Skip to main content

Ethics Desk Reference for Counselors, 2nd Edition

Ethics Desk Reference for Counselors, 2nd Edition

Jeffrey E. Barnett, W. Brad Johnson

ISBN: 978-1-119-02701-0

Nov 2014

261 pages

Select type: E-Book



The second edition of this highly practical and easily understood handbook provides counselors and students with the means to quickly apply the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics to practice and to professional roles and activities. It contains on-point recommendations for each standard of the Code, a decision-making model, and a listing of ethics resources.

Part I presents each section of the Code, along with a brief commentary that emphasizes its most essential elements, common ethical dilemmas and problems relevant to that section, and specific strategies for risk prevention and positive practice. Part II contains ethical guidance sections focused on areas that counselors often encounter in their work, including culture and diversity, confidentiality and exceptions to confidentiality, counseling suicidal clients, multiple relation­ships in counseling, competence, supervision, managed care, termination and abandonment, and how to respond to an ethics complaint or malpractice suit. New to this edition is a section titled “Integrating Technology into Counseling Practice.” 

*Requests for digital versions from the ACA can be found on 
*To request print copies, please visit the ACA website here.
*Reproduction requests for material from books published by ACA should be directed to

Related Resources


Request an Evaluation Copy for this title

Foreword ix

Preface xiii

About the Authors xv

PART I The American Counseling Association Code of Ethics

The ACA Code of Ethics Preamble 3

Section A The Counseling Relationship 5

Introduction 5

A.1. Client Welfare 6

A.2. Informed Consent in the

Counseling Relationship 10

A.3. Clients Served by Others 16

A.4. Avoiding Harm and Imposing Values 16

A.5. Prohibited Noncounseling Roles and Relationships 17

A.6. Managing and Maintaining Boundaries and Professional Relationships 20

A.7. Roles and Relationships at Individual, Group, Institutional, and Societal Levels 23

A.8. Multiple Clients 24

A.9. Group Work 25

A.10. Fees and Business Practices 26

A.11. Termination and Referral 30

A.12. Abandonment and Client Neglect 30

Section B Confidentiality and Privacy 33

Introduction 33

B.1. Respecting Client Rights 33

B.2. Exceptions 35

B.3. Information Shared With Others 40

B.4. Groups and Families 43

B.5. Clients Lacking Capacity to Give Informed Consent 45

B.6. Records and Documentation 46

B.7. Case Consultation 52

Section C Professional Responsibility 55

Introduction 55

C.1. Knowledge of and Compliance With Standards 55

C.2. Professional Competence 57

C.3. Advertising and Soliciting Clients 62

C.4. Professional Qualifi cations 64

C.5. Nondiscrimination 66

C.6. Public Responsibility 67

C.7. Treatment Modalities 70

C.8. Responsibility to Other Professionals 71

Section D Relationships With Other Professionals 73

Introduction 73

D.1. Relationships with Colleagues, Employers, and Employees 74

D.2. Provision of Consultation Services 78

Section E Evaluation, Assessment, and Interpretation 81

Introduction 81

E.1. General 81

E.2. Competence to Use and Interpret Assessment Instruments 83

E.3. Informed Consent in Assessment 84

E.4. Release of Data to Qualifi ed Personnel 85

E.5. Diagnosis of Mental Disorders 86

E.6. Instrument Selection 88

E.7. Conditions of Assessment Administration 89

E.8. Multicultural Issues/Diversity in Assessment 90

E.9. Scoring and Interpretation of Assessments 91

E.10. Assessment Security 93

E.11. Obsolete Assessment and Outdated Results 93

E.12. Assessment Construction 94

E.13. Forensic Evaluation: Evaluation for Legal Proceedings 95

Section F Supervision, Training, and Teaching 99

Introduction 99

F.1. Counselor Supervision and Client Welfare 99

F.2. Counselor Supervision Competence 102

F.3. Supervisory Relationship 103

F.4. Supervisor Responsibilities 105

F.5. Student and Supervisee Responsibilities 107

F.6. Counseling Supervision Evaluation, Remediation, and Endorsement 109

F.7. Responsibilities of Counselor Educators 110

F.8. Student Welfare 115

F.9. Evaluation and Remediation 117

F.10. Roles and Relationships Between Counselor Educators and Students 118

F.11. Multicultural/Diversity Competence in Counselor Education and Training Programs 121

Section G Research and Publication 123

Introduction 123

G.1. Research Responsibilities 123

G.2. Rights of Research Participants 125

G.3. Managing and Maintaining Boundaries 130

G.4. Reporting Results 131

G.5. Publications and Presentations 133

Section H Distance Counseling, Technology, and Social Media 139

Introduction 139

H.1. Knowledge and Legal Considerations 140

H.2. Informed Consent and Security 141

H.3. Client Verification 144

H.4. Distance Counseling Relationship 145

H.5. Records and Web Maintenance 149

H.6. Social Media 150

Section I Resolving Ethical Issues 153

Introduction 153

I.1. Standards and the Law 154

I.2. Suspected Violations 156

I.3. Cooperation With Ethics Committees 159

Glossary of Terms 161

PART II Decision Making and Ethical Practice in Counseling

An Ethical Decision-Making Process for Counselors 167

Ethical Issues Regarding Culture and Diversity 173

Confidentiality 179

Exceptions to Confidentiality 185

Counseling Suicidal Clients 189

Boundaries and Multiple Relationships in Counseling 193

Competence 197

Supervision 201

Managed Care 205

Integrating Technology Into Counseling Practice 209

Termination and Abandonment 215

Responding to Subpoenas and Court Orders, Lawsuits, and Ethics Complaints 221

Appendix Resources for Counselors 227

Index 231