Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
At the heart of the counseling profession is the all-important relationship between the professional counselor and the individual, couple, group, or family seeking help. Because the relationship itself is so central to the helping process, ethical concerns and obligations are especially salient and compelling. This relationship entails an important power differential between the professional and those seeking counseling assistance, thus making ethical behavior an essential responsibility of the professional. Many professional counseling organizations have ethics codes and standards of practice. These codes indicate the aspirations and values of the profession and provide professional and educational guidelines applicable to a wide range of counseling endeavors. Codes also have both legal and moral consequences that are not necessarily limited to any particular professional organization. In addition to the overarching codes for counseling in general, more specific codes exist for many situations, including school counseling, mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling, pastoral ...