VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Maintaining the Counselor–Client Relationship: Ethical Decision- Making in Online Counseling and Social Networking
Keith M. Brown, Emily K. Byrnes, and Kelly G. Fleenor
Licensed professional counselors obtain licensure with an understanding that, if faced with an ethical dilemma, they will take necessary steps to formulate and implement the most ethically appropriate decision (American Counseling Association [ACA], 2005). This is often easier said than done, since most counselors must also abide by employer regulations and uphold client agreements and expectations; all while continuing to maintain the counseling relationship with the client. To complicate the matter, recent technological advances, such as social networking sites like Facebook, potentially allow counselors to maintain remote relationships or create dual relationships with clients. The authors of this article will discuss these and other ethical issues and technological barriers, such as substance abuse sponsorship and self-disclosure, presented in the below case scenario and analyzed in the following discussion.