Relationship with colleagues
Mental health counselors act with due regard for the needs and feelings of their colleagues in counseling and other professions. Mental health counselors respect the rights and obligations of the institutions or organizations with which they associate.
- Mental health counselors understand how related professions complement their work and make full use of other professional, technical, and administrative resources that best serve the interests of clients.
- Mental health counselors treat professional colleagues with the same dignity and respect afforded to clients. Professional discourse should be free of personal attacks.
- Mental health counselors respect the viability, reputation, and proprietary rights of organizations that they serve.
- Credit is assigned to those who have contributed to a publication, in proportion to their contribution.
- Mental health counselors do not accept or offer referral fees from other professionals.
- When mental health counselors have knowledge of the impairment, incompetence, or unethical conduct of a mental health professional, they are obliged to attempt to rectify the situation. Failing an informal solution, mental health counselors should bring such unethical activities to the attention of the appropriate state licensure board and/or the ethics committee of the professional association.
Mental health counselors may offer or seek clinical consultation from another mental health professional. In clinical consulting mental health counselors provide critical and supportive feedback. Clinical consultation does not imply hierarchy or responsibility for client outcome.
Relationship with Students, Interns and Employees
Mental health counselors have an ethical concern for the integrity and welfare of supervisees, students, and employees. These relationships typically include an evaluative component and therefore need to be maintained on a professional and confidential basis.
- Mental health counselors recognize the influential position they have with regard to both current and former supervisees, students and employees, and avoid exploiting their trust and dependency.
- Mental health counselors do not engage in ongoing counseling relationships with current supervisees, students or employees.
- All forms of sexual behavior with supervisees, students or employees are unethical.
- Mental health counselors do not engage in any form of harassment of supervisees, students, employees or colleagues.
- Mental health counselor supervisors advise their supervisees, students and employees against holding themselves out to be competent to engage in professional services beyond their training, experience, or credentials.
- In the informed consent statement, students and employees notify the client they are in supervision and provide their clients with the name and credentials of their supervisor.
- Students and employees have the same ethical obligations to clients as those required of mental health counselors.
- Supervisors provide written informed consent prior to beginning a supervision relationship that documents business address and telephone number; list of degrees, license and credentials/certifications held; areas of competence in clinical mental health counseling; training in supervision and experience providing supervision; model of or approach to supervision, including the role, objectives and goals of supervision, and modalities; evaluation procedures in the supervisory relationship; the limits and scope of confidentiality and privileged communication within the supervisory relationship; procedures for supervisory emergencies and supervisor absences; use of supervision agreements; and procedures for supervisee endorsement for certification and/or licensure, or employment to those whom are competent, ethical, and qualified.
Clinical supervision is an important part of the mental health treatment process. This purpose is two-fold: to assist the supervisee to provide the best treatment possible to counseling clients, through guidance and direction by the supervisor regarding clinical, ethical, and legal issues; and to provide training to the supervisee, which is an integral part of counselor education. Supervision is also a gatekeeping process to ensure safety to the client, the profession and to the supervisee.
Commitment for Clinical Supervision
- Confidentiality of Clinical Supervision
Clinical supervision is a part of the treatment process, and therefore all of the clinical information shared between a supervisee and supervisor is confidential. Clinical supervisors do not disclose supervisee confidences regarding client information except:
- To prevent clear and imminent danger to a person or persons.
- As mandated by law for child or senior abuse reporting.
- Where there is a waiver of confidentiality obtained, in writing, prior to such a release of information
- Where the release of records or information is permitted by state law.
- In educational or training settings where only other professionals who will share responsibility for the training of the supervisee are present, and formal written client consent has been obtained for such disclosures for training purposes.
- Clinical Supervision Contract
A clinical supervision contract signed by both supervisor and supervisee, should be prepared, which provides for the fees for both individual and group supervision sessions. The contract should also specify the records that will be maintained by both the supervisor and supervisee regarding issues discussed in supervision; the number of hours of supervision that take place, and whether the supervision was individual or group. In addition, the contract should specify the agreement of supervisor and supervisee regarding how often the supervision sessions will be scheduled. The frequency of supervision sessions shall comply with state regulations. In addition, the supervisor and supervisee should agree to the following terms:
The supervisee will maintain a professional liability insurance policy during the clinical supervision process, and provide a copy of a certificate of insurance to the supervisor.
- Compliance with the AMHCA Code of Ethics
The supervisor should provide a copy of the AMHCA Code of Ethics to the supervisee, or ensure that the supervisee has obtained a copy. The supervisee must agree to comply with the AMHCA Code of Ethics in all treatment provided. As needed, the supervisor and supervisee will discuss the principles contained in the AMHCA Code of Ethics. The supervisor needs to be aware of other codes of ethics which may apply to the supervisee.
- State Licensing Board Rules
The supervisee needs to obtain a copy of the appropriate State Licensing Board Rules, and agree to comply with them. As needed, the supervisor and supervisee will discuss the provisions of board rules. The supervisor will be aware of all credentials and membership organizations regulating the supervisee.
- Compliance with State Laws
The supervisor should inform the supervisee of state laws contained in the Practice Act for counselors, and other legal provisions which apply to treatment, requirements for licensure, billing, and the discipline of counselors.
- Duty of the Clinical Supervisor
The contract should specify that the duty of the clinical supervisor will be to direct the treatment process, and to assist the supervisee in complying with all legal and ethical standards for treatment.
- Billing for Treatment
Supervisee should agree that all bills submitted for treatment will accurately reflect the amount of time spent in counseling session, and will also identify the professional who provided services to the client.
- Treatment Records and Bills
As part of the supervision process, the supervisee will agree to provide treatment records and billing statements to the clinical supervisor upon request. In addition, the supervisee will agree to maintain all treatment records securely, to maintain their confidentiality and to comply with state recordkeeping requirements.
- Informed Consent
The supervisee will agree to obtain informed consent in writing from the counseling client in compliance with state law. In addition, the supervisee will obtain informed consent in writing from any client whose treatment session is to be videotaped, recorded, or observed through one-way glass.
- Dual Relationships
Supervisors will avoid all dual relationships that may interfere with the supervisor’s professional judgment or exploit the supervisee. Any sexual, romantic, or intimate relationship is considered to be a violation. Sexual relationship means sexual conduct, sexual harassment, or sexual bias toward a supervisee by a supervisor.
- Termination of Supervision
When a supervisee discontinues supervision, a written notice that the supervision process has terminated should be provided by the supervisor, along with an appropriate referral for supervision. If during supervision a conflict arises which causes impairment to the professional judgment of the supervisor or supervisee, the process should be terminated and a referral made. Both the supervisor and the supervisee have the right to terminate supervision at any time, with reasonable notice being provided regarding the voluntary termination of supervision.
- Consultation for the Supervisor
Whenever a clinical supervisor needs to discuss questions regarding the clinical services being provided, ethical issues, or legal matters, the supervisor should obtain a consultation in order to resolve the issue. That consultation must be documented in the supervisor’s clinical supervision notes.
- Credentials for Supervisors
A supervisor should have the level of clinical experience required by state regulations, which is required for supervision of other professionals. In addition, the supervisor should have training in the clinical supervision process.
- Credentials for Supervisees
Supervisors must ensure that supervisees have the requisite credentials under state law to provide counseling to clients. If at any time during the supervision process a supervisor concludes that the supervisee does not have the requisite skills and education to provide counseling safely, and the supervisee is not showing evidence of learning or progressing, the supervisor should inform the supervisee of the deficiencies noted in the supervisor’s evaluation of the supervisee, and terminate the relationship.