In this paper, we focus on the code of ethics of two counseling organizations. These organizations are; the American Counseling Association and the second one the American Association of Christian Counselors. Our focus is to examine the code of ethics and then come up with their similarities and differences. This is done generally for the entire codes of ethics in section one. Later in section two, we major in three diverse areas of competence, fee, and sexual intimacies in the counseling profession. Here we shall also focus on the similarities and differences that arise on the code of ethics in these counseling areas of study in relation to duties to clients. The paper will therefore engross an extensive study of the codes of ethics in the two counseling organizations so as to identify their comparisons and contrasts. This shall form a distinction between the professional counseling and the Christian type of counseling which is depicted broadly by the two institutions.
Counseling is an area of expertise that entails studying and applied efforts in numerous expansive domains, which include; prevention and healthiness, management and training, occupation development and counseling process, and results. Counseling experts mostly base their center of attention on strengths and assets, learning and occupational development, and more so on personalities’ interactions. In this case we shall base on two organizations that offer counseling services and learning. One of the organizations is the American Counseling Association (ACA), which is bestowed with the development and improvement of the counseling vocation and to the people who receive services. The second organization is the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) which is the largest society of Christian counselors in the globe. We shall further study the similarities and differences in their guiding principles which are designed to help them conduct counseling sincerely and by way of honor. The paper shall also examine specific codes of ethics considering their comparison and differences amongst the two organizations.
These two organizations are established in different backgrounds whereby the ACA is a purely professional counseling organization, whereas the AACC is a Christian counseling society; their codes of ethics portray some peculiar differences and similarities. The first difference is revealed by the purpose of their codes of ethics. The ACA code of ethics rationale is to help their members understand their ethical responsibilities. It also sustains the undertaking of the organization; create principles that describe moral behavior and paramount practices of members. Finally it serves as a guide to members in developing a professional plan of action and also serves as a foundation for development of decent grievances and criticism against members of ACA (Ladany & Inman, 2008). In contrast, the mission of the AACC code of ethics is to enable progress of the central purpose of the association (Clinton & Hawkins, 2011). This is to convey respect to Jesus Christ and uphold quality and harmony in Christian counsel.
It also supports the interests, dignity and basic rights of all people, groups, schools, families, churches and all stakeholders that work with the association. The code further gives values of moral conduct in Christian counseling which are foreseen by the AACC. The AACC code is mainly aimed at becoming a vital document through which clients, Christian counselors and churches govern. This is to evaluate the process and effectiveness of Christian counselors. Another important difference is that the code of ethics of AACC is developed on seven strong biblical foundations which direct every aspect of the code. Its code of ethics is deeply embedded on these foundations together with the Holy Scriptures. Further contrast depicts that the AACC individual code of ethics dwell their principles along strong Christian values, which are desired for appropriate livelihood with God. However, in the ACA code of ethics, most of the values instilled on them are guided from a professional counseling perspective (Gelso & Hayes, 1998).
It is also evident that the codes of ethics in AACC are subdivided into three distinct categories. The first category is ethical standards for Christian counselors followed by ethical standards for supervisors, educators, researchers and writers. Lastly, we have ethical standards and exemptions for ordained ministers and pastoral counselors. In the ACA, the ethical standards are not categorized among sub groups of any members. The main similarity in both organizations’ code of ethics is that both of them have developed eight codes in their mandates. Another similarity is portrayed by the fact that codes of ethics in the two associations are commenced by a brief introduction which acts as an overview of the code for the members.
In this section, we shall consider three extensive areas, that is, competence, fees, and sexual intimacies in counseling with regard to duties to clients. We shall further examine the differences and similarities that arise amongst the two counseling associations.
Secondly, in the area of fees the first code is on establishment of fees. In both organizations, counselors judge the financial ability of the clients in order to ensure they offer fair and reasonable rates. In contrast, ACA counselors help their clients in finding fair costs for the same services while in AACC counselors avoid misrepresentation on fees and deception to their clients (Whiston & Rahardja, 2008). The second code is on accepting fees from agency clients. In these organizations, counselors are not allowed to obtain any remuneration for providing services to clients warranted to acquire those services through their employing organization. In ACA, guidelines of a given agency can formulate unambiguous provisions for clients to get counseling services in private. However, in AACC the counselors avoid financial undertakings that may result to covetous or self-serving conclusions.
Lastly, in the area of sexual intimacies in the counseling profession the first code is sexual misconduct. In both organizations any form of sexual harassment is highly condemned and counselors are urged to avoid sexual misconducts (Shaffer, 2006). In this code, much of the values are similar except that for the AACC sexual relations with former clients are not allowed since they are viewed as unethical (Sanders, 1997). Another contrast is that Christian counselors do not counsel sexual or married partners but they make referrals in such cases.
In conclusion, we have exhaustively discussed the codes of ethics of two counseling organizations, that is, the American Counseling Association and the American Association of Christian Counselors. These two organizations are established from different backgrounds. The ACA is an association of professional counselors while the AACC is a society of qualified Christian counselors. The codes of ethics of these two organizations differ in the perspective that the AACC is built on strong biblical foundations whereas the ACA is mainly based on professional counseling. The difference in these codes of ethics is also portrayed on the purpose and mission of these organizations. We have also studied the areas of competence, fees and sexual intimacies in counseling and also gone further to study the codes which are represented in these critical areas. The paper provides an in depth analysis of the differences and similarities of these codes among the two counseling organizations.
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