Code of ETHICS

Psychophonetics code of ethics

IAPP

International Association of Psychophonetics Practitioners

And

PII

Psychophonetics Institute International

IAPP & PII CODE OF ETHICS

THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PSYCHOPHONETICS PRACTITIONERS

is the official, independent professional body for the profession of Psychophonetics and for professional Psychophonetics Practitioners.

PSYCHOPHONETICS INSTITUTE INTERNATIONAL

is the educational institution authorised to administer, define and develop the profession of Psychophonetics and its associated Methodical Empathy

Both IAPP and IIP will act as the Professional Council for the regulation of the profession of Psychophonetics, for the upholding of its professional and ethical standard and for the protection of the served public and advocates for Psychophonetics Practitioners, in the form of a non-profit incorporated association in the Republic of Slovakia, where IIP is registered, in the United Kingdom, where the first country-branch of IAPP is registered, and internationally.

This Psychophonetics code of ethics (first composed in 1993 in Melbourne, Australia) is to be the unified governing ethical standard for the professional of Psychophonetics and its derivatives, the standard to which all Psychophonetics practitioners, teachers, tutors, supervisors and consultant are committed to adhere. Therefore any change in this code of ethics will require consent from both IIP and IAPP.

Therefore

The following is to be called

PSYCHOPHONETICS CODE OF ETHICS

Contributed to, administered and upheld by both IIP and IAPP

Independently and in coordination

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Revision Date: 6th December 2015

(original code of ethics with minor differences was formed in 1993)

Draft revised by Yehuda Tagar and edited by Tessa Martina to be ratified by the founding group of IAPP – Britain and by the senior Psychophonetics practitioners internationally.

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PSYCHOPHONETICS CODE OF ETHICS

Psychophonetics Code of Ethics comprises three parts of equal importance:

PART A) PSYCHOPHONETICS UNIQUE CODE OF ETHICS

The 7 principal of Psychophonetics code of ethics – Anthroposophical Ethics

PART B) COUNSELLING & PSYCHOTHERAPISTS CODE OF ETHICS

Based on the code of ethics of PACFA – Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia, incorporating all its attributes.

PART C) COUNSELLING & PSYCHOTHERAPY EDUCATORS CODE OF ETHICS

Based on the code of ethics of SCAPE – Society of Counselling & Psychotherapy Educators – Australia, incorporating all its attributes.

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Part A) Psychophonetics Unique Code of Ethics

Core Ethical Principles of Psychophonetics – Anthroposophical Ethics

by Yehuda Tagar (First articulated in 1993)

INTRODUCTION

This chapter outlines the major fundamental ethical, philosophical and educational principles underlying Psychophonetics practice and training. For the practitioner and the teacher of this modality these principles are as essential and practical as any other aspect of our methodology, and, indeed, they provide the only spiritual context within which the practical activities of this modality can safely come to their true meaning and fruition.

These principles express a psychotherapeutic application of the general principle of what could be termed ‘Anthroposophical Ethics’, a path of knowledge based on awakening to one’s own humanity and the humanity of others, committed to the freedom of the individual as the foundation for the re-creation of human community.

At the same time a great portion of the following principles are also shared by a growing number of contemporary approaches to counselling, psychology, psychotherapy and coaching for personal development which are inspired and guided by the true Spirit of Our Time, primarily amongst the theoretical and practical streams associated with Humanistic, Existential, Person Centred, Gestalt, Psychosynthesis, Transpersonal, process oriented, systemic, expression/ art based psychotherapy, psycho-somatic and spiritual psychology. The spiritual, practical and philosophical striving expressed in those terms in the latter part of the 20th Century are broadly compatible with the foundations of Rudolf Steiner’s psychology, which he termed ‘Psychosophy’ at the beginning of that same Century.

Yet what could be termed Anthroposophical Ethics are unique amongst them, not only because of its pioneering position, being inaugurated in 1910, but primarily because the depth, breadth and height of its conception of the human being and its clarity regarding the cosmic-earthly and human destiny context of the journey of the human soul.

This paper outlines the Educational Philosophy of Psychophonetics Institute International (previously Persephone Institute of Psychophonetics) in regards to its approach to the training of students of counselling. Given the unique attitude of Psychophonetics to unfolding human potential – Psychophonetics as a profession and Psychophonetics Institute International as its training authority are committed to reflecting these principles in the actual practice, training, and the organizational processes.

The following core principals of Psychophonetics are equally applicable and binding to the teachers of the training organisation of Psychophonetics, Psychophonetics InstituteInternational (and its various authorised colleges) and to the International Association of Psychophonetics Practitioners (and its various country/national registered branches). The Institute trains the practitioners in a process that is based on these ethical principals, and the professional association unite the graduates in a professional community of practitioners who hold these standards as their common spirit.

Therefore there is one and only unifying Psychophonetics code of ethics for both the training institute and the professional association. That ethical compatibility unite us as an international professional community.

Weather students, graduate, practitioners, teachers, supervisors and consultants of Psychophonetics-based skills are practicing the therapeutic/developmental modality with individuals and groups OR the educational dimension of it in any capacity and on behalf of any organisation – the 3-part Psychophonetics code of ethics here articulated is the binding and publicly accessible code of ethics.

The theoretical and philosophical background for these principles is to be found primarily in Rudolf Steiner’s books Theory of Knowledge, Philosophy of Freedom, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, Theosophy, and in his lectures on Psychosophy, Psychoanalysis in light of Anthroposophy, Curative Education, Metamorphosis of the Soul and Foundations of Human Experience (educational teaching) Fundamentals of Therapy (1925) and Steiner’s Anthroposophical medical teaching, amongst many others of his lecture series and books.

The creative research, applications and clinical practice of the above theoretical background in the development and application of Psychophonetics inspired and still forms the foundation for Psychophonetics code of ethics. Other people, practitioners and teachers may use Rudolf Steiner’s teaching and Anthroposophical traditions differently to the way it is being understood and applied in the professional community united in Psychophonetics. We hereby renounce any obligation to adhere to the traditions, cultures, habits and ways of working adopted by other individuals and organisations that are inspired by Anthroposophy.

Psychophonetics is a late 20th century creation and its interpretation of Anthroposophy is informed by Applied Psychosophy and Psychophonetics-based soul-work in more than 10 countries over a period of 25 years.

The following is the core code of ethics of Psychophonetics, Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) and the Society of Counselling & Psychotherapy Educators – Australia (SCAPE) of which the founder of Psychophonetics is a founding member.

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PART A) PSYCHOPHONETICS UNIQUE CODE OF ETHICS

The 7 principal of Psychophonetics code of ethics – Anthroposophical Ethics

(YELLOW HIGHLIGHTED ARE THE PARTS STILL IN NEED OF REVIEWING)

1. INNER EQUIPMENT

Human beings are inherently equipped for the journey of their lives.

A human life is considered to be primarily a purposeful learning and growing opportunity, including its challenges and crises. Digesting one’s experiences is at the same time the forging of the inner equipment and its application to the growing process.

People are also inherently equipped with the ability to sense the next step in manifesting that potential. The choice to come to a counsellor is an expression of that sense. Trusting that inner sense – we also assume the chosen counsellor is also equipped to be the right counsellor for that person at that point in time.

On that basis, the major expression of the counsellor’s growing ability to be helpful to the client consists in accessing the client’s inner “equipment” through the opportunity of this unique meeting.The essential assumption is that the resources for the next step in the client’sdevelopment, healing and transformation lives inside the client’s inner life and outer circumstance, not inside the counsellor. This unique meeting can create a shift in the combination of the client’s inner resources and life circumstances, encouraged by the counsellor. The potential for this shift lives inside the client’s life, not the counsellor’s life. The responsibility to manifest it is not the counsellor’s responsibility, but the client’s. This attitude is the main equipment for the counsellor in this work.

2. INNER GUIDANCE

Guardianship and inner Guidance are inherent to the human soul.

The client is to be in charge of the process.

If we want the client to end this journey in the driver’s seat – we must start it with the client in the driver seat. People do not swap seats in the middle of the ride.

What that practically means is that enough opportunities and safeguards must be provided in the counselling process for the client’s/student’s internal Guardianship and internal Guidance to manifest from the realm of potential within the inner life – into actual conscious life. The counselling interaction is seen as a training ground for that manifestation.

The counsellor’s personal, professional and philosophical knowledge and experience must never take the place of the client’s inner guidance. Questions such as: what are the main issues to deal with at any given point in time, what should be the direction of the work and its goals, how pro-active should the process be at any given point, how intense, deep, confrontational, nurturing or otherwise – the final answer to all of these questions must come from the client. The session must be conducted in such a way as to ensure the opportunity for the client to make these choices, to give it direction, to be in charge of it.

Very good reasons, known to the counsellor or not known, could be there for not going into a particular issue or level of experience at a particular point in time, even though both counsellor and client know of the essential value of going there. Choices that are made by the client with no clearly articulated reasons by the client, as well as manifest resistance – could be the expression of the hidden Guardianship which is present for the client while invisible to the counsellor.

Respecting these subtle inner voices could make the difference between supporting the client’s freedom and controlling his/her will in the developmental process at stake. On a healthy path of personal development, every single step that is made out of external guidance – will most likely have in the future to be re-traced, and be trodden again in freedom and with self-guidance. We must not, as counsellors, add to the load which our clients will have to get rid of in the future.

Hence Psychophonetics Action Counselling Phase will only commence on the basis of the client’s Wish, based on the client’s own Picture, created out of the client’s own priorities and sense of direction.

3. SELF-KNOWLEDGE

The client is the one authorised to determine and to know the meaning of his/her experience.

Meaning is not given but is a creation of the human spirit.

Only the owner of an experience can determine the meaning of that experience.

No information given from the outside comprises knowing. Only a unique union between one’s own perception and one’s own conception comprises real knowing.

External, authority-based interpretation of the meaning of clients’ experience is out of place in this modality.

Knowing comes from an un-obstructed meeting between the perception and the conception of the same phenomenon. This is Anthroposophical epistemology in a nut-shell. It suggests that an integral unity exists between the dimension of a phenomenon which manifests to thesenses, and the other dimension of the same phenomenon which can be realised and made conscious only through the conceptual activity of the perceiver. That other dimension consists of: the meaning of the perceived phenomenon, the truth about it (from that individual’s point of view), the universal laws manifesting through it, its relationship to other phenomena, its Name, its reality to the conceiver. The ability to create a new union between the Perception and the Conception of the same phenomenon – is an inherent spiritual capacity of Human Thinking.

However, in the case of the phenomenon of a human experience occurring within the human psyche, we are dealing with a phenomenon which is capable of knowing itself, of thinking its own reality, of combining the Perception and the Conception of any aspect of oneself within the same being.

Therefore, the observer of a human phenomenon, (in this case the counsellor), must not complete the connection between the phenomena of the client’s experience and its meaning through the counsellor’s own mental activity. It is for the client to complete the act of creating the personal meaning of the client’s own experience. In Psychophonetics this dynamics is called meaningfying one’s experience.

The counsellor’s role is to create a new opportunity for self-observation, stimulating a new perspective regarding it, and to encourage fresh thinking which unite them in new meaning. That newly created meaning is the redeeming achievement of counselling in its best. The client is to be the knower, the interpreter, the bearer of the meaning of his/her own experience; the client is to be “The Expert” of her/his experience and its meaning. The counsellor must be watchful not to become an un-conscious replacement of the thinking, new reality-creating client.

The role of the counsellor is to encourage this knowing, but not to take on this activity instead of the only authority on the issue: the client. The knowing of the counsellor can facilitate as a stimulus, challenge, mirroring, suggestion of a possible fresh point of view, of context and of connection. It is not meant to substitute for the authorised knowledge of the owner of the experience.

4. TEAMWORK

The Psychophonetics session is Teamwork between two equally important partners.

If the client is fundamentally equipped for the journey of his/her life, including the exclusive ability to realise the meaning of his/her experience, and if the counsellor possesses the skills for encouraging the manifestation of that equipment – then they both need each other equally for the journey they are to travel together. They have to become a team of equally important partners, with all the respect trust and support that successful partnership requires. This value of teamwork is a cultural leap distinguishing this kind of counselling and psychotherapy from the ancient tradition of the culture of the experts.

What it practically means is a spirit of teamwork: eliminating unconscious attitudes of hierarchy and authority; complete consensus on major decisions; not assuming truth for the other, but honouring one’s own; and mutual honesty and openness regarding the common task. It entails a commitment to the maintenance of the team spirit.

The role of the counsellor in team could be described as an encouraging companion in the journey of the client’s quest for Self-Knowing. That companionship is to be expressed through Co-Operative activity: instead of the counsellor knowing, seeing, and supporting various aspects of the client – both are doing it together: they are to be Co-Knowing, Co-Seeing and Co-Supporting the aspects of the client’s inner life which they choose to take care of. The client is considered an active member of the therapeutic team.

A major motto for the team work can be: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, then I Am in the midst of you”. The I Am is understood here as the Universal Human consciousness manifesting through the I Am’s of the people present.

5. THE ‘I AM’ TO TAKE CHARGE The client’s “I Am” (core self) is to be given every possible opportunity to enter the process, the body and one’s life, to guide, to make choices, to know, to take charge.

All professional choices in the counselling process must be governed by this principle.

Essential to the Anthroposophical model of the human constitution is the notion of the ‘I’, the integrative centre of the human psyche, one’s core identity. In light of Anthroposophy the human ‘I’ is not a product of heredity and upbringing but an authentic source, whose existence pre-dates one’s birth, and will out-live one’s death. Each human ‘I’ is considered to be a unique spiritual being, a ‘species’ in its own right. The ‘I’ is the Observer, the Feeler, the Meaningfyer and the Choice-Maker in regards to one’s own experience as well as in regards to the encountered phenomena of the world.

The practical aim of the whole Psychophonetics process could be described as allowing, inviting, enabling, facilitating and encouraging the I Am of the client to enter every corner of the client’s experience, to take charge of it, to take hold of it, to take care of it, to enter it more fully. In a way, everything else is a means to that end, and nothing can morally justify compromising this aim

Addressing and co-operation with the I Am of the client as a full-fledged partner in the educational/therapeutic/coaching process takes place in this modality right from the start. The whole process is designed to put the client in charge of it, down to the technical construction of its various sequences. Consequently no part of the Action Phase of this modality will take place before a clear choice about its overall direction was determined by the client through the creation of a “wish”, defined and articulated exclusively by the client oneself.

The major practical activities designed to enable the I Am to enter and to take hold of all aspects of oneself are: Consciously Focusing, Sensing, Gesturing, Visualising, Speaking, Moving, Gesturing, Sounding, Naming, Making Choices, Sharing. These activities, properly done, are capable of engaging the I Am in a way that enables its entry into aspects of oneself which were unconscious before. As many opportunities for this process as possible will be created in the counselling process.

In practice:

One of the major practical applications of this principle in discharging the responsibilities of a Psychophonetics practitioner is to prevent the creation of personal dependency between client and practitioner and to prevent the replacement of the client’s responsibility for determining the meaning of their experience.

It is therefore the practitioner’s responsibility to ensure that the minimum required number of sessions in each case will be recommended, and that every single session stands as an integral process on its own ground, with no dependency on following sessions for being of benefit to the client’s life.

6. HIGHER ACCOUNTABILITY

Based on the above, the counsellor, while counselling, is at all time acting according to being accountable to an authority within one’s own being which exists beyond the dominion of one’s personal emotionality, intellectuality, desires and theories.

This internal higher authority is of a universal nature, its interest is all human, although its presence emerges to the individual from the core of their individual humanity.

Rudolf Steiner named that inner authority ‘THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN BEING’.

No one personally has a monopoly on universal truth, and no prescription can guarantee the universality of one’s personal conception of what comprises universal reality. Humility in the face of a truth greater than one own is what is required here. The principle of Higher Accountability is a direction of a striving rather than a specific belief system; a continuous readiness to question one’s take on reality – rather than a claim of superiority or adherence to an imposed interpretation. The principle of Higher Accountability is a commitment to review one’s psychological dynamic, including the conceptual ones, and one’s personality – from the standpoint of one’s innermost spirituality.

7. SELF CARE

The counsellor is committed to an on-going process of self-care, self-awareness and further personal development that can be clearly articulated, shared and witnessed by peer review and by supervision with qualified professionals in the field.

We who put ourselves forward as encouragers of other’s self-care and personal development – must be self-caring and personally developing ourselves. The counsellor is a mentor and a coach for people who intend to upgrade their well being and self management through deeper and broader and higher consciousness. This is an on-going path. The counsellor must be a person committed to such a commitment and upgrade for oneself in order to mentor it to others with integrity. If upgrading self awareness is something I cannot do, choose not to do, or it does not work for me – there is no ground on which to stand mentoring this in others.

On a more immediate ethical level – it is only the commitment f the counsellor to an on-going process of self care, personal development, growing awareness and healing that can render them safe, available and clear in the position of holding other people in while they share and expose vulnerable situations and places in themselves. With a practical on going process of self awareness – the counsellor’s ability to be in charge of the motivation, intentions, assumptions, interpretations and direction effecting the counselling process must be questioned. The clarity of where the counsellor comes from and the relevance of what the counsellor’s do to the client’s well being is a contingent of the counsellor’s commitment to their own well being and self-awareness.

The major instrument for ensuring the on-going upgrading of counsellors self care and personal development is through the provision of Continuing Personal Development and supervision requirement of our professional association, The International Association of Psychophonetics Practitioners, IAPP. In its constitution the minimum level of CPD and supervision hours is a requirement of membership and registration.

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All the above are principles of general attitude, intention and approach. Their specific application in any given human situation should always remain a matter for the counsellor’s and the client’s intuition and choices on the spot.

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FOLLOWING is the regular, updated professional ethics of the leading professional association of counselling, psychotherapy and the training of counselling and psychotherapy, adopted from the leading associations in this filed in Australia (where Psychophonetics was born):

Based on the codes of ethics of PACFA – Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia, and

SCAPE – Society of Counselling and Psychotherapy Educators (Australia, a member of PACFA)

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PART B) COUNSELLING & PSYCHOTHERAPISTS CODE OF ETHICS

Based on the code of ethics of

BACP – Psychotherspy and Counselll – Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia, incorporating all its attributes.

PACFA-L1

Interim

Code of Ethics

© PACFA 2015

Contents PACFA-L1

Interim

Code of Ethics

© PACFA 2015

Contents

1. Introduction

2. Definitions

3. Ethics principles

3.1 Values of Counselling and Psychotherapy

3.1 Ethical principles of Counselling and Psychotherapy

3.2.1 Fidelity

3.2.2 Autonomy

3.2.3 Beneficence

3.2.4 Non-maleficence

3.2.5 Justice

3.2.6 Self-respect

3.2 Personal qualities

3.3 Competing ethical obligations

4. Ethical practice standards

4.1 Counselling and psychotherapy practice

4.1.1 Standards of practice and client care

4.1.2 Keeping trust

4.1.3 Dual and multiple relationships

4.1.4 Maintaining competent practice

4.1.5 Addressing client complaints

4.1.6 Monitoring risk to clients and reporting to statutory authorities

4.2 Probity in professional practice

4.2.1 Providing clients with adequate information

4.2.2 Sensitivity to social and cultural contexts

4.2.3 Financial arrangements

4.3 Ethical collegial relationships

4.3.1 Working with colleagues

4.3.2 Referral processes

4.4 Care of self as a practitioner

5. Ethical Standards in other work contexts

5.1 Ethical Standards for teaching and training

5.2 Ethical Standards for researching

6. Complaints Handling

1. Introduction

The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) aims to unite a

diverse group of Member Associations (MAs) contributing to the art and science of

counselling and psychotherapy, and individual practitioners delivering these services

directly, and by contributing to, developing and advancing professional practice via

supervision, training and research.

This document sets out the ethical framework for Counselling and Psychotherapy. It

unifies and replaces all earlier PACFA codes for counsellors, psychotherapists and

supervisors.

This Code applies to all PACFA Registrants and PACFA Members. The Code is

intended to inform the ethical practice of PACFA Registrants and individual PACFA

Members in practising membership categories including student members.

The Code also provides valuable guidance for those involved in counselling and

psychotherapy research, teaching or training, PACFA Affiliates who use counselling

and psychotherapy skills in their work, and the management of counselling and

psychotherapy or related services within organisations.

It is a requirement that Member Associations of PACFA have ethical codes of their

own and that these codes align with the principles and procedures of the PACFA

Code of Ethics. PACFA accredited training institutions are required to ensure their

trainees follow a code of ethics which is an integrated part of the training program

and the PACFA Code of Ethics may be adopted for this purpose.

Ethical dilemmas and practice challenges can be viewed and/or challenged from

both legal and ethical standpoints in many instances. Practitioners are required to

consider this code in light of relevant state/territory and federal legislation, and to

seek competent, qualified advice as to which provisions prevail in any given

instance.

2. Definitions

Client” refers to an individual, couple, family, group or organisation receiving a

service from a counselling or psychotherapy practitioner.

Conflict of Interest” refers to a situation where the practitioner’s care of the client

may conflict with other financial, professional or personal interests of the practitioner,

or where the practitioner is in dual or multiple relationships with the client or parties

related to the client.

Dual and multiple relationships” refer to situations in which the practitioner takes on

two or more kinds of relationship concurrently or sequentially with a client. For

example, a client who is also a trainee, or a colleague who is also a supervisee. Dual

and multiple roles also refer to the addition of the practitioner role within non-

therapeutic relationships, such as with an employer, employee, business partner,

friend, relative, or partner (Herlihy & Corey, 2006). The existence of dual and multiple

relationships with clients is seldom neutral and can have powerful impacts in the

present and future that are not always easily foreseeable.

Involuntary client” means a client who is required or mandated to attend counselling

or psychotherapy.

PACFA Member” means a practitioner who has a current membership of PACFA in

any individual membership category.

Practitioner” refers to any PACFA Registrant or PACFA Member undertaking the

role(s) of counsellor, psychotherapist, supervisor or counselling or psychotherapy

student, or using counselling or psychotherapy skills, and includes Practitioners who

manage counselling or psychotherapy services.

Registrant” means any individual who is listed on the PACFA Register.

Reportable Breach” means an ethical breach by a PACFA Member or other PACFA

Registrant which involves:

. practising while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs;

. sexual misconduct with a client or close family member of a client;

. placing the public at risk of substantial harm because of an impairment (i.e. a

health issue);

. placing the public at risk because of a significant departure from accepted

professional standards; or

. any other serious misconduct that could result in de-registration by PACFA.

Sexual relationships” means relationships involving sexual intercourse and/or any

other type of sexual activity or sexualised behaviour.

Supervision” refers to a discrete professional activity within clinical practice which

aims to support practitioners to deliver competent and ethical services. Supervisors

complete specialist training to develop supervisory competencies.

Trainer” means a Practitioner or other relevant professional who provides training or

education in counselling or psychotherapy.

3. Ethics Principles

PACFA acknowledges the co-existence of a range of approaches to ethics. This

Code reflects the diversity of ethical approaches by considering the:

. Values underpinning Counselling and Psychotherapy

. Ethical principles of Counselling and Psychotherapy

. Personal qualities of counsellors and psychotherapists

PACFA’s approach to ethics does not seek to invalidate other approaches. The

presentation of different ways of conceiving ethics in this Code is intended to draw

attention to the limitations of relying too heavily on any single ethical approach.

Ethical principles are well suited to examining the justification for particular decisions

and actions. However, reliance on principles alone may detract from the importance

of the practitioner’s personal qualities and their ethical significance in the therapeutic

relationship. The provision of culturally sensitive, safe and appropriate services is

also a fundamental ethical concern.

This section of the Code applies principally to counselling and psychotherapy

practitioners but is also relevant to student members of PACFA, researchers,

trainers and other professionals in related fields who are using this Code.

3.1 Values of Counselling and Psychotherapy

The fundamental values of Counselling and Psychotherapy include, but are not

limited to, a commitment to:

. Respecting human rights and dignity

. Ensuring the integrity of practitioner-client relationships

. Enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application

. Alleviating clients’ symptoms of personal distress and suffering

. Facilitating a sense of self that is meaningful to the person(s) concerned

within their personal, social and cultural contexts

. Increasing clients’ personal effectiveness

. Enhancing the quality of relationships between people

. Appreciating the variety of human experience and cultures

. Striving for the fair and adequate provision of Counselling and Psychotherapy

services

3.2 Ethical Principles of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Principles direct attention to important ethical responsibilities. Each ethical principle

of Counselling and Psychotherapy is described below.

Practitioners will encounter circumstances in which it is impossible to reconcile all

the applicable principles. In these circumstances, choosing between principles may

be required. This may involve balancing the risks concerned and resolving an ethical

dilmemma by choosing the path that causes least harm. A practitioner’s obligation is

to consider all the relevant circumstances with as much care as is reasonably

possible and to be appropriately accountable for decisions made.

3.2.1 Fidelity: honouring the trust placed in the practitioner

Being trustworthy is regarded as fundamental to understanding and resolving ethical

challenges and dilemmas. Practitioners who adopt this principle act in accordance

with the trust placed in them; regard confidentiality as an obligation arising from the

client’s trust; and restrict any disclosure of confidential information about clients to

furthering the purposes for which it was originally disclosed.

3.2.2 Autonomy: respect for the client’s right to be self-governing

This principle emphasises the importance of ensuring the client’s commitment to

participating in counselling or psychotherapy, usually, but not always, on a voluntary

basis. Practitioners who respect their clients’ autonomy ensure accuracy in any

advertising or information given in advance of services offered; seek freely given and

adequately informed consent from the client; engage in explicit contracting in

advance of any commitment by the client; protect the client’s privacy and

confidentiality; make any disclosures of confidential information conditional on the

consent of the person concerned except where serious risks warrant an exception to

this principle; and inform the client in advance of foreseeable conflicts of interest, for

example dual relationships, as soon as possible after such conflicts become

apparent. The principle of autonomy opposes the manipulation of clients against

their will, even for beneficial social ends.

3.2.3 Beneficence: a commitment to promoting the client’s well-being

The principle of beneficence means to act in the best interests of the client/s based

on professional assessment. Beneficence directs attention to working strictly within

the practitioner’s area of competence, and providing services on the basis of

adequate training and experience. Ensuring that the client’s best interests are

achieved requires systematic monitoring of practice and outcomes by the best

available means. It is considered important that research and systematic reflection

inform practice. There is an obligation to use regular and ongoing supervision to

enhance the quality of services provided, and to commit to updating practice by

continuing professional development. An obligation to act in the best interests of a

client may become paramount when the client’s capacity for autonomy is diminished

because of immaturity, lack of understanding, extreme distress, mental disorder,

serious disturbance, or other significant personal constraints.

3.2.4 Non-maleficence: a commitment to avoiding harm to the client

Non-maleficence involves avoiding sexual, financial, emotional or any other form of

client exploitation; avoiding incompetence or malpractice; and not providing services

when unfit to do so due to illness, personal circumstances or intoxication. The

practitioner has an ethical responsibility to strive to mitigate any harm caused to a

client, even when the harm is unavoidable or unintended. Holding appropriate

insurance may assist in making restitution when serious harm has been caused.

Practitioners have a personal responsibility to challenge, where appropriate, the

incompetence or malpractice of others; and to contribute to any investigation and/or

adjudication concerning professional practice which falls below that of a reasonably

competent practitioner and/or risks bringing discredit upon the profession.

3.2.5 Justice: the fair and impartial treatment of all clients and the provision of

adequate services

The principle of justice requires being just and fair to all clients and respecting their

human rights and dignity. This principle directs attention to considering

conscientiously any legal requirements and obligations, and remaining alert to

potential conflicts between legal and ethical obligations. Justice in the distribution of

services requires the ability to determine impartially the provision of services for

clients and the allocation of services between clients. A commitment to fairness

requires the ability to appreciate differences between people and to be committed to

equality of opportunity, and avoiding discrimination against people or groups on the

basis of personal, social or cultural characteristics.

3.2.6 Self-respect: fostering the practitioner’s self-knowledge and care for self

The principle of self-respect means that the practitioner appropriately applies all the

above principles as entitlements for self. This includes seeking counselling or

psychotherapy, and other opportunities for personal development, as required. There

is an ethical responsibility to use supervision for appropriate personal and

professional support and development, and to seek training and other opportunities

for continuing professional development. Guarding against financial liabilities arising

from practice usually requires obtaining appropriate insurance when self-employed

or working as a contractor. The principle of self-respect encourages active

engagement in life-enhancing activities and relationships that are independent of

relationships arising from the practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

3.3 Personal qualities

The practitioner’s personal qualities are of the utmost importance to clients. Many of

the personal qualities considered important in counselling and psychotherapy

practice have ethical components, and are therefore considered as virtues or good

personal qualities. These qualities are conveyed through the practitioner’s clinical

approach and practice. It is inappropriate to prescribe that all practitioners possess

these qualities, since it is fundamental that these personal qualities are deeply

rooted in the personality of the practitioner, and develop out of personal commitment

rather than the requirement of an external authority. However, ethical qualities and

virtues are enacted through particular behaviours can also be taught and should be

part of counselling and psychotherapy training programs. Personal qualities to which

practitioners are strongly encouraged to aspire are evident in the enactment of the

following behaviours/skills. They include:

Empathy:

the ability to communicate understanding of another person’s

experience from within that person’s perspective.

Sincerity:

a personal commitment to consistency between what is

professed and what is done.

Integrity:

commitment to being ethical in dealings with others, personal

straightforwardness, honesty and coherence.

Authenticity:

the capacity to be true to self and relate truthfully to others.

Resilience:

the capacity to work with the client’s concerns without being

personally diminished.

Respect:

showing appropriate esteem to others and to their

understanding of themselves and others.

Humility:

the ability to assess accurately and acknowledge one’s own

strengths and weaknesses.

Competence:

the effective deployment of Counselling and Psychotherapy

skills and knowledge in a range of contexts.

Fairness:

Acting in an even-handed way and making decisions that are

free from bias or injustice.

Wisdom:

possession of sound judgement and insight in the practice of

counselling and psychotherapy and in related fields of work.

Courage:

the capacity to act ethically and professionally in spite of

known fears, risks and uncertainty.

3.4 Competing Ethical Obligations

The challenge of practising ethically is that practitioners will inevitably encounter

situations in which there are competing obligations. In such situations, it may be

tempting to retreat from ethical analysis in order to escape what may appear to be

unresolvable ethical dilemmas. This Code is intended to be of assistance in such

circumstances by directing attention to the variety of ethical factors that may need to

be taken into consideration, and to alternative ways of approaching ethics that may

prove useful. No statement of ethics can totally alleviate the difficulty of making

professional judgements in circumstances that may be challenging and full of

uncertainties. By accepting and aligning with this Code of Ethics, PACFA

Registrants, PACFA Member Associations, and other individuals or organisations

that are informed by this Code of Ethics in their work, are committing themselves to

engaging with the challenges of ethical practice, even when doing so involves

making difficult decisions and acting courageously.

4. Ethical Standards for Practitioners

PACFA is committed to sustaining and advancing best practice. Counselling and

Psychotherapy services are delivered in diverse settings. Services may be provided

by independent practitioners, one or more practitioners providing services together in

a practice, or practitioners employed by organisations where counsellors and

psychotherapists work in multidisciplinary teams. Predominantly, Counselling and

Psychotherapy practice is undertaken face to face, but services are also increasingly

delivered by telephone and in online contexts.

Practitioners should consult with the professional standards and guidelines

developed by PACFA and PACFA Member Associations for guidance on current

practice responsibilities. Some of these standards and guideline are detailed

elsewhere in this Code.

Training and Supervision are crucial in developing and maintaining counsellors and

psychotherapists, and are therefore emphasised in the good practice guidance in

this Code. Training organisations, trainers and supervisors need to respond to

competing imperatives in establishing and maintaining rigorous training programs

and supervision services that have credibility in the field.

The role of an individual or group supervisor is of crucial importance in developing,

maintaining and leading the profession. It is desirable to reduce conflicts of interest

that the role of supervisor be quite distinct from the role of line manager. Wherever

dual relationships or responsibilities exist, these need to be transparently named and

ethically managed.

The roles of supervisors include the following responsibilities:

. Ensuring that clients are the focus of supervision sessions

. Monitoring the welfare of the supervisee

. Ensuring compliance with the relevant legal, ethical, and professional

guidelines for professional practice

. Monitoring the contracted achievements and the professional development

of the practitioner.

4.1 Ethical Practice Standards

All clients are entitled to high standards of practice and care from their counselling

and psychotherapy practitioners. Good standards of practice and care require

professional competence; good relationships with clients and colleagues; and

commitment to and observance of professional ethics.

All standards detailed in this section are matters about which clients may make

complaints against PACFA Registrants. Complaints must meet the requirements of

PACFA’s Professional Conduct Procedures 2015 and can only be heard by PACFA

where PACFA has jurisdiction to do so.

4.1.1 Standards of practice and client care

A. To ensure high standards of practice and care, practitioners are accountable for

delivering competent services that meet the client’s needs.

B. Practitioners give careful consideration to the limitations of their training and

experience and work within these limits. Information on other services and referral

options are be provided when clients require the provision of additional services

operating in parallel with or instead of Counselling or Psychotherapy. Failure to do so

may constitute a failure in standards of care.

C. Practitioners engage in contracting with their clients in order to clarify and agree

to the rights and responsibilities of both the practitioner and client at appropriate

points in their working relationship. Where the client is a couple or family, changes to

the contract to work with one member of the couple or family individually should be

carefully considered for their potential impact on the therapeutic relationship and the

individuals in the couple or family.

D. Practitioners work within a clearly contracted, principled relationship with their

clients. The therapeutic relationship is to be respectful, confidential and as far as

possible avoids Conflicts of Interest (see definition). Where there is a Conflict of

Interest or potential conflict of interest, practitioners discuss the implications of this

with their clients and seek guidance from their supervisors.

E. Practitioners are to be alert to the possibility of competing ethical principles and to

balance the needs of clients, other parties, the profession, and society more

generally. Consultation with a supervisor or experienced practitioner is strongly

recommended to discuss practitioners’ ethical decision-making.

4.1.2 Keeping trust

A. The practice of counselling and psychotherapy depends on gaining and honouring

the trust of clients. Keeping trust requires:

attentiveness to the quality of listening and respect offered to clients

. culturally appropriate ways of communicating that are courteous and clear

. respect for privacy and dignity

. careful attention to client consent and confidentiality

. Carefully monitoring risks to clients and others and reporting to statutory

authorities when necessary

B. Clients are adequately informed about the nature of the counselling and

psychotherapy services being offered and the limits to confidentiality.

C. Practitioners obtain adequately informed consent from their clients and respect

clients’ rights to choose whether to continue in therapy or withdraw. Practitioners

ideally ensure that counselling and psychotherapy services are delivered on the

basis of the client’s explicit consent. Reliance on implicit consent is more vulnerable

to misunderstandings and therefore is best avoided unless there are sound reasons

for doing so. Overriding a client’s known wishes or consent is a serious matter that

requires commensurate justification. Practitioners are accountable to their clients,

colleagues, PACFA and any other PACFA Member Association to which they belong

if they override a client’s known wishes.

D. Respecting client confidentiality is a fundamental requirement for keeping trust.

The professional management of confidentiality concerns the protection of personally

identifiable and sensitive information from unauthorised disclosure. Disclosure may

be authorised by client consent, risks to safety, or the law. Any disclosures should be

undertaken in ways that best protect the client’s trust. Practitioners are accountable

to their clients and to their profession for their management of confidentiality in

general and particularly for disclosures made without their client’s consent.

E. Practitioners take into account their responsibilities and their clients’ rights under

privacy legislation and any other legal requirements.

F. Practitioners working with Involuntary Clients take care to uphold the clients’

autonomy and to obtain their consent within the limitations pertaining to their referral

for counselling or psychotherapy services.

G. Working with children and young people requires specific training or professional

development, ethical awareness and competence. Working with children and young

people requires careful consideration of their capacity to give consent to receiving

services, independent of parents’ or carers’ consent. Practitioners consider and

assess the balance between children and young people’s dependence on adults and

carers, and their progressive development towards acting independently.

H. Practitioners seek consent from a client prior to initiating any therapeutic process

that involves any physical touch of the client including the details of any likely

intervention that includes touch.

I. Practitioners respond transparently to a client’s request for information about their

model of practice and assessment.

J. Practitioners do not abuse or exploit their current or former clients’ trust in order to

gain emotional, financial or any other kind of personal advantage. Practitioners think

carefully about, and exercise considerable caution before, entering into personal or

business relationships with former clients. Practitioners remain professionally

accountable if the relationship becomes detrimental to the client or to the standing of

the profession.

K. Practitioners are aware of their personal values or beliefs in relation to lifestyle,

gender, age, ability, culture, religion, sexual orientation or identity, and are aware of

the impact of these on the therapeutic process. If practitioners find themselves

unavoidably and emotionally prejudiced towards a client it is recommended that they

refer the client on to another agency or practitioner. For additional guidance, refer to

the PACFA Position Statement on working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender

and Intersex (LGBTI) Clients and their Families.

4.1.3 Dual and multiple relationships

Dual and multiple relationships, as defined in the Definitions section of this Code,

represent a conflict of interest. Conflicts of interest are to be avoided, provided

conflicts can be reasonably foreseen and prevented. In deciding how to respond to

conflicts of interest, the protection of the client’s interests and trust in the practitioner

is paramount.

A. Practitioners consider their motivation, possible outcomes and implications of

entering into dual or multiple relationships with current or former clients. Practitioners

avoid entering into relationships, particularly sexual and romantic relationships,

which are likely to be detrimental to their clients, third parties and the standing of the

profession.

Where dual and multiple relationships cannot be avoided, practitioners discuss the

implications of this with their clients and seek guidance from their supervisors.

The possible impact of some forms of dual or multiple relationships, in terms of

increased trust and deepening of the therapeutic relationship, are carefully

considered to determine whether they are solely in the best interests of the client, for

example, attending a client’s wedding at the request of the client.

B. In small communities (e.g. rural, regional, remote or other communities of interest)

it may be difficult to avoid dual or multiple relationships. In these circumstances, the

management of dual and multiple roles requires particular attention and guidance

from a supervisor.

C. Practitioners pay particular attention to avoiding romantic or sexual relationships

with current or former clients.

(a) Practitioners do not engage in romantic or sexual relationships with clients or

close members of a client’s family both during therapy and for a period of at least two

years post-therapy.

(b) Practitioners do not engage in romantic sexual relationships with former clients

even after a two-year interval except in the most exceptional circumstances.

Practitioners who engage in romantic or sexual relationships with former clients bear

the burden of demonstrating that there has been no exploitation of the client, in light

of all relevant factors, including:

. the length of time since counselling or psychotherapy terminated;

. the nature, duration, and intensity of the counselling or psychotherapy;

. the circumstances of termination;

. the client’s personal history;

. the client’s current mental status;

. the likelihood of adverse impacts on the client;

. the power differential between the practitioner and the client during and post

the termination of counselling or psychotherapy;

. any statement made or action taken by the practitioner during the course of

counselling or psychotherapy suggesting or inviting the possibility of a sexual

or romantic relationship with the client following termination.

D. While it is acknowledged that dual and multiple relationships are inevitable to

some degree, the concurrent roles of trainer, supervisor and therapist are seen as

completely distinct and practitioners are advised to avoid this form of dual

relationship wherever possible.

4.1.4 Maintaining competent practice

A. Practitioners regularly monitor and review their work as this is essential to

competent and ethical practice. It is important to be open to, and conscientious in

considering, feedback from clients, colleagues, supervisors and managers.

Responding constructively to feedback helps to advance practice.

B. Practitioners are required to have regular and ongoing formal supervision for their

work in accordance with professional requirements. Managers, researchers and

providers of counselling skills are also strongly encouraged to review their need for

professional supervision and to obtain appropriate supervision for their practice.

C. Supervision for practitioners is to be independent of any managerial relationship.

D. Practitioners to keep up to date with the latest knowledge and respond to

changing circumstances. They should consider carefully their own need for

continuing professional development and engage in appropriate educational

activities in accordance with professional requirements.

E. Practitioners are aware of and understand legal requirements concerning their

work, including mandatory reporting requirements. They consider these

requirements conscientiously and are legally accountable for their practice.

F. Practitioners keep appropriate records of their work with clients for the purposes

of accountability, service review and therapeutic planning. Records include

summaries of client sessions, emails, phone contact and web-based and SMS

communications. All records should be accurate, respectful of clients and

colleagues, and protected from unauthorised disclosure. For detailed guidance, refer

to the PACFA Guidelines for Clients Records.

G. Practitioners have a responsibility to monitor and maintain their fitness to practice

at a level that enables them to provide an effective service. If their effectiveness

becomes impaired for any reason, including health or personal circumstances, they

seek the advice of their supervisor, experienced colleagues or line manager and, if

necessary, withdraw from practice until their fitness to practice returns.

Arrangements for ongoing access to counselling and psychotherapy should be made

for clients who are adversely affected by the withdrawal.

H. Supervisors are responsible for maintaining and enhancing practitioners’ work

and for protecting clients from poor practice. Supervisors’ evaluation of their

supervisees’ practice is contracted and made transparent.

I. Supervisors who advise their supervisees in more than one capacity (for example

as a trainer, individual or group supervisor) maintain awareness of being in dual and

multiple relationships and, far as possible, reduce conflicting roles. These dual and

multiple roles are best distributed among different professionals. If this is not

possible, supervisors inform their supervisee of the expectations and responsibilities

associated with each role, and separate different roles in space and time.

Supervisors are responsible for clarifying responsibility for the supervisee’s practice.

J. Supervisors do not exploit supervisees for financial, sexual, emotional, academic

or any other gain.

K. Supervisors do not have sexual relationships with supervisees, and carefully

consider the implications of social contact with their supervisees in terms of whether

the professional relationship is compromised. If, for any reason, the objectivity and

capacity of the supervisor to professionally evaluate the supervisee’s practice is

affected, the professional relationship is terminated.

4.1.5 Addressing client complaints

A. Practitioners respond to any complaint and remedy any harm they may have

caused to their clients and prevent any further harm being caused. An apology to the

client may be an appropriate response.

B. Practitioners discuss with their supervisor, manager, or other experienced

practitioner, any situation in which they may have harmed a client in order to ensure

that appropriate steps are taken to mitigate any harm and to prevent repetition.

C. Practitioners ensure that their work is adequately covered by professional

indemnity and liability insurance.

D. Clients are provided with information on how to make a complaint about the

counselling or psychotherapy service provided and how to obtain further information

on the complaints process.

E. Practitioners have a duty to disclose to PACFA details of any criminal convictions

or criminal investigations relating to their ethical conduct as a Practitioner, or upheld

complaints of professional misconduct. Such disclosures are required when applying

for, reactivating or renewing individual PACFA membership in a practising

membership category or PACFA registration via a PACFA Member Association.

Specifically:

. New applications for PACFA membership in a practising membership category or

PACFA registration require the Applicant to disclose past criminal convictions and

past upheld complaints of professional misconduct.

. Applications to reactivate PACFA membership in a practising membership

category or to reactivate PACFA registration require the Applicant to disclose any

criminal convictions, criminal investigations or upheld complaints of professional

misconduct since the Applicant was last on the Register.

. Applications to renew PACFA membership in a practising membership category

or to renew PACFA registration require the Applicant to disclose any criminal

convictions, criminal investigations or upheld complaints of professional

misconduct in the previous 12 months.

4.1.6 Monitoring risks to clients and others and reporting to statutory

authorities

A. Practitioners are responsible for monitoring potential risks to clients and others

and for reporting concerns to statutory authorities where a client or third part is at risk

of harm.

B. Practitioners take action to protect clients or third parties from harm the risks of

harm are serious enough to warrant such action.

C. Practitioners protect clients when they have good reason for believing that other

practitioners are placing them at risk of harm. If appropriate, practitioners raise any

concerns with the practitioner concerned in the first instance, and when appropriate

with the practitioner’s supervisor, manager, agency, professional association or

PACFA. Practitioners seek advice if necessary from their supervisor or from PACFA.

D. Practitioners do not disclose information about clients unless there is an

unequivocal overriding and legal obligation to disclose or where failure to do so may

involve serious risk of harm to the client, to others or to the Practitioner.

E. In the absence of legislation that requires unethical conduct by Practitioners to be

reported to statutory authorities, Practitioners have an ethical and professional

responsibility to report serious cases of ethical misconduct to PACFA. PACFA may

act on such reports where it forms a reasonable belief that a PACFA Registrant or

other PACFA Member has behaved in a way that constitutes a Reportable Breach in

relation to a counselling or psychotherapy-related role. This may include undertaking

an investigation in accordance with PACFA’s Professional Conduct Procedures or

reporting the Reportable Breach to a statutory authority that has an interest in the

ethical conduct on the Practitioner.

F. Practitioners delivering services to children must understand the requirements of

the relevant state authority regarding Mandatory Reporting. Every state has separate

and different legislation regarding Mandatory Reporting. This information is available

from the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

G. Practitioners report concerns about clients or third parties in accordance with any

applicable mandatory reporting requirements.

H. Practitioners have a responsibility to participate fully in any Professional Conduct

Procedures, whether as the person complained against, or as the provider of

relevant information.

4.2 Probity in counselling and psychotherapy practice

The probity of counselling and psychotherapy practice is important for clients, their

families and carers, and for the standing of the profession. Probity means ensuring

that practitioners are honest, fair, upright and trustworthy in the services they

provide.

4.2.1 Providing clients with adequate information

A. Practitioners are responsible for clarifying with clients in initial sessions the terms

on which their services are being offered, including any financial obligations

associated with the service or any other reasonably foreseeable costs or liabilities.

B. Information provided about Counselling and Psychotherapy services is honest,

accurate, avoids unjustifiable claims, and is consistent with maintaining the good

standing of the profession.

C. Practitioners take particular care to accurately present their qualifications,

professional accreditation and professional standing to clients.

4.2.2 Sensitivity to social and cultural contexts

A. Practitioners are responsible for learning about, and taking account of protocols,

conventions and customs that pertain to human diversity and diverse social and

cultural contexts.

B. Practitioners are informed of and acknowledge the history of Indigenous clients,

their families and communities.

4.2.3 Financial arrangements

A. Practitioners are honest, straightforward and accountable in all financial matters

concerning their clients, counselling or psychotherapy practice, and other

professional relationships.

B. Practitioners are transparent with their clients about any fees associated with the

services provided, any changes to fees and any other reasonably foreseeable costs

or liabilities.

4.3 Ethical collegial relationships

Counselling and Psychotherapy services are available in all regions of Australia

working with clients from diverse backgrounds. Most practitioners therefore work with

other practitioners in teams, organisations, counselling or psychotherapy practices,

or in their region or community of interest. The quality of interactions between

practitioners can enhance or undermine the standing of the Counselling and

Psychotherapy profession.

4.3.1 Working with colleagues

A. Collegial relationships are conducted in a spirit of mutual respect. Practitioners

endeavour to establish and maintain positive working relationships and systems of

communication that enhance services to clients at all times.

B. Practitioners treat all colleagues fairly and foster equality of opportunity.

C. Practitioners’ professional relationships with colleagues are not prejudiced by their

personal views about colleagues’ lifestyles, gender, age, ability, culture, religion,

spirituality, sexual orientation, or sexual identity. It is unethical to discriminate against

colleagues on any of these grounds, directly or indirectly.

D. Practitioners do not undermine a colleague’s practice by making unjustified

comments.

E. All communications between colleagues about clients should be professional,

purposeful, respectful and consistent with the ethical management of clients’

confidentiality.

4.3.2 Referral processes

A. All referrals to colleagues and other services are discussed in advance with

clients in terms of the benefits for them. Clients’ informed consent is obtained for

making the referral and for disclosing information relevant to the referral.

B. In making referrals, practitioners take care to ensure that:

. colleagues or services are able to provide the required service;

. confidential information disclosed in making the referral is adequately

protected and respected;

. the referral is likely to benefit the client;

. the referral is made to the practitioner or service that can best serve the needs

and interests of the client and not merely on the basis of reciprocal

arrangements between practitioners or services.

C. Prior to accepting a referral from a colleague or service, or from a client,

practitioners carefully consider:

. the appropriateness of the referral in terms of their training and experience;

. the likelihood that the referral will be beneficial for the client;

. the adequacy of the client’s consent for the referral, especially in the case that

the client is involuntary, a child or a young person;

. any potential Conflict of Interest, particularly where referrals are for family

members of a client.

D. When appropriate, practitioners provide colleagues or services working with the

same client with brief progress reports, to enhance the quality of services and reduce

duplication. Progress reports are provided with clients’ written consent.

E. Practitioners do not offer or accept inducements for referrals or enter into

arrangements that could be perceived as inducements.

4.4 Care of self as a practitioner

A. Practitioners’ pay attention to their own wellbeing as this is essential to

sustaining practice.

B. Practitioners take action to ensure that their work does not become detrimental

to their own health or wellbeing.

C. Practitioners ensure their practice is safe without taking undue risks to

themselves, and seek appropriate professional support as the need arises.

5. Ethical Standards in other work contexts

PACFA sets ethical standards for PACFA Registrants in counselling and

psychotherapy practice and other PACFA Members who work in settings other than

counselling and therapy practice. Registrants and PACFA Members who also

undertake work such as teaching, training and research are expected to follow the

requisite ethical standards and codes of practice to these activities.

5.1 Ethical Standards in teaching and training

A. Practitioners, PACFA-accredited training institutions and Member Associations

that provide counselling and psychotherapy training and related services are

required to apply this Code and any other relevant organisational guidelines of the

training institution or Member Association.

B. Member Associations, training institutions and trainers have a responsibility to

foster an ethical culture through the development of structures, processes, contracts

and procedures with staff and students that meet current educational and

management standards. Member Associations delivering training are also covered

by PACFA’s current Code of Good Governance.

C. Trainers acquire the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to be competent

teachers and facilitators of adult learning, and to undertake activities to maintain their

training competence.

D. Trainers ensure that the training programs and the learning experiences offered

are in accordance with currently valid post-secondary education guidelines and

those of other relevant associations.

E. Trainers and supervisors in training programs offer courses and provide

supervision only in areas in which they have the requisite competence and

experience.

F. Trainers do not exploit trainees for financial, sexual, emotional, academic or any

other gain.

G. Trainers are fair, accurate and honest in their assessment of their students.

H. Trainers ensure that their students obtain prior consent from clients if they are to

be observed or recorded.

I. Trainers obtain prior consent from their clients if clients’ personally identifiable

disclosures are to be used for training purposes.

5.2 Ethical Standards in Research

PACFA is committed to fostering research that will inform and develop counselling

and psychotherapy practice.

All Practitioners are encouraged to support research undertaken on behalf of the

profession and to participate actively in research studies.

Ethical principles for undertaking counselling and psychotherapy research with

human participants should be informed by weighing up the benefits of the research

to the community and the risks to participants.

The following weblinks provide valuable resources for researchers, in addition to

considering other relevant legislation and public guidelines.

NHMRC ethical principles for human research

(http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/e72syn.htm);

Federal Privacy Legislation; Research involving Indigenous people

(http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/health-ethics/ethical-issues-and-further-

resources/ethical-guidelines-research-involving-aboriginal-);

Principles of integrity in conducting and reporting on research

(http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/r39syn_summary.htm)

A. Practitioners involved in counselling and psychotherapy research are required to

do so within the provisions of this Code and any other relevant organisational

guidelines of the institution.

B. Ethics approval is sought from the institution’s Human Research Ethics

Committee prior to commencing data collection.

C. All research is undertaken with rigorous attention to the quality, value and integrity

of the research aims, method and implementation. The dissemination of research

findings is undertaken with accuracy and integrity and protects the identity of

participants, and includes strategies for disseminating results to participants,

practitioners, other researchers and the wider community.

D. The rights of all research participants are carefully considered and protected,

including the right to give voluntary and informed consent to participate in research,

and the right to withdraw from the research.

E. The potential deception of participants should be carefully considered in terms of

ethical principles such as integrity.

F. Researchers take care that their research methods do not adversely affect

participants. Contact details for counselling and other relevant services are provided

to all participants.

G. Dual relationships and conflicts of interest in the research role are carefully

considered and avoided wherever possible.

6. Complaints Handling

Complaints and appeals about alleged ethical misconduct by a practitioner may be

made using the PACFA Professional Conduct Procedures 2015.

All standards detailed in Section 4 of this Code are matters about which clients may

make complaints against PACFA Registrants. Complaints must meet the

requirements of PACFA’s Professional Conduct Procedures 2015 and can only be

heard by PACFA where PACFA has jurisdiction to do so. Please refer to the

Professional Conduct Procedures 2015 for details.

In the absence of a formal complaint about ethical misconduct by a Practitioner,

concerns about misconduct may be reported to PACFA. Where the alleged breach is

a Reportable Breach, an investigation of the misconduct may be initiated by the

PACFA Ethics Committee using the PACFA Professional Conduct Procedures 2015.

Notes:

1. This document supersedes the previous documents: PACFA Code of Ethics:

Ethical Framework for Best practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2014.

2. This document is to be read in conjunction with the PACFA Code of Good

Governance 2015 and the Professional Conduct Procedures 2015.

1. Introduction

2. Definitions

3. Ethics principles

3.1 Values of Counselling and Psychotherapy

3.1 Ethical principles of Counselling and Psychotherapy

3.2.1 Fidelity

3.2.2 Autonomy

3.2.3 Beneficence

3.2.4 Non-maleficence

3.2.5 Justice

3.2.6 Self-respect

3.2 Personal qualities

3.3 Competing ethical obligations

4. Ethical practice standards

4.1 Counselling and psychotherapy practice

4.1.1 Standards of practice and client care

4.1.2 Keeping trust

4.1.3 Dual and multiple relationships

4.1.4 Maintaining competent practice

4.1.5 Addressing client complaints

4.1.6 Monitoring risk to clients and reporting to statutory authorities

4.2 Probity in professional practice

4.2.1 Providing clients with adequate information

4.2.2 Sensitivity to social and cultural contexts

4.2.3 Financial arrangements

4.3 Ethical collegial relationships

4.3.1 Working with colleagues

4.3.2 Referral processes

4.4 Care of self as a practitioner

5. Ethical Standards in other work contexts

5.1 Ethical Standards for teaching and training

5.2 Ethical Standards for researching

6. Complaints Handling

1. Introduction

The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) aims to unite a

diverse group of Member Associations (MAs) contributing to the art and science of

counselling and psychotherapy, and individual practitioners delivering these services

directly, and by contributing to, developing and advancing professional practice via

supervision, training and research.

This document sets out the ethical framework for Counselling and Psychotherapy. It

unifies and replaces all earlier PACFA codes for counsellors, psychotherapists and

supervisors.

This Code applies to all PACFA Registrants and PACFA Members. The Code is

intended to inform the ethical practice of PACFA Registrants and individual PACFA

Members in practising membership categories including student members.

The Code also provides valuable guidance for those involved in counselling and

psychotherapy research, teaching or training, PACFA Affiliates who use counselling

and psychotherapy skills in their work, and the management of counselling and

psychotherapy or related services within organisations.

It is a requirement that Member Associations of PACFA have ethical codes of their

own and that these codes align with the principles and procedures of the PACFA

Code of Ethics. PACFA accredited training institutions are required to ensure their

trainees follow a code of ethics which is an integrated part of the training program

and the PACFA Code of Ethics may be adopted for this purpose.

Ethical dilemmas and practice challenges can be viewed and/or challenged from

both legal and ethical standpoints in many instances. Practitioners are required to

consider this code in light of relevant state/territory and federal legislation, and to

seek competent, qualified advice as to which provisions prevail in any given

instance.

2. Definitions

Client” refers to an individual, couple, family, group or organisation receiving a

service from a counselling or psychotherapy practitioner.

Conflict of Interest” refers to a situation where the practitioner’s care of the client

may conflict with other financial, professional or personal interests of the practitioner,

or where the practitioner is in dual or multiple relationships with the client or parties

related to the client.

Dual and multiple relationships” refer to situations in which the practitioner takes on

two or more kinds of relationship concurrently or sequentially with a client. For

example, a client who is also a trainee, or a colleague who is also a supervisee. Dual

and multiple roles also refer to the addition of the practitioner role within non-

therapeutic relationships, such as with an employer, employee, business partner,

friend, relative, or partner (Herlihy & Corey, 2006). The existence of dual and multiple

relationships with clients is seldom neutral and can have powerful impacts in the

present and future that are not always easily foreseeable.

Involuntary client” means a client who is required or mandated to attend counselling

or psychotherapy.

PACFA Member” means a practitioner who has a current membership of PACFA in

any individual membership category.

Practitioner” refers to any PACFA Registrant or PACFA Member undertaking the

role(s) of counsellor, psychotherapist, supervisor or counselling or psychotherapy

student, or using counselling or psychotherapy skills, and includes Practitioners who

manage counselling or psychotherapy services.

Registrant” means any individual who is listed on the PACFA Register.

Reportable Breach” means an ethical breach by a PACFA Member or other PACFA

Registrant which involves:

. practising while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs;

. sexual misconduct with a client or close family member of a client;

. placing the public at risk of substantial harm because of an impairment (i.e. a

health issue);

. placing the public at risk because of a significant departure from accepted

professional standards; or

. any other serious misconduct that could result in de-registration by PACFA.

Sexual relationships” means relationships involving sexual intercourse and/or any

other type of sexual activity or sexualised behaviour.

Supervision” refers to a discrete professional activity within clinical practice which

aims to support practitioners to deliver competent and ethical services. Supervisors

complete specialist training to develop supervisory competencies.

Trainer” means a Practitioner or other relevant professional who provides training or

education in counselling or psychotherapy.

3. Ethics Principles

PACFA acknowledges the co-existence of a range of approaches to ethics. This

Code reflects the diversity of ethical approaches by considering the:

. Values underpinning Counselling and Psychotherapy

. Ethical principles of Counselling and Psychotherapy

. Personal qualities of counsellors and psychotherapists

PACFA’s approach to ethics does not seek to invalidate other approaches. The

presentation of different ways of conceiving ethics in this Code is intended to draw

attention to the limitations of relying too heavily on any single ethical approach.

Ethical principles are well suited to examining the justification for particular decisions

and actions. However, reliance on principles alone may detract from the importance

of the practitioner’s personal qualities and their ethical significance in the therapeutic

relationship. The provision of culturally sensitive, safe and appropriate services is

also a fundamental ethical concern.

This section of the Code applies principally to counselling and psychotherapy

practitioners but is also relevant to student members of PACFA, researchers,

trainers and other professionals in related fields who are using this Code.

3.1 Values of Counselling and Psychotherapy

The fundamental values of Counselling and Psychotherapy include, but are not

limited to, a commitment to:

. Respecting human rights and dignity

. Ensuring the integrity of practitioner-client relationships

. Enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application

. Alleviating clients’ symptoms of personal distress and suffering

. Facilitating a sense of self that is meaningful to the person(s) concerned

within their personal, social and cultural contexts

. Increasing clients’ personal effectiveness

. Enhancing the quality of relationships between people

. Appreciating the variety of human experience and cultures

. Striving for the fair and adequate provision of Counselling and Psychotherapy

services

3.2 Ethical Principles of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Principles direct attention to important ethical responsibilities. Each ethical principle

of Counselling and Psychotherapy is described below.

Practitioners will encounter circumstances in which it is impossible to reconcile all

the applicable principles. In these circumstances, choosing between principles may

be required. This may involve balancing the risks concerned and resolving an ethical

dilmemma by choosing the path that causes least harm. A practitioner’s obligation is

to consider all the relevant circumstances with as much care as is reasonably

possible and to be appropriately accountable for decisions made.

3.2.1 Fidelity: honouring the trust placed in the practitioner

Being trustworthy is regarded as fundamental to understanding and resolving ethical

challenges and dilemmas. Practitioners who adopt this principle act in accordance

with the trust placed in them; regard confidentiality as an obligation arising from the

client’s trust; and restrict any disclosure of confidential information about clients to

furthering the purposes for which it was originally disclosed.

3.2.2 Autonomy: respect for the client’s right to be self-governing

This principle emphasises the importance of ensuring the client’s commitment to

participating in counselling or psychotherapy, usually, but not always, on a voluntary

basis. Practitioners who respect their clients’ autonomy ensure accuracy in any

advertising or information given in advance of services offered; seek freely given and

adequately informed consent from the client; engage in explicit contracting in

advance of any commitment by the client; protect the client’s privacy and

confidentiality; make any disclosures of confidential information conditional on the

consent of the person concerned except where serious risks warrant an exception to

this principle; and inform the client in advance of foreseeable conflicts of interest, for

example dual relationships, as soon as possible after such conflicts become

apparent. The principle of autonomy opposes the manipulation of clients against

their will, even for beneficial social ends.

3.2.3 Beneficence: a commitment to promoting the client’s well-being

The principle of beneficence means to act in the best interests of the client/s based

on professional assessment. Beneficence directs attention to working strictly within

the practitioner’s area of competence, and providing services on the basis of

adequate training and experience. Ensuring that the client’s best interests are

achieved requires systematic monitoring of practice and outcomes by the best

available means. It is considered important that research and systematic reflection

inform practice. There is an obligation to use regular and ongoing supervision to

enhance the quality of services provided, and to commit to updating practice by

continuing professional development. An obligation to act in the best interests of a

client may become paramount when the client’s capacity for autonomy is diminished

because of immaturity, lack of understanding, extreme distress, mental disorder,

serious disturbance, or other significant personal constraints.

3.2.4 Non-maleficence: a commitment to avoiding harm to the client

Non-maleficence involves avoiding sexual, financial, emotional or any other form of

client exploitation; avoiding incompetence or malpractice; and not providing services

when unfit to do so due to illness, personal circumstances or intoxication. The

practitioner has an ethical responsibility to strive to mitigate any harm caused to a

client, even when the harm is unavoidable or unintended. Holding appropriate

insurance may assist in making restitution when serious harm has been caused.

Practitioners have a personal responsibility to challenge, where appropriate, the

incompetence or malpractice of others; and to contribute to any investigation and/or

adjudication concerning professional practice which falls below that of a reasonably

competent practitioner and/or risks bringing discredit upon the profession.

3.2.5 Justice: the fair and impartial treatment of all clients and the provision of

adequate services

The principle of justice requires being just and fair to all clients and respecting their

human rights and dignity. This principle directs attention to considering

conscientiously any legal requirements and obligations, and remaining alert to

potential conflicts between legal and ethical obligations. Justice in the distribution of

services requires the ability to determine impartially the provision of services for

clients and the allocation of services between clients. A commitment to fairness

requires the ability to appreciate differences between people and to be committed to

equality of opportunity, and avoiding discrimination against people or groups on the

basis of personal, social or cultural characteristics.

3.2.6 Self-respect: fostering the practitioner’s self-knowledge and care for self

The principle of self-respect means that the practitioner appropriately applies all the

above principles as entitlements for self. This includes seeking counselling or

psychotherapy, and other opportunities for personal development, as required. There

is an ethical responsibility to use supervision for appropriate personal and

professional support and development, and to seek training and other opportunities

for continuing professional development. Guarding against financial liabilities arising

from practice usually requires obtaining appropriate insurance when self-employed

or working as a contractor. The principle of self-respect encourages active

engagement in life-enhancing activities and relationships that are independent of

relationships arising from the practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

3.3 Personal qualities

The practitioner’s personal qualities are of the utmost importance to clients. Many of

the personal qualities considered important in counselling and psychotherapy

practice have ethical components, and are therefore considered as virtues or good

personal qualities. These qualities are conveyed through the practitioner’s clinical

approach and practice. It is inappropriate to prescribe that all practitioners possess

these qualities, since it is fundamental that these personal qualities are deeply

rooted in the personality of the practitioner, and develop out of personal commitment

rather than the requirement of an external authority. However, ethical qualities and

virtues are enacted through particular behaviours can also be taught and should be

part of counselling and psychotherapy training programs. Personal qualities to which

practitioners are strongly encouraged to aspire are evident in the enactment of the

following behaviours/skills. They include:

Empathy:

the ability to communicate understanding of another person’s

experience from within that person’s perspective.

Sincerity:

a personal commitment to consistency between what is

professed and what is done.

Integrity:

commitment to being ethical in dealings with others, personal

straightforwardness, honesty and coherence.

Authenticity:

the capacity to be true to self and relate truthfully to others.

Resilience:

the capacity to work with the client’s concerns without being

personally diminished.

Respect:

showing appropriate esteem to others and to their

understanding of themselves and others.

Humility:

the ability to assess accurately and acknowledge one’s own

strengths and weaknesses.

Competence:

the effective deployment of Counselling and Psychotherapy

skills and knowledge in a range of contexts.

Fairness:

Acting in an even-handed way and making decisions that are

free from bias or injustice.

Wisdom:

possession of sound judgement and insight in the practice of

counselling and psychotherapy and in related fields of work.

Courage:

the capacity to act ethically and professionally in spite of

known fears, risks and uncertainty.

3.4 Competing Ethical Obligations

The challenge of practising ethically is that practitioners will inevitably encounter

situations in which there are competing obligations. In such situations, it may be

tempting to retreat from ethical analysis in order to escape what may appear to be

unresolvable ethical dilemmas. This Code is intended to be of assistance in such

circumstances by directing attention to the variety of ethical factors that may need to

be taken into consideration, and to alternative ways of approaching ethics that may

prove useful. No statement of ethics can totally alleviate the difficulty of making

professional judgements in circumstances that may be challenging and full of

uncertainties. By accepting and aligning with this Code of Ethics, PACFA

Registrants, PACFA Member Associations, and other individuals or organisations

that are informed by this Code of Ethics in their work, are committing themselves to

engaging with the challenges of ethical practice, even when doing so involves

making difficult decisions and acting courageously.

4. Ethical Standards for Practitioners

PACFA is committed to sustaining and advancing best practice. Counselling and

Psychotherapy services are delivered in diverse settings. Services may be provided

by independent practitioners, one or more practitioners providing services together in

a practice, or practitioners employed by organisations where counsellors and

psychotherapists work in multidisciplinary teams. Predominantly, Counselling and

Psychotherapy practice is undertaken face to face, but services are also increasingly

delivered by telephone and in online contexts.

Practitioners should consult with the professional standards and guidelines

developed by PACFA and PACFA Member Associations for guidance on current

practice responsibilities. Some of these standards and guideline are detailed

elsewhere in this Code.

Training and Supervision are crucial in developing and maintaining counsellors and

psychotherapists, and are therefore emphasised in the good practice guidance in

this Code. Training organisations, trainers and supervisors need to respond to

competing imperatives in establishing and maintaining rigorous training programs

and supervision services that have credibility in the field.

The role of an individual or group supervisor is of crucial importance in developing,

maintaining and leading the profession. It is desirable to reduce conflicts of interest

that the role of supervisor be quite distinct from the role of line manager. Wherever

dual relationships or responsibilities exist, these need to be transparently named and

ethically managed.

The roles of supervisors include the following responsibilities:

. Ensuring that clients are the focus of supervision sessions

. Monitoring the welfare of the supervisee

. Ensuring compliance with the relevant legal, ethical, and professional

guidelines for professional practice

. Monitoring the contracted achievements and the professional development

of the practitioner.

4.1 Ethical Practice Standards

All clients are entitled to high standards of practice and care from their counselling

and psychotherapy practitioners. Good standards of practice and care require

professional competence; good relationships with clients and colleagues; and

commitment to and observance of professional ethics.

All standards detailed in this section are matters about which clients may make

complaints against PACFA Registrants. Complaints must meet the requirements of

PACFA’s Professional Conduct Procedures 2015 and can only be heard by PACFA

where PACFA has jurisdiction to do so.

4.1.1 Standards of practice and client care

A. To ensure high standards of practice and care, practitioners are accountable for

delivering competent services that meet the client’s needs.

B. Practitioners give careful consideration to the limitations of their training and

experience and work within these limits. Information on other services and referral

options are be provided when clients require the provision of additional services

operating in parallel with or instead of Counselling or Psychotherapy. Failure to do so

may constitute a failure in standards of care.

C. Practitioners engage in contracting with their clients in order to clarify and agree

to the rights and responsibilities of both the practitioner and client at appropriate

points in their working relationship. Where the client is a couple or family, changes to

the contract to work with one member of the couple or family individually should be

carefully considered for their potential impact on the therapeutic relationship and the

individuals in the couple or family.

D. Practitioners work within a clearly contracted, principled relationship with their

clients. The therapeutic relationship is to be respectful, confidential and as far as

possible avoids Conflicts of Interest (see definition). Where there is a Conflict of

Interest or potential conflict of interest, practitioners discuss the implications of this

with their clients and seek guidance from their supervisors.

E. Practitioners are to be alert to the possibility of competing ethical principles and to

balance the needs of clients, other parties, the profession, and society more

generally. Consultation with a supervisor or experienced practitioner is strongly

recommended to discuss practitioners’ ethical decision-making.

4.1.2 Keeping trust

A. The practice of counselling and psychotherapy depends on gaining and honouring

the trust of clients. Keeping trust requires:

. attentiveness to the quality of listening and respect offered to clients

. culturally appropriate ways of communicating that are courteous and clear

. respect for privacy and dignity

. careful attention to client consent and confidentiality

. Carefully monitoring risks to clients and others and reporting to statutory

authorities when necessary

B. Clients are adequately informed about the nature of the counselling and

psychotherapy services being offered and the limits to confidentiality.

C. Practitioners obtain adequately informed consent from their clients and respect

clients’ rights to choose whether to continue in therapy or withdraw. Practitioners

ideally ensure that counselling and psychotherapy services are delivered on the

basis of the client’s explicit consent. Reliance on implicit consent is more vulnerable

to misunderstandings and therefore is best avoided unless there are sound reasons

for doing so. Overriding a client’s known wishes or consent is a serious matter that

requires commensurate justification. Practitioners are accountable to their clients,

colleagues, PACFA and any other PACFA Member Association to which they belong

if they override a client’s known wishes.

D. Respecting client confidentiality is a fundamental requirement for keeping trust.

The professional management of confidentiality concerns the protection of personally

identifiable and sensitive information from unauthorised disclosure. Disclosure may

be authorised by client consent, risks to safety, or the law. Any disclosures should be

undertaken in ways that best protect the client’s trust. Practitioners are accountable

to their clients and to their profession for their management of confidentiality in

general and particularly for disclosures made without their client’s consent.

E. Practitioners take into account their responsibilities and their clients’ rights under

privacy legislation and any other legal requirements.

F. Practitioners working with Involuntary Clients take care to uphold the clients’

autonomy and to obtain their consent within the limitations pertaining to their referral

for counselling or psychotherapy services.

G. Working with children and young people requires specific training or professional

development, ethical awareness and competence. Working with children and young

people requires careful consideration of their capacity to give consent to receiving

services, independent of parents’ or carers’ consent. Practitioners consider and

assess the balance between children and young people’s dependence on adults and

carers, and their progressive development towards acting independently.

H. Practitioners seek consent from a client prior to initiating any therapeutic process

that involves any physical touch of the client including the details of any likely

intervention that includes touch.

I. Practitioners respond transparently to a client’s request for information about their

model of practice and assessment.

J. Practitioners do not abuse or exploit their current or former clients’ trust in order to

gain emotional, financial or any other kind of personal advantage. Practitioners think

carefully about, and exercise considerable caution before, entering into personal or

business relationships with former clients. Practitioners remain professionally

accountable if the relationship becomes detrimental to the client or to the standing of

the profession.

K. Practitioners are aware of their personal values or beliefs in relation to lifestyle,

gender, age, ability, culture, religion, sexual orientation or identity, and are aware of

the impact of these on the therapeutic process. If practitioners find themselves

unavoidably and emotionally prejudiced towards a client it is recommended that they

refer the client on to another agency or practitioner. For additional guidance, refer to

the PACFA Position Statement on working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender

and Intersex (LGBTI) Clients and their Families.

4.1.3 Dual and multiple relationships

Dual and multiple relationships, as defined in the Definitions section of this Code,

represent a conflict of interest. Conflicts of interest are to be avoided, provided

conflicts can be reasonably foreseen and prevented. In deciding how to respond to

conflicts of interest, the protection of the client’s interests and trust in the practitioner

is paramount.

A. Practitioners consider their motivation, possible outcomes and implications of

entering into dual or multiple relationships with current or former clients. Practitioners

avoid entering into relationships, particularly sexual and romantic relationships,

which are likely to be detrimental to their clients, third parties and the standing of the

profession.

Where dual and multiple relationships cannot be avoided, practitioners discuss the

implications of this with their clients and seek guidance from their supervisors.

The possible impact of some forms of dual or multiple relationships, in terms of

increased trust and deepening of the therapeutic relationship, are carefully

considered to determine whether they are solely in the best interests of the client, for

example, attending a client’s wedding at the request of the client.

B. In small communities (e.g. rural, regional, remote or other communities of interest)

it may be difficult to avoid dual or multiple relationships. In these circumstances, the

management of dual and multiple roles requires particular attention and guidance

from a supervisor.

C. Practitioners pay particular attention to avoiding romantic or sexual relationships

with current or former clients.

(a) Practitioners do not engage in romantic or sexual relationships with clients or

close members of a client’s family both during therapy and for a period of at least two

years post-therapy.

(b) Practitioners do not engage in romantic sexual relationships with former clients

even after a two-year interval except in the most exceptional circumstances.

Practitioners who engage in romantic or sexual relationships with former clients bear

the burden of demonstrating that there has been no exploitation of the client, in light

of all relevant factors, including:

. the length of time since counselling or psychotherapy terminated;

. the nature, duration, and intensity of the counselling or psychotherapy;

. the circumstances of termination;

. the client’s personal history;

. the client’s current mental status;

. the likelihood of adverse impacts on the client;

. the power differential between the practitioner and the client during and post

the termination of counselling or psychotherapy;

. any statement made or action taken by the practitioner during the course of

counselling or psychotherapy suggesting or inviting the possibility of a sexual

or romantic relationship with the client following termination.

D. While it is acknowledged that dual and multiple relationships are inevitable to

some degree, the concurrent roles of trainer, supervisor and therapist are seen as

completely distinct and practitioners are advised to avoid this form of dual

relationship wherever possible.

4.1.4 Maintaining competent practice

A. Practitioners regularly monitor and review their work as this is essential to

competent and ethical practice. It is important to be open to, and conscientious in

considering, feedback from clients, colleagues, supervisors and managers.

Responding constructively to feedback helps to advance practice.

B. Practitioners are required to have regular and ongoing formal supervision for their

work in accordance with professional requirements. Managers, researchers and

providers of counselling skills are also strongly encouraged to review their need for

professional supervision and to obtain appropriate supervision for their practice.

C. Supervision for practitioners is to be independent of any managerial relationship.

D. Practitioners to keep up to date with the latest knowledge and respond to

changing circumstances. They should consider carefully their own need for

continuing professional development and engage in appropriate educational

activities in accordance with professional requirements.

E. Practitioners are aware of and understand legal requirements concerning their

work, including mandatory reporting requirements. They consider these

requirements conscientiously and are legally accountable for their practice.

F. Practitioners keep appropriate records of their work with clients for the purposes

of accountability, service review and therapeutic planning. Records include

summaries of client sessions, emails, phone contact and web-based and SMS

communications. All records should be accurate, respectful of clients and

colleagues, and protected from unauthorised disclosure. For detailed guidance, refer

to the PACFA Guidelines for Clients Records.

G. Practitioners have a responsibility to monitor and maintain their fitness to practice

at a level that enables them to provide an effective service. If their effectiveness

becomes impaired for any reason, including health or personal circumstances, they

seek the advice of their supervisor, experienced colleagues or line manager and, if

necessary, withdraw from practice until their fitness to practice returns.

Arrangements for ongoing access to counselling and psychotherapy should be made

for clients who are adversely affected by the withdrawal.

H. Supervisors are responsible for maintaining and enhancing practitioners’ work

and for protecting clients from poor practice. Supervisors’ evaluation of their

supervisees’ practice is contracted and made transparent.

I. Supervisors who advise their supervisees in more than one capacity (for example

as a trainer, individual or group supervisor) maintain awareness of being in dual and

multiple relationships and, far as possible, reduce conflicting roles. These dual and

multiple roles are best distributed among different professionals. If this is not

possible, supervisors inform their supervisee of the expectations and responsibilities

associated with each role, and separate different roles in space and time.

Supervisors are responsible for clarifying responsibility for the supervisee’s practice.

J. Supervisors do not exploit supervisees for financial, sexual, emotional, academic

or any other gain.

K. Supervisors do not have sexual relationships with supervisees, and carefully

consider the implications of social contact with their supervisees in terms of whether

the professional relationship is compromised. If, for any reason, the objectivity and

capacity of the supervisor to professionally evaluate the supervisee’s practice is

affected, the professional relationship is terminated.

4.1.5 Addressing client complaints

A. Practitioners respond to any complaint and remedy any harm they may have

caused to their clients and prevent any further harm being caused. An apology to the

client may be an appropriate response.

B. Practitioners discuss with their supervisor, manager, or other experienced

practitioner, any situation in which they may have harmed a client in order to ensure

that appropriate steps are taken to mitigate any harm and to prevent repetition.

C. Practitioners ensure that their work is adequately covered by professional

indemnity and liability insurance.

D. Clients are provided with information on how to make a complaint about the

counselling or psychotherapy service provided and how to obtain further information

on the complaints process.

E. Practitioners have a duty to disclose to PACFA details of any criminal convictions

or criminal investigations relating to their ethical conduct as a Practitioner, or upheld

complaints of professional misconduct. Such disclosures are required when applying

for, reactivating or renewing individual PACFA membership in a practising

membership category or PACFA registration via a PACFA Member Association.

Specifically:

. New applications for PACFA membership in a practising membership category or

PACFA registration require the Applicant to disclose past criminal convictions and

past upheld complaints of professional misconduct.

. Applications to reactivate PACFA membership in a practising membership

category or to reactivate PACFA registration require the Applicant to disclose any

criminal convictions, criminal investigations or upheld complaints of professional

misconduct since the Applicant was last on the Register.

. Applications to renew PACFA membership in a practising membership category

or to renew PACFA registration require the Applicant to disclose any criminal

convictions, criminal investigations or upheld complaints of professional

misconduct in the previous 12 months.

4.1.6 Monitoring risks to clients and others and reporting to statutory

authorities

A. Practitioners are responsible for monitoring potential risks to clients and others

and for reporting concerns to statutory authorities where a client or third part is at risk

of harm.

B. Practitioners take action to protect clients or third parties from harm the risks of

harm are serious enough to warrant such action.

C. Practitioners protect clients when they have good reason for believing that other

practitioners are placing them at risk of harm. If appropriate, practitioners raise any

concerns with the practitioner concerned in the first instance, and when appropriate

with the practitioner’s supervisor, manager, agency, professional association or

PACFA. Practitioners seek advice if necessary from their supervisor or from PACFA.

D. Practitioners do not disclose information about clients unless there is an

unequivocal overriding and legal obligation to disclose or where failure to do so may

involve serious risk of harm to the client, to others or to the Practitioner.

E. In the absence of legislation that requires unethical conduct by Practitioners to be

reported to statutory authorities, Practitioners have an ethical and professional

responsibility to report serious cases of ethical misconduct to PACFA. PACFA may

act on such reports where it forms a reasonable belief that a PACFA Registrant or

other PACFA Member has behaved in a way that constitutes a Reportable Breach in

relation to a counselling or psychotherapy-related role. This may include undertaking

an investigation in accordance with PACFA’s Professional Conduct Procedures or

reporting the Reportable Breach to a statutory authority that has an interest in the

ethical conduct on the Practitioner.

F. Practitioners delivering services to children must understand the requirements of

the relevant state authority regarding Mandatory Reporting. Every state has separate

and different legislation regarding Mandatory Reporting. This information is available

from the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

G. Practitioners report concerns about clients or third parties in accordance with any

applicable mandatory reporting requirements.

H. Practitioners have a responsibility to participate fully in any Professional Conduct

Procedures, whether as the person complained against, or as the provider of

relevant information.

4.2 Probity in counselling and psychotherapy practice

The probity of counselling and psychotherapy practice is important for clients, their

families and carers, and for the standing of the profession. Probity means ensuring

that practitioners are honest, fair, upright and trustworthy in the services they

provide.

4.2.1 Providing clients with adequate information

A. Practitioners are responsible for clarifying with clients in initial sessions the terms

on which their services are being offered, including any financial obligations

associated with the service or any other reasonably foreseeable costs or liabilities.

B. Information provided about Counselling and Psychotherapy services is honest,

accurate, avoids unjustifiable claims, and is consistent with maintaining the good

standing of the profession.

C. Practitioners take particular care to accurately present their qualifications,

professional accreditation and professional standing to clients.

4.2.2 Sensitivity to social and cultural contexts

A. Practitioners are responsible for learning about, and taking account of protocols,

conventions and customs that pertain to human diversity and diverse social and

cultural contexts.

B. Practitioners are informed of and acknowledge the history of Indigenous clients,

their families and communities.

4.2.3 Financial arrangements

A. Practitioners are honest, straightforward and accountable in all financial matters

concerning their clients, counselling or psychotherapy practice, and other

professional relationships.

B. Practitioners are transparent with their clients about any fees associated with the

services provided, any changes to fees and any other reasonably foreseeable costs

or liabilities.

4.3 Ethical collegial relationships

Counselling and Psychotherapy services are available in all regions of Australia

working with clients from diverse backgrounds. Most practitioners therefore work with

other practitioners in teams, organisations, counselling or psychotherapy practices,

or in their region or community of interest. The quality of interactions between

practitioners can enhance or undermine the standing of the Counselling and

Psychotherapy profession.

4.3.1 Working with colleagues

A. Collegial relationships are conducted in a spirit of mutual respect. Practitioners

endeavour to establish and maintain positive working relationships and systems of

communication that enhance services to clients at all times.

B. Practitioners treat all colleagues fairly and foster equality of opportunity.

C. Practitioners’ professional relationships with colleagues are not prejudiced by their

personal views about colleagues’ lifestyles, gender, age, ability, culture, religion,

spirituality, sexual orientation, or sexual identity. It is unethical to discriminate against

colleagues on any of these grounds, directly or indirectly.

D. Practitioners do not undermine a colleague’s practice by making unjustified

comments.

E. All communications between colleagues about clients should be professional,

purposeful, respectful and consistent with the ethical management of clients’

confidentiality.

4.3.2 Referral processes

A. All referrals to colleagues and other services are discussed in advance with

clients in terms of the benefits for them. Clients’ informed consent is obtained for

making the referral and for disclosing information relevant to the referral.

B. In making referrals, practitioners take care to ensure that:

. colleagues or services are able to provide the required service;

. confidential information disclosed in making the referral is adequately

protected and respected;

. the referral is likely to benefit the client;

. the referral is made to the practitioner or service that can best serve the needs

and interests of the client and not merely on the basis of reciprocal

arrangements between practitioners or services.

C. Prior to accepting a referral from a colleague or service, or from a client,

practitioners carefully consider:

. the appropriateness of the referral in terms of their training and experience;

. the likelihood that the referral will be beneficial for the client;

. the adequacy of the client’s consent for the referral, especially in the case that

the client is involuntary, a child or a young person;

. any potential Conflict of Interest, particularly where referrals are for family

members of a client.

D. When appropriate, practitioners provide colleagues or services working with the

same client with brief progress reports, to enhance the quality of services and reduce

duplication. Progress reports are provided with clients’ written consent.

E. Practitioners do not offer or accept inducements for referrals or enter into

arrangements that could be perceived as inducements.

4.4 Care of self as a practitioner

A. Practitioners’ pay attention to their own wellbeing as this is essential to

sustaining practice.

B. Practitioners take action to ensure that their work does not become detrimental

to their own health or wellbeing.

C. Practitioners ensure their practice is safe without taking undue risks to

themselves, and seek appropriate professional support as the need arises.

5. Ethical Standards in other work contexts

PACFA sets ethical standards for PACFA Registrants in counselling and

psychotherapy practice and other PACFA Members who work in settings other than

counselling and therapy practice. Registrants and PACFA Members who also

undertake work such as teaching, training and research are expected to follow the

requisite ethical standards and codes of practice to these activities.

5.1 Ethical Standards in teaching and training

A. Practitioners, PACFA-accredited training institutions and Member Associations

that provide counselling and psychotherapy training and related services are

required to apply this Code and any other relevant organisational guidelines of the

training institution or Member Association.

B. Member Associations, training institutions and trainers have a responsibility to

foster an ethical culture through the development of structures, processes, contracts

and procedures with staff and students that meet current educational and

management standards. Member Associations delivering training are also covered

by PACFA’s current Code of Good Governance.

C. Trainers acquire the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to be competent

teachers and facilitators of adult learning, and to undertake activities to maintain their

training competence.

D. Trainers ensure that the training programs and the learning experiences offered

are in accordance with currently valid post-secondary education guidelines and

those of other relevant associations.

E. Trainers and supervisors in training programs offer courses and provide

supervision only in areas in which they have the requisite competence and

experience.

F. Trainers do not exploit trainees for financial, sexual, emotional, academic or any

other gain.

G. Trainers are fair, accurate and honest in their assessment of their students.

H. Trainers ensure that their students obtain prior consent from clients if they are to

be observed or recorded.

I. Trainers obtain prior consent from their clients if clients’ personally identifiable

disclosures are to be used for training purposes.

5.2 Ethical Standards in Research

PACFA is committed to fostering research that will inform and develop counselling

and psychotherapy practice.

All Practitioners are encouraged to support research undertaken on behalf of the

profession and to participate actively in research studies.

Ethical principles for undertaking counselling and psychotherapy research with

human participants should be informed by weighing up the benefits of the research

to the community and the risks to participants.

The following weblinks provide valuable resources for researchers, in addition to

considering other relevant legislation and public guidelines.

NHMRC ethical principles for human research

(http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/e72syn.htm);

Federal Privacy Legislation; Research involving Indigenous people

(http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/health-ethics/ethical-issues-and-further-

resources/ethical-guidelines-research-involving-aboriginal-);

Principles of integrity in conducting and reporting on research

(http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/r39syn_summary.htm)

A. Practitioners involved in counselling and psychotherapy research are required to

do so within the provisions of this Code and any other relevant organisational

guidelines of the institution.

B. Ethics approval is sought from the institution’s Human Research Ethics

Committee prior to commencing data collection.

C. All research is undertaken with rigorous attention to the quality, value and integrity

of the research aims, method and implementation. The dissemination of research

findings is undertaken with accuracy and integrity and protects the identity of

participants, and includes strategies for disseminating results to participants,

practitioners, other researchers and the wider community.

D. The rights of all research participants are carefully considered and protected,

including the right to give voluntary and informed consent to participate in research,

and the right to withdraw from the research.

E. The potential deception of participants should be carefully considered in terms of

ethical principles such as integrity.

F. Researchers take care that their research methods do not adversely affect

participants. Contact details for counselling and other relevant services are provided

to all participants.

G. Dual relationships and conflicts of interest in the research role are carefully

considered and avoided wherever possible.

6. Complaints Handling

Complaints and appeals about alleged ethical misconduct by a practitioner may be

made using the PACFA Professional Conduct Procedures 2015.

All standards detailed in Section 4 of this Code are matters about which clients may

make complaints against PACFA Registrants. Complaints must meet the

requirements of PACFA’s Professional Conduct Procedures 2015 and can only be

heard by PACFA where PACFA has jurisdiction to do so. Please refer to the

Professional Conduct Procedures 2015 for details.

In the absence of a formal complaint about ethical misconduct by a Practitioner,

concerns about misconduct may be reported to PACFA. Where the alleged breach is

a Reportable Breach, an investigation of the misconduct may be initiated by the

PACFA Ethics Committee using the PACFA Professional Conduct Procedures 2015.

Notes:

1. This document supersedes the previous documents: PACFA Code of Ethics:

Ethical Framework for Best practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2014.

2. This document is to be read in conjunction with the PACFA Code of Good

Governance 2015 and the Professional Conduct Procedures 2015.

——————————

PART C) COUNSELLING & PSYCHOTHERAPY EDUCATORS CODE OF ETHICS

Based on the code of ethics of SCAPE – Society of Counselling & Psychotherapy Educators – Australia, incorporating all its attributes.

SCAPE – Society of Counselling and Psychotherapy Educators Inc.

Code of Ethics

Preamble

The Society of Counselling and Psychotherapy Educators (Australia Inc.), referred to

as SCAPE, was established in 1999 to provide a national professional organisational

structure to support the practice of counselling and psychotherapy education in

Australia.

The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to establish standards of ethical practice for

educators of counsellors and psychotherapists.

SCAPE is a Member Association of the Psychotherapy And Counselling Federation

of Australia, referred to as PACFA, and therefore both the Society and its members

are also bound by the PACFA Code of Ethics for Member Associations and their

members.

The term “educators” in this code is used to include lecturers, trainers, facilitators

and supervisors of those preparing to work as counsellors and psychotherapists.

The term “supervisors” in this code refers to persons providing clinical supervision in

experiential elements of training (as distinct from line management), who are

employed or utilised by training institutions. It does not include persons in a trainee’s

workplace or private supervisors not directly employed or contracted by the training

institution.

The term “trainees” in this code refers to those seeking to develop awareness,

knowledge, skills and attributes required for the profession of counselling and

psychotherapy.

In general, it is expected that educators will model ethical behaviour for counsellors

and promote ethical behaviour as part of the training program.

This code is divided into five sections:

1. Ethical Values, Principles, and Personal Moral Qualities of Educators

2. Ethical Responsibilities of Educators

3. Ethical Responsibilities of Supervisors

4. Ethical Principles for Research

5. SCAPE Ethical Complaints Process

1. Ethical values, principles and personal moral qualities

1.1 Values of counselling and psychotherapy educators

The fundamental values of counselling and psychotherapy educators include a

commitment to:

. Respecting human rights and dignity

. Ensuring the integrity of educator-trainee relationships

. Enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application

. Facilitating a sense of self that is meaningful to the person(s) concerned

within their personal and cultural context

. Increasing personal effectiveness

. Enhancing the quality of relationships between people

. Appreciating the variety of human experience and culture

. Striving for the fair and adequate provision of counselling and psychotherapy

education services

Values inform principles. They represent an important way of expressing a general

ethical commitment that becomes more precisely defined and action-orientated when

expressed as a principle.

1.2 Principles of counselling and psychotherapy educators

1. Educators respect the essential humanity, worth and dignity of all people and

promote this value in their work.

2. Educators recognise and respect diversity among people and oppose

discrimination and oppressive behaviour.

3. Educators respect the privacy of their trainees and preserve the confidentiality of

information acquired in the course of their work.

4. Educators protect the rights of their trainees including the right to informed

consent.

5. Educators have the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to be competent in

their role

6. Educators take steps to maintain and develop their competence throughout their

professional lives.

7. Educators only offer courses and provide supervision or coaching in areas in

which they have the requisite competence and experience.

8. Educators abide by the laws of the society in which they practice.

1.3 Personal moral qualities of counselling and psychotherapy educators

The educator’s personal moral qualities are of the utmost importance to trainees.

Many of the personal qualities considered important in the provision of services have

an ethical or moral component and are therefore considered as virtues or good

personal qualities. These qualities are conveyed through the educator’s approach

and practice. It is inappropriate to prescribe that all educators possess these

qualities, since it is fundamental that these personal qualities are deeply rooted in

the person concerned and developed out of personal commitment rather than the

requirement of an external authority. However, it is the case that moral qualities and

virtues, and their enactment through particular behaviours, can also be taught and

should be part of training programs in the field.

Personal qualities to which counselling and psychotherapy educators are strongly

encouraged to aspire are evident in the enactment of the following behaviours/skills.

They include:

Empathy: the ability to communicate understanding of another person’s experience

from that person’s perspective.

Sincerity: a personal commitment to consistency between what is professed and

what is done.

Integrity: commitment to being moral in dealings with others, personal

straightforwardness, honesty and coherence.

Authenticity: the capacity to be true to self and relating truthfully to others.

Resilience: the capacity to work with the trainee’s learning concerns without being

personally diminished.

Respect: showing appropriate esteem to others and their understanding of

themselves.

Humility: the ability to assess accurately and acknowledge one’s own strengths and

weaknesses.

Competence: the effective deployment of the skills and knowledge needed to do

what is required.

Fairness: the consistent application of appropriate criteria to inform decisions and

actions.

Wisdom: possession of sound judgement that informs practice.

Courage: the capacity to act in spite of known fears, risks and uncertainty.

2. Ethical Responsibilities of Educators

2.1 Responsibilities to the trainee

i. Educators take all reasonable steps to avoid harm to their trainees as a result

of the training process.

ii. Educators acknowledge the boundary of their expertise and facilitate access

to wider information.

iii. Educators provide the training resources required to meet the training

objectives unless otherwise contracted.

iv. Educators promote trainee autonomy and encourage trainees to make

responsible decisions on their own behalf.

v. Educators are responsible for setting and maintaining professional boundaries

within the training relationship.

vi. Educators use transparent processes for selection and assessment and

provide adequate feedback when requested.

2.2 Exploitation

i. Educators are aware of the differential in power that exists and the trainee’s

possible incomprehension of that power differential.

ii. Educators explain to trainees the potential for the relationship to become

exploitive.

iii. Educators do not exploit trainees in financial, sexual, emotional, academic or

any other way.

iv. Educators do not accept or offer payments for referrals or engage in financial

transactions with trainees apart from negotiating the ordinary fees specific to

offering training courses, resource materials and supervision.

v. Educators avoid dual relationships or openly disclose them, withdrawing from

roles such as selection, assessment, or provision of close, personal education

should another relationship exist.

vi. Educators do not engage in sexual relations with trainees. Sexual relations

between the educator and the trainee during the course of training constitute

unethical behaviour. This is not restricted to sexual intercourse and includes

any form of physical contact, whether initiated by the trainee or educator,

which has as its purpose some form of sexual gratification, or which may be

reasonably construed as having that purpose.

vii. The work of trainees in any form is not used without their consent.

viii. Educators protect clients of trainees who participate in experiences from

possible harm and such clients must give informed consent to their

participation, preferably in writing.

2.3 Confidentiality

i. Educators treat with confidence any personal information about trainees,

whether obtained directly or by inference. This applies to material provided to

access education, disclosed as part of the educative process, by discussion of

personal needs or through the assessment of outcomes. Any exception to this

are made explicit to trainees. Trainees are entitled to view all records

pertaining to them, and all records other than purely administrative must be

kept confidential.

2.4 Contracts

i. Any publicity material and all written and oral information reflects accurately

the nature of the training offered and the training, qualifications and relevant

experience of the educator.

ii. Prospective trainees have access to detailed information about the scope

and objectives of the training, training methodology, resource availability,

assessment criteria and any other requirements.

iii. Where meeting professional standards of training is an objective, trainees are

made aware of the relationship between the training and the registration

requirements of PACFA or a PACFA member association.

2.5 Responsibilities to Self as Educator

i. Educators have a responsibility to themselves to maintain their own

effectiveness, resilience and ability to assist trainees. They monitor their own

personal functioning and seek help or refrain from educating when their

personal resources are sufficiently depleted to require this.

ii. Educators withdraw from their role if their functioning is significantly impaired

by personal or emotional difficulties, illness, alcohol, drugs or any other cause.

iii. Educators have a responsibility to maintain the currency of their expertise

through ongoing education and participation in relevant professional groups.

iv. Educators are required to have regular and on-going formal

supervision/consultative support for their work in accordance with professional

requirements.

2.6 Responsibilities to other Educators

i. Educators conduct themselves in their educational role in ways which

enhance public confidence in the role of educators and the profession of

counselling and psychotherapy.

ii. Educators who promote a particular approach to counselling and

psychotherapy do not denigrate legitimate alternatives to their own approach

or the work of other educators.

iii. Educators who suspect misconduct by another educator which can not be

resolved or remedied after discussion with the educator concerned, approach

the appropriate manager or professional body concerned.

iv. Educators are committed to using their expertise to broaden community

awareness of what counselling and psychotherapy can offer in an unbiased

manner.

3. Ethical Responsibilities of Supervisors (in addition to Section 2 above)

3.1 Boundary between Supervision and Personal Therapy/Counselling

i. Supervision aim to develop self awareness in trainees; however, there is a

differentiation between supervision and personal therapy.

ii. If there is a repeated pattern or significant personal issue in the trainee’s

practice, for example a block in empathy, avoidance of intense feelings or

impairment in the trainee’s mental health, the supervisor discusses this with

the trainee and/or recommends personal therapy/counselling.

3.2 Supervision within a Training Program

i. It is the responsibility of the supervisor, in consultation with the Training

Program coordinator, to ensure that the needs of the trainee, balanced with

the well-being of the client, are kept as the primary focus of supervision.

ii. Assessment of skills in supervision is kept in balance with the need to provide

a supportive learning environment for the trainee.

3.3 Supervisor’s responsibilities towards trainees

i. Supervisors have a responsibility to maintain confidentiality of material

relating to both the trainee and the client presented in the supervision session.

The parameters of confidentiality applying to supervision and any other

training activity are made explicit as part of the students initial orientation. eg

whether or not any personal or clinical material revealed in a supervisory

process may be discussed with another training team member.

ii. The supervisor does not act in a manner which is contrary to the professional

interests of the trainee except in instances covered in (iv) below.

iii. Where third parties are involved in supervision, for example the employer of

the practitioner, the trainee is made aware of any reporting of their practice,

and this is carried out in a manner that is transparent to the trainee. Where

there is disagreement, the trainee has an opportunity to add comments to the

supervisor’s report.

iv. Supervisors have a responsibility to ensure that the practice of trainees

accords with PACFA’s code of ethics and legal requirements.

v. Where there is a breach of PACFA’s code of ethics, the supervisor clearly

informs the trainee of the breach, the supervisor’s responsibility to take action,

and then to notify the professional association.

3.4 Supervisor’s responsibilities towards clients of the trainees

Supervisors have a responsibility towards the clients of the trainees and if they are

concerned about the trainee’s practice having detrimental consequences for the

trainee’s client they clearly communicate this to the trainee. (see 3.3 (iv) & (v)

above).

I. Supervisors and their trainees treat with confidence any personal information

about clients, whether obtained directly or by inference. This applies to all

verbal, written, recorded or computer stored material pertaining to the

therapeutic context. All records, whether in written or any other form, need to

be protected with the strictest of confidence.

II. Clients of trainees are not observed by anyone other than the individual

trainee without having given informed consent. This applies both to direct

observation and to any form of audio or visual transmission or recording.

III. Supervisors and their trainees are responsible for protecting the client’s rights

of confidentiality in the supervisory context by ensuring that shared

information is disguised appropriately.

IV. Exceptional circumstances may arise which give the trainee good grounds for

believing that the client will cause serious physical harm to others or

themselves. In such circumstances, the breaking of confidentiality may be

required, preferably with the client’s permission, and in consultation with the

supervisor.

V. Any breaking of confidentiality is minimised both by restricting the information

conveyed to that which is pertinent to the immediate situation and by limiting it

to those persons who can provide the help required by the client.

VI. Agreements about confidentiality continue after the client’s death unless there

are overriding legal considerations.

VII. Special care is required when using specific counselling situations for

reports and publication. The author obtains the client’s informed consent

should there be any possibility of identification of the client.

4. Ethical principles for research

Ethical principles for undertaking research should be informed by:

. NHMRC ethical principles for human research

(http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/e72syn.htm);

. Federal Privacy Legislation; Research involving Indigenous people

(http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/health_ethics/health/dilemmas.htm);

. Principles of integrity in conducting and reporting on research

(http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/r39syn_summary.htm)

and other relevant legislation and public guidelines. Even if research has been

approved by another organisation, such as a University, SCAPE will undertake its

own ethics assessment process.

I. SCAPE is committed to fostering research that will inform and develop

counselling and psychotherapy education. All educators are encouraged to

support research undertaken on behalf of the profession and to participate

actively in research work.

II. All research should be undertaken with rigorous attentiveness to the quality

and integrity both of the research itself and of the dissemination of the results

of the research.

III. The rights of all research participants should be carefully considered and

protected. The minimum rights include the right to freely given and informed

consent, and the right to withdraw at any point.

IV. The research methods used should comply with the standards of best practice

in counselling and psychotherapy and must not adversely affect clients.

Dissemination of research must include strategies for disseminating results to

participants, practitioners, the wider community and other researchers.

SCAPE ETHICAL COMPLAINTS PROCESS

In the event of a complaint of ethical misconduct being received, it will be dealt with

as fairly and speedily as possible, according to the process outlined below.

1.1 Steps to be taken prior to a formal complaint

a) Any person (trainee, professional colleague, and member of the public),

considering making a complaint against a member of the Association shall be

referred to the President.

b) On receiving this referral, the President or his/her nominee shall:

i. Explain the complaint process with a view to determining whether a formal

complaint should be lodged.

ii. Discuss the complaint with the complainant.

iii. Explain the procedure for preparing, lodging and hearing of complaints.

iv. Encourage a complainant to proceed with a formal complaint where the

alleged conduct appears to be a breach of ethical behaviour.

v. If the complainant decides not to make a formal complaint, take no further

action apart from acknowledging the complainants decision in writing to both

the complainant and, where applicable the respondent.

1.2 Steps to establish a formal complaint

a) If after consultation with the President or his/her nominee, a person decides to

make a formal complaint, a support person will be appointed by the Executive from

outside the Executive to assist the complainant to clarify their complaint in writing. It

must be lodged with the President specifying the alleged code violations.

b) On receipt of a formal complaint, the President shall forward to the respondent a

copy of the complaint and a copy of the Association’s Code of Ethics, shall advise

them of the procedure to be followed and shall invite them to provide a written

response to the complaint as soon as possible and within 3 weeks.

c) On receipt of reply from the respondent, the President or his/her nominee may

decide, having due regard for the wishes and safety of the complainant, that a

negotiated resolution is both desirable and possible in which case the President shall

seek to achieve a negotiated resolution between the complainant and respondent.

i. If the result is that the complainant decides not to proceed with the formal

complaint, the President shall acknowledge the complainant’s decision in

writing to both the complainant and the respondent. Within 6 weeks the

President shall notify the Executive with a consultation report, which contains

no identifying data.

ii. In the event that the complainant decides to proceed with the formal complaint

then the following applies.

d) Within one month after the time limit set for the respondent to reply, or receipt of

reply (whichever is sooner), the President shall appoint a Complaints Review

Committee of 3 SCAPE members to hear the complaint. At least one of the sub-

committee needs to be a member of the Executive. In exceptional circumstances

where no acceptable committee can be formed from SCAPE membership, then one

or more external persons be appointed to form the committee of three to hear the

complaint. They will be appointed with regard to familiarity with the issues or

workplace concerned, gender equity, and convenience. Any member who has had

an association with, or knowledge of the parties to the complaint or the subject

matter of the complaint which would prevent them from acting, or appearing to act,

objectively in this matter, should disqualify themselves from any involvement in it.

e) If the respondent does not respond or if in the course of the complaint process the

respondent resigns or does not renew their membership; the complaint will still be

fully investigated and a decision made according to the complaints process above.

f) The Chair will convene the Committee to decide whether the complaint has

sufficient substance to warrant an investigation. The Committee may dismiss the

complaint where the matter complained of;

i. Does not constitute a breach of the Code of Ethics, or

ii. Is not sufficiently substantiated, or

iii. Is not of sufficient consequence to proceed with the formal complaint.

g) The Committee convener shall within 14 days advise the complainant, respondent

and the Executive of its decision not to proceed with the complaint.

1.3 Formal Complaints Review Proceedings

In the event that the Committee decides that there is a case to answer and resolves

to proceed with the complaint, it will:

a) Suspend this protocol until there is an outcome to any legal process related to this

complaint.

b) Set a date for the Complaints Review proceedings.

c) Notify the complainant and the respondent of the date for the Complaints Review

proceedings and the respondent’s opportunity to present a case in response to the

complaints.

d) Notify the complainant and the respondent that no later than 14 days prior to the

hearing, they are required to:

i. Submit to the committee, any additional documents relevant to the complaint.

ii. Inform the committee if there is any other person, who has relevant

information for the committee, that they wish to be invited to the hearing.

e) Send copies of any written materials to the complainant and the respondent, no

later than 7 days before the Complaints Review proceedings.

1.4 The Conduct of the Complaints Review Proceedings

a) The hearing will be informal and neither party will be bound by the rules of

evidence.

b) The chairperson shall set the procedures for the hearing, ensuring that the

process is reasonable and fair to each of the parties to the complaint. The

chairperson will communicate these procedures to all participants prior to the

hearing.

c) The complainant and the respondent are entitled to include in the review

proceedings, at their own expense and on informing the Committee of their intention

to do so;

i. Witnesses and evidence (e.g. written submissions in the form of Statutory

Declarations) to the Committee.

ii. The right of reply to witnesses and evidence.

iii. At the end of the review proceedings to make final representations to the

Committee.

f) Any requests for support (e.g. notetaker or advocate) will be treated on merit, to

ensure both parties feel heard. Any expense will be borne by the person requiring

such support.

g) Minutes and documentation of the review will be scribed by the Secretary or his

/her nominee.

The powers of the Complaints Review Committee include the power to:

i. Adjourn the hearing to a fixed date.

ii. Determine the matter in the absence of a party where no satisfactory

explanation is provided by her or his absence

iii. Accept evidence in whatever form they consider appropriate; and

iv. Call witnesses to provide evidence in relation to the complaint.

v. The Complaints Review Committee will consider the question of both liability

and action.

A respondent may make a submission to the Committee regarding any action that

may be imposed.

1.5 The Outcome of a Formal Complaint Review Hearing.

a) After a hearing, the Complaints Review Committee shall provide a written report

of findings to the Executive. In this report the Complaints Review Committee shall:

i. Recommend that the complaint should be dismissed. This is done when the

Committee has found that the matter complained of did not constitute a

breach of the Code of Ethics, or was not substantiated.

OR

ii. Make a recommendation for an appropriate action to be applied. This occurs

when the Committee has judged that the complaint has been substantiated

and the matter complained of did constitute a breach of the Code of Ethics.

b) Within 21 days from receiving the Complaints Review Committee’s report of

findings and recommendations the Executive Committee shall decide:

i. The complaint is dismissed.

OR

ii. The complaint is substantiated and one or more of the following courses of

action is appropriate if the Executive Committee considers a penalty affecting

membership should not be applied,

. to formally reprimand the respondent in writing

. to impose conditions of practice, and where appropriate, to offer interventions

which would enable an offending member to develop more appropriate

practice and any other course of action not affecting membership status that

is deemed appropriate.

OR

iii. The complaint is substantiated and the Executive considers an action

affecting membership status should be applied, then it decides on one or

more of the following courses of action:

. To terminate membership of SCAPE, including any offices held.

. To debar from membership. This automatically leads to the removal of the

member from any register for which approved organizational membership is

required.

. To establish any conditions under which a future application for membership

would be considered. (e.g. A course of training, therapy, or specific focused

supervision.)

c) The Executives decision about penalties shall be promptly conveyed to the

concerned parties within 14 days by the President, together with reasons for the

determination. If the Executive Committee decides on an action affecting

membership status and this decision stands at the expiration of the appeal process,

the respondent will be required to return his/her SCAPE membership certificate and

his/her name will be removed from any membership lists. The decision to suspend

membership or expel the member will also be relayed to PACFA and all other

associations on whose register the person is listed.

Further, when complaints are proven and there are restrictions on practice or

expulsion from SCAPE, such restriction or expulsion is to be posted on the SCAPE

website on the list of educators ineligible for SCAPE membership.

Note that an educator may only be made ineligible for membership of the SCAPE after

a complaint is investigated and determined by a Complaints Review Committee

and/or Appeal Panel, or if an educator refuses to cooperate with the Ethics

Complaints Management Process.

d) In determining appropriate penalties, a Executive Committee should examine

previous decisions in similar cases and ensure where possible that the action is

consistent with those earlier decisions.

1.6 Confidentiality

a) All members of the Association involved in the complaint procedure are obliged to

maintain strict confidentiality, so far as the law allows, with respect to information

concerning a complaint, except a decision affecting membership status.

b) All documents produced during the complaint procedure will be marked private

and confidential.

c) The only persons required to know the identity of the individuals involved in a

complaint are Association members involved in the complaint procedure, except

when a decision affecting membership status has been taken.

1.7 Appeals for Reconsideration of Cases

a) Either the complainant or the respondent may make an appeal for

reconsideration of a case.

b) Appeals may be made on the grounds of:

i. Improper procedure

ii. the action imposed is inappropriate

iii. new evidence

c) A request for an appeal for reconsideration of a case, giving the grounds upon

which the appeal is made, shall be lodged in writing within 21 days of receipt of the

final decision.

d) Upon receiving a notice of appeal the Executive Committee must within 1 month,

consider the basis of the appeal and the documentation relevant to the case and

Resolve that:

There are no adequate or satisfactory grounds for reconsideration at which time they

will notify the appellant in writing; or

There are sufficient grounds for the case to be reconsidered at which time, the

matter will be considered by a group (Appeals Hearing Committee) viz a

representative of PACFA Ethics Committee, President of SCAPE(or nominee) and a

representative of the wider community.

e) A hearing date for reconsideration will be set within 28 days of notification of the

parties.

f) The reconsideration procedure shall be the same as the complaints procedure,

except that the Appeals Hearing committee shall usually accept submissions in

writing only and received no later than ten days prior to the hearing date.

g) Regardless of the right of a person to Appeal, the disciplinary actions initially

issued by the Complaints Review Committee are to be upheld until the conclusion of

the Appeals process.

h) The Appeals Hearing Committee can take action as follows:

. Uphold or overturn the original decision,

. determine reduced disciplinary action,

. determine expanded disciplinary action, any other ruling within it’s discretion

or combination of the former.

i) The Appeals Hearing Committee will relay to the respondent and complainant in

writing, within 7 days, the decision taken as a result of the Appeals process.

j) The decision that is taken at the end of the reconsideration process is final and

binding on both parties, unless it is set aside following an appeal to the PACFA

Ethics Committee.

1.8 Appeals against rulings of the Appeals Hearing Committee

An appeal against the decision of the SCAPE Appeals Hearing Committee is able to

be made to the PACFA Ethics Committee. The role of the PACFA Ethics committee

in an appeal is to establish that a just and procedurally correct investigation was

made by the Member Association, that it was done in accordance with the Member

Association’s complaints and appeals process and carried out in an ethical manner.

The PACFA Ethics committee does not accept appeals against the decision of

Member Association determinations except where there are grounds for complaint

against the member Association in the fairness and due process of the conduct of

the complaint.

1.10 Notices

Notices sent to any person, committee or corporation involved in the complaint

procedure shall be deemed to have been received by that entity four days after such

notices are forwarded by ordinary mail.