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Ethics, Confidentiality and Boundary Issues in Professional Counseling (UPDATED)

ACA Code of Ethics Preamble

1. According to the American Counseling Association (ACA) code of ethics, the core professional values of the counseling profession include each of the following EXCEPT:

A. Enhancing human development througout the life span and promoting social justice

B. Honoring diversity and embracing a multicultural approach in support of the worth, dignity, potential, and uniqueness of people within their social and cultural contexts

C. Promoting accuracy, honesty and truthfulness while establishing relationships of trust

D. Safeguarding the integrity of the counselor-client relationship, and practicing in a competent and ethical manner


ACA Code of Ethics Purpose

2. Counselors’ actions should be consistent with the spirit as well as the letter of ethical standards and they must follow the specific ethical decision making model outlined in the CODE.

A. True

B. False


Section A-The Counseling Relationship: Client Welfare

3. The primary responsibility of counselors is to _________________ and promote the welfare clients.

A. Foster autonomy

B. Advance justice and fidelity

C. Advocate for beneficence

D. Respect the dignity


4. Counselors recognize that support networks hold various meanings in the lives of clients and consider enlisting the support, understanding, and involvement of others.

A. True

B. False


Informed Consent in the Counseling Relationship

5. When counseling minors, incapacitated adults, or other persons unable to give voluntary consent, counselors seek the assent of clients to services and include them in decision making as appropriate.

A. True

B. False


Prohibited Non-Counseling Roles and Relationships

6. Sexual and/or romantic counselor client interactions or relationships with former clients or their family members are prohibited:

A. Indefinitely

B. For a period of 5 years following the last professional contact

C. For at least two years, and then only if actions are well documented

D. For three or more years, as long as the relationship is not exploitive or harmful in anyway


Multiple Clients

7. Counselors are not permitted to provide separate counseling services to two or more persons who have a relationship, as this will likely create conflicting roles for all invoved.

A. True

B. False


Bartering

8. Counselors may barter only if the bartering does not result in exploitation or harm, if the client requests it, and:

A. If such arrangements are an accepted practice in the community

B. If all other financial arrangements have been exhausted

C. If cultural expectations support the bartering arrangement

D. None of the above


Section B-Confidentiality and Privacy: Exceptions

9. Counselors who provide services to terminally ill individuals who are considering hastening their own deaths have the option to maintain confidentiality, depending on applicable laws, specific circumstances, and professional and legal consultation.

A. True

B. False


Third-Party Payers

10. Information should be disclosed to third-party payers by counselors only when they are legally mandated to do so.

A. True

B. False


Responsibility to Parents and Legal Guardians

11. Counselors inform parents and legal guardians about the role of counselors and the confidential nature of the counseling relationship, consistent with:

A. Their ability to understand consent requirements

B. The established informed consent agreement

C. Current legal and custodial arrangements

D. Minimal disclosure expectations


Disclosure or Transfer

12. Unless exceptions to confidentiality exist, counselors obtain written permission from clients to disclose or transfer records to legitimate third parties.

A. True

B. False


Section C-Professional Responsibility: Competence

13. Multicultural counseling competency is required across all counseling specialties, and counselors gain knowledge, personal awareness, ___________, dispositions, and skills pertinent to being a culturally competent counselor in working with a diverse client population.

A. Insight

B. Wisdom

C. Distinction

D. Sensitivity


Advertising and Soliciting Clients

14. Counselors may not use testimonials from current clients under any circumstance as as this is considered a boundary violation.  

A. True

B. False


Public Responsibility

15. As a means of contributing to the public good, counselors should make a reasonable effort to provide services to the public for which there is little or no financial return.

A. True

B. False


Section D-Relationships with Colleagues, Employers and Employees

16. Counselors must be respectful of approaches that are grounded in theory and/or have an empirical or scientific foundation, even when they differ from their own therapeutic approach.

A. True

B. False


Section E-Evaluation, Assessment, and Interpretation

17. Each of the following is an accurate statement about assessment in the counseling process EXCEPT:

A. Counselors use assessment as one component of the counseling process, taking into account the clients’ personal and cultural context

B. The primary purpose of educational, mental health, psychological, and career assessment is to gather information regarding the client for a variety of purposes

C. Although qualitative measures are generally used in assessment, quantitative methodologies are not recommended

D. Assessment results and interpretations may be used in clinical decision making, treatment planning, and forensic proceedings


18. Clients should not be unsupervised during the assessment process unless they are completing an assessment instrument that is designed, intended and validated for self-administration and/or scoring.

A. True

B. False


Section F-Supervision, Training, and Teaching: Introduction

19. Counselor supervisors, trainers, and educators aspire to foster meaningful and respectful professional relationships by:

A. Maintaining appropriate boundaries with supervisees and students in both face-to-face and electronic formats

B. Having theoretical and pedagogical foundations for their work, and knowledge of supervision models

C. Aiming to be fair, accurate, and honest in their assessments of counselors, students and supervisors

D. All of the above


Supervisory Relationship

20. When serving in a supervisorial capacity, counselors are not permitted under any circumstances to extend current supervisory relationships in any form beyond conventional parameters.

A. True

B. False


Counseling for Supervisees

21. If a supervisee requests counseling, the supervisor may provide counseling services to that individual, as long as the counselor follows ethical and legal protocols.

A. True

B. False


Student Welfare

22. An expected component of counselor education is _______________, and counselor educators remain mindful of ethical principles when they require students to participate in such activities.

A. Self-growth

B. Cultural awareness

C. Community outreach

D. Interdisciplinary training


Extending Educator Student Boundaries

23. When counselor educators have nonprofessional relationships with students such as visiting a hospital or attending a formal ceremony, the interactions should be time-limited, context specific, and initiated with student consent.

A. True

B. False


Section G-Research and Publication: Rights of Research Participants

24. Which of the following is NOT one of the requirements of the language used in seeking informed consent in research?

A. It must accurately explains the purpose and procedures to be followed

B. It informs clients of the penalties that will occur if they withdraw from participation without due cause

C. It describes any discomforts, risks, and potential power differentials between researchers and participants

D. It describes any limitations on confidentiality


Section H-Distance Counseling, Technology, and Social Media: Knowledge and Legal Considerations

25. Counselors who engage in the use of distance counseling, technology, and or social media develop knowledge and skills regarding related technical, ethical, and legal considerations.

A. True

B. False


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