Annette Dianne Daugherty
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
References: American Counseling Association (ACA). (2005). 2005 ACA code of ethics [White Paper]. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/Files/FD.ashx?guid=ab7c1272-71c4-46cf-848c-f98489937dda American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA). (2010). 2010 AMHCA code of ethics[White Paper]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.amhca.org/assets/news/AMHCA_Code_of_Ethics_2010_w_pagination.pdf 2010 AMHCA Code of Ethics used with permission of The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA). Remley, T.P.,& Herlihy, B. (2010). Ethical, legal, and professional issues in counseling. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice hall.