Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Code of Ethics Essay
The primary purpose of a code of ethics is to safeguard the welfare of clients by providing what is in their best interest. It is also designed to safeguard the public and to guide professionals in their work so that they can provide the best service possible. All professional counselors are obligated to perform by a code of ethics. The American Counseling Association (ACA) provides guidance in resolving moral problems that professionals may encounter, whereas Christian counselors not only abide by the ACA Code of Ethics but also by the American Association of Christian Counselors AACC code, which promotes excellence and brings unity to Christian counselors, and gives honor to Jesus Christ. This paper will address the broad similarities and differences between the two codes, as well as comparisons in the specific areas of Confidentiality, Sexual Intimacies and Discrimination. Codes of Ethics Comparison A code of ethics is a systematic statement of ethical standards that represent the moral convictions and guide the practice behavior of a group (Clinton and Ohlschlager, 2002). Ã¢â¬ With that in mind, every counseling discipline has an ethics code which is continuously revised and updated to stay current with emerging issue, and to promote elevated clarity and direction to the profession. Thus, the ACA and AACC codes of ethics were both created to assist their members to better serve their clients. They also define values and behavioral standards necessary for ethical counseling. Yet while they are similar in intent, they are distinct in their foundational premise. General Similarities and Differences Both codes stress the importance of Ã¢â¬Å"promoting the welfare of consumers, practicing within the scope of oneÃ¢â¬â¢s competence, doing no harm to the client, protecting clientÃ¢â¬â¢s confidentiality and privacy, acting ethically and responsibly, avoiding exploitation, and upholding the integrity of the profession by striving for aspirational practice Ã¢â¬ (Corey, p. 6). However, the biggest difference between the two codes rests in the streams of influence, whereas the AACC code is rooted in a biblical worldview. In other words, the primary goal of the AACC is Ã¢â¬Å"to bring honor to Jesus Christ and his church, promote excellence in Christian counseling and bring unity to Christian counselorsÃ¢â¬ (AACC, 2004). However, the ACAÃ¢â¬â¢s goals are educational, scientific, and professional. It strives to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity (ACA, 2005). The primary goal of the AACC is Ã¢â¬Å"to bring honor to Jesus Christ and is church, promote excellence in Christian counseling and bring unity to Christian counselorsÃ¢â¬ (AACC, 2004) Specific Comparisons Both codes express a high priority on client confidentiality. Also, they express the value of discussing and securing written consent from the client. They also both discuss the importance of client disclosure in that protecting confidential communication is always the first response of the counselor. The counselor is mandated to disclose information in life threaten or abusive situations. However, the distinct difference between the AACC and the ACA is in the area of privileged communication. While both associations require that counselors do not disclose client information as it relates to training, research or publication, the AACC adds that Ã¢â¬Å"Christian counselors do not disclose confidential client communications in any supervisory, consultation, teaching, preaching, publishing, or other activity without written or other legal authorization by the clientÃ¢â¬ (AACC, 2004). The ACA and the AACC codes differ greatly in the concept of sexual Intimacies. In fact, The ACA (2005) used the term Ã¢â¬Å"sexual or romantic interactions or relationshipÃ¢â¬ . In other words The ACA (2005) does not forbid, but sets guidelines pertaining to any participation of sexual or romantic interaction with any current or formal clients for a period of 5 years following the last professional contact. However, the AACC declared that all forms of sexual interactions or relationships outside of marriage are unethical. The only exception to this rule is marriage, which the AACC (2004) declared as Ã¢â¬Å"honorable before GodÃ¢â¬ . Thus, guidelines have been appropriated to allow for such a case. In addition, Christian counselors are also forbidden to counsel current or former sexual partners and or marital partners. (AACC, 2004 )Discrimination can result in serious problems for both the people that hold them and the people that they are prejudiced against. Both associations agree that non-discrimination is the best practice, for clients should not be denied service based on age, religion, sexual orientation etc. However, the AACC maintains its biblical perspective in that counselors are to encourage biblical principles. While Christian counselors must not discriminate, they also cannot condone certain practices that conflict with biblical principles. For instance, in the area of sexual orientation, Christian counselors will not deny service. However they will Ã¢â¬Å"encourage sexual celibacy or biblically prescribed sexual behavior while such issues are being addressedÃ¢â¬ (AACC, 2004). Conclusion There are many similarities and differences relating to the code of ethics for the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) and the American Counseling Association (ACA). Through these areas we realize that the code of ethics sets boundaries and regulations for all professional counselors and without them, counselors could not be effective or productive in their true calling.