Well, this has been a long process and we are in the home stretch. Therefore, we of the Ethics Revision Task Force (ERTF) would like to inform you all of what’s been going on and what’s ahead.
Since fall 2011, the ERTF has been working diligently on the revision of the ACA Code of Ethics. We asked for feedback and comments before our revision ever started. We’ve had two town hall meetings at the respective annual conventions and have met in person for two intensive weekends. In this time frame, the ERTF has created a first draft that is currently up on the ACA website. We are asking for feedback. Remember, this is your Code of Ethics; it is your guideline for dealing with ethical dilemmas. Therefore, it is incredibly important and desired to have your feedback.
The feedback is set up through Survey Monkey where you can comment on each section and that will help us make sure all comments are seen and understood where they are applicable. The feedback will also drive the next intensive weekend meeting that we will be having early June.
Some of the changes you may want to be aware of:
The Preamble and Introduction discusses the aspirational aspect of the Code of Ethics and the professional values we all share.
Section A has gotten a fairly good amount of reworking in that we have tried to clarify the concept of potentially beneficial relationships. We have also defined when a client becomes a client and discussed referral based on values versus competence.
Section B has addressed the idea of record keeping and how best to do so as well as working in interdisciplinary teams
Section C looks at competency and how we market ourselves and the procedure in which we serve our clients
Section D looks at formal consultation and those responsibilities as well as working with other professionals.
Section E discusses assessment (both quantitative and qualitative) as well as diagnosing
Section F looks at the supervisor/supervisee and student/educator roles and responsibilities. It also really evaluates the concept of gate-keeping.
Section G evaluates research and where there have been some aspects missed in previous codes.
Section H is the new technology, distance counseling, and social media section. It has expanded on the old A.12 and we are trying to navigate this new frontier of the profession.
Section I is the old section H and just looks at the best way to walk through an ethical dilemma and stresses the necessity of having your own ethical decision making model to walk through situations when they occur.
The call for feedback ends May 30. The more feedback we receive, the better we can hone the revision to meet the needs of the profession. So please, take a moment to look over it and comment, because remember these will be the standards that you all will be held to when it is released.
Michelle E. Wade is a counselor and doctoral student focusing on in-home therapy and technology in counseling.