The American Counseling Association (ACA) formally approved a new code of ethics at its annual conference in Hawaii. This code of ethics replaces the version which was in place since 2005.
Perhaps the biggest changes in the code relate to ethics and the use of social media with clients, topics not found in the previous edition of the code. A number of clarifications and new guidelines can be found in this code relating to such issues as counselor personal values and their imposition on clients, distance counseling, confidentiality, and the use of technology, recordkeeping, diagnosis and decisions about end-of-life care.
Professional counselors as well as graduate students in counselor education are bound by the stipulations found in the ACA Code of Ethics. Many states’ counselor licensure laws refer explicitly to the ACA Code and counselors licensed in those states will be expected to adhere to the principles in the code for legal as well as ethical reasons.
New exam items for the NCE and the CPCE based on the new code of ethics will be developed and field tested for a few months before they become “scorable” exam items for you. Historically, most versions of the NCE and CPCE have only two or three items (out of 200 and 160, respectively) based on the code of ethics.
Whether or not you are a member of ACA, you can access the 2014 Code of Ethics on the ACA website under Knowledge Center at www.counseling.org.