One of the hallmarks that define a profession is its code of ethics. The code lets consumers, public policymakers and peer organizations know that members of a profession have committed to adhering to rules that protect those whom they serve. The code of ethics means the profession is serious about maintaining and policing itself.
Every seven to 10 years, the American Counseling Association begins the process of reviewing and revising its code of ethics. Given the changes in society, both structurally and technologically, it is critical that we look at where revisions should be made so that the code will meet the needs of those whom it is designed to protect.
This past month, ACA President Marcheta Evans announced the formation of an ACA Ethics Revision Task Force. This is the first step in the revision process. President Evans issued a “call for participants” (see page 4) because she is committed to forming a task force that is representative of the profession and inclusive of both academicians and practitioners. The current version of the ACA Code of Ethics was completed in 2005, and the revised code is slated for completion by spring 2014. If you are interested in serving on this task force, the application deadline is May 15.
The ACA Code of Ethics will continue to serve as professional counseling’s moral and professional practice “compass” as you move forward in the work you perform for millions of clients and students. Every week at ACA headquarters, we field calls and e-mails from members and consumers that relate to ethical practice. During one month earlier this year, we hit an all-time high with more than 500 inquiries about the ACA Code of Ethics.Please understand that the nature of these calls is about more than just consumer complaints. The communications we receive are from many of your colleagues who want to ensure that they are practicing and meeting the high standards set forth in the ACA Code of Ethics.
For those of you who call and seek advice, I appreciate your willingness to check in with us to find out how best to maintain your work in line with the code. Your commitment to professionalism and ethical practice is commendable.
I am pleased to let you know that your Governing Council recently approved a budget that will allow us to add additional staff resources to aid in responding to calls we receive about ethical issues. From my vantage point, that is truly “leadership in action.” The Governing Council realized the need and met the challenge with a commitment to find the resources to address the desires of the ACA membership. Meeting the needs of professional counseling practice is one of our main goals.
Speaking of professional practice, some of you are celebrating a very special milestone this month — you are graduating from your counselor education programs. On behalf of the staff and leaders of ACA, we express a resounding “Congratulations!” for reaching such an important goal. As you make your way into “life after graduate school,” our gift to you is acknowledging that you may have some student loans to pay off and understanding that you are just entering the job market.
For those of you just graduating, please let us know so we can ensure you only pay the “New Professional” rate for ACA membership. This provides a discount of more than $60 for those of you entering this category. It is our way of saying, “We know what it is like to start out after grad school!”
As always, I hope you will contact me with any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have. Please contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800.347.6647 ext. 231.
Thanks and be well.