MD Counselor Code of Ethics
Study questions on Ethics for The Maryland Law Test
Terms in this set (59)
the State Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists.
an individual, couple, family, group, business, agency, school, organization, or association to whom a counselor is rendering professional service.
"Client" includes the term and concept of "patient".
a counselor or therapist either certified or licensed by the Board.
"Dual relationship" means:
a relationship in which a counselor is simultaneously involved in more than one type of relationship with a client.
"Impaired counselor" means:
a counselor who cannot perform the counselor's job due to substance abuse, or psychological or physical illness.
"Inappropriate sexual language" means:
(a) A sexualized harassing comment;
(b) An eroticized or sexually provocative comment not reasonably associated with a health care matter; or
(c) An inappropriate discussion of a sexually related matter.
"Public statements" include, but are not limited to:
communications or public announcements by a newspaper, magazine, book list, directory, television, radio, motion picture, advertisement, or any other electronic means.
"Sexual behavior" means:
(a) A "sexual act" as defined in Criminal Law Article, §3-301, Annotated Code of Maryland;
(b) "Sexual contact" as defined in Criminal Law Article, §3-301, Annotated Code of Maryland; and
(c) "Vaginal intercourse" as defined in Criminal Law Article, §3-301, Annotated Code of Maryland.
"Sexual exploitation" means:
a counselor taking advantage of an unequal relationship between a counselor and a client, student, or supervisee, and not permitting the autonomy of a client, student, or supervisee.
"Sexual harassment" means:
a deliberate or repeated comment, advance, gesture, solicitation, request, or physical contact of a sexual nature.
means an individual to whom a counselor provides professional, educational, or administrative supervision or direction.
"Therapeutic deception" means:
means a representation by a counselor that sexual contact or sexual activity by or with a client is consistent with or part of a client's treatment.
A counselor shall:
(1) Practice only within the boundaries of a counselor's competence, based on education, training, supervised experience, and professional credentials;
(2) When developing competence in a new service or technique, or both, engage in ongoing consultation with other counselors or relevant professionals and acquire appropriate additional education or training, or both, in the new area; and
(3) Maintain qualifications to practice counseling, including meeting the continuing education requirements established by the Board.
An impaired counselor shall:
(1) Suspend, terminate, or limit professional activities if the counselor determines that he or she is unable to continue professional activities; or
(2) Seek competent professional assistance to determine whether to suspend, terminate, or limit the scope of professional or scientific activities if a counselor becomes or is made aware that personal problems interfere with providing or conducting counseling or therapy services.
A counselor shall:
(1) Consult with other counselors or other relevant professionals regarding questions related to ethical obligations or professional practice;
(2) Take credit only for professional work actually performed;
(3) Notify the Board if the counselor's license, or certificate, or both, has been limited, restricted, suspended, revoked, or subject to disciplinary action by any other state, federal agency, or the District of Columbia;
(4) Disclose, to all involved, conflicts of interest regarding confidentiality requirements;
(5) Receive appropriate written authorization to provide counseling services for minors or other clients unable to give informed consent;
(6) Protect the interests of minors or other clients unable to give informed consent;
(7) Maintain accurate records;
(8) Provide supervision to supervisees as required under COMAR 10.58.01, 10.58.07, and 10.58.08;
(9) Make arrangements for another appropriate professional to act in the event of an absence of the counselor;
(10) Provide lawfully requested treatment reports or evaluations, or both, to a client, insurance carriers, courts systems, institutions, or other authorized persons;
(11) Be familiar with and adhere to this chapter;
(12) Report suspected violations of Health Occupations Article, Title 17, Annotated Code of Maryland, to the Board;
(13) Cooperate with investigations, proceedings, and other requirements of the Board; and
(14) Take reasonable precautions to protect clients from physical or psychological trauma.
A counselor may not:
(1) Knowingly associate with, or permit the use of the professional counselor's name or firm name in a business venture by any person or firm which the professional counselor knows, or has reason to believe, is engaging in business or professional practices of a fraudulent or dishonest nature;
(2) Participate in dishonest, fraudulent, or deceitful activity in the capacity of a counselor; or
(3) Enter into relationships that could compromise a counselor's objectivity or create a conflict of interest.
A counselor involved in research shall:
(1) Respect and protect the dignity, privacy, and welfare of research subjects;
(2) Comply with existing federal and State laws and regulations concerning treatment of research subjects;
(3) Take responsibility for the ethical treatment of research participants by others directly and reasonably related to the research; and
(4) Clearly indicate to prospective recipients treatment given as part of a research study and obtain written permission in advance of treatment.
A counselor shall:
(a) Inform clients of the purposes, goals, techniques, procedures, limitations, potential risks, and benefits of services to be performed;
(b) Explain to clients the implications of diagnosis, the intended use of tests and reports, fees, and billing arrangements;
(c) Document attempts to inform other professional persons concurrently providing mental health services to a client;
(d) Assist clients in making appropriate arrangements for the continuation of treatment due to interruptions including but not limited to vacations and extended illness; and
(e) Make appropriate referrals.
A counselor may not:
(a) Place or participate in placing clients in positions that may result in damaging the interests and the welfare of clients, employees, employers, or the public;
(b) Condone or engage in discrimination based on age, color, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, or socioeconomic status;
(c) Abandon or neglect clients in counseling; or
(d) Foster dependent counseling relationships.
A counselor shall:
(a) Avoid dual relationships with clients; and
(b) Take appropriate measures, including but not limited to, informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs if a dual relationship cannot be avoided.
A counselor may not:
(a) Exploit trust and dependency in relationships with supervisees, employees, research participants, students, or volunteers; or
(b) Accept as clients superiors or subordinates with whom a counselor has administrative, supervisory, or evaluative relationships.
A counselor shall clarify the unit of treatment in a counselor's written records as:
(d) Group; or
(e) Any combination of §C(1)(a)—(d) of this regulation.
A counselor shall
identify in the written records individuals present in sessions, but not a part of the unit of treatment.
A counselor shall
communicate limitations on confidentiality to all clients.
Termination may occur if:
(a) Services are no longer requested by a client;
(b) Counseling no longer serves a client's needs or interests;
(c) A counselor is unable to competently and ethically perform duties;
(d) A client does not pay the fees charged; or
(e) Agency or institution limits do not allow further counseling services.
A counselor may terminate a counseling relationship only after:
(a) Securing a client's agreement; or
(b) If a client does not agree to termination, offering an appropriate referral.
A counselor shall explain to a client, before entering the counseling relationship:
all financial arrangements related to professional services including the use of collection agencies or legal measures for nonpayment.
Except as provided in §C of this regulation, a counselor may not:
accept goods or services instead of monetary payment
A counselor may accept goods or services instead of monetary payment only if:
(1) The relationship is not exploitative;
(2) The client requests it;
(3) A clear written contract is established; and
(4) The arrangements are an accepted practice among professionals in the community.
A counselor may not:
accept or give anything of value for receiving or making a referral.
A counselor may place advertisements with:
directories, newspapers, periodicals, radio or television stations, or on the internet.
In placing advertisements or making other types of public statements, a counselor shall:
identify a counselor's credentials in a manner that is accurate and not false, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent.
A counselor may not place advertisements or make public statements that:
(a) Contain false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, or unfair statements or information;
(b) Contain partial disclosures of relevant facts that misrepresent, mislead, or deceive;
(c) Contain information or facts intended or likely to create false or unjustified expectations of favorable results;
(d) Misrepresent, either directly or by implication, a counselor's professional qualifications such as education, experience, or areas of competence;
(e) Misrepresent, either directly or by implication, a counselor's affiliations or the purposes or characteristics of institutions or organizations with which a counselor is affiliated;
(f) Contain representations or implications that in reasonable probability can be expected to cause an ordinary prudent person to misunderstand or be deceived; or
(g) Contain representations that a counselor is willing to perform any procedure that is illegal under federal or State laws or regulations.
If advertising on the internet, a counselor shall:
ensure that the advertisement contains the counselor's name, credentials, and certificate or license number.
In advertising products, workshops, or training events, a counselor shall:
(a) Comply with this section; and
(b) Ensure that the information disclosed is adequate for consumers to make informed choices.
A counselor holding a doctoral degree in a field other than counseling may not:
represent that doctoral degree as relating to status or practice as a counselor.
A counselor shall:
(a) Correct others who misrepresent a counselor's professional qualifications or affiliations;
(b) Abstain from soliciting testimonial endorsements from current clients or other persons who, because of particular circumstances, are vulnerable to undue influence;
(c) Abstain from engaging in uninvited, in-person solicitation of business from actual or potential clients or others who, because of particular circumstances, are vulnerable to undue influence; and
(d) In the capacity of teacher, ensure that statements in course outlines are accurate and not misleading, false, or deceptive, including statements regarding subject matter to be covered, the basis for evaluating progress, and the nature of the course experience.
A counselor may not:
(a) Use the counselor's place of employment or institutional affiliation to solicit or recruit clients, supervisees, or consultees for a counselor's private practice;
(b) Use counseling, teaching, training, or supervisory relationships:
(i) To promote a counselor's products or training events in a deceptive manner; or
(ii) On persons who, because of circumstances, may be vulnerable; or
(c) Claim organizational membership in a manner that suggests specialized competence, training, or qualifications that a counselor does not have.
Media Presentations. A counselor providing commentary or advice in a public lecture, presentation, demonstration, radio or television program, prerecorded electronic medium, printed article, mailed material, internet, or other medium, shall ensure that:
(1) Statements made are based on current and appropriate professional counseling literature and methodology;
(2) Recipients of the information are not mislead or encouraged to infer that a professional counseling relationship has been established; and
(3) Statements are in conformance with this chapter.
A counselor shall:
(1) Maintain the privacy and confidentiality of a client and a client's records;
(2) Release mental health records or information about a client only with a client's consent, or as permitted by Health-General Article, Title 4, Subtitle 3, Annotated Code of Maryland;
(3) Release alcohol and substance abuse records or information about a client only with a client's consent, or as permitted by State and federal law;
(4) Dispose of records in accordance with Health-General Article, Title 4, Annotated Code of Maryland;
(5) Provide sufficient information to a client to allow a client to make an informed decision regarding treatment, including the following:
(a) The purpose and nature of an evaluation or treatment process;
(b) Additional options to the proposed treatment;
(c) Potential reactions to the proposed treatment;
(d) The estimated cost of treatment;
(e) The right of a client to withdraw from treatment at any time, including the possible risks that may be associated with withdrawal; and
(f) The right of a client to decline treatment, if part or all of the treatment is to be recorded for research or review by another person;
(6) Obtain full informed consent of a client participating in a human research program; and
(7) Protect a client's autonomy and dignity to decide whether to participate in a human research program.
A counselor may not imply that:
a penalty may result if a client refuses to participate in a human research program.
A counselor may not engage in sexual misconduct with a client or supervisee. Sexual misconduct includes but is not limited to:
(1) Inappropriate sexual language;
(2) Sexual exploitation;
(3) Sexual harassment;
(4) Sexual behavior; and
(5) Therapeutic deception.
Concurrent Sexual Relationships. A counselor may not engage in either consensual or forced sexual behavior with:
(1) A client;
(2) A student or supervisee over whom the counselor exercises professional authority, or with whom the counselor maintains evaluative responsibility, supervision, or education, while the professional relationship continues to exist; or
(3) An individual with whom the client has a close personal relationship, including but not limited to a relative or significant individual in the client's life, if there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client.
Except as set forth in §C(3) of this regulation, a counselor may not engage in sexual behavior with:
a former client.
A counselor may not terminate professional services or a professional relationship with a client in order to enter into:
a nonprofessional, social, or sexual relationship with a client or an individual with whom a client has a close personal relationship.
A counselor may enter into a relationship with an individual with whom a counselor's prior professional contact was:
brief, peripheral, consultative, or indirect, and did not constitute a therapeutic relationship.
Prior Sexual Relationships. A counselor may not provide professional services to an individual with whom a counselor has:
previously engaged in sexual behavior.
A counselor may not sexually harass a:
(c) Supervisee; or
If sexually harassed by a client, a counselor shall:
(a) Seek professional consultation with another licensed health care professional;
(b) Redefine the professional plan of action in writing in a client's record, documenting all action taken in a client's treatment plan; and
(c) Terminate the relationship with the client and assist in a referral to another health care provider.
Therapeutic Deception. A counselor may not:
(1) Engage in sexual activity with a client or an individual in a close personal relationship with a client, on the pretense of therapeutic intent or benefit;
(2) Represent to a client or individual in close personal contact with a client that sexual contact or activity by or with a counselor is consistent with or part of a client's therapy; or
(3) Suggest, recommend, or encourage a client to engage in a sexually provocative act, including but not limited to:
(a) Sexual contact with a counselor;
(b) Genital stimulation by or of a client or counselor;
(c) Undressing, by or of a counselor in the presence of a client, or of a client in the presence of a counselor; and
(d) Discussion or disclosure of a sexually provocative or erotic nature, not necessitated by treatment or treatment protocol.
A counselor engaging in nontraditional treatment modalities using physical contact with a client shall document in a client's record:
(1) An assessment of a client;
(2) A written rationale for the use of the physical contact treatment modality for a client; and
(3) A copy of the informed consent, signed and dated by the client and the counselor which addresses:
(a) The risks and benefits of the physical contact treatment modality;
(b) The objective or objectives and intended outcome or outcomes of the proposed treatment;
(c) Available alternative interventions; and
(d) A description of the physical contact which may be reasonably anticipated by a client in the course of the proposed treatment.
A counselor may not engage in a treatment modality involving physical contact if:
the risk of psychological harm to a client, as a result of the physical contact, has been assessed by a counselor to outweigh the possible benefits of the treatment, independent of a client's wishes.
A. A counselor who engages in sexual misconduct with a client or supervisee is subject to:
sanctions by the Board.
A sanction constitutes the minimum disciplinary measure and does not:
preclude the Board from imposing additional penalties as it considers appropriate to an individual case.
The Board shall advise professional associations of a reprimand, suspension, or revocation of a license or certificate on the grounds of:
A counselor may not prohibit a client from reporting:
sexual misconduct as a condition of settlement of a legal cause of action.
A counselor who does not comply with this chapter shall be in violation of:
Health Occupations Article, §17-313, Annotated Code of Maryland, and subject to disciplinary actions.
A lack of knowledge, or misunderstanding of an ethical responsibility, is not a defense against:
a charge of unethical conduct.
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