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Comparing Codes of Ethics
Annette Dianne Daugherty
Walden University

Comparing Codes of Ethics

Both the ACA (2005) and the AMHCA (2010) Codes of ethics provide training, and guidance in terms of making ethical decisions. Both codes cover a wide range of ethical and professional topics common to the counseling profession. In this paper I will look at the ACA and AMHCA Codes in the areas of confidentiality and duty to warn, boundaries, and dual relationships. I will also discuss any major differences in these two codes of ethics. Confidentiality and Duty to Warn

Remley and Herlihy pointed out the importance of confidentiality and duty to warn (2001). Both the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics (2005) and the American Mental health Counseling Association Code of Ethics (2010) outline the role of counselors in keeping client information confidential. Exceptions to confidentiality occur in terms of duty to warn; section B.2.a. of the ACA Code specifies that counselors must make exceptions to confidentiality to protect clients from foreseeable harm (2005). Section A.2.b. further states that counselors have a duty to warn when clients disclose that they have a communicable and life threatening illness (ACA, 2005). Client safety depends on the counselor’s ethical legal obligation to adhere to duty to warn. Section I.A.2. c. of the AMHCA Code of ethics states that counselors may only release information without client consent in “extreme circumstances” which are necessary for the “protection of life” in cases of suicide, homicide, child abuse, and elder abuse (pg. 2, 2010). This section of the AMHCA code further states that counselors are required to obey state and federal laws in reference to mandated reporting (2010).

Boundaries
Boundaries are essential to the therapeutic relationship. Both the ACA Code and the AMHCA Code of ethics outline expectations for keeping appropriate boundaries with clients. Section A.5.c. of the ACA Code suggests...
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