Family Roles and Dynamics

Application: Family Roles and DynamicsThe roles and dynamics within families of substance abusers are without a doubt complex. Whereas substance abuse by a family member has considerable psychological impact on other members of the family, the structure of the family often develops in such a way that it holds substance abuse in place and leads to cycles of addiction for future generations. In this Application, you will consider how family roles and dynamics interact with substance abuse and addiction, in order to have a more informed perspective on the ways that substance abuse and addiction are perpetuated.To prepare for this assignment:Review this week’s Learning Resources, focusing on the information about the roles and dynamics of an addictive family.Carefully consider the psychological and physiological effects of substance abuse.Reflect on the roles and dynamics of an addictive family system.Think about the interaction between family roles and dynamics and substance abuse and addiction.Based on your field of interest, review and reflect on the IAMFC or ACA ethical codes related to counseling families.Consider the potential ethical and/or legal concerns related to counseling families of substance abusers.The assignment: (2–3 pages)Describe two or more ways that family roles and dynamics interact with substance abuse and addiction, using specific examples.Describe two or more unique characteristics of and/or complications within families of substance abusers, using specific examples.Identify and explain two or more potential ethical and legal concerns related to counseling families of substance abusers, using specific examples.Support your Application assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list only for those resources not included in the Learning Resources for this course.

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Code of Ethics
As approved by the ACA Governing Council
The mission of the American Counseling Association
is to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting
the development of professional counselors, advancing
the counseling profession, and using the profession and
practice of counseling to promote respect for human
dignity and diversity.
© 2014 by the American Counseling Association.
All rights reserved. Note: This document may be reproduced in its entirety without permission for non-commercial
purposes only.
ACA Code of Ethics Preamble
ACA Code of Ethics Purpose
Section A
The Counseling Relationship
Section B
Confidentiality and Privacy
Section C
Professional Responsibility
Section D
Relationships With Other Professionals • 10
Section E
Evaluation, Assessment, and
Interpretation • 11
Section F
Supervision, Training, and Teaching • 12
Section G
Research and Publication • 15
Section H
Distance Counseling, Technology,
and Social Media • 17
Section I
Resolving Ethical Issues • 18
Glossary of Terms • 20
Index • 21
• 2 •
ACA Code of Ethics Preamble
The American Counseling Association (ACA) is an educational, scientific, and professional organization whose members
work in a variety of settings and serve in multiple capacities. Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse
individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.
Professional values are an important way of living out an ethical commitment. The following are core professional values
of the counseling profession:
1. enhancing human development throughout the life span;
2. honoring diversity and embracing a multicultural approach in support of the worth, dignity, potential, and
uniqueness of people within their social and cultural contexts;
3. promoting social justice;
4. safeguarding the integrity of the counselor–client relationship; and
5. practicing in a competent and ethical manner.
These professional values provide a conceptual basis for the ethical principles enumerated below. These principles are
the foundation for ethical behavior and decision making. The fundamental principles of professional ethical behavior are
autonomy, or fostering the right to control the direction of one’s life;
nonmaleficence, or avoiding actions that cause harm;
beneficence, or working for the good of the individual and society by promoting mental health and well-being;
justice, or treating individuals equitably and fostering fairness and equality;
fidelity, or honoring commitments and keeping promises, including fulfilling one’s responsibilities of trust in
professional relationships; and
veracity, or dealing truthfully with individuals with whom counselors come into professional contact.
ACA Code of Ethics Purpose
The ACA Code of Ethics serves six main purposes:
1. The Code sets forth the ethical obligations of ACA members and provides guidance intended to inform the ethical
practice of professional counselors.
2. The Code identifies ethical considerations relevant to professional counselors and counselors-in-training.
3. The Code enables the association to clarify for current and prospective members, and for those served by members,
the nature of the ethical responsibilities held in common by its members.
4. The Code serves as an ethical guide designed to assist members in constructing a course of action that best serves
those utilizing counseling services and establishes expectations of conduct with a primary emphasis on the role of
the professional counselor.
5. The Code helps to support the mission of ACA.
6. The standards contained in this Code serve as the basis for processing inquiries and ethics complaints
concerning ACA members.
The ACA Code of Ethics contains nine main sections that address the following areas:
Section A: The Counseling Relationship
Section B: Confidentiality and Privacy
Section C: Professional Responsibility
Section D: Relationships With Other Professionals
Section E: Evaluation, Assessment, and Interpretation
Section F: Supervision, Training, and Teaching
Section G: Research and Publication
Section H: Distance Counseling, Technology, and
Social Media
Section I: Resolving Ethical Issues
Each section of the ACA Code of Ethics begins with an
introduction. The introduction to each section describes the
ethical behavior and responsibility to which counselors aspire.
The introductions help set the tone for each particular section and provide a starting point that invites reflection on the
ethical standards contained in each part of the ACA Code of
Ethics. The standards outline professional responsibilities and
provide direction for fulfilling those ethical responsibilities.
When counselors are faced with ethical dilemmas that
are difficult to resolve, they are expected to engage in a carefully considered ethical decision-making process, consulting
available resources as needed. Counselors acknowledge
that resolving ethical issues is a process; ethical reasoning
includes consideration of professional values, professional
ethical principles, and ethical standards.
Counselors’ actions should be consistent with the spirit
as well as the letter of these ethical standards. No specific
ethical decision-making model is always most effective, so
counselors are expected to use a credible model of decision making that can bear public scrutiny of its application. Through a chosen ethical decision-making process
and evaluation of the context of the situation, counselors
work collaboratively with clients to make decisions that
promote clients’ growth and development. A breach of the
standards and principles provided herein does not necessarily constitute legal liability or violation of the law; such
action is established in legal and judicial proceedings.
The glossary at the end of the Code provides a concise
description of some of the terms used in the ACA Code
of Ethics.
• 3 •
• ACA Code of Ethics •
Section A
The Counseling
Counselors facilitate client growth
and development in ways that foster
the interest and welfare of clients and
promote formation of healthy relationships. Trust is the cornerstone of the
counseling relationship, and counselors
have the responsibility to respect and
safeguard the client’s right to privacy
and confidentiality. Counselors actively
attempt to understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of the clients they
serve. Counselors also explore their own
cultural identities and how these affect
their values and beliefs about the counseling process. Additionally, counselors
are encouraged to contribute to society
by devoting a portion of their professional activities for little or no financial
return (pro bono publico).
A.1. Client Welfare
A.1.a. Primary Responsibility
The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and promote
the welfare of clients.
A.1.b. Records and
Counselors create, safeguard, and
maintain documentation necessary
for rendering professional services.
Regardless of the medium, counselors
include sufficient and timely documentation to facilitate the delivery and
continuity of services. Counselors
take reasonable steps to ensure that
documentation accurately reflects client progress and services provided.
If amendments are made to records
and documentation, counselors take
steps to properly note the amendments
according to agency or institutional
A.1.c. Counseling Plans
Counselors and their clients work
jointly in devising counseling plans
that offer reasonable promise of
success and are consistent with the
abilities, temperament, developmental
level, and circumstances of clients.
Counselors and clients regularly review and revise counseling plans to
assess their continued viability and
effectiveness, respecting clients’ freedom of choice.
A.1.d. Support Network
Counselors recognize that support
networks hold various meanings in
the lives of clients and consider enlisting the support, understanding,
and involvement of others (e.g., religious/spiritual/community leaders,
family members, friends) as positive
resources, when appropriate, with
client consent.
A.2. Informed Consent
in the Counseling
A.2.a. Informed Consent
Clients have the freedom to choose
whether to enter into or remain in
a counseling relationship and need
adequate information about the
counseling process and the counselor.
Counselors have an obligation to review in writing and verbally with clients the rights and responsibilities of
both counselors and clients. Informed
consent is an ongoing part of the
counseling process, and counselors
appropriately document discussions
of informed consent throughout the
counseling relationship.
A.2.b. Types of Information
Counselors explicitly explain to clients
the nature of all services provided.
They inform clients about issues such
as, but not limited to, the following: the purposes, goals, techniques,
procedures, limitations, potential
risks, and benefits of services; the
counselor’s qualifications, credentials,
relevant experience, and approach to
counseling; continuation of services
upon the incapacitation or death of
the counselor; the role of technology; and other pertinent information.
Counselors take steps to ensure that
clients understand the implications of
diagnosis and the intended use of tests
and reports. Additionally, counselors
inform clients about fees and billing
arrangements, including procedures
for nonpayment of fees. Clients have
the right to confidentiality and to be
provided with an explanation of its
limits (including how supervisors
and/or treatment or interdisciplinary
team professionals are involved), to
obtain clear information about their
records, to participate in the ongoing
counseling plans, and to refuse any
services or modality changes and to
be advised of the consequences of
such refusal.
• 4 •
A.2.c. Developmental and
Cultural Sensitivity
Counselors communicate information
in ways that are both developmentally
and culturally appropriate. Counselors
use clear and understandable language
when discussing issues related to
informed consent. When clients have
difficulty understanding the language
that counselors use, counselors provide
necessary services (e.g., arranging for
a qualified interpreter or translator)
to ensure comprehension by clients.
In collaboration with clients, counselors consider cultural implications
of informed consent procedures and,
where possible, counselors adjust their
practices accordingly.
A.2.d. Inability to Give Consent
When counseling minors, incapacitated adults, or other persons unable
to give voluntary consent, counselors
seek the assent of clients to services
and include them in decision making
as appropriate. Counselors recognize
the need to balance the ethical rights
of clients to make choices, their capacity to give consent or assent to receive
services, and parental or familial legal
rights and responsibilities to protect
these clients and make decisions on
their behalf.
A.2.e. Mandated Clients
Counselors discuss the required
limitations to confidentiality when
working with clients who have been
mandated for counseling services.
Counselors also explain what type
of information and with whom that
information is shared prior to the
beginning of counseling. The client
may choose to refuse services. In this
case, counselors will, to the best of
their ability, discuss with the client
the potential consequences of refusing
counseling services.
A.3. Clients Served by Others
When counselors learn that their clients
are in a professional relationship with
other mental health professionals, they
request release from clients to inform
the other professionals and strive to
establish positive and collaborative
professional relationships.
A.4. Avoiding Harm and
Imposing Values
A.4.a. Avoiding Harm
Counselors act to avoid harming their
clients, trainees, and research participants and to minimize or to remedy
unavoidable or unanticipated harm.
• ACA Code of Ethics •
A.4.b. Personal Values
Counselors are aware of—and avoid
imposing—their own values, attitudes,
beliefs, and behaviors. Counselors
respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants and
seek training in areas in which they
are at risk of imposing their values
onto clients, especially when the
counselor ’s values are inconsistent
with the client’s goals or are discriminatory in nature.
A.5. Prohibited
Noncounseling Roles
and Relationships
A.5.a. Sexual and/or
Romantic Relationships
Sexual and/or romantic counselor–
client interactions or relationships with
current clients, their romantic partners,
or their family members are prohibited.
This prohibition applies to both inperson and electronic interactions or
A.5.b. Previous Sexual and/or
Romantic Relationships
Counselors are prohibited from engaging in counseling relationships with
persons with whom they have had
a previous sexual and/or romantic
A.5.c. Sexual and/or Romantic
Relationships With
Former Clients
Sexual and/or romantic counselor–
client interactions or relationships with
former clients, their romantic partners,
or their family members are prohibited
for a period of 5 years following the last
professional contact. This prohibition
applies to both in-person and electronic
interactions or relationships. Counselors, before engaging in sexual and/or
romantic interactions or relationships
with former clients, their romantic
partners, or their family members, demonstrate forethought and document (in
written form) whether the interaction or
relationship can be viewed as exploitive
in any way and/or whether there is still
potential to harm the former client; in
cases of potential exploitation and/or
harm, the counselor avoids entering
into such an interaction or relationship.
A.5.d. Friends or Family
Counselors are prohibited from engaging
in counseling relationships with friends
or family members with whom they have
an inability to remain objective.
A.5.e. Personal Virtual
Relationships With
Current Clients
Counselors are prohibited from
engaging in a personal virtual relationship with individuals with
whom they have a current counseling
relationship (e.g., through social and
other media).
A.6. Managing and
Maintaining Boundaries
and Professional
A.6.a. Previous Relationships
Counselors consider the risks and
benefits of accepting as clients those
with whom they have had a previous
relationship. These potential clients
may include individuals with whom
the counselor has had a casual, distant,
or past relationship. Examples include
mutual or past membership in a professional association, organization, or
community. When counselors accept
these clients, they take appropriate professional precautions such as informed
consent, consultation, supervision, and
documentation to ensure that judgment
is not impaired and no exploitation
A.6.b. Extending Counseling
Counselors consider the risks and
benefits of extending current counseling relationships beyond conventional
parameters. Examples include attending a client’s formal ceremony (e.g., a
wedding/commitment ceremony or
graduation), purchasing a service or
product provided by a client (excepting
unrestricted bartering), and visiting a client’s ill family member in the hospital. In
extending these boundaries, counselors
take appropriate professional precautions such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation
to ensure that judgment is not impaired
and no harm occurs.
A.6.c. Documenting Boundary
If counselors extend boundaries as
described in A.6.a. and A.6.b., they
must officially document, prior to the
interaction (when feasible), the rationale
for such an interaction, the potential
benefit, and anticipated consequences
for the client or former client and other
individuals significantly involved with
the client or former client. When unintentional harm occurs to the client
or former client, or to an individual
• 5 •
significantly involved with the client
or former client, the counselor must
show evidence of an attempt to remedy
such harm.
A.6.d. Role Changes in the
Professional Relationship
When counselors change a role from
the original or most recent contracted
relationship, they obtain informed
consent from the client and explain the
client’s right to refuse services related
to the change. Examples of role changes
include, but are not limited to
1. changing from individual to relationship or family counseling,
or vice versa;
2. changing from an evaluative
role to a therapeutic role, or vice
versa; and
3. changing from a counselor to a
mediator role, or vice versa.
Clients must be fully informed of
any anticipated consequences (e.g.,
financial, legal, personal, therapeutic)
of counselor role changes.
A.6.e. Nonprofessional
or Relationships (Other
Than Sexual or Romantic
Interactions or
Counselors avoid entering into nonprofessional relationships with former
clients, their romantic partners, or their
family members when the interaction is
potentially harmful to the client. This
applies to both in-person and electronic
interactions or relationships.
A.7. Roles and Relationships
at Individual, Group,
Institutional, and
Societal Levels
A.7.a. Advocacy
When appropriate, counselors 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.b. Confidentiality and
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.
• ACA Code of Ethics •
A.8. Multiple Clients
When a counselor agrees to provide
counseling services to two or more
persons who have a relationship, the
counselor clarifies at the outset which
person or persons are clients and the
nature of the relationships the counselor
will have with each involved person. If
it becomes apparent that the counselor
may be called upon to perform potentially conflicting roles, the counselor will
clarify, adjust, or withdraw from roles
A.9. Group Work
A.9.a. Screening
Counselors screen prospective group
counseling/therapy participants. To
the extent possible, counselors select
members whose needs and goals are
compatible with the goals of the group,
who will not impede the group process,
and whose well-being will not be jeopardized by the group experience.
A.9.b. Protecting Clients
In a group setting, counselors take reasonable precautions to protect clients
from physical, emotional, or psychological trauma.
A.10. Fees and Business
A.10.a. Self-Referral
Counselors working in an organization
(e.g., school, agency, institution) that
provides counseling services do not
refer clients to their private practice
unless the policies of a particular organization make explicit provisions for
self-referrals. In such instances, the clients must be informed of other options
open to them should they seek private
counseling services.
A.10.b. Unacceptable Business
Counselors do not participate in fee
splitting, nor do they give or receive
commissions, rebates, or any other form
of remuneration when referring clients
for professional services.
A.10.c. Establishing Fees
In establishing fees for professional
counseling services, counselors consider the financial status of clients and
locality. If a counselor’s usual fees create …
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