Professional Organizations' Codes of Ethics
On Supervision in Psychotherapy and Counseling
By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.
Table Of Contents
1. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)
2. American Counseling Association (ACA)
3. American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA)
4. American Psychological Association (APA)
5. Association of State And Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)
6. California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
7. Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA)
8. Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)
9. National Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC)
10. National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
11. National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
12. Northamerica Association of Masters in Psychology (NAMP)
13. A note on Supervision and Dual Relationships
Preamble: The Board of Directors of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) hereby promulgates, pursuant to Article 2, Section 2.01.3 of the Association’s Bylaws, the Revised AAMFT Code of Ethics, effective January 1, 2015.
The absence of an explicit reference to a specific behavior or situation in the Code does not mean that the behavior is ethical or unethical. The standards are not exhaustive. Marriage and family therapists who are uncertain about the ethics of a particular course of action are encouraged to seek counsel from consultants, attorneys, supervisors, colleagues, or other appropriate authorities.
The AAMFT Code of Ethics is binding on members of AAMFT in all membership categories, all AAMFT Approved Supervisors and all applicants for membership or the Approved Supervisor designation. AAMFT members have an obligation to be familiar with the AAMFT Code of Ethics and its application to their professional services. Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of an ethical standard is not a defense to a charge of unethical conduct.
Standard II: CONFIDENTIALITY
Marriage and family therapists have unique confidentiality concerns because the client in a therapeutic relationship may be more than one person. Therapists respect and guard the confidences of each individual client.
2.7 Confidentiality in Consultations.Marriage and family therapists, when consulting with colleagues or referral sources, do not share confidential information that could reasonably lead to the identification of a client, research participant, supervisee, or other person with whom they have a confidential relationship unless they have obtained the prior written consent of the client, research participant, supervisee, or other person with whom they have a confidential relationship. Information may be shared only to the extent necessary to achieve the purposes of the consultation.
Standard III: PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE AND INTEGRITY
Marriage and family therapists maintain high standards of professional competence and integrity.
3.1 Maintenance of Competency.Marriage and family therapists pursue knowledge of new developments and maintain their competence in marriage and family therapy through education, training, and/or supervised experience.
3.6 Development of New Skills. While developing new skills in specialty areas, marriage and family therapists take steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect clients from possible harm. Marriage and family therapists practice in specialty areas new to them only after appropriate education, training, and/or supervised experience.
3.7 Harassment. Marriage and family therapists do not engage in sexual or other forms of harassment of clients, students, trainees, supervisees, employees, colleagues, or research subjects.
3.8 Exploitation.Marriage and family therapists do not engage in the exploitation of clients, students, trainees, supervisees, employees, colleagues, or research subjects.
Standard IV: RESPONSIBILITY TO STUDENTS AND SUPERVISEES
Marriage and family therapists do not exploit the trust and dependency of students and supervisees.
4.1 Exploitation.Marriage and family therapists who are in a supervisory role are aware of their influential positions with respect to students and supervisees, and they avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of such persons. Therapists, therefore, make every effort to avoid conditions and multiple relationships that could impair professional objectivity or increase the risk of exploitation. When the risk of impairment or exploitation exists due to conditions or multiple roles, therapists take appropriate precautions.
4.2 Therapy with Students or Supervisees.Marriage and family therapists do not provide therapy to current students or supervisees.
4.3 Sexual Intimacy with Students or Supervisees.Marriage and family therapists do not engage in sexual intimacy with students or supervisees during the evaluative or training relationship between the therapist and student or supervisee.
4.4 Oversight of Supervisee Competence.Marriage and family therapists do not permit students or supervisees to perform or to hold themselves out as competent to perform professional services beyond their training, level of experience, and competence.
4.5 Oversight of Supervisee Professionalism.Marriage and family therapists take reasonable measures to ensure that services provided by supervisees are professional.
4.6 Existing Relationship with Students or Supervisees.Marriage and family therapists are aware of their influential positions with respect to supervisees, and they avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of such persons. Supervisors, therefore, make every effort to avoid conditions and multiple relationships with supervisees that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of exploitation. Examples of such relationships include, but are not limited to, business or close personal relationships with supervisees or the supervisee’s immediate family. When the risk of impairment or exploitation exists due to conditions or multiple roles, supervisors document the appropriate precautions taken.
4.7 Confidentiality with Supervisees. Marriage and family therapists do not disclose supervisee confidences except by written authorization or waiver, or when mandated or permitted by law. In educational or training settings where there are multiple supervisors, disclosures are permitted only to other professional colleagues, administrators, or employers who share responsibility for training of the supervisee. Verbal authorization will not be sufficient except in emergency situations, unless prohibited by law.
4.8 Payment for Supervision.Marriage and family therapists providing clinical supervision shall not enter into financial arrangements with supervisees through deceptive or exploitative practices, nor shall marriage and family therapists providing clinical supervision exert undue influence over supervisees when establishing supervision fees. Marriage and family therapists shall also not engage in other exploitative practices of supervisees.
Standard VI: TECHNOLOGY-ASSISTED PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Therapy, supervision, and other professional services engaged in by marriage and family therapists take place over an increasing number of technological platforms. There are great benefits and responsibilities inherent in both the traditional therapeutic and supervision contexts, as well as in the utilization of technologically-assisted professional services. This standard addresses basic ethical requirements of offering therapy, supervision, and related professional services using electronic means.
6.1 Technology Assisted Services.Prior to commencing therapy or supervision services through electronic means (including but not limited to phone and Internet), marriage and family therapists ensure that they are compliant with all relevant laws for the delivery of such services. Additionally, marriage and family therapists must: (a) determine that technologically-assisted services or supervision are appropriate for clients or supervisees, considering professional, intellectual, emotional, and physical needs; (b) inform clients or supervisees of the potential risks and benefits associated with technologically-assisted services; (c) ensure the security of their communication medium; and (d) only commence electronic therapy or supervision after appropriate education, training, or supervised experience using the relevant technology.
6.2 Consent to Treat or Supervise.Clients and supervisees, whether contracting for services as individuals, dyads, families, or groups, must be made aware of the risks and responsibilities associated with technology-assisted services. Therapists are to advise clients and supervisees in writing of these risks, and of both the therapist’s and clients’/supervisees’ responsibilities for minimizing such risks.
6.3 Confidentiality and Professional Responsibilities.It is the therapist’s or supervisor’s responsibility to choose technological platforms that adhere to standards of best practices related to confidentiality and quality of services, and that meet applicable laws. Clients and supervisees are to be made aware in writing of the limitations and protections offered by the therapist’s or supervisor’s technology.
6.4 Technology and Documentation.Therapists and supervisors are to ensure that all documentation containing identifying or otherwise sensitive information which is electronically stored and/or transferred is done using technology that adhere to standards of best practices related to confidentiality and quality of services, and that meet applicable laws. Clients and supervisees are to be made aware in writing of the limitations and protections offered by the therapist’s or supervisor’s technology.
6.5 Location of Services and Practice.Therapists and supervisors follow all applicable laws regarding location of practice and services, and do not use technologically-assisted means for practicing outside of their allowed jurisdictions.
6.6 Training and Use of Current Technology.Marriage and family therapists ensure that they are well trained and competent in the use of all chosen technology-assisted professional services. Careful choices of audio, video, and other options are made in order to optimize quality and security of services, and to adhere to standards of best practices for technology-assisted services. Furthermore, such choices of technology are to be suitably advanced and current so as to best serve the professional needs of clients and supervisees.
Standard VIII: FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS
Marriage and family therapists make financial arrangements with clients, third-party payors, and supervisees that are reasonably understandable and conform to accepted professional practices.
8.2 Disclosure of Financial Policies. Prior to entering into the therapeutic or supervisory relationship, marriage and family therapists clearly disclose and explain to clients and supervisees: (a) all financial arrangements and fees related to professional services, including charges for canceled or missed appointments; (b) the use of collection agencies or legal measures for nonpayment; and (c) the procedure for obtaining payment from the client, to the extent allowed by law, if payment is denied by the third-party payor. Once services have begun, therapists provide reasonable notice of any changes in fees or other charges.
8.4 Truthful Representation of Services. Marriage and family therapists represent facts truthfully to clients, third-party payors, and supervisees regarding services rendered.
8.5 Bartering. Marriage and family therapists ordinarily refrain from accepting goods and services from clients in return for services rendered. Bartering for professional services may be conducted only if: (a) the supervisee or client requests it; (b) the relationship is not exploitative; (c) the professional relationship is not distorted; and (d) a clear written contract is established.
Standard IX: ADVERTISING
Marriage and family therapists engage in appropriate informational activities, including those that enable the public, referral sources, or others to choose professional services on an informed basis.
9.6 Employee or Supervisee Qualifications. Marriage and family therapists make certain that the qualifications of their employees and supervisees are represented in a manner that is true, accurate, and in accordance with applicable law.
9.7 Specialization.Marriage and family therapists represent themselves as providing specialized services only after taking reasonable steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect clients, supervisees, and others from harm.
Section F. Supervision, Training, and Teaching
Counselor supervisors, trainers, and educators aspire to foster meaningful and respectful professional relationships and to maintain appropriate boundaries with supervisees and students in both face-to-face and electronic formats. They have theoretical and pedagogical foundations for their work; have knowledge of supervision models; and aim to be fair, accurate, and honest in their assessments of counselors, students, and supervisees.
F.3.a. Extending Conventional Supervisory Relationships
Counseling supervisors clearly define and maintain ethical professional, personal, and social relationships with their supervisees. Supervisors consider the risks and benefits of extending current supervisory relationships in any form beyond conventional parameters. In extending these boundaries, supervisors take appropriate professional precautions to ensure that judgment is not impaired and that no harm occurs.
F.3.b. Sexual Relationships
Sexual or romantic interactions or relationships with current supervisees are prohibited. This prohibition applies to both in-person and electronic interactions or relationships.
F.3.c. Sexual Harassment
Counseling supervisors do not condone or subject supervisees to sexual harassment.
F. 10. Roles and Relationships Between Counselor Educators and Students
F.10.a. Sexual or Romantic Relationships
from sexual or romantic interactions or relationships with students currently enrolled in a counseling or related program and over whom they have power and authority. This prohibition applies to both in-person and electronic interactions or relationships.
F.10.b. Sexual Harassment
Counselor educators do not condone or subject students to sexual harassment.
F.10.c. Relationships With Former Students
Counselor educators are aware of the power differential in the relationship between faculty and students. Faculty members discuss with former students potential risks when they consider engaging in social, sexual, or other intimate relationships.
Principle III. Commitment to Students, Supervisees and Employee Relationships
Relationship with Students, Interns and Employees
Mental health counselors have an ethical concern for the integrity and welfare of supervisees, students, and employees. These relationships typically include an evaluative component and therefore need to be maintained on a professional and confidential basis.
- Mental health counselors recognize the influential position they have with regard to both current and former supervisees, students and employees, and avoid exploiting their trust and dependency.
- Mental health counselors do not engage in ongoing counseling relationships with current supervisees, students or employees.
- All forms of sexual behavior with supervisees, students or employees are unethical.
- Mental health counselors do not engage in any form of harassment of supervisees, students, employees or colleagues.
- Mental health counselor supervisors advise their supervisees, students and employees against holding themselves out to be competent to engage in professional services beyond their training, experience, or credentials.
- In the informed consent statement, students and employees notify the client they are in supervision and provide their clients with the name and credentials of their supervisor.
- Students and employees have the same ethical obligations to clients as those required of mental health counselors.
- Supervisors provide written informed consent prior to beginning a supervision relationship that documents business address and telephone number; list of degrees, license and credentials/certifications held; areas of competence in clinical mental health counseling; training in supervision and experience providing supervision; model of or approach to supervision, including the role, objectives and goals of supervision, and modalities; evaluation procedures in the supervisory relationship; the limits and scope of confidentiality and privileged communication within the supervisory relationship; procedures for supervisory emergencies and supervisor absences; use of supervision agreements; and procedures for supervisee endorsement for certification and/or licensure, or employment to those whom are competent, ethical, and qualified.
Commitment for Clinical Supervision
Clinical supervision is an important part of the mental health treatment process. This purpose is two-fold: to assist the supervisee to provide the best treatment possible to counseling clients, through guidance and direction by the supervisor regarding clinical, ethical, and legal issues; and to provide training to the supervisee, which is an integral part of counselor education. Supervision is also a gatekeeping process to ensure safety to the client, the profession and to the supervisee.
- Confidentiality of Clinical Supervision
Clinical supervision is a part of the treatment process, and therefore all of the clinical information shared between a supervisee and supervisor is confidential. Clinical supervisors do not disclose supervisee confidences regarding client information except:
- To prevent clear and imminent danger to a person or persons.
- As mandated by law for child or senior abuse reporting.
- Where there is a waiver of confidentiality obtained, in writing, prior to such a release of information.
- Where the release of records or information is permitted by state law.
- In educational or training settings where only other professionals who will share responsibility for the training of the supervisee are present, and formal written client consent has been obtained for such disclosures for training purposes.
- Clinical Supervision Contract
A clinical supervision contract signed by both supervisor and supervisee, should be prepared, which provides for the fees for both individual and group supervision sessions. The contract should also specify the records that will be maintained by both the supervisor and supervisee regarding issues discussed in supervision; the number of hours of supervision that take place, and whether the supervision was individual or group. In addition, the contract should specify the agreement of supervisor and supervisee regarding how often the supervision sessions will be scheduled. The frequency of supervision sessions shall comply with state regulations. In addition, the supervisor and supervisee should agree to the following terms:
The supervisee will maintain a professional liability insurance policy during the clinical supervision process, and provide a copy of a certificate of insurance to the supervisor.
- Compliance with the AMHCA Code of Ethics
The supervisor should provide a copy of the AMHCA Code of Ethics to the supervisee, or ensure that the supervisee has obtained a copy. The supervisee must agree to comply with the AMHCA Code of Ethics in all treatment provided. As needed, the supervisor and supervisee will discuss the principles contained in the AMHCA Code of Ethics. The supervisor needs to be aware of other codes of ethics which may apply to the supervisee.
- State Licensing Board Rules
The supervisee needs to obtain a copy of the appropriate State Licensing Board Rules, and agree to comply with them. As needed, the supervisor and supervisee will discuss the provisions of board rules. The supervisor will be aware of all credentials and membership organizations regulating the supervisee.
- Compliance with State Laws
The supervisor should inform the supervisee of state laws contained in the Practice Act for counselors, and other legal provisions which apply to treatment, requirements for licensure, billing, and the discipline of counselors.
- Duty of the Clinical Supervisor
The contract should specify that the duty of the clinical supervisor will be to direct the treatment process, and to assist the supervisee in complying with all legal and ethical standards for treatment.
- Billing for Treatment
Supervisee should agree that all bills submitted for treatment will accurately reflect the amount of time spent in counseling session, and will also identify the professional who provided services to the client.
- Treatment Records and Bills
As part of the supervision process, the supervisee will agree to provide treatment records and billing statements to the clinical supervisor upon request. In addition, the supervisee will agree to maintain all treatment records securely, to maintain their confidentiality and to comply with state recordkeeping requirements.
- Informed Consent
The supervisee will agree to obtain informed consent in writing from the counseling client in compliance with state law. In addition, the supervisee will obtain informed consent in writing from any client whose treatment session is to be videotaped, recorded, or observed through one-way glass.
- Dual Relationships
Supervisors will avoid all dual relationships that may interfere with the supervisor’s professional judgment or exploit the supervisee. Any sexual, romantic, or intimate relationship is considered to be a violation. Sexual relationship means sexual conduct, sexual harassment, or sexual bias toward a supervisee by a supervisor.
- Termination of Supervision
When a supervisee discontinues supervision, a written notice that the supervision process has terminated should be provided by the supervisor, along with an appropriate referral for supervision. If during supervision a conflict arises which causes impairment to the professional judgment of the supervisor or supervisee, the process should be terminated and a referral made. Both the supervisor and the supervisee have the right to terminate supervision at any time, with reasonable notice being provided regarding the voluntary termination of supervision.
- Consultation for the Supervisor
Whenever a clinical supervisor needs to discuss questions regarding the clinical services being provided, ethical issues, or legal matters, the supervisor should obtain a consultation in order to resolve the issue. That consultation must be documented in the supervisor’s clinical supervision notes.
- Credentials for Supervisors
A supervisor should have the level of clinical experience required by state regulations, which is required for supervision of other professionals. In addition, the supervisor should have training in the clinical supervision process.
- Credentials for Supervisees
Supervisors must ensure that supervisees have the requisite credentials under state law to provide counseling to clients. If at any time during the supervision process a supervisor concludes that the supervisee does not have the requisite skills and education to provide counseling safely, and the supervisee is not showing evidence of learning or progressing, the supervisor should inform the supervisee of the deficiencies noted in the supervisor’s evaluation of the supervisee, and terminate the relationship.
The INTRODUCTION AND APPLICABILITY Section states:
This Ethics Code applies only to psychologists’ activities that are part of their scientific, educational, or professional roles as psychologists. Areas covered include but are not limited to the clinical, counseling, and school practice of psychology; research; teaching; supervision of trainees; public service; policy development; social intervention; development of assessment instruments; conducting assessments; educational counseling; organizational consulting; forensic activities; program design and evaluation; and administration. This Ethics Code applies to these activities across a variety of contexts, such as in person, postal, telephone, internet, and other electronic transmissions. These activities shall be distinguished from the purely private conduct of psychologists, which is not within the purview of the Ethics Code.
Membership in the APA commits members and student affiliates to comply with the standards of the APA Ethics Code and to the rules and procedures used to enforce them. Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of an Ethical Standard is not itself a defense to a charge of unethical conduct.
The PREAMBLE states:
Psychologists are committed to increasing scientific and professional knowledge of behavior and people’s understanding of themselves and others and to the use of such knowledge to improve the condition of individuals, organizations, and society. Psychologists respect and protect civil and human rights and the central importance of freedom of inquiry and expression in research, teaching, and publication. They strive to help the public in developing informed judgments and choices concerning human behavior. In doing so, they perform many roles, such as researcher, educator, diagnostician, therapist, supervisor, consultant, administrator, social interventionist, and expert witness. This Ethics Code provides a common set of principles and standards upon which psychologists build their professional and scientific work.
This Ethics Code is intended to provide specific standards to cover most situations encountered by psychologists. It has as its goals the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with whom psychologists work and the education of members, students, and the public regarding ethical standards of the discipline.
Section 2 states:
2.01 Boundaries of Competence
(a) Psychologists provide services, teach, and conduct research with populations and in areas only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised experience, consultation, study, or professional experience.
(b) Where scientific or professional knowledge in the discipline of psychology establishes that an understanding of factors associated with age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, or socioeconomic status is essential for effective implementation of their services or research, psychologists have or obtain the training, experience, consultation, or supervision necessary to ensure the competence of their services, or they make appropriate referrals, except as provided in Standard 2.02, Providing Services in Emergencies.
(c) Psychologists planning to provide services, teach, or conduct research involving populations, areas, techniques, or technologies new to them undertake relevant education, training, supervised experience, consultation, or study.
(e) In those emerging areas in which generally recognized standards for preparatory training do not yet exist, psychologists nevertheless take reasonable steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, organizational clients, and others from harm.
2.05 Delegation of Work to Others
Psychologists who delegate work to employees, supervisees, or research or teaching assistants or who use the services of others, such as interpreters, take reasonable steps to (1) avoid delegating such work to persons who have a multiple relationship with those being served that would likely lead to exploitation or loss of objectivity; (2) authorize only those responsibilities that such persons can be expected to perform competently on the basis of their education, training, or experience, either independently or with the level of supervision being provided; and (3) see that such persons perform these services competently. (See also Standards 2.02, Providing Services in Emergencies; 3.05, Multiple Relationships; 4.01, Maintaining Confidentiality; 9.01, Bases for Assessments; 9.02, Use of Assessments; 9.03, Informed Consent in Assessments; and 9.07, Assessment by Unqualified Persons.)
Section 3 states:
3. Human Relations
3.04 Avoiding Harm
Psychologists take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, organizational clients, and others with whom they work, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable.
3.08 Exploitative Relationships
Psychologists do not exploit persons over whom they have supervisory, evaluative, or other authority such as clients/patients, students, supervisees, research participants, and employees. (See also Standards 3.05, Multiple Relationships; 6.04, Fees and Financial Arrangements; 6.05, Barter With Clients/Patients; 7.07, Sexual Relationships With Students and Supervisees; 10.05, Sexual Intimacies With Current Therapy Clients/Patients; 10.06, Sexual Intimacies With Relatives or Significant Others of Current Therapy Clients/Patients; 10.07, Therapy With Former Sexual Partners; and 10.08, Sexual Intimacies With Former Therapy Clients/Patients.)
Section 7 states:
7. Education and Training
7.04 Student Disclosure of Personal Information
Psychologists do not require students or supervisees to disclose personal information in course- or program-related activities, either orally or in writing, regarding sexual history, history of abuse and neglect, psychological treatment, and relationships with parents, peers, and spouses or significant others except if (1) the program or training facility has clearly identified this requirement in its admissions and program materials or (2) the information is necessary to evaluate or obtain assistance for students whose personal problems could reasonably be judged to be preventing them from performing their training- or professionally related activities in a competent manner or posing a threat to the students or others.
7.06 Assessing Student and Supervisee Performance
(a) In academic and supervisory relationships, psychologists establish a timely and specific process for providing feedback to students and supervisees. Information regarding the process is provided to the student at the beginning of supervision.
(b) Psychologists evaluate students and supervisees on the basis of their actual performance on relevant and established program requirements.
7.07 Sexual Relationships with Students and Supervisees
Psychologists do not engage in sexual relationships with students or supervisees who are in their department, agency, or training center or over whom psychologists have or are likely to have evaluative authority. (See also Standard 3.05, Multiple Relationships.)
Section 8 states:
8. Research and Publication
8.09 Humane Care and Use of Animals in Research
(c) Psychologists ensure that all individuals under their supervision who are using animals have received instruction in research methods and in the care, maintenance, and handling of the species being used, to the extent appropriate to their role. (See also Standard 2.05, Delegation of Work to Others.)
Section 9 states:
9.01 Bases for Assessments
(c) When psychologists conduct a record review or provide consultation or supervision and an individual examination is not warranted or necessary for the opinion, psychologists explain this and the sources of information on which they based their conclusions and recommendations.
Section 10 states:
10.01 Informed Consent to Therapy
(c) When the therapist is a trainee and the legal responsibility for the treatment provided resides with the supervisor, the client/patient, as part of the informed consent procedure, is informed that the therapist is in training and is being supervised and is given the name of the supervisor.
The Definitions section states:
Supervisee. “Supervisee” means any person who functions under the extended authority of the psychologist to provide, or while in training to provide, psychological services.
The Section on Multiple Relationships states:
Definition of multiple relationships. Psychologists recognize that multiple relationships may occur because of the psychologist’s present or previous familial, social, emotional, financial, supervisory, political, administrative or legal relationship with the client or a relevant person associated with or related to the client. Psychologists take reasonable steps to ensure that if such a multiple relationship occurs, it is not exploitative of the client or a relevant person associated with or related to the client.
In the Rules of Conduct (Competence section) it states:
Providing supervision. The psychologist shall exercise appropriate supervision over supervisees, as set forth in the rules and regulations of the Boards.
In the section addressing the Welfare of Supervisees, Research Participants and Students it states:
1. Welfare of supervisees. The psychologist shall not engage in any verbal or physical behavior with supervisees which is seductive, demeaning, harassing or exploitive in any way.
2. Welfare of research participants. The psychologist shall not engage in any verbal or physical behavior with research participants which is seductive, demeaning, harassing or exploitative in any way. The psychologist shall respect the dignity and protect the welfare of his/her research participants and shall comply with all relevant statutes and administrative rules concerning treatment of research participants.
3. Welfare of students. The psychologist shall not engage in any verbal or physical behavior with students which is seductive, demeaning, harassing or exploitative in any way.
1.15 NON-THERAPIST ROLES:
When marriage and family therapists engage in professional roles other than treatment or supervision (including, but not limited to, managed care utilization review, consultation, coaching, adoption service, or behavior analysis), they act solely within that role and clarify, when necessary to avoid confusion with consumers and employers, how that role is distinguished from the practice of marriage and family therapy.
Marriage and family therapists take appropriate steps to ensure, insofar as possible, that the confidentiality of patients is maintained by their employees, supervisees, assistants, and volunteers.
3.5 STAYING CURRENT:
Marriage and family therapists remain abreast of developments in their field through educational activities or clinical experiences. Marriage and family therapists, when acting as teachers, supervisors, and researchers, stay abreast of changes in the field, maintain relevant standards of scholarship, and present accurate information.
3.8 HARASSMENT OR EXPLOITATION:
Marriage and family therapists do not engage in sexual or other harassment or exploitation of patients, students, supervisees, employees, or colleagues.
3.9 SCOPE OF COMPETENCE: Marriage and family therapists do not assess, test, diagnose, treat, or advise on problems beyond the level of their competence as determined by their education, training, and experience. While developing new areas of practice, marriage and family therapists take steps to ensure the competence of their work through education, training, consultation, and/or supervision.
4. RESPONSIBILITY TO STUDENTS AND SUPERVISEES
Marriage and family therapists do not exploit the trust and dependency of students and supervisees.
4.1 DUAL RELATIONSHIPS: Marriage and family therapists are aware of their influential position with respect to students and supervisees, and they avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of such persons. Marriage and family therapists therefore avoid dual relationships that are reasonably likely to impair professional judgment or lead to exploitation. Provision of therapy to students or supervisees is unethical. Provision of marriage and family therapy supervision to clients is unethical. Sexual intercourse, sexual contact or sexual intimacy and/or harassment of any kind with students or supervisees is unethical. Other acts which could result in unethical dual relationships include, but are not limited to, borrowing money from a supervisee, engaging in a business venture with a supervisee, or engaging in a close personal relationship with a supervisee. Such acts with a supervisee’s spouse, partner or family member may also be considered unethical dual relationships.
4.2 COMPETENCE OF SUPERVISEES: Marriage and family therapists do not permit students, employees, or supervisees to perform or to hold themselves out as competent to perform professional services beyond their training, level of experience, competence, or unlicensed status.
4.3 MAINTAINING SKILLS OF SUPERVISORS: Marriage and family therapists who act as supervisors are responsible for maintaining the quality of their supervision skills and obtaining consultation or supervision for their work as supervisors whenever appropriate.
4.4 KNOWLEDGE OF SUPERVISORS: Supervisors and educators are knowledgeable about supervision, relevant laws and regulations, and the practice of marriage and family therapy. Supervisors and educators are knowledgeable about and abide by the laws and regulations governing the conduct of supervisors and supervisees.
4.5 CHANGES IN LAWS AND ETHICS: Supervisors and supervisees are aware of and stay abreast of changes in professional and ethical standards and legal requirements, and supervisors ensure that their supervisees are aware of professional and ethical standards and legal responsibilities.
4.6 CULTURAL DIVERSITY: Supervisors and educators are aware of and address the role that culture and diversity issues play in the supervisory relationship, including, but not limited to, evaluating, terminating, disciplining, or making decisions regarding supervisees or students.
4.7 POLICIES AND PROCEDURES: Supervisors and educators create policies and procedures that are clear and that are disclosed to supervisees and students at the commencement of supervision or education.
4.8 PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS: Supervisors and educators provide supervisees with periodic performance appraisals and evaluative feedback throughout the supervisory relationship and identify and address the limitations of supervisees and students that might impede their performance.
4.9 BUSINESS PRACTICES: Supervisors follow lawful business practices and employer policies when employing and/or supervising interns, trainees, applicants, and associates.
4.10 PERFORMANCE ASSISTANCE: Supervisors and educators guide supervisees and students in securing assistance when needed for the supervisee to maintain or improve performance, such as personal psychotherapy, additional education, training, or consultation.
4.11 DISMISSAL: Supervisors shall document their decisions to dismiss supervisees.
4.12 REVIEW OF TRAINEE AGREEMENTS: Supervisors are aware of and review any trainee agreements with qualified educational institutions.
4.13 PATIENTS ARE PATIENTS OF EMPLOYER: Supervisees understand that the patients seen by them are the patients of their employers.
4.14 KNOWLEDGE OF LAWS AND REGULATIONS: Supervisees have a responsibility to be knowledgeable about relevant laws and regulations pertaining to the license and practice of marriage and family therapy.
4.15 MAINTAIN REGISTRATIONS:Supervisees maintain registrations when required by law and/or regulation and function within this limited role as permitted by the licensing law and/or regulations.
A. Professional Responsibility
A4. Supervision and Consultation
Counsellors take reasonable steps to obtain supervision and/or consultation with respect to their counselling practices and, particularly, with respect to doubts or uncertainties which may arise during their professional work. (See also B10, C4, C7)
Section D – Evaluation and Assessment
D4. Administrative and Supervisory Conditions
Counsellors ensure that evaluation and assessment instruments and procedures are administered and supervised under established conditions consistent with professional standards. They note any departures from standard conditions and any unusual behaviour or irregularities which may affect the interpretation of results.
Section F- Counsellor Education, Training and Supervision
F1. General Responsibility
Counsellors who are responsible for counsellor education, training and supervision adhere to current CCPA guidelines and standards with respect to such activities and conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the CCPA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Counsellors.
F2. Boundaries of Competence
Counsellors who conduct counsellor education, training and supervision have the necessary knowledge and skills to do so, and limit their involvement to such competencies.
F3. Ethical Orientation
Counsellors who are responsible for counsellor education, training and supervision have an obligation to make their students, trainees, and supervisees aware of the ethical responsibilities as expressed in the CCPA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Counsellors.
F4. Clarification of Roles and Responsibilities
Counsellors who engage in counselling supervision of students or trainees take responsibility for clarifying their respective roles and obligations.
F5. Welfare of Clients
Counsellors who engage in counselling supervision of students or trainees take steps to ensure the welfare of clients during the supervised practice period, and intervene, when necessary, to ensure that this obligation is met.
F6. Program Orientation
Counsellors responsible for counsellor education programs and training activities take responsibility to orient prospective Students and trainees to all core elements of such programs and activities, including to a clear policy with respect to all supervised practice components, both those simulated and real.
F7. Relational Boundaries
Counsellors who work as counsellor educators, trainers, and supervisors establish relationships with their students, trainees and supervisees such that appropriate relational boundaries are clarified and maintained, and dual relationships avoided.
F8. Obligation to Inform
Counsellors who work as counsellor educators, trainers, and supervisors take steps to inform students, trainees, and supervisees, at the beginning of activities associated with these roles, of all reasonably foreseeable circumstances under which confidentiality may be breached during such activities.
F9. Self-Development and Self-Awareness
Counsellors who work as counsellor educators, trainers and supervisors, encourage and facilitate the self-development and self-awareness of students, trainees and supervisees, so that they learn to integrate their professional practice and personal insight.
F10. Dealing with Personal Issues
Counsellors responsible for counsellor education, training, and supervision recognize when such activities evoke significant personal issues for students, trainees, and supervisees and refer to other sources when necessary to avoid counselling those for whom they hold administrative or evaluative responsibility.
F11. Self-Growth Activities
Counsellors who work as counsellor educators, trainers, and supervisors, ensure that any professional experiences which require self-disclosure and engagement in self-growth activities are managed in a manner consistent with the principles of informed consent, confidentiality, and safeguarding against any harmful effects.
Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists, Third Edition
The Preamble & Introduction state:
This Code articulates ethical principles, values, and standards to guide all members of the Canadian Psychological Association, whether scientists, practitioners, or scientist practitioners, or whether acting in a research, direct service, teaching, student, trainee, administrative, management, employer, employee, supervisory, consultative, peer review, editorial, expert witness, social policy, or any other role related to the discipline of psychology.
Definition of Terms
For the purposes of this Code:
d) “Others” means any persons with whom psychologists come in contact in the course of their work. This may include, but is not limited to: clients seeking help with individual, family, organizational, industrial, or community issues; research participants; employees; students; trainees; supervisees; colleagues; employers; third party payers; and, members of the general public.
i) The “discipline of psychology” refers to the scientific and applied methods and knowledge of psychology, and to the structures and procedures used by its members for conducting their work in relationship to society, to members of the public, to students or trainees, and to each other.
Principle I states:
Principle I: Respect for the Dignity of Persons
In the course of their work as scientists, practitioners, or scientist-practitioners, psychologists come into contact with many different individuals and groups, including: research participants; clients seeking help with individual, family, organizational, industrial, or community issues; students; trainees; supervisees; employees; business partners; business competitors; colleagues; employers; third party payers; and, the general public.
In these contacts, psychologists accept as fundamental the principle of respect for the dignity of persons; that is, the belief that each person should be treated primarily as a person or an end in him/herself, not as an object or a means to an end. In so doing, psychologists acknowledge that all persons have a right to have their innate worth as human beings appreciated and that this worth is not dependent upon their culture, nationality, ethnicity, colour, race, religion, sex, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities, age, socio-economic status, or any other preference or personal characteristic, condition, or status.
Although psychologists have a responsibility to respect the dignity of all persons with whom they come in contact in their role as psychologists, the nature of their contract with society demands that their greatest responsibility be to those persons in the most vulnerable position. Normally, persons directly receiving or involved in the psychologist’s activities are in such a position (e.g., research participants, clients, students). This responsibility is almost always greater than their responsibility to those indirectly involved (e.g., employers, third party payers, the general public).
Adherence to the concept of moral rights is an essential component of respect for the dignity of persons. Rights to privacy, self-determination, personal liberty, and natural justice are of particular importance to psychologists, and they have a responsibility to protect and promote these rights in all of their activities. As such, psychologists have a responsibility to develop and follow procedures for informed consent, confidentiality, fair treatment, and due process that are consistent with those rights.
As individual rights exist within the context of the rights of others and of responsible caring (see Principle II), there might be circumstances in which the possibility of serious detrimental consequences to themselves or others, a diminished capacity to be autonomous, or a court order, would disallow some aspects of the rights to privacy, self-determination, and personal liberty. Indeed, such circumstances might be serious enough to create a duty to warn or protect others (see Standards I.45 and II.39).
However, psychologists still have a responsibility to respect the rights of the person(s) involved to the greatest extent possible under the circumstances, and to do what is necessary and reasonable to reduce the need for future disallowances.
Psychologists recognize that, although all persons possess moral rights, the manner in which such rights are promoted, protected, and exercised varies across communities and cultures. For instance, definitions of what is considered private vary, as does the role of families and other community members in personal decision making. In their work, psychologists acknowledge and respect such differences, while guarding against clear violations of moral rights.
In addition, psychologists recognize that as individual, family, group, or community vulnerabilities increase, or as the power of persons to control their environment or their lives decreases, psychologists have an increasing responsibility to seek ethical advice and to establish safeguards to protect the rights of the persons involved. For this reason, psychologists consider it their responsibility to increase safeguards to protect and promote the rights of persons involved in their activities proportionate to the degree of dependency and the lack of voluntary initiation. For example, this would mean that there would be more safeguards to protect and promote the rights of fully dependent persons than partially dependent persons, and more safeguards for partially dependent than independent persons.Respect for the dignity of persons also includes the concept of distributive justice. With respect to psychologists, this concept implies that all persons are entitled to benefit equally from the contributions of psychology and to equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being conducted by psychologists, regardless of the person’s characteristics, condition, or status. Although individual psychologists might specialize and direct their activities to particular populations, or might decline to engage in activities based on the limits of their competence or acknowledgment of problems in some relationships, psychologists must not exclude persons on a capricious or unjustly discriminatory basis.
By virtue of the social contract that the discipline has with society, psychologists have a higher duty of care to members of society than the general duty of care all members of society have to each other.
However, psychologists are entitled to protect themselves from serious violations of their own moral rights (e.g., privacy, personal liberty) in carrying out their work as psychologists.
In adhering to the Principle of Respect for the Dignity of Persons, psychologists would:I.8 Respect the right of research participants, clients, employees, supervisees, students, trainees, and others to safeguard their own dignity.
I.40 Respect the right of research participants, employees, supervisees, students, and trainees to reasonable personal privacy.
Confidentiality I.43 Be careful not to relay information about colleagues, colleagues’ clients, research participants, employees, supervisees, students, trainees, and members of organizations, gained in the process of their activities as psychologists, that the psychologist has reason to believe is considered confidential by those persons, except as required or justified by law. (Also see Standards IV.17 and IV.18.)
I.47 Assume overall responsibility for the scientific and professional activities of their assistants, employees, students, supervisees, and trainees with regard to Respect for the Dignity of Persons, all of whom, however, incur similar obligations.
Principle II states:
Principle II: Responsible Caring Values Statement
A basic ethical expectation of any discipline is that its activities will benefit members of society or, at least, do no harm. Therefore, psychologists demonstrate an active concern for the welfare of any individual, family, group, or community with whom they relate in their role as psychologists. This concern includes both those directly involved and those indirectly involved in their activities. However, as with Principle I, psychologists’ greatest responsibility is to protect the welfare of those in the most vulnerable position. Normally, persons directly involved in their activities (e.g., research participants, clients, students) are in such a position. Psychologists’ responsibility to those indirectly involved (e.g., employers, third party payers, the general public) normally is secondary.
As persons usually consider their own welfare in their personal decision making, obtaining informed consent (see Principle I) is one of the best methods for ensuring that their welfare will be protected.
However, it is only when such consent is combined with the responsible caring of the psychologist that there is considerable ethical protection of the welfare of the person(s) involved.
Responsible caring leads psychologists to take care to discern the potential harm and benefits involved, to predict the likelihood of their occurrence, to proceed only if the potential benefits outweigh the potential harms, to develop and use methods that will minimize harms and maximize benefits, and to take responsibility for correcting clearly harmful effects that have occurred as a direct result of their research, teaching, practice, or business activities.
In order to carry out these steps, psychologists recognize the need for competence and self-knowledge. They consider incompetent action to be unethical per se, as it is unlikely to be of benefit and likely to be harmful. They engage only in those activities in which they have competence or for which they are receiving supervision, and they perform their activities as competently as possible. They acquire, contribute to, and use the existing knowledge most relevant to the best interests of those concerned.
In adhering to the Principle of Responsible Caring, psychologists would:General caring II.1 Protect and promote the welfare of clients, research participants, employees, supervisees, students, trainees, colleagues, and others.
II.2 Avoid doing harm to clients, research participants, employees, supervisees, students, trainees, colleagues, and others.
Competence and selfknowledge II.6 Offer or carry out (without supervision) only those activities for which they have established their competence to carry them out to the benefit of others.
II.25 Facilitate the professional and scientific development of their employees, supervisees, students, and trainees by ensuring that these persons understand the values and ethical prescriptions of the discipline, and by providing or arranging for adequate working conditions, timely evaluations, and constructive consultation and experience opportunities.
II.28 Not encourage or engage in sexual intimacy with students or trainees with whom the psychologist has an evaluative or other relationship of direct authority. (Also see Standard III.31.)
II.41 Act also to stop or offset the consequences of harmful activities carried out by another psychologist or member of another discipline, when the harm is not serious or the activities appear to be primarily a lack of sensitivity, knowledge, or experience, and when the activities have come to their attention outside of a confidential client relationship between themselves and the psychologist or member of another discipline. This may include talking informally with the psychologist or member of the other discipline, obtaining objective information and, if possible and relevant, the assurance that the harm will discontinue and be corrected. If in a vulnerable position (e.g., employee, trainee) with respect to the other psychologist or member of the other discipline, it may include asking persons in less vulnerable positions to participate in the meeting(s).
II.50 Assume overall responsibility for the scientific and professional activities of their assistants, employees, supervisees, students, and trainees with regard to the Principle of Responsible Caring, all of whom, however, incur similar obligations.
In adhering to the Principle of Integrity in Relationships, psychologists would:
Accuracy/honesty III.22 Make no attempt to conceal the status of a trainee and, if a traineeis providing direct client service, ensure that the client is informed of that fact.
III.31 Not exploit any relationship established as a psychologist to further personal, political, or business interests at the expense of the best interests of their clients, research participants, students, employers, or others. This includes, but is not limited to: soliciting clients of one’s employing agency for private practice; taking advantage of trust or dependency to encourage or engage in sexual intimacies (e.g., with clients not included in Standard II.27, with clients’ partners or relatives, with students or trainees not included in Standard II.28, or with research participants); taking advantage of trust or dependency to frighten clients into receiving services; misappropriating students’ ideas, research or work; using the resources of one’s employing institution for purposes not agreed to; giving or receiving kickbacks or bonuses for referrals; seeking or accepting loans or investments from clients; and, prejudicing others against a colleague for reasons of personal gain.
III.33 Avoid dual or multiple relationships (e.g.. with clients, research participants, employees, supervisees, students, or trainees) and other situations that might present a conflict of interest or that might reduce their ability to be objective and unbiased in their determinations of what might be in the best interests of others.
III.34 Manage dual or multiple relationships that are unavoidable due to cultural norms or other circumstances in such a manner that bias, lack of objectivity, and risk of exploitation are minimized. This might include obtaining ongoing supervision or consultation for the duration of the dual or multiple relationship, or involving a thirdparty in obtaining consent (e.g., approaching a client or employee about becoming a research participant).
III.40 Assume overall responsibility for the scientific and professional activities of their assistants, employees, supervisees, students, and trainees with regard to the Principle of Integrity in Relationships, all of whom, however, incur similar obligations.
Society is used here in the broad sense of a group of persons living as members of one or more human communities, rather than in the limited sense of state or government.
In adhering to the Principle of Responsibility to Society, psychologists would: Development of knowledge IV.31 Assume overall responsibility for the scientific and professional activities of their assistants, employees, supervisees, students, and trainees with regard to the Principle of Responsibility to Society, all of whom, however, incur similar obligations.
NAADAC Code of Ethics
Principle VII: Supervision and Consultation
VII-4 Informed Consent
Informed consent is an integral part of setting up a supervisory relationship. Supervisory informed consent shall include discussion regarding client privacy and confidentiality, etc. Terms of supervisory relationship and fees shall be negotiated by supervisor and supervisee, and shall be documented in the supervisory contract.
VII-5 Informed Consent
Supervisees shall provide clients with a written professional disclosure statement. Supervisees shall inform clients about how the supervision process influences the limits of confidentiality. Supervisees shall inform clients about who shall have access to their clinical records, and when and how these records will be stored, transmitted, or otherwise reviewed.
Clinical Supervisors shall not disclose confidential information in teaching or supervision without the expressed written consent of a client, and only when appropriate steps have been taken to protect client’s identity and confidentiality.
Supervisees, interns and students, shall disclose to clients their status as students and supervisees, and shall provide an explanation as to how their status affects the limits of confidentiality. Supervisees, interns and students shall disclose to clients contact information for the Clinical Supervisor. Informed consent is obtained in writing, and includes the client’s right to refuse to be treated by a person-in-training.
Clinical Supervisors, using technology in supervision (e-supervision), shall be competent in the use of specific technologies. Supervisors shall dialogue with the supervisee about the risks and benefits of using e-supervision. Supervisors shall determine how to utilize specific protections (i.e., encryption) necessary for protecting the confidentiality of information transmitted through any electronic means. Supervisors and supervisees shall recognize that confidentiality is not guaranteed when using technology as a communication and delivery platform.
3. SOCIAL WORKERS’ ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES IN PRACTICE SETTINGS
3.01 Supervision and Consultation
(a) Social workers who provide supervision or consultation should have the necessary knowledge and skill to supervise or consult appropriately and should do so only within their areas of knowledge and competence.
(b) Social workers who provide supervision or consultation are responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries.
(c) Social workers should not engage in any dual or multiple relationships with supervisees in which there is a risk of exploitation of or potential harm to the supervisee, including dual relationships that may arise while using social networking sites or other electronic media.
(d) Social workers who provide supervision should evaluate supervisees’ performance in a manner that is fair and respectful.
3.02 Education and Training
(a) Social workers who function as educators, field instructors for students, or trainers should provide instruction only within their areas of knowledge and competence and should provide instruction based on the most current information and knowledge available in the profession.>
(b) Social workers who function as educators or field instructors for students should evaluate students’ performance in a manner that is fair and respectful.
(c) Social workers who function as educators or field instructors for students should take reasonable steps to ensure that clients are routinely informed when services are being provided by students.
(d) Social workers who function as educators or field instructors for students should not engage in any dual or multiple relationships with students in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the student. Social work educators and field instructors are responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries.
3.03 Performance Evaluation
Social workers who have responsibility for evaluating the performance of others should fulfill such responsibility in a fair and considerate manner and on the basis of clearly stated criteria.
NCCs take appropriate action to prevent harm.
11. NCCs who act as counselor educators, field placement or clinical supervisors shall not engage in sexual or romantic intimacy with current students or supervisees. They shall not engage in any form of sexual or romantic intimacy with former students or supervisees for two years from the date of last supervision contact.
12. NCCs who provide clinical supervision services shall keep accurate records of supervision goals and progress and consider all information gained in supervision as confidential except to prevent clear, imminent danger to the client or others or when legally required to do so by a court or government agency order. In cases in which the supervisor receives a court or governmental agency order requiring the production of supervision records, the NCC shall make reasonable attempts to promptly notify the supervisee. In cases in which the supervisee is a student of a counselor education program, the supervisor shall release supervision records consistent with the terms of the arrangement with the counselor education program.
13. NCCs who provide clinical supervision services shall intervene in situations where supervisees are impaired or incompetent and thus place client(s) at risk.
14. NCCs who provide clinical supervision services shall not have multiple relationships with supervisees that may interfere with supervisors’ professional judgment or exploit supervisees. Supervisors shall not supervise relatives.
24. NCCs shall seek supervision and consultation with other qualified professionals when unsure about client treatment or professional practice responsibilities.
28. CCs who provide supervision services shall present supervisees with feedback according to a schedule with identified evaluation dates as well as on appropriate occasions throughout the process.
29. NCCs shall promote the welfare of supervisees by discussing ethical practices relating to supervision as well as the legal standards that regulate the practice of counseling.
30. NCCs who provide supervision services shall establish with their supervisees procedures for responding to crisis situations or expressing concerns regarding the supervision process. This information shall be provided in verbal and written formats.
45. NCCs who provide supervision services shall present accurate written information to supervisees regarding the NCC’s credentials as well as information regarding the process of supervision. This information shall include any conditions of supervision, supervision goals, case management procedures, confidentiality and its limitations, appraisal methods and timing of evaluations.
64. NCCs who provide supervision services to supervisee’s who have more than one supervisor (e.g., field placement and university) shall exchange contact information and communicate regularly about the shared supervisee’s performance.
84. NCCs shall carefully consider ethical implications, including confidentiality and multiple relationships, prior to conducting research with students, supervisees or clients. NCCs shall not convey that participation is required or will otherwise negatively affect academic standing, supervision or counseling services.
Section 3 states:
3.3 DUAL RELATIONSHIPS
Master’s Psychologists shall exercise all possible precautions regarding “dual-relations” of any kind, and should avoid social contact with individuals such as clients, students, and supervisees in order to avoid actual or apparent exploitation. When, due to unanticipated circumstances, the provider discovers that a dual-relationship[s] exist, the provider exercises all possible care within the guidelines set forth in these ethical principles.
Master’s Psychologists should also abstain from entering into dual-relationships within business or research relationships, which might violate these ethical principles or establish an unethical atmosphere.
Section 5 states:
5.2 REFERRALS and CONSULTATIONS
Master’s Psychologists shall, when appropriate, refer clients to applicable supplementary specialists or other medical, legal, social, educational, etc. providers of requisite assessment and/or treatment techniques and services. When required, the Master’s Psychologists shall consult and collaborate with professionals from various fields, or use supervisory support from appropriate professional[s], in planning the best program of services to furnish clients with the best alternative[s] of qualified treatment.
PRINCIPLE 10: SUPERVISION
The Master’s Psychologists shall maintain proper supervision of their employees, subordinates, supervisees, and research assistants in the delegation of duties and shall make every ethically appropriate effort to ensure that only those individuals competent to perform such services do so.
13. A Note on Supervision and Dual Relationships
A dual relationship between a supervisor and supervisee exists when the supervisor has an additional role/s or relationship/s with the supervisee. Examples are when the supervisor is also a teacher, therapist or fellow congregational member of the supervisee. While sexual dual relationships are always unethical, non-sexual dual relationships are not always unethical. Some dual relationships, such as in rural, military or small communities, are unavoidable. Due to the fact that all forms of boundary crossing, including non-sexual touch, have often been mistakenly associated with dual relationships, following is a detailed description of the sections of professional organizations’ codes of ethics on dual relationships.
Supervision as a mandatory dual relationships: Supervision relationships present a more complex situation when it comes to the analysis of the ethics, as related to dual relationships. The supervisor-supervisee relationship, like the duty to warn or child reporting law, presents an inherent duality. These situations introduce legally mandated duality. The dual relationship occurs, in such cases, when the therapist has a therapeutic relationship with their patient and, at the same time, has a legal and ethical responsibility to other people who are not patients. In the cases of Psychological Assistants and MFT or LCSW interns, the law mandates a complex dual relationship where the therapist has a supervisory obligation to the supervisee or intern and has a clinical, ethical and legal responsibility to the clients seen by the psychological assistant, MFT intern or LCSW intern. Even though the clients are being seen by the supervisees, from a legal point of view they are the supervisors clients. The California Business and Professional Codes 2910/11/13 and 1387, for example, cover the regulations for psychological assistants and 4980 discusses the intern status of MFTs. The codes clearly mandate the supervisor’s responsibility for the welfare of the supervisee’s clients, thus creating inevitable dual relationships, as described above.
For a further analysis of this issue, please go to Law Imposed Dual Relationships.
Details of the professional organizations’ codes of ethics on dual relationships