Code of Ethics

Preamble:

The Association of Solution Oriented Counsellors and Hypnotherapists of Australia (Inc.) referred to as ASOCHA, was established in September, 2000 to provide a national and professional organizational structure to support the practice of Solution Oriented counselling and hypnotherapy in Australia.

The purpose of this code is to establish standards of ethical practice for Solution Oriented counsellors and hypnotherapists.

The term counsellors in this code is used to include those practicing Solution Oriented counselling and/or hypnotherapy.

This code is divided into three sections:

1. Ethical Principles

2. Ethical Responsibilities for Counsellors.

3. Ethical Complaints Process

1. Ethical Principles

1.1 Counsellors respect the essential humanity, worth and dignity of all people and promote this value in their work.

1.2 Counsellors recognize and respect diversity among people and oppose discrimination and oppressive behaviour.

1.3 Counsellors respect the privacy of their clients and preserve the confidentiality of information acquired in the course of their work.

1.4 Counsellors protect the rights of their clients including the right to informed consent.

1.5 Counsellors take steps to maintain and develop their competence throughout their professional lives.

1.6 Counsellors abide by the laws of the society in which they practice.

2. Ethical Responsibilities of Counsellors

2.1 Responsibilities to the client

(i) Counsellors take all reasonable steps to avoid harm to their clients as a result of the
counselling process.
(ii) Counsellors faced with situations which extend the boundary of their competence seek supervision and consider referral to other professionals.

(iii) In the event of harm resulting from counselling, counsellors take responsibility for
restitution. Professional indemnity should be considered in this context.

(iv) Counsellors promote client autonomy and encourage clients to make responsible
decisions on their own behalf.

(v) Counsellors consider the social context of their clients and their connections to
others.

(vi) Counsellors are responsible for setting and maintaining professional boundaries
within the counselling relationship.

2.2 Exploitation

(i) Counsellors must not exploit clients, past or present, in financial, sexual, emotional
or any other way.

(ii) Counsellors will not accept or offer payments for referrals, or engage in any financial
transactions, apart from negotiating the ordinary fee charged for counselling.

(iii) Sexual relations between the client and the counsellor can never be acceptable and
constitute unethical behaviour. This is not restricted to sexual intercourse and
includes any form of physical contact, whether initiated by the client or the
counsellor, which has as its purpose some form of sexual gratification, or which may
be reasonably construed as having that purpose.

(iv) Counsellors should consider that the deeper the involvement with the client’s
emotional life during counselling, the less likely is the possibility of a subsequent
equal relationship following termination of therapy. Counsellors must seek
professional supervision should any attempt to build a relationship with a former
client be considered.

2.3 Confidentiality

(i) Counsellors 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 must not be observed by anyone other than their counsellors
without having given informed consent. This applies both to direct
observation and to any form of audio or visual transmission or recording.

(iii) Counsellors and supervisors 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 counsellor 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, or after consultation with a
counselling supervisor.

(v) Any breaking of confidentiality should be minimized 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 must have the client’s informed consent should
there be any possibility of identification of the client.,

2.4 Contracts

(i) Counselling activities are to be undertaken only with professional intent and
not casually and/or in extra professional relationships.

(ii) Contracts involving the client should be realistic and clear.

(iii) When a client is incapable of giving informed consent, counsellors obtain
consent from a legally authorized person.

(iv) Any publicity material and all written and oral information should reflect
accurately the nature of the service offered and the training, qualifications and
relevant experience of the counsellor.

(v) Counsellors are responsible for communicating the terms on which
counselling is being offered.

(vi) Counsellors will disclose any conflict of interest which may arise in relation to
a client and will seek supervision to resolve appropriate action which may
include referral.

2.5 Responsibilities to Self as Counsellor

(i) Counsellors have a responsibility to themselves to maintain their own
effectiveness, resilience and ability to help clients. They monitor their own
personal functioning and seek help or refrain from counselling when their
personal resources are sufficiently depleted to require this.

(ii) Counsellors do not counsel when their functioning is significantly impaired by
personal or emotional difficulties, illness, alcohol, drugs or any other cause.

(iii) Counsellors have regular suitable supervision and use such supervision to
develop counselling skills, monitor performance and provide accountability
for practice.

2.6 Responsibilities to other Counsellors

(i) Counsellors do not conduct themselves in their counselling-related activities
in ways which undermine public confidence in either their role as counsellors
or in the work of other counsellors.

(ii) Counsellors are committed to the ethical code of their professional
Organization which will include procedures to withdraw membership for
unethical practice.

(iii) Counsellors who suspect misconduct by another counsellor which cannot be
resolved or remedied after discussion with the counsellor concerned,
approach the appropriate professional body in their field of work.

(iv) Counsellors do not solicit the clients of other counsellors. They have an
obligation not to impair the work of their colleagues. Nevertheless,
counsellors need to be aware of the client’s right to seek a second opinion.

2.7 Responsibilities to the Wider Community

(i) Counsellors work within the law.

(ii) Counsellors take all reasonable steps to be aware of current legislation
affecting their work.

(iii) Counsellors are committed to protect the public against incompetent and
dishonourable practices and are prepared to challenge these practices.

3. Ethical Complaints Process

(i) in the event of a complaint of ethical misconduct being made, a support
person will be appointed by the Executive from outside the Executive to
assist the complainant to clarify their complaint in writing.

(ii) The respondent will be notified of the substance of the complaint as soon as
possible.

(iii). The President will appoint a sub-committee of 3 executive members to hear
the complaint. They will be appointed with regard to familiarity with the
issues or workplace concerned, gender equity, and convenience.

(iv) Both parties will be entitled to present their cases either verbally or in writing.
Some form of mediation may be recommended, having due regard for the
wishes and safety of the complainant.

(v) The subcommittee will recommend to the Executive:

(a) there is no substance to the case
(b) appropriate remedial action is required
(c) appropriate censure be made including the possibility of withdrawal
of membership.
In the event of a recommendation to withdraw membership, the matter will be presented to the Executive for decision.

3.2 Appeals

(i) Any appeal against the decision of the Executive will be considered by a
group viz

(a) a representative of PACFA Ethics Committee
(b) President of ASOCHA (or nominee)
(c) representative of the wider community.

(ii) Any decision to withdraw membership would be communicated to PACFA as
soon as possible.