Continuing Education & Resources for Mental Health Professionals

Ethical Information

Selected Ethical Standards About Confidentiality:
Counselors (from ACA Code of Ethics)

1. Key Standard
B.1.c: Respect for Confidentiality: Counselors protect confidential information . . .
2. Clarification, Amplification, and Application Standards
A. Expanding on the Confidentiality Rule
B.1.a. – Multicultural/Diversity Considerations
B.1.b. – Respect for Privacy
B.2.a. – Obtain Consultation if Unsure About Making an Exception to Confidentiality
B.2.e. – Include Client in Decision Making Process About Disclosure
B.2.e. – Minimal Disclosure: If Must Disclose, Reveal only Essential Information
B.3.c. – Discuss Patient Information Only in Confidential Settings
B. Applying the Confidentiality Rule in Specific Circumstances
A.3. – Clients Served by Others – request release to contact
A.7.b. – Protect Confidentiality if Engaged in Advocacy
B.2.b. – May Choose to Maintain Confidentiality if Terminally Ill Client is Suicidal
B.2.d – When Court Ordered to Disclose Without Client Consent, Limit Disclosure
B.3.b. – Treatment Teams
B.3.d. – Disclose to Third Party Payers Only with Client Authorization
B.3.e. – Transmitting Confidential Information
B.3.f. – Deceased Clients
B.5 – Clients Lacking Capacity to Give Informed Consent
B.6.b. – Confidentiality of Records
B.6.e. – Client Access
B.6.f. – Assistance With Records
B.6.g. – Disclosure or Transfer
B.6.h. – Storage and Disposal After Termination
B.6.i. – Reasonable Precautions
B.7.b. – Respect for Privacy in Consultations
B.7.c. – Disclosure of Confidential Information in Consultation
D.1.e. – Confidentiality in Judicial Roles/Settings
G.2 – Rights of Research Participants
I.2.a. – Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations
I.2.b. – Reporting Ethical Violations
C. Informing Prospective Clients/Consultees About Limits of Confidentiality
A.2.b – Types of Information Needed
B.1.d. – Explanation of Limitations of Confidentiality
B.3.b. – Treatment Teams
B.4.a. – Group Work
B.4.b. – Couples and Family Counseling
D.2.b. – Explaining Limits of Confidentiality in Providing Consultation
D. Obtaining Consent for Recording/Observing
B.6.c. – Permission to Record
B.6.d. – Permission to Observe
E. Ensuring that Others Protect Clients’ Confidentiality Rights
B..8.a. – Consultation Agreements
F.1.c. – Informing Supervisees About Clients’ Confidentiality Rights
F. Responding to Conflicts Between Ethical Duties and Other Duties
B.2.d. – Court-Ordered Disclosure
I.1.c. – Conflict Between Ethics & Laws
I.2.d. – Organizational Conflicts  
3. Exceptions to the Key Standard
B.2.a: Danger and Legal Requirements: The general requirement that counselors keep information confidential does not apply when disclosure is required to protect clients or identified others from serious and foreseeable harm or when legal requirements demand that confidential information must be revealed . . .
B.2.c: Contagious, Life-Threatening Diseases:  May disclose to protect third party

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* Selected Ethical Standards related to confidentiality
are arranged in categories suggested by Knapp & VandeCreek (2006).

These Ethical Standards from American Counseling Association (2014)
Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
were selected for training purposes.
Familiarity with these standards is not a substitute for knowing all sections of your Ethics Code.

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