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Code of Ethics for the American Association of Christian Counselors (aacc) and the American Counseling Association (aca)

Autor:   •  November 6, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,451 Words (6 Pages)  •  2,364 Views

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This paper compares the Code of Ethics for the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) and the American Counseling Association (ACA). Both codes were established to guide Professional Counselors in their day to day practice in making ethical decisions to protect both the client and the professional. Within the counseling profession alone, there are many organizations with their own ethical codes. This report will compare and contrast the AACC and the ACA Codes of Ethics. It will also take a close look at comparing and contrasting three specific areas- sexual intimacies, record keeping and training and teaching. Because both codes were written for the counseling profession they have many of the same ideas, approaches and beliefs. The two codes also contrast in many ways including beliefs on abortion, divorce, and end of life care. The AACC was built on biblical principles, where as the ACA was built on culture and client diversity.

Code of Ethics Comparison

Ethics guide the decision-making process of an individual. Ethics and values are a part of everyday life; especially in the helping professions. In the field of counseling, either secular counseling or Christian counseling ethics play a vital and large role. Often, people learn their core value system growing up and shape their beliefs through life experiences. Ethics guide not only personal life but also ones professional life. Codes of Ethics are developed for many different purposes, ultimately designed to help individuals' better serve their clients in their professional life. Ethics codes are used to "protect consumers, provide practitioner guidelines, and clarify the professional stance of the organization" according to Corey, Corey & Callanan (2011). Ethics represents inspirational goals, or the maximum or ideal standards, set by the profession, and they are enforced by professional associations, national certification boards, and government boards that regulate professions (Remley, 1996.)

Two examples of codes of ethics are found in the American Association of Christian Counselors and the American Counseling Association. Both of these codes of ethics were established to create a black and white guide for Counseling Professionals to adhere to, with then intent to best serve the client as well as protect the Professional Counselor. Both the AACC (2004) and the ACA (2005) identify the welfare of the client holding precedent to all of the ethical codes. In the AACC it is outlined by the ES1-100 point- First Do No Harm, and within the ACA it is outlined in section A.4- Avoiding Harm and Imposing Values. Both ethical codes emphasis the importance of counselors being aware of their own values, but specify to not impose their own values on a client in a circumstance that does not stay consistent with the counseling goals.

Both ethical codes define several chosen topics the association deems appropriate, to enhance the quality of counseling between the Professional Counselor and the client. Some of these shared ethical topics include record keeping, informed consent, refusal of treatment, sexual intimacies with clients, and application to end of life care. Some of the ethical points that the two associations varied on were divorce, abortion, homosexuality & transgendered behavior, and applying biblical principles to a counseling session.

Although both the American Association of Christian Counselors and the American Counseling Association had many similarities in their ethical codes, there were also several differences. The biggest difference that defines the AACC code is their mission which is described to "... help achieve the primary goals of the AACC- to bring honor to Jesus Christ and his church, promote excellence in Christian counseling, and bring unity to Christian counselors" (AACC Code of Ethics, 2004.) The code was written with a biblical foundation which inspires all of the ethical guidelines. The AACC (2004) code began with 7 foundations outlining the base for their Professional Counselors to follow all being Christ centered. The ACA Code of Ethics focused more on being open to cultural differences. One example was found in their preamble "Association members recognize diversity and embrace a cross-cultural approach in support of the worth, dignity, potential, and uniqueness of people within their social and cultural contexts (ACA Code of Ethics, 2005.) Additionally, in the ACA (2005) ethics code point B.5.c put emphasis on safeguarding client confidentiality with culture appropriate methods where as the AACC (2004) emphasized


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