Many professions have their own either written or understood code of ethics. This holds true for the profession of counseling, including the Christian sector of counseling. The American Counseling Association along with the American Association of Christian counselors both published codes of ethics for the licensed professionals in this particular field. Their specific ethics provide counselors with a guideline of how to correctly and ethically serve their clients. Some of the ethics described in these documents are: confidentiality, informed consent, and discrimination, healthy relationships with clients, laws and regulations, along with other specific duties to the clients and to the profession itself. These detailed standards are set in place to uphold the integrity of the counseling profession and ensure that clients are cared for in the most appropriate manner. This paper compares the two codes of ethics, pointing out specifically the similarities and differences the following topics: competence, fees, and personal problems of counselors.
A Comparison of the ACA and AACC Code of Ethics
Ethics are principals adopted by a group or individual “to provide rules for right conduct” (Corey, Corey, and Callanan, 2007, pg. 14). They “pertain to the beliefs we hold about what constitutes what is right” (Corey, et al, 2007, pg. 14). The American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American Association of Christian Counseling (AACC) have both published a code of ethics for the counseling professionals. Though similar in fashion, there are some differences that are noticeable. For some, it may be unimportant that the two codes are dissimilar, but it is important to know the differences between the two in order to be a successful Christian counselor. The two ethics codes describe the duties to clients and to the profession. The following will show general comparisons between the ACA and AACC, along with comparing and contrasting the following specific ethics topics: competence, fees, and personal problems. General Comparison
The most obvious difference between the two codes is that the American Association of Christian Counseling purposefully relates everything back to God, expecting the counselor to view “human beings [as] God’s creation” (AACC, 2004, pg. 6). The focus is consistently directed toward Christ and what the Bible teaches us in regards to the counseling field. Included in the document are biblical-ethical foundations which reflect the basic religious beliefs of the AACC. This particular document was created for Christian counselors, giving clear directions regarding the standards specific to Christian counseling. Both the AACC and the ACA are fully intentional about their commitment to the client. The ACA states that “the primary responsibility of the counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients” (ACA, 2005, pg. 4). The associations hold high standards regarding confidentiality, expecting the trust between patient and client not to be broken. Records of clients are carefully preserved and “we do not disclose or submit session notes and details of client admissions solely on demand of third-party payors” (AACC, 2005, pg. 12). Specific Comparisons
Both codes of ethics explicitly outline what it means to be a competent counselor. The AACC states that “Christian counselors maintain the highest standards of competence with integrity” (AACC, 2004, pg. 9). The ACA and AACC both review the importance of working within personal boundaries and respecting those boundaries. Some of these particular boundaries include “education, training, supervised experience, state and national professional credentials, and appropriate professional experience” (ACA, 2005, pg. 9). Counselors are expected to be honest and open about their experiences even if that means they must refer a client if their expertise do...