Includes common ethical and professional standards, such as informed consent and child abuse reporting. May be considered to mean a “Code of Ethics”, such as that of the American Counseling Association (ACA), National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), American School Counselor Association (ASCA), etc. Ethical codes have been developed by mental health associations for the purpose of setting professional standards for appropriate behavior, defining professional expectations, and preventing harm to people who go to therapy. Mental health professionals have an obligation to be familiar with their professional code of ethics and its application to their professional services. As school counselors, we have an obligation to adhere to our own professional code of ethics and to become familiar with basic ethical guidelines before beginning professional work.
- It is your responsibility to know the ethical guidelines that apply to your work and your population.
- Be aware that statutes that apply to your ethical obligations may vary by state, for example, for the reporting of child abuse and neglect. Be familiar with the statutes that apply to you in your state.
- Difficult situations can arise in any counseling setting, and when they do, counselors are expected to engage in a carefully considered ethical decision-making process.
- School counselors face ethical and legal challenges every day. Whether you are new to the field or have been practicing for years, legal and ethical challenges can still throw you for a loop.
- Most school counselor adhere to the ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors, which was revised in 2016. (See resource section below for link).
- ASCA Ethical Standards include the following broad sections: RESPONSIBILITIES TO STUDENT, RESPONSIBILITIES TO PARENTS/GUARDIANS, SCHOOL AND SELF, SCHOOL COUNSELOR ADMINISTRATORS/SUPERVISORS, SCHOOL COUNSELING INTERN SITE SUPERVISORS, MAINTENANCE OF STANDARDS, and ETHICAL DECISION MAKING. (See resources for a link to these ethical standards).
- ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors: https://www.schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/Ethics/EthicalStandards2016.pdf
ASCA Webinar Series: 2016 ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNDPqQWs5do&feature=youtu.be
- National Board for Certified Counselor (NBCC) Code of Ethics: http://www.nbcc.org/Ethics/CodeOfEthics
- American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics: https://www.counseling.org/resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf
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