Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) provides opportunities for legislators to share information about governmental operations and public policy, which supports the fundamental democratic role while also permitting them to fulfill their representation duties of communicating with their constituency. Legislators may use social media to solicit constituent opinions to help them formulate positions on policy issues. Follow your legislators on social media and use the information shared on their social media accounts to attend events, schedule meetings, take action, and stay informed on their legislative agendas.
The 2014 ACA Code of Ethics empowers members within the counseling profession to “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.). Of course, sections A.7.b requires:
“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.”
In this moment, it is vital that we continue our advocacy efforts to remove barriers and obstacles that inhibit access, growth, and development for counseling professionals and the counseling community. Although we cannot meet with our representatives and regulators physically, with technology, we can continue to promote the well-being of individuals, groups, and the counseling profession within systems and organizations through the utilization of social media.
YES! You can use social media to advocate without breaching your ethics code. Here’s what the Code of Ethics say about counselors utilizing social media:
- H.6. Social Media H.6.a. Virtual Professional Presence In cases where counselors wish to maintain a professional and personal presence for social media use, separate professional and personal web pages and profiles are created to clearly distinguish between the two kinds of virtual presence.
- H.6.d. Use of Public Social Media Counselors take precautions to avoid disclosing confidential information through public social media.
Tweet, post, and follow your lawmakers’ social media pages today to continue advocating for the professional development of counselors, advocating for the profession, and ensuring ethical, culturally-inclusive practices that protect those using counseling services. Remember, advocate for every issue that is impacting the counseling profession and community.
For more information regarding guidance for counseling professionals on how to utilize social media in their advocacy efforts, visit ACA’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Advocacy Resources page and read the "Social Media: An Ethics Tip Guide for Professional Counselors."
If you have any questions regarding ethics and advocacy, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.