do). It is important to be knowledgeable of what others in your local area and subspecialties are doing in their practices.
Ethics Codes and the Law
Ethical issues in the mental health professions are regulated by both laws and professional codes. The Committee on Professional Practice and Standards (2003) of the American Psychological Association differentiates between ethics and law as follows: ethics pertains to the standards that govern the conduct of its profes- sional members; law is the body of rules that govern the affairs of people within a community, state, or country. Laws define the minimum standards society will tolerate, which are enforced by government. An example of a minimum standard is the legal obligation mental health professionals have to report suspected child abuse. The law can also encourage us to work toward changing societal attitudes, for example, to prevent child abuse rather than merely to report it.
All of the codes of ethics state that practitioners are obligated to act in accor- dance with relevant federal and state statutes and government regulations. In a court case, the law generally overrules ethics. As ethical mental health practition- ers, however, we can advocate for social justice both with and on behalf of our cli- ents and the communities we serve. Practitioners should be able to identify legal problems as they arise in their work because many of the situations they encounter that involve ethical and professional judgment will also have legal implications.
Remley and Herlihy (2016) note that counselors sometimes have difficulty determining when there is a legal problem, or what to do with a legal issue once it has been identified. To clarify whether a legal issue is involved, it is important to assess the situation to determine if any of the following apply: (a) legal proceedings have been initiated, (b) lawyers are involved, or (c) the practitioner is in danger of having a complaint filed against him or her for misconduct. When confronted with a legal issue, consult a lawyer to determine which course of action to take. Remley and Herlihy do not advise consulting with counselor colleagues about how to deal with legal problems because counselors rarely have expertise in legal matters. Many professional associations have attorneys who are familiar with both
egal and clinical issues, and members of these associations can use this source of consultation. Establish a working, collegial relationship with a local attorney in your state whom you can consult regarding legal issues. Some professionals have both a law degree and a mental health degree, which can be a useful resource.
Laws and ethics codes tend to emerge from what has occurred rather than from anticipating what may occur. Limiting your scope of practice to obeying statutes and following ethical standards is inadequate. We hope your behavior will not be determined by fear-based ethics. It is important to foster an attitude of concern-based ethics early in your training program, striving for the highest level of ethical care for your clients, a theme that is repeated many times throughout this book. Birrell and Bruns (2016) suggest that ethics is better viewed from a relational engagement rather than a risk management perspective. They contend that counselors need to release the fear of punishment and open themselves to authentic mutuality so that “ethics becomes relational and alive and fully integrated into each moment of the clinical encounter” (p. 396).
Ethical standards serve as a form of protection for the client, but they also help clinicians ensure their own self-care. For example, counselors sometimes strug- gle with setting limits around being helpful to others. Having clear guidelines in place can help you establish healthy boundaries for yourself, both personally and professionally.
At times you may encounter conflicts between the law and ethical princi- ples, or competing ethical standards may appear to require incompatible courses of action. In these cases the values of the counselor come into play (Barnett & Johnson, 2015). Conflict between ethics codes and the law may arise in areas such as advertising, confidentiality, and clients’ rights of access to their own files. If obeying one’s professional code of ethics would result in disobeying the law, it is a good practice to seek legal advice. A licensed mental health professional also may contact his or her professional organization’s legal department or state licens- ing board for consultation.
When laws and ethics collide, Knapp, Gottlieb, Berman, and Handelsman (2007) state that practitioners need first to verify what the law requires and deter- mine the nature of their ethical obligations. Practitioners may not understand their legal requirements and may assume a conflict exists between the law and ethics when there is no such conflict. If there is a real conflict between the law and ethics, and if the conflict cannot be avoided, “psychologists should either obey the law in a manner that minimizes harm to their ethical values or adhere to their ethical val- ues in a manner that minimizes the violation of the law” (Knapp et al., 2007, p. 55). Apparent conflicts between the law and ethics can often be avoided if clinicians anticipate problems in advance and take proactive measures.
One example of a potential conflict between legal and ethical standards involves counseling minors. This is especially true as it pertains to counseling chil- dren or adolescents in school settings. Counselors may be committed to following ethical standards in maintaining the confidentiality of the sessions with a minor, yet at times parents/legal guardians may have a legal right to information that is disclosed in these sessions. Practitioners may struggle between doing what they believe to be ethically appropriate for their client and their legal responsibilities to parents/legal guardians. When working with minors, it is necessary to be familiar
both with state laws and with school policies. Some school districts may have rules regarding breaking confidentiality about substance abuse that differ from those of a private practitioner.
Mental health providers in the military are likely to experience ethical dilemmas when obligations to clients and obligations to the military organi- zation conflict. Providers in military settings are occasionally forced to choose between client-centered therapeutic interests and organization-centered adminis- trative interests (Johnson et al., 2010). These competing obligations can generate challenging ethical dilemmas. Information that is viewed as confidential in the civilian sector may not be protected from disclosure in a military setting. A com- manding officer’s need to know about the fitness of a service member may appear to conflict with the ethical values of privacy and confidentiality. Licensed health care providers in the military may struggle with apparent conflicts between their mandated and commissioned roles as military officers and their duty to their clients (Johnson & Johnson, 2017). Strategies for successfully managing these situations can be found, and Johnson, Grasso, and Maslowski (2010) state that “genuine conflict between an ethical and legal course of action—when abiding by law will automatically violate the code of ethics or vice versa—are infrequent occurrences” (p. 552).
In ethical dilemmas involving legal issues, a wise course is to seek advice from legal counsel and to discuss the situation with colleagues familiar with the law. When neither the law nor an ethics code seems to resolve an issue, therapists are advised to consider other professional and community standards and their own conscience as well. This subject is addressed more fully in Chapters 5 and 6.
Evolution of Ethics Codes:

Codes of ethics are established by professional groups for the purpose of protecting consumers, providing guidelines for practitioners, and clarifying the professional stance of the organizations. Ethics codes undergo periodic revisions and are best viewed as living documents responsive to the needs of counselors, the clients they serve, and society in general. For example, the revised Code of Ethics of the Amer- ican Counseling Association (ACA, 2014) addresses evolving ethical issues per- taining to ethical decision making, professional values, managing and maintaining boundaries, technology, the nonimposition of counselor personal values, counselor education, and legal issues, to mention a few—all of which were in response to recent developments in the field (Kaplan et al., 2017). A new section of the code cov- ers informed consent, privacy, and security of electronic communications, distance counseling, online and research maintenance, and social media. Most professional associations revise their ethics codes every 5 to 10 years. It is necessary that the standards reflect changes in the profession and evolving social trends.
However useful the ethics codes may be, they can never replace the informed judgment and goodwill of the individual counselor. We emphasize again the need for a level of ethical functioning higher than merely following the letter of the law or the code. For instance, you might avoid a lawsuit by not paying attention to cultural diversity, but many of your ethnically diverse clients would likely suffer from your insensitive professional behavior.

Professional Monitoring of Practice:

The legal and ethical practice of most mental health professionals is regulated in all 50 states. State licensing laws establish the scope of practice of profession- als and how these laws will be enforced by licensing boards. Some psychother- apy professions are regulated through registration and certification; others, such as social workers, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, and psychologists, are regulated through licensure. The major duties of regulating boards are (1) to determine standards for admission into the profession, (2) to screen applicants applying for certification or licensure, (3) to regulate the prac- tice of psychotherapy for the public good, and (4) to conduct disciplinary pro- ceedings involving violations of standards of professional conduct as defined by law. Mental health professionals can lose their certification or license if their state regulating board finds that they have engaged in unethical practice or illegal behavior, whether personally or professionally. The topic of licensure is treated in more detail in Chapter 8.
In addition to state regulatory boards, most professional organizations have ethics committees—elected or delegated bodies that oversee the conduct of mem- bers of the organization. The main purposes of ethics committees are to educate the association’s membership about ethics codes and to protect the public from unethical practices. These committees meet regularly to process formal complaints against individual members of the professional organization, and they also revise and update their organization’s code of ethics.
When necessary, practitioners must explain to clients how to lodge an eth- ical complaint. When a complaint is lodged against a member, the committee launches an investigation and deliberates on the case. Eventually, a disposi- tion is reached. The complaint may be dismissed, specific charges within the complaint may be dismissed, or the committee may find that ethical standards have been violated and impose sanctions. Possible sanctions include a repri- mand; a recommendation that a specific course of remedial action be taken, such as obtaining ongoing supervision or personal therapy; probation or sus- pension for a specified period of time; a recommendation that the member be allowed to resign from the organization; or a recommendation that the member be expelled.
Expulsion or suspension of a member is a major sanction. Members have the right to appeal the committee’s decision. Once the appeals process has been completed or the deadline for appeal has passed, the sanctions of suspension and expulsion are communicated in writing to the members of the professional organization. Practitioners who are expelled from the association also may face the loss of their license or certificate to practice, but only if the state board con- ducts an independent investigation. Cases that result in expulsion are often seri- ous enough to involve law enforcement and criminal charges. Many cases also result in civil court proceedings, which are usually published in the local press. Mental health professionals facing ethics violations may believe they were not given fair treatment by the ethics committee, and in such cases they can respond with their perspective.
Ethical Decision Making:

health professional, practitioner, therapist, counselor, social worker, school counselor, reha- bilitation counselor, addictions counselor, community worker, couples and family ther- apist, helper, and clinician. Throughout this book, we generally use these terms interchangeably, reflecting the differing nomenclature of the various professions.
Although values and ethics are frequently used interchangeably, the two terms are not identical. Values pertains to beliefs and attitudes that provide direc- tion to everyday living, whereas ethics pertains to the beliefs we hold about what constitutes right conduct. Ethics are moral principles adopted by an individual or group to provide rules for right conduct. Morality is concerned with perspectives of right and proper conduct and involves an evaluation of actions on the basis of some broader cultural context or religious standard.
Ethics represents aspirational goals, or the maximum or ideal standards set by the profession, practiced through your professional behavior and interactions (Remley & Herlihy, 2016). Codes of ethics are conceptually broad in nature and generally subject to interpretation by practitioners. Although these minimum and maximum standards may differ, they are not necessarily in conflict.
Community standards (or mores) vary on interdisciplinary, theoretical, and geographical bases. The standard for a counselor’s social contact with clients may be different in a large urban area than in a rural area, or between practitioners employing a humanistic versus a behavioral approach. Community standards often become the ultimate legal criteria for determining whether practitioners are liable for damages. Community standards define what is considered reasonable behavior when a case involving malpractice is litigated. Courts have consistently found that mental health care providers have a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of skill, knowledge, and care. Reasonableness is usually defined as the care that is ordinarily exercised by others practicing within that specialty in the professional community.
Professionalism has some relationship to ethical behavior, yet it is possible to act unprofessionally and still not act unethically. For instance, not returning a client’s telephone calls promptly might be viewed as unprofessional, but it would probably not be considered unethical unless the client were in crisis.
Some situations cut across these concepts. For example, sexual intimacy between counselors and clients is considered unethical, unprofessional, immoral, and illegal. Keep the differences in the meanings of these various concepts in mind as you read.

Levels of Ethical Practice:

One way of conceptualizing professional ethics is to contrast mandatory ethics with aspirational ethics. Mandatory ethics describes a level of ethical functioning wherein counselors act in compliance with minimal standards, acknowledging the
basic “musts” and “must nots.” The focus is on behavioral rules, such as providing for informed consent in professional relationships. Aspirational ethics describes the highest standards of thinking and conduct professional counselors seek, and it requires that counselors do more than simply meet the letter of the ethics code. It entails an understanding of the spirit behind the code and the principles on which the code rests. Each section in the ACA’s Code of Ethics (2014) begins with an intro- duction, which sets the tone and addresses what counselors should aspire to with regard to ethical practice. Practitioners who comply at the first level, mandatory ethics, are generally safe from legal action in courts of law or professional censure by state licensure boards. At the higher level of ethical functioning, aspirational ethics, practitioners go further and reflect on the effects their interventions may have on the welfare of their clients. An example of aspirational ethics is provid- ing services for no fees (pro bono) for those in the community who cannot afford needed services.
Positive ethics focuses not only on how professionals can harm clients but on how therapists can do better at helping clients. Instead of focusing on a reme- dial approach to dealing with an ethical matter, positive ethics requires “anchor- ing all professional behavior and decisions in an overarching ethical philosophy of what psychologists can be, not simply avoiding what they should not do” (Knapp et al., 2015, p. 7). The goal of positive ethics shifts the emphasis of mental health providers away from a focus on wrongdoing and disciplinary actions and toward an articulated vision of the highest level of practice (Knapp & Vande- Creek, 2012).
When the word unethical is used, people think of extreme violations of estab- lished codes. In reality, most violations of ethics probably happen quite inadver- tently in clinical practice. The ethics codes of most professional organizations require practitioners to engage in self-monitoring and to take responsibility for misconduct. Welfel (2005) indicates that the professional literature focuses on pre- venting misconduct and on responding to serious ethical violations. However, the literature has not offered much guidance regarding minor infractions committed by professionals. Welfel states that by taking minor ethical violations seriously and by seeking honest ways to remediate such infractions, counselors can demonstrate their professionalism and personal commitment to benefiting those they serve.
Welfel’s (2005) model progresses from awareness, through reflection, to a plan of action whereby counselors can ethically repair damage when they recognize they have violated ethics codes in minor ways. She emphasizes that the first step in recovering from an ethical violation is for the practitioner to recognize that he or she has acted in a way that is likely to be ethically problematic. If a practi- tioner is not aware of the subtle ways his or her behavior can adversely affect the client, such behavior can go unnoticed, and the client will suffer. For instance, a professional who is struggling financially in her private practice may prolong the therapy of her clients and justify her actions on theoretical grounds. She is likely to ignore the fact that the prolongation of therapy is influenced by her financial situation.
Practitioners can easily find themselves in an ethical quagmire based on competing role expectations. The best way to maintain a clear ethical position is to focus on your clients’ best interests. School counselors may be so focused on
develop the network with other helping professionals needed to make productive referrals for families and students in crises. In school systems teachers and others sometimes label students and families as dysfunctional or unmotivated. The coun- selor needs to advocate and help others look for strengths and reframe limitations if progress is to be made. The counselor can be an ethical model in a system where ethics is not given much consideration.
Clients’ needs are best met when practitioners monitor their own ethics. Eth- ical violations may go undetected because only the individual who committed the violation knows about it. Rather than just looking at others and proclaiming “That’s unethical!” we encourage you to honestly examine your own thinking and apply guidelines to your behavior by asking yourself, “Is what I am doing in the best interests of my clients? Would the codes of my professional organiza- tion agree? Am I practicing my own self-care and maintaining healthy boundaries in the decisions I am making with my clients?” Self-evaluation and reflection is an ongoing process that both benefits our clients and enriches our personal and professional growth.
Principle Ethics and Virtue Ethics:

Several writers have developed models for ethical decision making, including Barnett and Johnson (2008, 2015), Cottone (2001), Cottone and Tarvydas (2016), Forester-Miller and Davis (2016), Frame and Williams (2005), Kitchener (1984), Knapp and colleagues (2015), Knapp and VandeCreek (2012), Koocher and Keith- Spiegel (2016), Meara, Schmidt, and Day (1996), Welfel (2016), and Wheeler and Bertram (2015). This section is based on an amalgamation of elements from these various models and our own views.
In a key article titled “Principles and Virtues: A Foundation for Ethical Deci- sions, Policies, and Character,” Meara and colleagues (1996) differentiate between principle ethics and virtue ethics. Principle ethics is a set of obligations and a method that focuses on moral issues with the goals of (a) solving a particular dilemma or set of dilemmas and (b) establishing a framework to guide future eth- ical thinking and behavior. Principles typically focus on acts and choices, and they are used to facilitate the selection of socially and historically acceptable answers to the question “What shall I do?”
A thorough grounding in principle ethics opens the way for another important perspective, virtue ethics. Virtue ethics focuses on the character traits of the coun- selor and nonobligatory ideals to which professionals aspire rather than on solv- ing specific ethical dilemmas. Simply stated, principle ethics asks “Is this situation unethical?” whereas virtue ethics asks “Am I doing what is best for my client?” Even in the absence of an ethical dilemma, virtue ethics compels the professional to be conscious of ethical behavior. Meara and her colleagues maintain that it is not a question of subscribing to one or the other form of ethics. Rather, professional counselors should strive to integrate virtue ethics and principle ethics to reach better ethical decisions and policies.
Some mental health practitioners concern themselves primarily with avoiding malpractice suits. They tend to commit themselves to a rule-bound approach to

ethics as a way to stay out of trouble. Other professionals, although concerned with avoiding litigation, are first and foremost interested in doing what is best for their clients. These professionals would consider it unethical to use techniques that might not result in the greatest benefit to their clients or to use techniques in which they were not thoroughly trained, even though these techniques might not lead to a lawsuit.
Meara and colleagues (1996) identify four core virtues—prudence, integrity, respectfulness, and benevolence—that are appropriate for professionals to adhere to in making ethical decisions. They also describe five characteristics of virtuous professionals, which they see as being at the heart of virtue ethics:
ethics as a way to stay out of trouble. Other professionals, although concerned with avoiding litigation, are first and foremost interested in doing what is best for their clients. These professionals would consider it unethical to use techniques that might not result in the greatest benefit to their clients or to use techniques in which they were not thoroughly trained, even though these techniques might not lead to a lawsuit.
Meara and colleagues (1996) identify four core virtues—prudence, integrity, respectfulness, and benevolence—that are appropriate for professionals to adhere to in making ethical decisions. They also describe five characteristics of virtuous professionals, which they see as being at the heart of virtue ethics:
nsidering what you might do if you were the therapist in this case, reflect on the standards pertaining to pro bono services found in the ethics codes of national association of social Workers (nasW, 2008), aca (2014), and apa (2010). all three codes encourage practitioners to contribute to society by devoting a portion of their professional time and skills to services for which there is no expectation of significant financial return.
Commentary. this case is a good example of how positive ethics can become operational. a counselor operating from the framework of positive ethics is motivated to look for ways to be of the greatest assistance possible to clients. positive ethics is concerned with how exemplary behavior can be applied to a difficult situation, such as a client no longer able to afford psychological services (Knapp & vandecreek, 2012). You could continue to see Kevin as part of your pro bono services, or, as therapists b and D suggested, you might find a cre- ative strategy to help Kevin remain in counseling while changing your fee or the frequency of counseling.
there is no simple solution to this case. it involves the therapist, the client, the setting, and the situation, all of which need to be considered in context. When a client can no longer pay for services, the therapist must not abandon the client. if treatment is to be terminated, at least a few sessions should be offered to assist Kevin in working through termination issues and this loss of support. in addition, you could refer Kevin to an agency that would see him without a fee, such as a qualified counselor in a community mental health center, or to a professional who uses a sliding fee scale, or to a beginning therapist who is building his or her practice. there are many appropriate ways to deal with this situation. the aca (2014) Code of Ethics states that counselors may adjust fees if the usual charge creates an undue hardship for the client (standard a.10.c.). although it is important to take care of your cli- ents, you do not want to do so at the expense to yourself, which could lead to resentment that negatively affects your treatment of this client. if you adjust your fee by using a sliding scale, it needs to be done with consideration to your financial needs and responsibilities. in response to Kevin’s job loss, you must still promote his best interests and minimize harm, while simultaneously remaining realistic about your own financial situation and the reali- ties of your work setting. bartering with your client for services is another alternative. this choice is generally not clinically or ethically advisable, but it may be an appropriate and culturally relevant solution with some clients. ethical and practice guidelines for bartering are addressed in chapter 7. •
Moral Principles to Guide Decision Making
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Building on the work of others, especially Kitchener (1984), Meara and colleagues (1996) describe six basic moral principles that form the foundation of functioning at the highest ethical level as a professional: autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, fidelity, and veracity. Applying these ethical principles and the related eth- ical standards is not as simple as it may seem, especially when dealing with cul- turally diverse populations and social justice concerns. (See Chapters 4 and 13 for more on these issues.) These moral principles involve a process of striving that is never fully complete. We describe each of these six basic moral principles, cite a
ecific ethical guideline from the ACA, APA, or NASW, and provide a brief dis- cussion of the cultural implications of using each principle.
• Autonomy refers to the promotion of self-determination, or the freedom of cli- ents to be self-governing within their social and cultural framework. Respect for autonomy entails acknowledging the right of another to choose and act in accor- dance with his or her wishes and values, and the professional behaves in a way that enables this right of another person. Practitioners strive to decrease client dependency and foster client empowerment. The ACA’s (2014) introduction to Section A states it this way:
Counselors facilitate client growth and development in ways that foster the interest and welfare of clients and promote formation of healthy relationships.
Trust is the cornerstone of the counseling relationship, and the counselors have the responsibility to respect and safeguard the client’s right to privacy and confidentiality. Counselors actively attempt to understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of the cli- ents they serve. Counselors also explore their own cultural identities and how these affect their values and beliefs about the counseling process.
The helping services in the United States are typically based on traditional West- ern values of individualism, independence, interdependence, self-determination, and making choices for oneself. It often appears as though Western cultures pro- mote individualism above any other cultural value. However, many cultures fol- low a different path, stressing decisions with the welfare of the family and the community as a priority. As the ACA standard described here implies, ethical practice involves considering the influence of cultural variables in the counseling relationship.
We cannot apply a rigid yardstick of what is a value priority in any culture without exploring how a particular client views priorities. For instance, what are the implications of the principle of autonomy when applied to clients who do not place a high priority on the value of being autonomous? Does it constitute an imposition of values for counselors to steer clients toward autonomous behavior when such behavior could lead to problems with others in their family, commu- nity, or culture?
• Nonmaleficence means avoiding doing harm, which includes refraining from actions that risk hurting clients. Professionals have a responsibility to minimize risks for exploitation and practices that cause harm or have the potential to result in harm. The APA (2010) principle of beneficence and nonmaleficence states,
Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm.
What are the cultural implications of the principle of nonmaleficence? Traditional diagnostic practices can be inappropriate for certain cultural groups. For instance, a therapist may assign a diagnostic label to a client based on a pattern of behavior the therapist judges to be abnormal, such as inhibition of emotional expression, hesitation to confront, being cautious about self-disclosing, or not making direct eye contact while speaking. Yet these behaviors may be considered normal in cer- tain cultures. Another example may be a school counselor who inappropriately labels a boy ADHD, which may color the perceptions of other staff members in
a negative way so they pressure the parents to put the boy on medication. Prac- titioners need to develop cultural awareness and sensitivity in using assessment, diagnostic, and treatment procedures.
• Beneficence refers to doing good for others and to promoting the well-being of clients. Beneficence also includes concern for the welfare of society and doing good for society. Beneficence implies being proactive and preventing harm when possible (Forester-Miller & Davis, 2016). Ideally, counseling contributes to the growth and development of clients within their cultural context. Whatever prac- titioners do can be judged against this criterion. The following ACA (2014) guide- line illustrates beneficence:
The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients. (A.1.a.)
Consider the possible consequences of a therapist encouraging an Asian client to behave more assertively toward his father. The reality of this situation may be that the father would refuse to speak again to a son who confronted him. Even though counselors may be operating with good intentions and may think they are being beneficent, they may not always be doing what is in the best interest of the cli- ent. Is it possible for counselors to harm clients unintentionally by encouraging a course of action that has negative consequences? How can counselors know what is in the best interest of their clients? How can counselors determine whether their interventions will work for their clients? As we have previously stated, there are no simple answers to complex questions.
• Justice means to be fair by giving equally to others and to treat others justly. Practitioners have a responsibility to provide appropriate services to all clients and to treat clients fairly. Everyone, regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, disabil- ity, socioeconomic status, cultural background, religion, or sexual orientation, is entitled to equal access to mental health services. An example might be a social worker making a home visit to a parent who cannot come to the school because of transportation, child care matters, or poverty. NASW’s (2008) guideline illustrates this principle:
Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers’ social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. These activities seek to promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers strive to ensure access to needed information, services, and resources; equality of opportunity; and meaningful participation in decision making for all people. (Ethical Principles, Social Justice.)
Traditional mental health services may not be just and fair to everyone in a cul- turally diverse society. If intervention strategies are not relevant to some segments of the population, justice is being violated. How can practitioners adapt the tech- niques they use to fit the needs of diverse populations? How can new helping strategies be developed that are consistent with the worldview of culturally dif- ferent clients?
• Fidelity means that professionals make realistic commitments and do their best to keep these promises. This entails fulfilling one’s responsibilities of trust in a relationship. Fidelity involves loyalty to clients and to making their wel- fare of primary concern. ACA’s (2014) Code of Ethics encourages counselors to inform clients about counseling and to be faithful in keeping commitments made to clients:
Clients have the freedom to choose whether to enter into or remain in a counsel- ing relationship and need adequate information about the counseling process and the counselor. Counselors have an obligation to review in writing and verbally with clients the rights and responsibilities of both counselors and clients. Informed consent is an ongoing part of the counseling process, and counselors appropriately document discussions of informed consent throughout the counseling relationship. (A.2.a.)
Fidelity involves creating a trusting and therapeutic relationship in which people can search for solutions. However, what about clients whose culture teaches them that counselors are experts whose job is to provide answers for specific problem situations? What if a client expects the counselor to behave in this way? If the counselor does not meet the client’s expectations, is trust being established?
• Veracity means truthfulness, which involves the practitioner’s obligation to deal honestly with clients. Unless practitioners are truthful with their clients, the trust required to form a good working relationship will not develop. Veracity encompasses being truthful in all of our interactions, not just with our clients but also with our colleagues (Kaplan et al., 2017).
The six principles discussed here are a good place to start in determining the degree to which your practice is consistent with promoting the welfare of the cli- ents you serve. To this list, Wise and Barnett (2016) add self-care, which involves taking adequate care of ourselves so that we are able to implement the moral principles and virtues that are fundamental ethical concepts. If mental health pro- fessionals do not practice self-care, they will be unable to effectively implement these moral principles. Self-care is an ethical imperative and is vital to gaining and maintaining competence as a counselor (Wise, Hersh, & Gibson, 2012). It is often difficult for counselors to shift their focus from clients to themselves; however, self-care is a prerequisite to being able to take care of others.
Counselors may be faced with a conflict between certain ethical principles such as the client’s autonomy and self-determination versus the counselor’s duty to take action to protect the client from harm. For example, hospitalizing a client against his or her wishes is a restriction of freedom, yet not taking action could result in the client’s death (Wheeler & Bertram, 2015). At times, therapists may need to balance other ethical principles (especially nonmaleficence) with auton- omy. Rosenfeld (2011) has written about problems associated with overly respect- ing client self-determination and autonomy when harmful religious beliefs and practices are not challenged. Rosenfeld’s point may be well-taken, yet it does raise the fundamental question, “Who decides what constitutes harmful religious beliefs and practices?”
Steps in Making Ethical Decisions
When making ethical decisions, ask yourself these questions: “Which values do I rely on and why?” “How do my values affect my work with clients?” “Do my per- sonal values have a place in my professional work?” When making ethical deci- sions, the National Association of Social Workers (2008) cautions you to be aware of your clients’ as well as your own personal values, cultural and religious beliefs, and practices. Acting responsibly implies recognizing any conflicts between per- sonal and professional values and dealing with them effectively. The American Counseling Association’s (2014) Code of Ethics states that when counselors encoun- ter an ethical dilemma, they are expected to carefully consider an ethical decision- making process. To make sound ethical decisions, it is necessary to slow down the decision-making process and engage in an intentional course of ethical delib- eration, consultation, and action (Barnett & Johnson, 2015). Furthermore, when engaging in an ethical decision-making process, documentation of this process is important in case you are questioned about your choices, actions, and behaviors. Although no one ethical decision-making model is most effective, mental health professionals need to be familiar with at least one of the models or an amalgam that best fits for them.
Ethical decision making is not a purely cognitive and linear process that fol- lows clearly defined and predictable steps. Indeed, it is crucial to acknowledge that emotions play a part in how you make ethical decisions. As a practitioner, your feelings will likely influence how you interpret both your client’s behavior and your own behavior. Furthermore, if you are uncomfortable with an ethical decision and do not adequately deal with this discomfort, it will certainly influ- ence your future behavior with your client. An integral part of recognizing and working through an ethical concern is discussing your beliefs and values, motiva- tions, feelings, and actions with a supervisor or a colleague.
In the process of making the best ethical decisions, it is also important to involve your clients whenever possible. Because you are making decisions about what is best for their welfare, it is appropriate to discuss the nature of the ethi- cal dilemma that pertains to them. For instance, ethical decision making from a feminist therapy perspective calls for involving the client at every stage of the therapeutic process, which is based on the feminist principle that power should be equalized in the therapeutic relationship (Brown, 2010).
Consulting with the client fully and appropriately is a fundamental step in ethical decision making, for doing so increases the chances of making the best possible decision. Walden (2015) suggests that important therapeutic benefits can result from inclusion of the client in the ethical decision-making process, and she offers some strategies for accomplishing this goal at both the organizational and individual levels. When we make decisions about a client for the client rather than with the client, Walden maintains that we rob the client of power in the relation- ship. When we collaborate with clients, they are empowered. By soliciting the cli- ent’s perspective, we stand a good chance of achieving better counseling results and the best resolution for any ethical questions that arise. Potential therapeutic benefits can be gained by including clients in dealing with ethical concerns, and this practice represents functioning at the aspirational level. In fact, Walden ques- tions whether it is truly possible to attain the aspirational level of ethical function- ing without including the client’s voice in ethical concerns. By adding the voice and the unique perspective of the consumers of professional services, we indicate to the public that we as a profession are genuinely interested in protecting the rights and welfare of those who make use of our services. Bringing the client into ethical matters entails few risks, and both the client and the professional may benefit from this collaboration.
The social constructionist model of ethical decision making shares some aspects with the feminist model but focuses primarily on the social aspects of decision making in counseling (Cottone, 2001). This model redefines the ethical decision-making process as an interactive rather than an individual or intrapsy- chic process and places the decision in the social context itself, not in the mind of the person making the decision. This approach involves negotiating, consensual- izing, and when necessary, arbitrating.
Garcia, Cartwright, Winston, and Borzuchowska (2003) describe a transcul- tural integrative model of ethical decision making that addresses the need for including cultural factors in the process of resolving ethical dilemmas. They pres- ent their model in a step-by-step format that counselors can use in dealing with eth- ical dilemmas in a variety of settings and with different client populations. Frame and Williams (2005) have developed a model of ethical decision making from a multicultural perspective based on universalist philosophy. In this model cultural differences are recognized, but common principles such as altruism, responsibility, justice, and caring that link cultures are emphasized.
Many of the ethical dilemmas we will encounter are not likely to have a read- ily apparent answer. Birrell and Bruns (2016) assert that answers to ethical matters are not contained in the code of ethics, no matter how detailed. The ethical encoun- ter and ethical moments cannot be codified or reified or legalized. Relational eth- ics is about learning how to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty. “Counselors can only struggle toward answers in the shared search toward mutuality and interde- pendence, which has the capacity to bring healing to the individuals they serve” (p. 396). Keeping in mind the feminist model of ethical decision making, Walden’s (2015) views on including the client’s voice in ethical concerns, a social construc- tionist approach to ethics, and a transcultural integrative model of ethical decision making, we present our approach to thinking through ethical dilemmas. Follow- ing these steps may help you think through ethical problems.
1. Identify the problem or dilemma. It is important to determine whether a situation truly involves ethics. To determine the nature of the problem or dilemma, gather all the information that sheds light on the situation. Clarify whether the conflict is ethical, legal, clinical, cultural, professional, or moral—or a combination of any or all of these. The first step toward resolving an ethical dilemma is recognizing that a problem exists and identifying its specific nature. Because ethical decision making in practice is a complex and multifaceted process, it is useful to look at the problem from many perspectives and to avoid relying on a simple solution (Levitt et al., 2015). Consultation with your client begins at this initial stage and continues throughout the process of working toward an ethical decision, as does the process of documenting your decisions and actions. Frame and Williams (2005) suggest reflecting on these questions to identify and define an ethical dilemma: What is the crux of the dilemma? Who is involved? What are the stakes? What values of mine are involved? What cultural and historical factors are in play? What insights does my client have regarding the dilemma? How is the client affected by the various aspects of the problem? What are my insights about the problem? Taking time to engage in reflection is a basic first step.
2. Identify the potential issues involved. After the information is collected, list and describe the critical issues and discard the irrelevant ones. Evaluate the rights, responsibilities, and welfare of all those who are affected by the situation. Con- sider the cultural context of the situation, including relevant cultural dimensions of the client’s situation such as culture, race, socioeconomic status, and religious or spiritual background. Other relevant variables include the client’s age and the client’s relationship with other family members. It is important to consider the context of power and privilege and also to assess acculturation and racial identity development of the client (Frame & Williams, 2005). Part of the process of making ethical decisions involves identifying and examining the ethical principles that are relevant in the situation. Consider the six fundamental moral principles of auton- omy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, fidelity, and veracity and apply them to the situation, including those that may be in conflict. It may help to prioritize these ethical principles and think through ways in which they can support a resolution to the dilemma. Reasons can be presented that support various sides of a given issue, and different ethical principles may sometimes imply contradictory courses of action. When it is appropriate, and to the degree that it is possible, involve your client in identifying potential issues in the situation.
3. Review the relevant ethics codes. Consult available guidelines that could apply in your situation. Ask yourself whether the standards or principles of your pro- fessional organization offer a possible solution to the problem. Consider whether your own values and ethics are consistent with, or in conflict with, the relevant codes. If you are in disagreement with a particular standard, do you have a rationale to support your position? It is imperative to document this process to demonstrate your conscientious commitment to solving a dilemma. You can also seek guidance from your professional organization on any specific concern relat- ing to an ethical or legal situation. Most of the national professional organizations provide members with access to a telephone discussion of ethical and legal issues. These consultations focus on giving members guidance in understanding and applying the code of ethics to a particular situation and in assisting members in exploring relevant questions. However, these consultations do not tell mem- bers what to do, nor does the organization assume responsibility for making the decision.
4. Know the applicable laws and regulations. It is necessary that you keep up to date on relevant state and federal laws that might apply to ethical dilemmas. In addition, be sure you understand the current rules and regulations of the agency or organization where you work. This is especially critical in matters of keeping or breaching confidentiality, reporting child or elder abuse, dealing with issues
pertaining to danger to self or others, parental rights, record keeping, assessment, diagnosis, licensing statutes, and the grounds for malpractice. However, real- ize that knowledge of the laws and regulations are not sufficient in addressing a dilemma. As Welfel (2016) aptly puts it, “rules, laws, and codes must be fully understood to act responsibly, but they are the starting point of truly ethical action, not the end point” (p. 24).
5. Obtain consultation. You do not have to make ethical decisions alone, but it is important to maintain client confidentiality when consulting others. It is generally helpful to consult with several trusted colleagues to obtain different perspectives on the area of concern and to arrive at the best possible decision. Consultation can uncover ideas that you have not considered, and it can also help you gain objectivity. As a counselor, it is expected that you will seek consulta- tion and supervision, even if these sources are not available in your work setting (Levitt et al., 2015). Wheeler and Bertram (2015) suggest that two heads are better than one, and that three heads are often even better! Do not consult only with those who share your viewpoint. If there is a legal question, seek legal counsel. If the ethical dilemma involves working with a client from a different culture or who has a different worldview than yours, it is prudent to consult with a person who has expertise in this culture. If a clinical issue is involved, seek consultation from a professional with appropriate clinical expertise. After you present your assessment of the situation and your ideas of how you might proceed, ask for feedback on your analysis. Are there factors you are not considering? Have you thoroughly examined all of the ethical, clinical, and legal issues involved in the case? It is always wise to document the nature of your consultation, including the suggestions provided by those with whom you consulted. In court cases, a record of consultation illustrates that you have attempted to adhere to commu- nity standards by finding out what your colleagues in the community would do in the same situation. In an investigation the “reasonable person” standard may be applied: “What would a professional in your community with 3 years’ experi- ence have done in your situation?”
6. Consider possible and probable courses of action. At this point, take time to think about the range of courses of actions. Brainstorm to identify multiple options for dealing with the situation. Generate a variety of possible solutions to the dilemma (Frame & Williams, 2005). Consider the ethical and legal implications of the possible solutions you have identified. What do you think is likely to hap- pen if you implement each option? By listing a wide variety of courses of action, you may identify a possibility that is unorthodox but useful. Be creative and list as many options as you can think of, even if you are not sure an option will work (Forester-Miller & Davis, 2016). Of course, one alternative is that no action is required. As you think about the many possibilities for action, discuss these options with your client as well as with other professionals and document these discussions.
7. Enumerate and consider the possible consequences of various decisions. Consider the implications of each course of action for the client, for others who will be affected, and for you as the counselor (Forester-Miller & Davis, 2016). Examine the probable outcomes of various actions, considering the potential risks and benefits of each
ourse of action. Again, collaboration with your client about consequences for him or her is most important, for doing this can lead to your client’s empowerment. Use the six fundamental moral principles (autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, fidelity, and veracity) as a framework for evaluating the consequences of a given course of action. Realize that there are likely to be multiple outcomes rather than a single desired outcome in dealing with an ethical dilemma. Continue to reflect on other options and consult with colleagues who may see possibilities you have not considered.
8. Choose what appears to be the best course of action. To make the best decision, carefully consider the information you have received from various sources. The more obvious the dilemma, the clearer the course of action; the more subtle the dilemma, the more difficult the decision will be. After deciding, try not to second-guess your course of action. You may wonder if you have made the best decision in a given situation, or you may realize later that another action might have been more beneficial. Hindsight does not invalidate the decision you made based on the information you had at the time. Once your decision has been enacted, follow up to assess whether your actions had the desired out- comes (Forester-Miller & Davis, 2016). Evaluate your course of action by asking these questions (Frame & Williams, 2005): How does my action fit with the code of ethics of my profession? To what degree does the action taken consider the cultural values and experiences of the client? How might others evaluate my action? What did I learn from dealing with this ethical dilemma? Once you have decided on a course of action, remain open to the possibility that circumstances may require that you make adjustments to your plan. Wheeler and Bertram (2015) recommend careful documentation of the ethical decision-making pro- cess you used in arriving at a course of action, including the options you con- sidered and ruled out. It is important to document the outcome and to include any additional actions that were taken to resolve the issue. We also recommend documenting any consultations you had to help in the decision-making process. Review your notes and follow up to determine the outcomes and whether fur- ther action is needed. To obtain the most accurate picture, involve your client in this process.
The goal of any ethical decision-making process is to help you take into account all relevant facts, use any resources available to you, and rea- son through the dilemma in a way that points to the best possible course of action. Clinicians have different perspectives and values, which are a part of their decision-making process, and ethical issues can have diverse outcomes. Reflecting on your assessment of the situation and on the actions you have taken is essential. By following a systematic model, you can be assured that you will be able to provide a rationale for the course of action you chose (For- ester-Miller & Davis, 2016). The procedural steps we have listed here should not be thought of as a simple and linear way to reach a resolution on ethical matters. However, we have found that these steps do stimulate self-reflection and encourage discussion with clients and colleagues. Using this process, we are confident that you will find a solution that is helpful for your client, your profession, and yourself.
Professional Organizations and Codes of Ethics
You can obtain particular codes of ethics by contacting the organizations directly or by down- loading these ethics codes from the organizations’ websites. visit their website for more infor- mation on any of these organizations.
1. American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics, ©2014 www.counseling.org
2. National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Code of Ethics, ©2012 www.nbcc.org
3. Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors, ©2010 www.crccertification.com
4. Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) Code of Ethics, ©2008 www.naadac.org
5. Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) Code of Ethics, ©2007 www.ccpa-accp.ca
6. American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Ethical Standards for School Counselors, ©2016 www.schoolcounselor.org
7. American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, ©2010 www.apa.org
8. American Psychiatric Association The Principles of Medical Ethics With Annotations Especially Applicable to Psychiatry, ©2013 www.psych.org
9. American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) Ethical Guidelines for Group Therapists, ©2006 www.groupsinc.org
10. American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) Code of Ethics, ©2015 www.amhca.org
11. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Code of Ethics, ©2015 www.aamft.org
12. International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC) Ethical Code, ©2011 www.iamfc.com
13. Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW) Best Practice Guidelines, ©2008 www.asgw.org

Professional Organizations and Codes of Ethics continued
14. National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, ©2008 www.socialworkers.org
15. National Organization for Human Services Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals, ©2015 www.nationalhumanservices.org
16. American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) Code of Ethics, ©2015 www.musictherapy.org
17. British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, ©2013 www.bacp.co.uk
Additional Resources some professional organizations also provide casebooks, which inter- pret and explain various ethical standards contained in the code. the ACA Ethical Standards Casebook (herlihy & corey, 2015a) describes each of the standards in the aca’s (2014) Code of Ethics, and features contributors giving their perspectives on the key themes. a useful work to gain an understanding of the practical application of the american psychological associa- tion’s ethics code is Practical Ethics for Psychologists: A Positive Approach (Knapp & vande- creek, 2012). two excellent desk reference manuals are Ethics Desk Reference for Psychologists (barnett & johnson, 2008), which interprets the apa code and provides guidelines for ethical and effective practice; and Ethics Desk Reference for Counselors (barnett & johnson, 2015), which interprets the aca 2014 Code of Ethics and offers recommendations for preventing ethical problems.

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