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Code of Ethics: Page 4
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E. Record-Keeping, Fee Arrangements, and Bartering
  1. Recordkeeping
    Mental health counselors create and maintain accurate and adequate clinical and financial records.
    1. Mental health counselors create, maintain, store, transfer, and dispose of client records in ways that protect confidentiality and are in accordance with applicable regulations or laws.
    2. Mental health counselors establish a plan for the transfer, storage, and disposal of client records in the event of withdrawal from practice or death of the counselor, that maintains confidentiality and protects the welfare of the client.


  2. Fee Arrangements, Bartering, and Gifts
    Mental health counselors are cognizant of cultural norms in relation to fee arrangements, bartering, and gifts. Mental health counselors clearly explain to clients, early in the counseling relationship, all financial arrangements related to counseling.
    1. In establishing professional counseling fees, mental health counselors take into consideration the financial situation of clients and locality. If the usual fees create undue hardship for the client, the counselor may adjust fees or assist the client to locate comparable, affordable services.
    2. Mental health counselors usually refrain from accepting goods or services from clients in return for counseling services because such arrangements may create the potential for conflicts, exploitation and distortion of the professional relationship. However, bartering may occur if the client requests it, there is no exploitation, and the cultural implications and other concerns of such practice are discussed with the client and agreed upon in writing.
    3. Mental health counselors contribute to society by providing pro bono services.
    4. When accepting gifts, mental health counselors take into consideration the therapeutic relationship, motivation of giving, the counselor’s motivation for receiving or declining, cultural norms, and the value of the gift.


F. Other Roles
  1. Consultant
    Mental health counselors acting as consultants have a high degree of self-awareness of their own values, knowledge, skills and needs in entering a helping relationship that involves human and/or organizational change.
    1. The focus of the consulting relationship is on the issues to be resolved and not on the personal characteristics of those presenting the consulting issues.
    2. Mental health counselors develop an understanding of the problem presented by the client and secure an agreement with the client, specifying the terms and nature of the consulting relationship.
    3. Mental health counselors are reasonably certain that they and their clients have the competencies and resources necessary to follow the consultation plan.
    4. Mental health counselors encourage adaptability and growth toward self-direction.
    5. Mental health counselors keep all proprietary and client information confidential.
    6. Mental health counselors avoid conflicts of interest in selecting consultation clients.


  2. Advocate
    Mental health counselors may serve as advocates at the individual, institutional, and/or societal level in an effort to foster sociopolitical change that meets the needs of the client or the community.
    1. Mental health counselors are aware of and make every effort to avoid pitfalls of advocacy including conflicts of interest, inappropriate relationships and other negative consequences. Mental health counselors remain sensitive to the potential personal and cultural impact on clients of their advocacy efforts.
    2. Mental health counselors may encourage clients to challenge familial, institutional, and societal obstacles to their growth and development and they may advocate on the clients’ behalf. Mental health counselors remain aware of the potential dangers of becoming overly involved as an advocate.
    3. Mental health counselors may only speak on their behalf and are clear, cautious, and authorized to speak on the behalf of any counseling organization.
    4. Mental health counselors endeavor to speak factually and discern facts from opinions.
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