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A.1.a. P R
The primary responsibility of counselors
is to respect the dignity and promote
the welfare of clients.

A.1.a Primary Responsibility


A.1.b. R&D
Counselors create, safeguard, and maintain documentation necessary for rendering professional services. Regardless of the medium, counselors include sufficient and timely documentation to facilitate the delivery and continuity of services. Counselors take reasonable steps to ensure that documentation accurately reflects client progress and services provided. If amendments are made to records and documentation, counselors take steps to properly note the amendments according to agency or institutional

A.1.b Records and Documentation


A.1.c. C P
Counselors and their clients work jointly in devising counseling plans that offer reasonable promise of success and are consistent with the abilities, temperament, developmental level, and circumstances of clients. Counselors and clients regularly review and revise counseling plans to
assess their continued viability and
effectiveness, respecting clients’ freedom
of choice.

A.1.c Counseling Plans


A.1.d. SNI
Counselors recognize that support networks hold various meanings in the lives of clients and consider enlisting the support, understanding, and involvement of others (e.g., religious/spiritual/community leaders,
family members, friends) as positive resources, when appropriate, with client consent.

A.1.d. Support Network Involvement



A.2. Informed Consent in the Counseling Relationship


A.2.a. I C
Clients have the freedom to choose whether to enter into or remain in a counseling relationship and need adequate information about the counseling process and the counselor.
Counselors have an obligation to review in writing and verbally with clients the rights and responsibilities of both counselors and clients. Informed consent is an ongoing part of the
counseling process, and counselors appropriately document discussions of informed consent throughout the counseling relationship.

A.2.a. Informed Consent


A.2.b. T I N
Counselors explicitly explain to clients the nature of all services provided.
They inform clients about issues such as, but not limited to, the following:
the purposes, goals, techniques, procedures, limitations, potential risks, and benefits of services; the counselor’s qualifications, credentials,
relevant experience, and approach to counseling; continuation of services
upon the incapacitation or death of the counselor; the role of technology;
and other pertinent information.

A.2.b. Types of Information Needed


A.2.c. D & C S
Counselors communicate information
in ways that are both developmentally
and culturally appropriate. Counselors
use clear and understandable language
when discussing issues related to
informed consent. When clients have
difficulty understanding the language
that counselors use, counselors provide
necessary services (e.g., arranging for
a qualified interpreter or translator)
to ensure comprehension by clients.
In collaboration with clients, counselors
consider cultural implications
of informed consent procedures and,
where possible, counselors adjust their
practices accordingly.

A.2.c. Developmental and
Cultural Sensitivity


A.2.d. I 2 G C
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. Counselors recognize
the need to balance the ethical rights
of clients to make choices, their capacity
to give consent or assent to receive
services, and parental or familial legal
rights and responsibilities to protect
these clients and make decisions on
their behalf.

A.2.d. Inability to Give Consent


A.2.e. M C
Counselors discuss the required
limitations to confidentiality when
working with clients who have been
mandated for counseling services.
Counselors also explain what type
of information and with whom that
information is shared prior to the
beginning of counseling. The client
may choose to refuse services. In this
case, counselors will, to the best of
their ability, discuss with the client
the potential consequences of refusing
counseling services.

A.2.e. Mandated Clients


A.3. C S O
When counselors learn that their clients
are in a professional relationship with
other mental health professionals, they
request release from clients to inform
the other professionals and strive to
establish positive and collaborative
professional relationships

A.3. Clients Served by Others



A.4. Avoiding Harm and
Imposing Values


A.4.a. A H
Counselors act to avoid harming their
clients, trainees, and research participants
and to minimize or to remedy
unavoidable or unanticipated harm.

A.4.a. Avoiding Harm


A.4.b. P V
Counselors are aware of—and avoid
imposing—their own values, attitudes,
beliefs, and behaviors. Counselors
respect the diversity of clients, trainees,
and research participants and
seek training in areas in which they
are at risk of imposing their values
onto clients, especially when the
counselor’s values are inconsistent
with the client’s goals or are discriminatory
in nature

A.4.b. Personal Values



A.5. Prohibited
Noncounseling Roles
and Relationships


A.5.a. S R R P
Sexual and/or romantic counselor–
client interactions or relationships with
current clients, their romantic partners,
or their family members are prohibited.
This prohibition applies to both in person
and electronic interactions or

A.5.a. Sexual and/or
Romantic Relationships


A.5.b. P S R R
Counselors are prohibited from engaging
in counseling relationships with
persons with whom they have had
a previous sexual and/or romantic

A.5.b. Previous Sexual and/or
Romantic Relationships


A.5.c. S R R W F C
Sexual and/or romantic counselor–
client interactions or relationships with
former clients, their romantic partners,
or their family members are prohibited
for a period of 5 years following the last
professional contact. This prohibition
applies to both in-person and electronic
interactions or relationships. Counselors,
before engaging in sexual and/or
romantic interactions or relationships
with former clients, their romantic
partners, or their family members, demonstrate
forethought and document (in
written form) whether the interaction or
relationship can be viewed as exploitive
in any way and/or whether there is still
potential to harm the former client; in
cases of potential exploitation and/or
harm, the counselor avoids entering
into such an interaction or relationship.

A.5.c. Sexual and/or Romantic
Relationships With
Former Clients


A.5.d. F F M
Counselors are prohibited from engaging
in counseling relationships with friends
or family members with whom they have
an inability to remain objective.

A.5.d. Friends or Family


A.5.e. P V R W C C
Counselors are prohibited from engaging in a personal virtual relationship
with individuals with whom they have a current counseling relationship (e.g., through social and other media).

A.5.e. Personal Virtual
Relationships With
Current Client



A.6. Managing and
Maintaining Boundaries
and Professional


A.6.a. P R
Counselors consider the risks and
benefits of accepting as clients those
with whom they have had a previous
relationship. These potential clients
may include individuals with whom
the counselor has had a casual, distant,
or past relationship. Examples include
mutual or past membership in a professional
association, organization, or
community. When counselors accept
these clients, they take appropriate professional
precautions such as informed
consent, consultation, supervision, and
documentation to ensure that judgment
is not impaired and no exploitation

A.6.a. Previous Relationships


A.6.b. E C B
Counselors consider the risks and benefits of extending current counseling
relationships beyond conventional parameters. Examples include attending
a client’s formal ceremony (e.g., a wedding/commitment ceremony or
graduation), purchasing a service or
product provided by a client (excepting
unrestricted bartering), and visiting a client’s
ill family member in the hospital. In
extending these boundaries, counselors
take appropriate professional precautions
such as informed consent, consultation,
supervision, and documentation
to ensure that judgment is not impaired
and no harm occurs.

A.6.b. Extending Counseling


A.6.c. D B E
If counselors extend boundaries as
described in A.6.a. and A.6.b., they
must officially document, prior to the
interaction (when feasible), the rationale
for such an interaction, the potential
benefit, and anticipated consequences
for the client or former client and other
individuals significantly involved with
the client or former client. When unintentional
harm occurs to the client
or former client, or to an individual

A.6.c. Documenting Boundary


A.6.d. R C P R
When counselors change a role from
the original or most recent contracted
relationship, they obtain informed
consent from the client and explain the
client’s right to refuse services related
to the change. Examples of role changes
include, but are not limited to
1. changing from individual to relationship
or family counseling,
or vice versa;
2. changing from an evaluative
role to a therapeutic role, or vice
versa; and
3. changing from a counselor to a
mediator role, or vice versa.
Clients must be fully informed of
any anticipated consequences (e.g.,
financial, legal, personal, therapeutic)
of counselor role changes.

A.6.d. Role Changes in the
Professional Relationship


A.6.e. N I R (O T S R I R)
Counselors avoid entering into nonprofessional
relationships with former
clients, their romantic partners, or their
family members when the interaction is
potentially harmful to the client. This
applies to both in-person and electronic
interactions or relationships

A.6.e. Nonprofessional
or Relationships (Other
Than Sexual or Romantic
Interactions or



A.7. Roles and Relationships
at Individual, Group,
Institutional, and
Societal Levels


A.7.a. A
When appropriate, counselors advocate
at individual, group, institutional, and
societal levels to address potential barriers
and obstacles that inhibit access
and/or the growth and development
of clients.

A.7.a. Advocacy


A.7.b. C & A
Counselors obtain client consent prior
to engaging in advocacy efforts on behalf
of an identifiable client to improve
the provision of services and to work
toward removal of systemic barriers
or obstacles that inhibit client access,
growth, and development.

A.7.b. Confidentiality and


A.8. M C
When a counselor agrees to provide
counseling services to two or more
persons who have a relationship, the
counselor clarifies at the outset which
person or persons are clients and the
nature of the relationships the counselor
will have with each involved person. If
it becomes apparent that the counselor
may be called upon to perform potentially
conflicting roles, the counselor will
clarify, adjust, or withdraw from roles

A.8. Multiple Clients