Counseling Ethics

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The course is specifically designed to prepare graduate students to function in the formal role of a professional practitioner.  Major emphasis is placed upon ethical and legal issues, standards and conditions of preparation for the professions, and role identity matters.  Models of decision-making are presented with emphasis on application in mental health settings.



  • Discussing the historical development of professions, in general, and the counseling profession specifically.
  • Examining trends in the codes of ethics and ethical decision-making within the counseling profession.
  • Discussing high-risk practices with clients such as social, business, and personal relationships, sexual contact with clients, and other boundary issues.
  • Describing and analyzing the ethical, legal, and professional standards of the counseling and guidance profession, including local, state, and national ethical and legal codes related to mental health counselors and Christian counselors.
  • Discussing confidentiality, privileged communication, duty to warn, informed consent, dual relationships, privacy, and the rights of clients in mental health and Christian counseling settings.
  • Discussing ethical and professional issues specific to group counseling and group guidance in mental health settings.
  • Considering the various roles and responsibilities of the counselor within mental health settings, Christian counseling settings, and the community.
  • Discussing the professional Codes of Ethics for Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Christian Counselors, and other specialized helping professionals.
  • Explaining the ethical issues in counseling-therapy research practices in mental health settings.
  • Describing the nature of professional liability, malpractice, and treatment of dangerous and difficult clients in mental health settings.
  • Defining and understanding crisis intervention in the helping professions.
  • Examining the differences between crisis and psychotherapy.
  • Defining consultation and supervision as related to the counseling profession.
  • Examining the relationship among counseling, ethics, and professional responsibility in order to promote the growth of the counselor and the counseling profession.
  • Identifying ways to apply core principles, values, and qualities to guide therapist behavior and therapeutic relationships.
  • Identifying and developing hard and soft skills needed for effective ethical decision-making.
  • Understanding that cultural competence provides honest and fair services to those from diverse and minority population groups.

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