Ethics & Substance Use Counseling

Ethical practice is important for providing high quality client care and limiting professional liability.




American Counseling Association Code of Ethics

If you haven't read through the ACA Code of Ethics recently, be sure to read through it to refresh yourself.




Analysis of Ethics Violations

Even & Robinson (2013) conducted a large scale analysis of ethics violations committed by professional counselors. The authors found that:

The most frequent violations for this national sample related to the competency of the professional (27.6%). This category included practicing outside the scope of one's training and experience and practicing while impaired due to substance use or mental health matters. Ethics violations reflecting a violation of the professional boundary, which included both sexual and nonsexual dual relationships, accounted for 22.3% of violations. Finally, approximately 10% of violations related to a breach of confidentiality.

Even & Robinson, 2013

Read through the entire Even and Robinson (2013) article before responding to the following discussion questions.




Ethical Violations Exploration Questions

  1. What benefits come from ethical practice?
  2. What are some of the challenges to maintaining an ethical practice?
    1. How are ethical challenges different based on practice setting? For example, are there different ethical challenges in schools, agencies, and private practice?
  3. What are some of the risk factors for ethical violations that Even & Robinson (2013) identified?
  4. What critiques do you have regarding Even & Robinson's study?
  5. How can you maintain an ethical practice after graduation?



Ethical Decision Making Models

Counselors use ethical decision making models to resolve ethical dilemmas. Read through the models and the ethics codes that are relevant to your professional identity.