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

Establishing Ethical Relationships With Colleagues

What do our Ethics Codes have to say about relationships with colleagues?   What ethical complications might arise in collegue relationships, whether in consultations, case referrals, or other collaborative situations?   What are our ethical obligations if we believe a colleague’s behavior is putting clients at risk?   How well do our Ethical Standards fit together with Virginia’s laws on these matters?


I. Possibilities for Professional Relationship

Collaboration: Referral; Shared Cases; Co-Therapy; Backup

Consultation: Supervision; Mentoring; Teaching

Consolation: Support

Confrontation: Noting/Reporting Unethical Practices


II. Ethical Standards Related to Colleague Relationships

III. Legal Standards Relevant to Colleague Relationships

IV. Practical Issues That Arise in Colleague Relationships

V. Potential Ethical Complications

In Shared Cases & Referrals

In Consultation (Individual or Group)

In Dual or Professional + Personal Relationships

Colleague + Friend

Colleague + Patient/Therapist

Relative + Supervisor


Educational Goals:
1. Describe your profession’s ethical standards related to relationships with colleagues;
2. Assess the practical implications of upholding those ethical standards
3. Describe your legal responsibilities about colleagues (e.g., peer reporting requirements) and consider their ethical and personal implications in your own colleague relationships.