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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Code of Ethics for Counselors & The Counseling Profession

PHILIPPINE GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING ASSOCIATION, INC.
Accredited Professional Organization (APO)
by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC)


PROPOSED CODE OF ETHICS
(REVISED as of December 21, 2006 @ Dr. Villar’s Residence)

PREAMBLE

The Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association, Inc. (PGCA) is an organization of helping professionals whose members are committed to the development of the well-functioning individual in a society utilizing his/her potentials to the fullest. Members of the Association are bound to uphold the dignity and worth of the individual throughout life in the following settings: educational, community, clinical, hospital, or industry.
This Code of Ethics in Guidance and Counseling expresses the ethical principles and values of the Association and serves as a guide to the professional and personal conduct of all its members. It also informs the public which they serve of the standards of ethical conduct for which members are to be responsible and accountable. The Code reflects such values as integrity, competence, responsibility and an understanding of and respect for the cultural diversity of society.
Members have a responsibility to ensure that they are familiar with this Code of Ethics, understand its application to their professional and personal conduct, and strive to adhere to its principles and values. They should also be familiar with other sources of information which will assist them in making informed professional decisions. These include the laws, rules and regulations, and policies which are professionally relevant in their working environment.
Members are accountable to both the public and their peers and are therefore subject to the complaints and disciplinary procedures of the Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association. By accepting this statement of ethics, members of the Association are committing themselves to act ethically in the provision of professional services.

ETHICAL PRINCIPLES

The expectations for ethical conduct as expressed in this Code are based on the following fundamental principles:

· Respecting human rights and dignity
· Respect for the client’s right to be self-governing
· A commitment to promoting the client’s well being
· Fostering responsible caring
· Fair treatment of all clients and the provision of adequate services
· Equal opportunity to clients availing counseling services
· Ensuring the integrity of practitioner-client relationship
· Fostering the practitioner’s self-knowledge and care for self
· Enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application
· Responsibility to the society

CHAPTER I
PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

1. General Responsibility. Counselors maintain a high standard of professional competence and ethical behavior thereby recognizing the need for continuing education in order to meet this responsibility.
2. Respect for Rights. Counselors respect the rights of a client and uphold the integrity of the counseling profession. They participate in only those practices which are respectful of the legal, civic, and moral rights of others, and act to safeguard the dignity and rights of their clients, students, and research participants.

3. Boundaries of Competence. Counselors limit their practices within their professional competence, educational background, and personal experience as what the laws, rules, guidelines, accreditation and credential are concerned. If the counseling needs of a client are beyond the counselor’s expertise and competence appropriate referral must be made.
4. Continuing Education. Counselors continuously update themselves with the current trends and development in the profession to maintain a high degree of proficiency through active participation in scientific and professional endeavor.
5. Research and Development. Counselors engage in research activities for the advancement of the counseling profession. They have the responsibility to disseminate such information through presentation and publication.
6. Ethical Behavior. Counselors uphold the values and ethical principles operating in this Code. They are expected to behave as professionals in their counseling sessions as well as in dealing with their fellow colleagues.
7. Sensitivity to Diversity. Counselors recognize and respect client’s diversity in terms of religion, race, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, education, and socio-economic status.
8. Equal Opportunity. Counselors provide equal opportunity to everyone to avail of the counseling services in various setting regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, civil status, religion, culture, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation.
9. Good Quality of Practice. Counselors maintain a good quality of practice in the helping profession at all times. They continually monitor their effectiveness as professionals and take steps to improve when necessary.

10. Knowledge of Legislative Laws. Counselors have a responsibility to read, understand, and follow Republic Act 9258 (Guidance and Counseling Act of 2004) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations. Other mandated laws protecting the interest of clients’ rights should be known to the practicing counselors.
11. Extension of Ethical Responsibilities. Counseling services and products provided by counselors through classroom instruction, public lectures, demonstrations, publications, radio and television programs, computer technology and other media must meet the appropriate ethical standards of this Code of Ethics.

CHAPTER II
COUNSELING RELATIONSHIP
1. General Responsibility. Counselors have a primary responsibility to respect the integrity and promote the welfare of their clients. They work collaboratively with clients in creating counseling relationships that are consistent with client abilities and needs.
2. Confidentiality. The counselor must preserve and safeguard the confidentiality of the clients except:
2.1 When disclosure is required to prevent clear and imminent danger to the client or others;
2.2 When legal requirements demand that confidential matter be revealed;
3. Children and Persons with Diminished Capacity. Counselors conduct the informed consent process with those legally appropriate to give consent when counseling children and/or persons with diminished capacity. These clients also give consent to such services or involvement commensurate with their capacity to do so.
4. Maintenance of Records. Counselors maintain records in sufficient detail to track the sequence and nature of professional services rendered and consistent with any legal, regulatory, agency, or institutional requirement. They secure the safety of such records and, create, maintain, transfer, and dispose of them in a manner compliant with the requirements of confidentiality and other articles of this Code of Ethics.
5. Access to Records. Counselors understand that clients have the right to access their counseling records. Disclosure of such information to others is allowed only through the clients informed consent and/or if there is imminent changes to life properly.
6. Dual Relationships. Counselors avoid personal, familial, social and/or business relationships except those already existing prior to the establishment of the counseling relationships.

7. Understanding Diversity. Counselors actively work to understand the diverse cultural background of the clients with whom they work, and do not condone or engage in discrimination based on age, color, culture, ethnicity, disability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, marital, or socioeconomic status.
8. Relationships with Former Clients. Counselors exercise caution about entering any friendly, social, financial and business relationships with former clients until such time that the issues in relational dynamic present during counseling have been fully resolved and properly terminated.
9. Multiple Clients. When counselors agree to provide counseling to two or more persons who have a relationship (such as husband and wife, or parents and children), counselors clarify at the outset which person or persons are clients and the nature of the relationship they will have with each person.
10. Multiple Helpers. If, after entering a counseling relationship, a counselor discovers the client is already in a counseling relationship then, the counselor is responsible for discussing the issues related to continuing or terminating counseling with the client. It may be necessary, with client consent, to discuss these issues with the other helper or counselor may opt not to take on the case unless the client decides to terminate the counseling relationship.

11. Group Work. Counselors have the responsibility to protect group members from physical and/or psychological harm resulting from interaction within the group, both during and following the group experience.
12. Termination of Counseling. Counselors must terminate the counseling relationships when it is deemed necessary. More specifically terminating the counseling relationships should be done when
12.1. Goals of counseling have been met.
12.2. Client condition is beyond the counselor’s expertise.
12.3. Transference or counter-transference issues are evident.

13. Computer Use. When computer applications are used as a component of counseling services, as in testing or assessment, counselors must ensure that:
(a) client is capable of using the computer application;
(b) the computer application is appropriate to the needs of the client; and
(c) the client understands the purpose and operation of computer application.
Pertinent records stored in the computer such as counseling transcription, test data and personal information data must be kept with confidentiality. In any case, computer applications do not diminish the counselor’s responsibility to act in accordance with the PGCA Code of Ethics, and in particular, to ensure adherence to the principles of confidentiality, informed consent, and safeguarding against harmful effects.

CHAPTER III
CONSULTING AND PRIVATE PRACTICE

1. General Responsibility. Counselors provide consultative services only in those areas in which they have demonstrated competency by virtue of their education and experience.
2. Undiminished Responsibility and Liability. Counselors who work in private practice, whether incorporated or not, must ensure that there is no diminishing of their individual professional responsibility to act in accordance with the PGCA Code of Ethics, or in their liability for any failure to do so.
3. Consultative Relationships. Counselors ensure that consultation occurs within a voluntary relationship between a counselor and a client, group, or organization, and that the goals are understood by all parties concerned.
4. Informed Consent. Counselors, who provide services for the use of third parties, acknowledge and clarify for the informed consent of clients, all obligations of such consulting relationships, including the purpose, entitlement to information, and any restrictions on confidentiality. Third parties may include public and private institutions, funding agencies, employees, and so forth.
5. Accurate Advertising. Counselors, when advertising services as private practitioners, do so in a manner that accurately and clearly informs the public of their services, areas of expertise, credentials such as licensure and accreditation in an accurate manner that is not false, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent.
6. Respect for Privacy. Counselors limit any discussion of client information obtained from a consulting relationship to persons clearly involved with the case. Any written and oral reports must be restricted to the purposes of the consultation and, every effort is made to protect client identity and to avoid undue invasion of privacy.
7. Cooperating Agencies. Before sharing information, counselors make efforts to ensure that these other agencies have defined policies that serve the clients interest.
8. Conflict of Interest. Counselors who engage in consultation avoid circumstances where the duality of relationships or the prior possession of information could lead to a conflict of interest.
9. Professional Fees. Professional fees are based on standards prescribed by the existing laws, ordinances, promulgations, and resolutions. Counselors consider the financial status of clients and locality in establishing fees for professional counseling services.
10. Pro Bono Service. Counselors render professional services in the community or society for which there is little or no financial return (pro bono).

CHAPTER IV
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER PROFESSIONALS

1. General Responsibility. Counselors maintain harmonious working relationships with other professionals in their work setting and affiliated organizations.
2. Roles and Functions. Counselors set the parameters and levels of their professional roles and functions.
3. Working Agreement. Counselors establish working agreements with supervisors, colleagues, and subordinates regarding counseling relationships, adherence to professional standards, house rules, work load, time schedule, responsibility, and accountability. Working agreements are specified and made known to those concerned.
4. Evaluation. Counselors submit regularly to professional review and evaluation by their employer and peer. This can be done semi-quarterly or annually as agreed by the counselor and the employer.
5. In-Service. Counselors participate in in-service training for professional growth and development.
6. Damage Control. Counselors alert their employers to conditions that may be potentially disruptive or damaging to the counselor’s professional responsibilities or that may limit their effectiveness.
7. Supervisory Relationships. Counselors in supervisory position foster good working relationships and treat all colleagues fairly.
8. Consulting with other Professionals. Counselors may consult with other professionally competent persons about the client. However, if the identity of the client is to be revealed, it is done with the written consent of the client. Counselors choose professional consultants in a manner which will avoid placing the consultant in a conflict of interest situation.
9. Client Advocate. Counselors strive to reach agreement with employers as to acceptable standards of conduct that allow for changes in institutional policy conducive to the growth and development of clients.
10. Coordination. Counselors maintain proper coordination with fellow professionals in relation to counseling services and programs implemented in their workplace.
11. Networking and Linkages. Counselors establish a good system of networking and linkages with other sectors to promote public and social awareness as well as for the enhancement of the profession.
12. Referral Fee. Counselors desist from accepting referral fee from other professionals.
13. Professional Conduct. Counselors have a responsibility both to clients and the institution within which services are performed to maintain high standards of professional conduct.

CHAPTER V
EVALUATION, ASSESSMENT, AND INTERPRETATION
1. General Responsibility. Counselors take responsibility to inform the clients about the purpose of any evaluation and assessment instruments and procedures and the meaning of evaluation and assessment results.
2. Test Selection and Evaluation. Counselors have the competence to evaluate tests in terms of the
(a) appropriateness of the test to the purpose of testing;
(b) reliability and validity;
(c) appropriateness of level of difficulty to clients; and
(d) appropriateness of norms of norm-referenced tests.
3. Test Competence. Counselors using psychological tests and other assessment tools should only do so if they have undergone training in the use of these tools, familiar with the training requirements of different tests, and are conversant with the concepts of reliability and validity.
4. Purpose and Results of Assessment. Counselors take responsibility to inform clients about the purpose of assessment, the procedures involved, and the meaning of evaluation and assessment results.
5. Test Administration. Counselors administer psychological tests in accordance with standards or guidelines of testing procedures found in the Test Manual.
6. Administrative and Supervisory Conditions. Counselors ensure that evaluation and assessment instruments and procedures are administered and supervised under established conditions consistent with professional standards. They note any departures from standard conditions, and any unusual behavior of irregularities which may affect the interpretation of results.
7. Test Data Utilization. Counselors utilize assessment data by taking into account various factors and characteristics of the person derived from integrated profile of battery test results that might affect the counselor’s judgment or reduce the accuracy of information.
8. Test Confidentiality. Counselors have the responsibility to observe the principle of confidentiality in testing.
9. Computer-Generated Tests. Counselors ensure that computer-generated test administration and scoring programs operate properly thereby providing clients with accurate test results.
10. Obsolete Data. Counselors do not base their assessments or recommendations or decisions on data or test results that are outdated for the current purpose.
11. Intellectual Property. Counselors safeguard and respect the publisher’s intellectual property rights of psychological tests. Reproduction and/or modification of parts thereof without acknowledgement and permission from the publisher of psychological tests are punishable by the Law.
12. Maintaining Test Security. Counselors make reasonable efforts to maintain the integrity and security of tests and other assessment techniques.
CHAPTER VI
COUNSELOR EDUCATION, TRAINING, AND SUPERVISION

1. General Responsibility. Counselors responsible for counselor education, training, and supervision adhere to current guidelines and standards with respect to such activities and conduct themselves in a manner consistent in this Code and Standards of Practice.
2. Counselor Educators and Trainers. Counselor educators and trainers possess the necessary qualifications, skills and competencies to conduct counselor education and training programs.
3. Description of Education and Training Programs. Counselors responsible for education and training programs ensure accurate description of the course/training, goals and objectives, content outline, requirements, methodology, and references.
4. Program Orientation. Counselors in teaching, training, and supervision programs take responsibility to orient perspective students, trainees, and supervisees to all core elements of such programs and activities.
5. Counselor Supervision. Counselors inform the supervisees about the process of supervision, expectations, outcomes, monitoring, and evaluation in order to provide competent counseling services.
6. Ethical Orientation. Counselors have an obligation to make their students, trainees, and supervisees aware of their ethical responsibilities.
7. Evaluation. Counselor educators and trainers ensure a fair, accurate and honest appraisal of students, supervisees and trainees.
8. Relational Boundaries. Counselors establish relationships with their students, trainees, and supervisees such that appropriate relational boundaries are clarified and maintained, and dual relationships avoided.
9. Contribution to Research. Counselors give credit to students and supervisees for their contributions to research and scholarly projects in the field of guidance and counselling.
10. Counselor Care. The counselor organization provides continuing activities for counselor care.
11. Counselor Rights. Rehabilitation services should be available for counsellors under stress.
CHAPTER VII
RESEARCH AND PUBLICATION

1. General Responsibility. In planning any research activity dealing with human subjects, the counselor must observe ethical principles and standards of good practice.
2. Informed Consent. All research subjects must be informed of the purpose of the study except when withholding information or providing misinformation to them is essential to the investigation. In such research, the counselor must be responsible for corrective action as possible following completion of the research.
2.1. Voluntary Participation. Participation of identified subjects in research must be on a voluntary basis.
3. Welfare of the Subjects. Counselors are responsible for the welfare of the subjects throughout the research and must take all reasonable precautions to avoid causing injury in terms of physical, psychological, or social effects on their subjects.
4. Joint Research Activity. Counselors working with another individual in research and/or publication incur an obligation to cooperate in terms of finishing the entire joint venture as agreed upon by both parties.
5. Joint Authorship. Counselors working in a group research acknowledge the fact that all correspondence regarding the said research in that publication must be addressed to the first author.
6. Confidentiality of Information. Counselors must take due care to disguise the identity of respective subjects and research locale.
7. Reporting Accurate Results. Counselors conduct, report and make thorough discussion of research with accuracy and avoid bias and misleading results.
8. Professional Value. Counselors communicate to others the results of any research judged to be of professional value. Results that reflect unfavourably on institutions, programs or services must not be withheld.
9. Acknowledgment. Counselors give due credit through acknowledgment, footnote statements, or other appropriate means to those who have contributed significantly to the research and/or publication in accordance with such contributions.
10. Replication. Counselors acknowledge the fact that their researches can be replicated by others at one point in time due to its relevance and theory-testing.
11. Publication. Counselors submit their research output in a peer-refereed journal for publication using the prescribed standards in writing style.
12. Review of Materials Submitted. Counselors who review materials for publications must respect the confidentiality and propriety rights of those persons who submitted.