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Raising the Bar: Critical New Concepts in the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics.

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Presentation on theme: "Raising the Bar: Critical New Concepts in the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics."— Presentation transcript:


2 Raising the Bar: Critical New Concepts in the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics

3 David Kaplan ACA Chief Professional Officer


5 Why me? 4

6 ACA President that appointed the 2005 Ethics Revision Task Force ACA staff liaison to the 2005 code revision ACA staff liaison to the 2014 code revision 5

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8 Members of the ACA Ethics Revision Task Force Jeannette Baca Janelle Disney Perry Francis (Chair) Gary Goodnough Mary Hermann Shannon Hodges Lynn Linde Linda Shaw Shawn Spurgeon Michelle Wade Richard Watts Erin Martz (staff liaison) David Kaplan (staff Liaison) 7

9 THE 500 POUND GORILLA EFFECT Why do you need to know this stuff?

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17 16 55,000 professional counselors agree to abide by the ACA Code of Ethics

18 22 state licensing boards have adopted the ACA Code of Ethics Alaska Arizona Arkansas California District of Columbia Idaho Illinois Iowa Louisiana Massachusetts Mississippi New Jersey North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Pennsylvania South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Utah West Virginia Wyoming 17

19 The judicial system uses the ACA code as the ethical standard for counselors Ward v. Wilbanks Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley 18

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21 I have been counseling an adult woman with a presenting problem of difficulty in coping with the death of her mother. Her mother and grandmother (who is also deceased) suffered from progressive Alzheimer’s disease. My client revealed to me that she administered a lethal dose of sleeping pills to her grandmother during the final stages of the Alzheimer’s, and that she also caused the death of her mother by withholding cardiac medication. It was then revealed that it is likely she will have to take care of a third relative with Alzheimer’s disease, an elderly Aunt. It is important to understand that my client is not a bad person and did what she did while under tremendous stress and pressure and with feelings of compassion for the deteriorating condition of her mother and grandmother. My question is in two parts: First, what are my ethical obligations upon hearing the manner in which my client’s mother and grandmother died? Second, am I responsible to do anything about the upcoming situation with the Aunt?

22 Theme: Raising the Bar 21

23 Raising the Bar Professional values Ethical decision making Counselor Educators Counselor Personal values Social media & distance counseling 22

24 Raising the Bar Professional values Ethical decision making Counselor Educators Counselor Personal values Social media & distance counseling 23

25 Raising the bar for professional values 24

26 The values of our profession are now explicitly stated Human development Multiculturalism and diversity Social Justice Safeguarding the counselor-client relationship Practicing in a competent & ethical manner 25

27 And on the more nuts and bolts level…… The code states for the first time that all counselors must take case notes “Counselors create and maintain records and documentation necessary for rendering professional services.” (B.6.a.) 26

28 And make a reasonable effort to provide pro-bono services (C.6.e) 27

29 As well as adding a whistleblower policy “Counselors do not harass a colleague or employee or dismiss an employee who has acted in a responsible and ethical manner to expose inappropriate employer policies or practices.” (D.1.i) 28

30 Raising the bar for ethical decision making 29

31 The principles of ethical behavior are now explicitly stated Autonomy Nonmaleficence Beneficence Justice Fidelity Veracity 30

32 Along with a new focus on using a methodical approach I.1.b. Ethical Decision Making When counselors are faced with an ethical dilemma, they use and document, as appropriate, an ethical decision making model…. 31

33 An example: A Practitioner’s Guide to Ethical Decision Making by Forest-Miller & Davis 32

34 Identify the problem Apply the ACA Code of Ethics Determine the dimensions Generate potential courses of action Consider the consequences of all options Select and evaluate an option Implement the course of action 33

35 Raising the bar for counselor educators 34

36 Counselor educators now have the ethical obligation to provide: Current information & knowledge (F.7.b) Instruction only within their areas of competency (F.7.b) Direct assistance with field placements (F.7.i) Career assistance to students (F.8.b) 35

37 As well as now explicitly stating the ethics of gatekeeping “[Counselor educators] recommend dismissal from training programs…when students are unable to demonstrate they can provide competent professional services to a range of diverse clients.” (F.6.b) “Counselor Educators may require students to address any personal concerns that have the potential to affect professional competency” (F.8.d) 36

38 Raising the bar for counselor personal values 37

39 Let’s talk lawsuits Ward v. Wilbanks Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley 38

40 ACA’s official position on the Ward Case Scroll down to: Ethical Implications of a Critical Legal Case for the Counseling Profession: Ward v. Wilbanks 39

41 As a result of these cases… 40

42 An explicit focus on avoiding the imposition of a counselor’s personal values 41

43 A.4.b. Personal Values Counselors are aware of – and avoid – imposing their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. 42

44 Which extends to referrals A.11.b Counselors refrain from referring prospective and current clients based solely on the counselor’s personally held values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors 43

45 So what does this mean? Our clients are more important than we are. Professional counselors may not deny counseling services to a GLBTQ client (or an individual belonging to any other protected class of clients in C.5) on the basis of the counselor’s values.44

46 Referrals are to be made on the basis of skill-based competency, not values. Referral is an issue of last resort. - Kaplan, D.M. (2014). Ethical implications of a critical legal case for the counseling profession: Ward v. Wilbanks. Journal of Counseling and Development, 92, 142-146. doi: 10.1002/j.1556- 6676.2014.00140.x 45

47 Raising the bar for Social Media & Distance Counseling

48 Distance Counseling, technology and social media now get their own section (H) 47

49 What the heck is a personal virtual relationship? A.5.e Personal Virtual Relationships With Current Clients Counselors are prohibited from engaging in a personal virtual relationship with individuals with whom they have a current counseling relationship… 48

50 Translation 49

51 No Friending 50

52 And Social media romances are treated the same as in-person affairs 51

53 Other new “read between the lines” social media imperatives Make your texting rules clear (H.6.b) Don’t check out your client’s Facebook page without their permission (H.6.c) 52

54 Don’t disclose confidential information through public social media (H6.d.) Ask yourself if you really want a personal Facebook page (H.6.a)53

55 New distance counseling responsibilities Determine whether counseling your client is legal (H1.b) Verify your client’s identity (H.3) Address distance counseling in your informed consent procedures (H.2.a) 54

56 New distance counseling responsibilities Acknowledge the inherent confidentiality limits (H.2.b) Encrypt (H.2.d) 55

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58 Mandated clients can choose to refuse services (A.2.e.) Counselors are now explicitly prohibited from counseling someone with whom they have had a previous romantic/sexual relationship (A.5.b) Self-referrals to your own private practice are now explicitly prohibited unless certain conditions are met (A.10.a) 57

59 Counselors do not engage in fee splitting or provide/receive other forms of remuneration for referrals (A.10.b) A sliding scale is now explicitly acceptable (A.10.c) The use of legal means to collect unpaid fees must be included in your informed consent documents (A.10.d) 58

60 Confidentiality now extends to prospective clients (B.1.c) The requirement to confirm the diagnosis of a life-threating disease in order to protect an innocent third party has been removed (B.2.c) In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, the couple or family is now considered to be the client when conducting couples or family counseling (B.4.b) 59

61 There are now explicit guidelines for using case studies in a classroom (F.7.f) and presentation or publication (G.5.a) that protect the client Faculty cannot require students to participate in research (G.2.b) Faculty cannot submit manuscripts or conduct presentations based on a student’s work without the student’s permission and listing the student as the lead author (G.5.f) 60


63 ACA 2014 ethics code resources The code itself Podcast Webinar series Interview series Books * See handout 62

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66 Let’s Schmooze 65

67 David Kaplan ACA Chief Professional Officer

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