Code of Ethics

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Code of Ethics Comparison
Between the American Counseling Association and the American Association of Christian Counselors Rachel Trimble
Liberty University

Abstract

The American Counseling Association and the American Association of Christian Counselors both contain a Code of Ethics. This paper will discuss the differences and similarities between a Christian Counselor and a non-Christian Counselor. The differences and similarities range from general to specific. General differences include their overall view of the helping profession, yet the codes are quite similar in the pursuit to do no harm to those they serve. Upon further inspection, it is evident the differences and similarities as they refer to competence, reporting of colleagues and sexual intimacies. As stated in the introduction to the Code of Ethics for the American Association of Christian Counselors, may God grant grace for the task to discern the differences and similarities of each code, and the courage to live accordingly.

Even though the American Association of Christian Counselors and the American Counseling Association has the same title for their Code of Ethics does not imply that they have the same standards nor does it mean that they have many differences. However difficult it might be for a counselor to follow a Code of Ethics, it is imperative. It is the role of each Counselor to read through their Code of Ethics, to discern the truth from the falsities and to model their life and practice accordingly. The differences and similarities of each Code of Ethics range from general to specific. The general difference is the overarching view of helping profession in each code. The introduction, mission and foundations of each code define their overall stances on the counseling profession, and it is in these three areas that the differences of the ACA and the AACC are so clearly defined. The ACA’s mission is as follows, “The mission of the American Counseling Association is to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity.” (ACA, 2005). In contrast the AACC’s mission is “The mission of the Code is to help advance the central mission of the AACC-to bring honor to Jesus Christ and promote excellence and unity in Christian Counseling; promote the welfare and protect the dignity and fundamental rights of all individuals, families, groups, churches, schools, agencies, ministries, and other organizations with whom Christian counselors work; provide standards of ethical conduct in Christian counseling that are to be advocated and applied by the AACC and that can be respected by other professionals and institutions.” (AACC, 2004). Even at first glance, one can realize the in depth nature of the AACC’s Code as opposed to the ACA’s Code. Where as, the ACA’s Code is general and amiable; while, the AACC’s Code dives deeper into the standards of a Counselor and could be considered aggressive. Rather than a broad and vaguely worded Code of Ethics, the AACC chooses, “A more comprehensive and behavior-specific ethical code.” (AACC, 2004). This view is extremely biblical. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2 ESV) A Christian is called to a higher standard. The AACC supports this by having four streams of influence: “(1) the Bible (Old and New Testaments) and historic orthodox Christian Theology; (2) accepted standards of counseling and clinical practice from Christian counseling and the established mental health disciplines; (3) codes of ethics from...
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