The American Counseling Association strives to ensure that all counselors strictly follow the ACA code of ethics while working with clients. The behavioral code of ethics can be found in the ACA and the American Psychological Association. Over the years, the behavioral codes of ethics have been revised, in order for the ethical codes to meet the needs of the clients. Initially, counselors and other practitioners depended on the code of ethics drafted in 1995. In 2005, the ACA revised the code of ethics. The revised code of ethics is in use until today (ACA, 2005). There were also revisions in the APA code of ethics in 2010. According to the earlier and the revised code of ethics, counselors should not practice outside their scope based on their training, as well as their educational competency. Therefore, they should not give help to clients where they lack the necessary knowledge on what should be done. In terms of sexual interactions, counselors should not have sexual interactions with clients. Both the 1995 and the 2005 revised code of ethics prohibit any sexual interactions between the client and the counselor. The revised code of ethics states that counselors can only have intimate relationships with clients after five years of termination (American Psychological Association, 2010).
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The ACA states that counselors should not discriminate clients based on religion, age, gender and ethnicity. It is unethical not to give clients equal treatment. The other code of ethics, as outlined by the American Counseling Association, is that counselors should have awareness of cultural issues. As such, they should be culturally sensitive. For example, they can procure the services of an interpreter if there is a difficulty in understanding the client’s language (ACA, 2005). Both the 1995 and the revised 2005 and 2010 code of ethics acknowledge the need to offer appropriate services to the clients despite their cultural orientation. The ACA and APA code of ethics also require that the counselor clearly states when they earned their degree, as well as accreditation (American Psychological Association, 2010).
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