Members are trained and experienced in dealing with relationships. They are conscious of the special skills required and aware of their professional limitations. In order to maintain the highest standards of professional competence the members of the Association are required to adhere to the following rules of conduct: –
- A counsellor offers professional service to anyone regardless of race, religion, sex, political affiliations, social or economic status or choice of life style. When a counsellor cannot offer service for any reason, he or she will endeavour to make a suitable referral.
- A counsellor will not use his or her counselling relationship to promote personal, religious, political or business loyalties or interests.
- A counsellor will not accept or offer payments for referrals, apart from the ordinary counselling fee charged to clients for interview.
- A counsellor will not attempt to diagnose, prescribe for, treat or advise on problems outside the recognised boundaries of that counsellor’s competence.
- The essential obligation of counsellors is to respect the integrity and protect the welfare of persons with whom they are working.
- While offering support, the counsellor is cautious in prognosis and realistic in the counselling contract he or she makes with the client.
- Any breaking of confidentiality should be minimised both by restricting the information conveyed to that which is pertinent to the immediate situation and by limiting it to those persons who can provide the help required by the client. Where a person has been assured, or can reasonably expect, that information given by him or her will be treated confidentially, no counsellor may divulge such information without written permission granted by the client(s) involved. Confidentiality may be waived only to prevent immediate physical danger to a person or persons, or to divulge information which if withheld may put the counsellor at risk. Agreements about confidentiality continue after the client’s death unless there are overriding legal considerations. Always “endeavouring to obtain informed consent”.
- A counsellor shall not misuse any client relationship for personal gratification. Sexual contact between the client and the counsellor can never be acceptable. This includes any contact initiated by client or counsellor where there is a sexual intention. Counsellors need to consider that the deeper the involvement with the client/s emotional life during counselling, the less likely is the possibility of a subsequent equal relationship following the termination of counselling. Counsellors must seek professional supervision should any attempt to build a relationship with a former client be considered.
- It is unethical to use undue persuasion or to attempt to enforce the acceptance of any counselling service or procedure by any individual.
- Counselling activities should be undertaken only with professional intent and not casually and/or in extra-professional relationships.
- Every counsellor has an obligation to continue self-education and professional growth in all possible ways including active participation in the meeting and activities of the Association.
- A counsellor will actively seek regular suitable supervision for his or her counselling and will use such supervision to develop his or her counselling skills. Counsellors and Supervisors are responsible for protecting the client’s rights of confidentiality.
- Counsellors have a responsibility to maintain their own effectiveness, resilience and ability to help clients. Counsellors do not counsel when their performance is significantly impaired.
- Counsellors are committed to protect the public against unethical, incompetent and dishonourable practices and will be prepared to challenge these practices.
- Counsellors have a responsibility to self report to their supervisor and National Management Committee any breach of these ethical principles.
- Counsellors abide by the laws of the society in which they practice.
The Association encourages counsellors to affiliate with relevant professional groups, clinics and agencies operating in the field of family life. Interdisciplinary contact and co-operation are also encouraged. Any member advertising, conducting training programmes and/or group work shall act in accordance with these ethical principles.
AARC Members are also required to comply with Codes of Practice for Unregistered Practitioners instituted in NSW and South Australia.