Counseling Ethics

ETHICAL PRINICPLES OF THE AUSTRALIAN ASSOC. OF MARRIAGE & FAMILY COUNSELORS

Members are trained and experienced in dealing with marriage and family interactions. They are conscious of the special skills required and aware of their professional limitations. In order to maintain the highest standards of professional competence the members of the Association are required to adhere to the following rules of conduct:

1. A counsellor offers professional service to anyone regardless of race, religion, sex, political affiliations, social or economic status or choice of life style. When a counsellor cannot offer service for any reason, he or she will endeavour to make a suitable referral.

2. A counsellor will not use his or her counselling relationship to promote personal, religious, political or business loyalties or interests.

3. A counsellor will not accept or offer payments for referrals, apart from the ordinary counselling fee charged to clients for interview.

4. A counsellor will not attempt to diagnose, prescribe for, treat or advise on problems outside the recognised boundaries of that counsellor's competence.

5. The essential obligation of counsellors is to respect the integrity and protect the welfare of persons with whom they are working.

6. While offering support, the counsellor is cautious in prognosis and realistic in the counselling contract he or she makes with the client.

7. Where a person has been assured, or can reasonably expect, that information given by him or her will be treated confidentially, no counsellor may divulge such information without written permission granted by the client(s) involved. Confidentiality may be waived only to prevent immediate physical danger to a person or persons, or to divulge information, which if withheld may put the counsellor at risk.

8. A counsellor shall not misuse any client relationship for personal gratification.

9. It is unethical to use undue persuasion or to attempt to enforce the acceptance of any counselling service or procedure by any individual.

10. Counselling activities should be undertaken only with professional intent and not casually and/or in extra-professional relationships.

11. Every counsellor has an obligation to continue self-education and professional growth in all possible ways including active participation in the meeting and activities of the Association.

12. A counsellor will actively seek regular suitable supervision for his or her counselling and will use such supervision to develop his or her counselling skills.

13. Counsellors are committed to protect the public against unethical, incompetent and dishonourable practices and will be prepared to challenge these practices. The Association encourages counsellors to affiliate with relevant professional groups, clinics and agencies operating in the field of marriage and family life. Interdisciplinary contact and co-operation are also encouraged. Any member advertising, conducting training programmes and/or group work shall act in accordance with these ethical principles.