Running head: ETHICS CODES COMPARISON
ACA and AACC Ethics Codes Comparison
Masters of Arts in Professional Counseling
January 23, 2013
ETHIC CODES COMPARISON 2
This paper will attempt to compare the similarities and differences in the ethics codes of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC). In addition to the discussion of general similarities and differences of the two codes of ethics, the paper will also will also compare and contrast the following three areas of counseling in depth: confidentiality, sexual intimacies, and research and publication. While both codes of ethics have guidelines for each of these topics that are similar in scope, they also vary from one another on the specific details. Each of the codes of ethics keeps the client in mind and wants to ensure the best quality of care, but outlines how that care should be administered a little differently between the two.
ETHIC CODES COMPARISON 3
ACA and AACC Ethics Codes Comparison
Following will be a simple but broad comparison of the similarities and differences of the codes of ethics of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC). Following the general comparison of the two will be a more in-depth look at the roles of ethics codes of each concerning confidentiality, sexual intimacies, and research and publication.
General Similarities and Differences
Both the ACA and AACC have the same goal in mind with their respective codes of ethics — to protect the client from harm while providing competent counseling to the client. That alone is a basic foundation of both codes. Each has the best interest of the client in mind and clearly spells out its missions and guidelines for obtaining optimal and quality counseling relationships with clients, but the most glaring difference between the two is the fact the ACA Codes of Ethics takes a secular-based approach, while the AACC is a Christian-based approach to counseling. The ACA is older than the AACC, therefore much of its work seems to be used in the basis of the AACC codes of ethics, with more focus added on the Christian aspect of counseling in the latter. The ACA is clear in its Preamble that the organization is predicated on education, science, and professionalism (ACA Code of Ethics, 2005). The
ETHIC CODES COMPARISON 4
AACC, on the other hand, is straight forward in its mission statement that its codes’ primary goals is to bring honor to Jesus Christ and the church while promoting excellence in Christian counseling (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004). In short, both codes of ethics share the common goal of effective counseling guided by standards set forth in common instructions, while the biggest difference — outside the specific details of each category within the codes — is the Christian element that the AACC brings to the table.
When comparing the ACA and the AACC codes of ethics regarding confidentiality, the most obvious similarity is the fact that each organization holds it in high regard. Both organizations are adamant about a counselor not revealing or disclosing information about a client to any person without the client’s permission unless it is a case of upholding the law. In fact, the ACA states that client confidentiality and trust is very important to the client-counselor relationship. Respect for privacy and confidentiality are paramount to this relationship (ACA, 2005). The ACA Code of Ethics goes as far as stating that cases where confidentiality must be breeched — such as court-ordered disclosures — it should be done so with the very minimal amount of disclosure possible. The AACC is much like the ACA in regards to confidentiality. Its code of ethics states that counselors must maintain clients’...