CODE OF ETHICS
THE INSTITUTE OF GUIDANCE COUNSELLORS
Guidance counsellors work with clients, as individuals and in groups, to whom they supply professional services concerning educational, vocational and personal/social development. Guidance counsellors respect the dignity, integrity and welfare of their clients, work in ways which promote clients’ control over their own lives, and respect clients’ ability to make decisions and engage in personal change in the light of clients’ own beliefs and values. To protect clients’ interests, members of the Institute are required to comply with this Code of Ethics, which makes explicit the values underlying their practice. The work of the guidance counsellor involves a special relationship of trust. That trust is promoted by setting and monitoring appropriate boundaries in the relationship, and making this action explicit to the client and relevant others. While the relationship with the client is the primary concern, it does not exist in a social vacuum. For this reason, guidance counsellors have sensible regard for the social context of their work, which includes the wider community, the law and professional colleagues. Alleged breaches of the Code are referred to the Institute’s Professional Conduct Committee, which will investigate, and if appropriate recommend sanctions. While the Code is designed to regulate the professional activities of guidance counsellors, it is not intended to monitor their activity in other contexts, or embrace wider social concerns. Personal behaviour becomes a concern of the Institute only if it casts doubt on practitioners' ability to conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner, or if it undermines public trust in the profession. Similarly, non-members of the Institute are not bound by the Code or the Institute’s disciplinary procedures; however, like all other citizens, members and non-members alike must take account of the law, and their conduct is ultimately subject to legal sanction. The Code consists of four overall ethical principles which subsume a number of specific ethical standards: Principle 1: Respect for the rights and dignity of the client: Guidance counsellors honour and promote the fundamental rights, moral and cultural values, dignity and worth of clients. They respect clients’ rights to privacy, confidentiality, self-determination and autonomy, consistent with the law. As far as possible, they ensure that the client understands and consents to whatever professional action they propose. Principle 2: Competence: Guidance counsellors maintain and update their professional skills. They recognise the limits of their expertise, engage in self-care, and seek support and supervision to maintain the standard of their work. They offer only those services for which they are qualified by education, training and experience. Principle 3: Responsibility: Guidance counsellors are aware of their professional responsibility to act in a trustworthy, reputable and accountable manner towards clients, colleagues and the community in which they work and live. They avoid doing harm, take responsibility for their professional actions, and adopt a systematic approach to resolving ethical dilemmas. Principle 4: Integrity: Guidance counsellors seek to promote integrity in their practice. They represent themselves accurately and treat others with honesty, straightforwardness and fairness. They deal actively with conflicts of interest, avoid exploiting others, and are alert to inappropriate behaviour on the part of colleagues. THE CODE
1.0 RESPECT FOR THE RIGHTS AND DIGNITY OF THE CLIENT
Guidance counsellors honour and promote the fundamental rights, moral and cultural values, dignity and worth of clients. They respect clients’ rights to privacy, confidentiality, self-determination and autonomy, consistent with the law. As far as possible, they ensure that the client understands and consents to whatever professional action they...
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