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Section 11
Code of Ethics - II

Question 11 | Test | Table of Contents

American Counseling Association
American Counseling Association Code of Ethics Excerpt
Section A. The Counseling Relationship
A.3. Clients Served by Others
When counselors learn that their clients are in a professional relationship with other mental health professionals, they request release from clients to inform the other professionals and strive to establish positive and collaborative professional relationships
A.5.c.Sexual and/or Romantic Relationships With Former Clients. Sexual and/or romantic counselor–client interactions or relationships with former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members are prohibited for a period of 5 years following the last professional contact. This prohibition applies to both in-person and electronic interactions or relationships. Counselors, before engaging in sexual and/or romantic interactions or relationships with former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members, demonstrate forethought and document (in written form) whether the interaction or relationship can be viewed as exploitive in any way and/or whether there is still potential to harm the former client; in cases of potential exploitation and/or harm, the counselor avoids entering into such an interaction or relationship.
A.5.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 (e.g., through social and other media).
A.6.d. Role Changes in the Professional Relationship. When counselors change a role from the original or most recent contracted relationship, they obtain informed consent from the client and explain the client’s right to refuse services related to the change. Examples of role changes include, but are not limited to
1. changing from individual to relationship or family counseling, or vice versa;
2. changing from an evaluative role to a therapeutic role, or vice versa; and
3. changing from a counselor to a mediator role, or vice versa.
Clients must be fully informed of any anticipated consequences (e.g., financial, legal, personal, therapeutic) of counselor role changes.
A.6.e.Nonprofessional Interactions or Relationships (Other Than Sexual or Romantic Interactions or Relationships). Counselors avoid entering into non-professional relationships with former clients, their romantic partners, or their family members when the interaction is potentially harmful to the client. This applies to both in-person and electronic interactions or relationships.
A.7.a.Advocacy. When appropriate, counselors advocate at individual, group, institutional, and societal levels to address potential barriers and obstacles that inhibit access and/or the growth and development of clients.
A.7.b. Confidentiality and Advocacy. Counselors obtain client consent prior to engaging in advocacy efforts on behalf of an identifiable client to improve the provision of services and to work toward removal of systemic barriers or obstacles that inhibit client access, growth, and development.
A.8. Multiple Clients. When a counselor agrees to provide counseling services to two or more persons who have a relationship, the counselor clarifies at the outset which person or persons are clients and the nature of the relationships the counselor will have with each involved person. If it becomes apparent that the counselor may be called upon to perform potentially conflicting roles, the counselor will clarify, adjust, or withdraw from roles appropriately
A.9. Group Work
A.9.b. Protecting Clients
In a group setting, counselors take reasonable precautions to protect clients from physical, emotional, or psychological trauma.
A.10.c. Establishing Fees
In establishing fees for professional counseling services, counselors consider the financial status of clients and locality. If a counselor’s usual fees create undue hardship for the client, the counselor may adjust fees, when legally permissible, or assist the client in locating comparable, affordable services.
A.10.f. Receiving Gifts. Counselors understand the challenges of accepting gifts from clients and recognize that in some cultures, small gifts are a token of respect and gratitude. When determining whether to accept a gift from clients, counselors take into account the therapeutic relationship, the monetary value of the gift, the client’s motivation for giving the gift, and the counselor’s motivation for wanting to accept or decline the gift.
A.11. Termination and Referral
A.11.a. Competence WithinTermination and Referral.
If counselors lack the competence to be of professional assistance to clients, they avoid entering or continuing counseling relationships. Counselors are knowledgeable about culturally and clinically appropriate referral resources and suggest these alternatives. If clients decline the suggested referrals, counselors discontinue the relationship.
A.11.c. Appropriate Termination. Counselors terminate a counseling relationship when it becomes reasonably apparent that the client no longer needs assistance, is not likely to benefit, or is being harmed by continued counseling. Counselors may terminate counseling when in jeopardy of harm by the client or by another person with whom the client has a relationship, or when clients do not pay fees as agreed upon. Counselors provide pretermination counseling and recommend other service providers when necessary.
A.11.d. Appropriate Transfer of Services
When counselors transfer or refer clients to other practitioners, they ensure that appropriate clinical and administrative processes are completed and open communication is maintained with both clients and practitioners.
A.12. Abandonment and Client Neglect, Counselors do not abandon or neglect clients in counseling. Counselors assist in making appropriate arrangements for the continuation of treatment, when necessary, during interruptions such as vacations, illness, and following termination.
- American Counseling Association. (2014). ACA Code of Ethics. Retrieved from

National Board for Certified Counselors Code of Ethics Excerpts

The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) administers national certifications that recognize individuals who have voluntarily met standards for general and specialty areas of professional counseling practice. Counselors certified by NBCC may also identify with different professional organizations, and are often licensed by jurisdictions that promulgate standards of behavior. Regardless of any other affiliation, this Code of Ethics is applicable to all NBCC certificants, including National Certified Counselors (NCCs). Counselors are required to adhere to these expectations and all of the Code directives. Candidates and certificants will be sanctioned pursuant to this Code by NBCC when the standards in the NBCC Code of Ethics are found to have been violated. This Code applies to all counselors who are certified by NBCC, candidates for certification, and other counselors subject to this Code.

7. Counselors shall demonstrate multicultural counseling competence in practice. Counselors will not use counseling techniques or engage in any professional activities that discriminate against or show hostility toward individuals or groups based on gender, ethnicity, race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or any other legally prohibited basis.

8. Counselors shall not misuse their professional influence or meet their own needs at the expense of a client’s welfare, including, but not limited to, the promotion of services or products.

9. Counselors shall not solicit testimonials from current clients or their families and friends. Recognizing the possibility of future requests for services, counselors shall not solicit testimonials from former clients within (5) years from the date of service termination.

12. Counselors shall comply with all NBCC policies, procedures, and agreements, including all disclosure requirements and related instructions.

17. Counselors shall take proactive measures to avoid harming their clients, and avoid imposing personal values on those who receive their professional services. Counselors will seek to minimize unavoidable or unanticipated harm, and where possible seek to address unintentional harm.

18. Counselors shall respect each client’s privacy, and shall solicit only information that contributes to the identified counseling goals or facilitates the counseling process, and is also consistent with counseling protocols.

19. Counselors shall not share client information that is obtained through the counseling process without specific written consent by the client or legal guardian except when necessary to prevent serious and foreseeable harm to the client or others, or when otherwise mandated by Federal or State law or regulation.

20. Counselors generally shall not accept goods or services from clients in return for counseling services in recognition of the possible negative effects, including perceived exploitation. Counselors may accept goods, services or other nonmonetary compensation from clients only in cases where: no referrals are possible or appropriate; the arrangement is discussed with the client in advance; the exchange is of a reasonable equivalent value; the exchange does not place the counselor in an unfair advantage; the arrangement is not harmful to the client or their treatment; and, is documented in the counseling services agreement.

21. Counselors shall not accept gifts from clients except in cases when it is culturally appropriate or therapeutically relevant. Counselors shall consider the value of the gift and the effect on the therapeutic relationship before accepting. Acceptance of a gift shall be documented in the client’s record.

22. Counselors shall be mindful of engaging in counseling relationships with those individuals with whom another relationship, such as a community connection, friendship, or work relationship exists (i.e., multiple relationships). Counselors strive to avoid multiple relationships with clients, to the extent possible, except in cases when it is culturally appropriate or therapeutically relevant. In the event that a multiple relationship develops in an unforeseen manner, the counselor shall discuss the potential effects with the client, and shall take reasonable steps to resolve the situation, including termination and the provision of referrals. This discussion shall be documented in the client’s record.

23. Counselors will exercise caution, and avoid exploitation or the appearance of exploitation before entering into a non-counseling relationship with a former client. A period of five (5) years is recommended, and counselors shall exercise caution and avoid exploitation of former clients. Counselors will discuss with the former client important relevant considerations, including the amount of time since counseling service termination, duration of counseling, nature and circumstances of the client’s counseling, and the likelihood that the client will want to resume counseling at some time in the future, circumstances of service termination, and possible negative effects or outcomes. Counselors will respect the autonomy of each former client, and not use undue influence to form any sort of relationship with a former client.

24. Counselors will not engage in any form of sexual or romantic contact with a client or former client for at least five (5) years following the date of counseling service termination.

25. Counselors will not engage in any type of harassing behavior towards clients, which is defined as any verbal, nonverbal, electronic, or physical act that is known, or reasonably understood, to be unwelcome or that are of a severity that reasonably would be perceived as harassment.

41. Counselors who provide clinical supervision shall obtain appropriate training, including continuing education concerning current clinical trends, in order to meet the needs of their supervisees and the clients they serve.

42. Counselors who provide supervision services shall provide accurate written information to supervisees regarding the counselor’s credentials, as well as information regarding the process of supervision. This information shall include the conditions of supervision, supervision goals, case management procedures, confidentiality and its limitations, appraisal methods, and timing of evaluations.

43. Counselors who act as counselor educators, field placement supervisors, or clinical supervisors shall not engage in sexual or romantic intimacy with current and former students or supervisees for at least five (5) years from the date of the last academic and/or supervision contact, whichever is later. Prohibited intimate sexual or romantic engagements include in-person contact and electronic interactions.

44. Counselors who provide clinical supervision services shall keep accurate records of supervision goals and the supervisee’s progress. All supervision related information shall be treated as confidential, except to prevent serious and foreseeable harm to a client or others, or when legally required to do so by a court or government agency order. When a supervisor receives a court or governmental agency order requiring the production of supervision records, the counselor shall make reasonable attempts to promptly notify the supervisee. In cases in which the supervisee is a student in a counselor education program, the supervisor counselor shall release supervision records consistent with the terms of the supervision arrangement with the counselor education program.

45. Counselors who provide clinical supervision services shall intervene in situations where a supervisee is impaired or incompetent and potentially placing the client(s) at risk. The clinical supervisor will notify the supervisee of any concerns and provide recommended or required steps to seek assistance. The supervisor also may take steps to end the supervisee’s services to protect the client, and may only resume services after the completion of any recommended or required remediation.

46. Counselors who provide clinical supervision services shall not have multiple relationships with a supervisee that may interfere with the supervisor’s professional judgment or exploit the supervisee. Supervisors shall not supervise friends, family, or relatives. When a dual relationship cannot be avoided, the supervisor must discuss risks and benefits with the supervisee prior to engaging in supervision and document this discussion in supervision records.

47. Counselors who provide supervision services shall provide supervisees with regular and substantive feedback throughout the supervision process.

48. Counselors shall promote the welfare and continued education of supervisees by discussing ethical standards and practices related to supervision, as well as the legal standards that regulate the practice of counseling.

49. Counselors who provide clinical supervision services shall establish procedures for responding to crisis situations related to supervisees and the supervisee’s clients. These procedures shall be provided both verbally and in writing to their supervisees. A clear protocol and guidelines shall be made available and communicated to the supervisee in the event of the supervisor’s absence. Contact information for an alternative supervisor shall be provided to the supervisee in the absence of the supervisor.

56. Counselors who provide consultative services (consultants) shall use and provide to consultees accurate information regarding their consultation qualifications and credentials related to the identified concerns or situations.

Multiple Relationships

86. Counselor educators shall avoid non-academic relationships with counseling students during the student’s participation in the educator’s training program. Counselor educators with pre-existing relationships with students shall clearly communicate the nature of the relationship to the appropriate university administrator(s) and students, and shall carefully manage risks related to the relationship.

87. Counselor educators shall not engage in intimate or sexual relationships with current students or individuals who were students enrolled in the counselor’s program within the past five (5) years. Prohibited sexual or romantic intimacy engagements include physical contact and electronic interactions.

Telemental Health

93. Counselors shall ensure that the electronic means used in providing telemental health services are in compliance with current Federal and State laws and regulatory standards concerning telemental health service.

94. Counselors shall ensure that all electronic technology communications with clients are encrypted and secure.

95. Counselors shall maintain records of all clinical contacts with telemental health service clients.

96. Counselors shall set clear expectations and boundaries with telemental health service recipients about the type(s) and timing of communications that will be included in service provision. These expectations and boundaries shall be communicated in writing in disclosure documents provided to clients.

97. Counselors shall provide written information to all telemental health clients regarding the protection of client records, accounts and related passwords, electronic communications, and client identity. This information should include a description of the nature of all communication security measures that are used by the counselor, including any risks or limitations related to the provision of telemental health services.

98. Counselors shall communicate information regarding security to clients who receive telemental health services. Telemental health service clients shall be informed of the potential risks of telemental health communications, including warnings about transmitting private information when using a public access computer or one that is on a shared network.

99. Counselors shall screen potential telemental health service clients to determine whether such services are appropriate.

Social Media and Technology
113. Counselors shall respect the privacy of a client’s social media material and accounts, and shall not access client social media accounts without specific client permission, a related discussion with the client, documentation of potential risks and benefits, and a specific clinical purpose.

114. Counselors shall avoid non-professional relationships with clients online. This restriction includes connecting with or following client social media accounts.
- National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. (2023, May). NBCC Code of Ethics. Retrieved from

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Excerpts

The Board of Directors of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) hereby promulgates, pursuant to Article 2, Section 2.01.3 of the Association's Bylaws, the Revised AAMFT Code of Ethics, effective January 1, 2015.

1.3 Marriage and family therapists are aware of their influential positions with respect to clients, and they avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of such persons. Therapists, therefore, make every effort to avoid conditions and multiple relationships with clients that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of exploitation. Such relationships include, but are not limited to, business or close personal relationships with a client or the client’s immediate family. When the risk of impairment or exploitation exists due to conditions or multiple roles, therapists document the appropriate precautions taken.

1.4 Sexual intimacy with current clients or with known members of the client’s family system is prohibited.

1.5 Sexual intimacy with former clients or with known members of the client’s family system is prohibited.

1.6 Marriage and family therapists comply with applicable laws regarding the reporting of alleged unethical conduct.

1.7 Marriage and family therapists do not abuse their power in therapeutic relationships.

1.8 Marriage and family therapists respect the rights of clients to make decisions and help them to understand the consequences of these decisions. Therapists clearly advise clients that clients have the responsibility to make decisions regarding relationships such as cohabitation, marriage, divorce, separation, reconciliation, custody, and visitation.

1.9 Marriage and family therapists continue therapeutic relationships only so long as it is reasonably clear that clients are benefiting from the relationship.

1.10 Marriage and family therapists respectfully assist persons in obtaining appropriate therapeutic services if the therapist is unable or unwilling to provide professional help.
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. (2015, January 1). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from

Personal Reflection Exercise #2
The preceding section contained information about the ACA, NBCC, and AAMFT Codes of Ethics regarding the ethical use of recall. Write three case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section in your practice.
Reviewed 2023

Medical Ethics

Young, M., & Wagner , A. (2022). Medical Ethics. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Montgomery, N. V., & Rajagopal, P. (2018). Motivated reconstruction: The effect of brand commitment on false memories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 24(2), 159–179.

Patihis, L., Frenda, S. J., & Loftus, E. F. (2018). False memory tasks do not reliably predict other false memories. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 5(2), 140–160.

Smith, R. D., Holmberg, J., & Cornish, J. E. (2019). Psychotherapy in the #MeToo era: Ethical issues. Psychotherapy, 56(4), 483–490.

What three functions cannot be performed by the counselor without proper training or supervision? To select and enter your answer go to Test.

Section 12
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