UMHCA Code of Ethics
The Utah Mental Health Counselors Association, being a state chapter of AMHCA, mirrors the code of ethics held nationwide. Any references to code of ethics will relate to that document.
Approved UMHCA Ethical Model
UMHCA has unanimously voted to adopt A Practitioner's Guide to Ethical Decision Making (Forester-Miller & Davis, 2016), as the ethical model our counselors follow. An excerpt of the document is included below. Line item #8, marked by asterisks(*), has been adopted by request from the Board.
"Kitchener (1984) has identified five moral principles that are viewed as the cornerstone of our ethical guidelines. Ethical guidelines can not address all situations that a counselor is forced to confront. Reviewing these ethical principles which are at the foundation of the guidelines often helps to clarify the issues involved in a given situation. The five principles, autonomy, justice, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and fidelity are each absolute truths in and of themselves. By exploring the dilemma in regards to these principles one may come to a better understanding of the conflicting issues.
"Clients must be able to trust the counselor and have faith in the therapeutic relationship if growth is to occur. Therefore, the counselor must take care not to threaten the therapeutic relationship nor to leave obligations unfulfilled. When exploring an ethical dilemma, you need to examine the situation and see how each of the above principles may relate to that particular case. At times this alone will clarify the issues enough that the means for resolving the dilemma will become obvious to you. In more complicated cases it is helpful to be able to work through the steps of an ethical decision making model, and to assess which of these moral principles may be in conflict."
Ethical Decision Making Model
"A description and discussion of the steps follows.
"The Ethical Decision Making Model at a Glance
"It is important to realize that different professionals may implement different courses of action in the same situation. There is rarely one right answer to a complex ethical dilemma. However, if you follow a systematic model, you can be assured that you will be able to give a professional explanation for the course of action you chose. Van Hoose and Paradise (1979) suggest that a counselor "is probably acting in an ethically responsible way concerning a client if (1) he or she has maintained personal and professional honesty, coupled with (2) the best interests of the client, (3) without malice or personal gain, and (4) can justify his or her actions as the best judgment of what should be done based upon the current state of the profession" (p.58). Following this model will help to ensure that all four of these conditions have been met."
Forester-Miller H, & Davis, T. (1996). A Practitioner's Guide to Ethical Decision Making. American Counseling Association, p. 1-5.
© 1996, American Counseling Association. A free publication of the American Counseling Association promoting ethical counseling practice in service to the public. -- Printed and bound copies may be purchased in quantity for a nominal fee from the Online Resource Catalog or by calling the ACA Distribution Center at 800.422.2648. ACA grants reproduction rights to libraries, researchers and teachers who wish to copy all or part of the contents of this document for scholarly purposes provided that no fee for the use or possession of such copies is charged to the ultimate consumer of the copies. Proper citation to ACA must be given.