Just as controversy and differences emerge constantly with regards to God and His place in society, it would be equaled in the realm of counseling. This paper will review the Code of Ethics of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC). When reviewing, it is the foundation of each association that prove to exemplify the most distinctive difference. The AACC seeks to honor Christ through counseling and provide guidance to the Christian counselor, while the ACA is committed to the general counselor at-large and enhancing the client’s life while remaining focused on a general view of society. There are several other general similarities and differences. Primarily, that the counselor should never cause harm to the client. Other similarities that center around the protection of the client reside in both codes. Several would include confidentiality, record keeping, informed consent and the duty to protect the client and others from physical harm. Although both codes provide guidelines regarding sexual intimacies, it is defined differently in the codes which changes the timelines of appropriateness for having a relationship with a client. This paper will analyze the differences and similarities in three areas: confidentiality, continuing education and sexual intimacies. Keywords: comparison, ACA, AACC, ethics, code, counselor
A Comparison of the American Counseling Association and the American Association of Christian Counselors Code of Ethics It is understandable by observing the core of our nation’s beliefs to protect the freedoms and rights of others, guidelines would be in place to promote ethical behavior in counselors. In 1892 Francis Bellamy penned words that would be etched into the framework of our country, “… one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” A desire to ensure that the people of this country would be treated fairly and with dignity rings true today. It is also notable that the controversy that came with the addition of “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance by President Eisenhower in 1954 would exist in multiple facets of life. Whether or not the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) or the American Counseling Association (ACA) agree on every guideline, it is important to note that they both seek to protect those that are wrestling with the challenges of life and often easy to be preyed upon or taken advantage of. Section 1
Each organization may word this primary goal of ethical behavior differently, but the core is the same, do no harm. The ACA informs counselors that “The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients.” (2005, p.4). The AACC introduces its mission of honoring Jesus Christ and promoting unity in Christian counseling, however, it affirms that “…the first rule of professional-ministerial ethical conduct is: do no harm to those served.” (2004, pp. 4-6). It is this spirit of doing no harm that drives several other general similarities in the codes. As noted in the AACC preface, it is evident that the ACA codes were referred to while drafting them (2004, p.2). The subjects of counseling relationship, professional responsibility, evaluation, assessment and interpretation, supervision training and teaching have many similarities. Though there are some differences in specific areas, it is what drives the codes foundations that offer the most noticeable variances. For example, the ACA views the end-of-life care for terminally ill patients differently. Where the ACA code provides a more open-ended approach in giving the counselor an option based on the laws applicable to the situation (2005, p. 5), the AACC is specific in detailing that “Christian...