The department of Ethics is responsible for providing access to and interpretation of the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics. We hope that this webpage will provide ACA members and interested members of the public with the necessary tools to ensure compliance with the rules of professional counseling.
To that end, please peruse our page and take advantage of resources such as the Online Ethics Courses, A Practitioner’s Guide to Ethical Decision Making and the compilation of Risk Management FAQ’s supplied by Nancy Wheeler, our Risk Management consultant.
If you are a student member, please follow the link to our library to access articles and databases that may assist you with research projects.
To file a complaint against a counselor who is an active ACA member, please review the Policies and Procedures for Processing Complaints of Ethical Violations and click on the “File a Complaint” tab for further information.
Ethical dilemmas and professional challenges surround us on a daily basis, and assistance with these issues is at hand! An ACA member receives as a benefit FREE confidential ethical/professional standards consultation five days a week between 8:30am and 4:30pm ET. Though the service is not designed to function as a hotline, inquiries are prioritized and answered within 72 hours. The Professional Affairs staff values the opportunity to provide you with this valuable service. Professional assistance is only an email/letter and phone call away. Contact the ACA Ethics and Professional Standards Department at (800) 347 6647, ext. 314 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate Student Ethics Competition
The ACA Graduate Student Ethics Competition is now closed. For rules, registration, and other details, visit the the Graduate Student Ethics Competition page.
To cite the ACA Code of Ethics as a resource for an academic work, use:
"American Counseling Association (2005). ACA Code of Ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author.
TICK TOCK…HEED THE HIPAA/HITECH CLOCK!
Anne Marie “Nancy” Wheeler, J.D.
Counselors should be aware that 2013 has brought important new changes to HIPAA and that September 23, 2013 is the compliance deadline for many of these new regulatory requirements. Any counselor who is not sure if she is considered a “covered entity” under HIPAA should immediately access the online decision-making tool available at the website of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. All counselors who are covered entities should move quickly to come into compliance or risk very stiff monetary penalties. Read More
(Ten Interviews highlighting major changes in the revised code of ethics)
More Ethics Resources
Legal and Ethical Issues Surrounding the Use of Social Media in Counseling (2011)
Kaplan, D. M., Wade, M. E., Conteh, J. A., Martz, E. T. (2011). Legal and Ethical Issues Surrounding the Use of Social Media in Counseling.
Ethics Committee Reports
The documents on the following members-only page are de-identified composite of calls made to the ACA’s Risk Management Helpline, operated by Anne Marie "Nancy" Wheeler, J.D., an attorney licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia. For specific legal advice, please consult your own local attorney.
Visit our Risk Management Section