- Center for Ethical Practice - https://centerforethicalpractice.org -

. . . “. . . but everybody does it !” Following the Crowd vs. Creating Your Own Ethical Policies

Whose advice are you hearing as you develop your policies for clinical practice?  Who are your ethical models for deciding how to handle such important things as billing for third party reimbursement, clinical boundaries, or informed consent?  What policies protect your clients in the “dual/multiple relationships” of couple/family cases?  What is your policy about disclosing information if you don’t have the client’s explicit consent?


I. What Are Your Problematic Practice Areas?

A. Intakes & Informed Consent

B. Billing for Third Party Reimbursement

C. Confidentiality

D. “Double Relationships” in Couple & Family Cases

E. Confusing Roles & Rules in Child & Adolescent Counseling + Parents

F. Child Custody Cases – Court Involvement; Ethical & Clinical Issues

G. Practicing Outside Your Area of Competence

H. Termination (including financially-created “premature terminations”)

I. Other

II. What Are Your Sources of Reliable (and Unreliable) Recommendations?

A. Professional Resources

B. Colleague Resources

C. Supervision/Consultation Resources

D. Online Resources

E. Other

III. What Steps Do You Follow in Developing Your Policies?

A. Balancing the Interests

B. Considering the Implications/Consequences

C. Obtaining Ethical, Legal, and/or Clinical Consultation

D. Writing a Clear Draft of Your Policy Statement

IV. Are You Testing Your Proposed Policies For Yourself?

A. Is Your Policy Ethical? –  Testing Your Policy Against Your Ethics Code

B. Is Your Policy Legal? –  Testing Your Policy Against Virginia Law

C. Does This Policy Have Clinical Implications?

D. Are You Comfortable Describing Your Policy to Colleagues? Clients?

E. Do You Need Further Ethical, Legal, Clinical Consultation?   From Whom?

Educational Goals:
1. To list areas of clinical practice most likely to create ethical or legal problems.
2. To name potential sources of reliable guidance in establishing policies in these areas.
3. To plan how to develop ethical policies that match your own preferences and practices.
4. To use a structured approach for testing those policies.