Ethics Code Analysis Paper

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Ethics Code Analysis-American Counseling Association vs. American Association of

Christian Counselors

Brooke G. Holmes

Liberty University

The various ethics codes of organizations display a remarkable amount of diversity in definition and expectations. Many similarities and differences can be noted within different areas concerning ethics. This paper compares and analyzes these ethics codes, focusing on the ethics codes of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and the American Counseling Association (ACA). The differences exist primarily due to the different world view and primary goals of the writers of the individual codes.

Ethics Code Analysis-American Counseling Association vs. American Association of

Christian Counselors
Ethical codes are rules of professional responsibility, in which make known with difficult issues of what behavior is "ethical" (Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2007). These codes are usually adopted by a person, religion, group, or profession to regulate that entity. Ethical codes help to define accepted or acceptable behaviors; to promote high standards of practice; to provide a point of reference for members to use for self evaluation; to establish a framework for professional behavior and responsibilities; as a vehicle for occupational identity; and as a mark of occupational maturity (Corey et al., 2007). The ethics codes of the two following counseling associations share certain ethical responsibilities in common, while containing certain responsibilities unique to their organization. The two associations’ ethics codes that will be studied here are the American Counseling Association (ACA) 2005 Draft Code of Ethics and the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) Code of Ethics-Y2004 Final Code. The first level of comparison between the two ethics codes begins with finding the similarities and differences they display in their duties to clients. There exist several similarities in this regard between them. In terms of obtaining informed consent, the ACA codes of ethics states, in section A.2.a., that clients can choose to either continue or terminate treatment at any time (p. 4). This would be after the counselor discharges his/her duty in informing the client exactly how the counseling would occur, what the counselor’s credentials were, and what rights and responsibilities were enjoined upon both the counselor and client. In a similar fashion, the AACC code of ethics states, in section 1-310, that Christian counselors must seek a client’s informed consent for all types of services including, the practice of consulting other counselors for help with the client, the possibility of audio/video taping a client’s sessions, the engagement in special counseling methods, and finally the disclosure of client data to other agencies or counselors (p. 10). There are also similarities to be found in how the level of professional competence is viewed. Level of competence here entails the level of training, education, and experience that the counselor has already acquired. The ACA code of ethics states, in section C.2.a., that counselors must work within the boundaries of their level of education, training, work experience, and state and national credentials (p. 9). The AACC code of ethics states, in section 1-210, that counselors should truthfully state about their level of education, experience, credentials and method of counseling to clients (p. 9). It goes on to state that AACC members should never work beyond their limits. In terms of the dangers that could develop within a counselor-client relationship, both ethics codes differ in how they view sexual/romantic relationships between counselors and former clients. Both, however, do explicitly forbid sexual/romantic relations between counselors and the clients they currently serve. In section A.5.b. of the ACA code of ethics...
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