Report of the ACA Ethics Committee: 2002-2003

Article excerpt

Since 1991, the American Counseling Association (ACA) Ethics Committee has submitted an annual report of its work to the Journal of Counseling & Development to meet its charge to the membership. This annual report fulfills part of the educational role of the Ethics Committee. It summarizes the activities of the ACA Ethics Committee during the period of July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2003. The Ethics Committee met on 11 separate occasions to address its goals during this period. This report provides an overview of the mission of the Ethics Committee, its membership, summary data of inquiries received and complaints filed, as well as other significant Ethics Committee activities.

ETHICS COMMITTEE MISSION

The Ethics Committee serves two primary roles: the education of membership and adjudication of allegations of unethical practice of ACA members. Educational activities can include presentations, articles, and interpretations of the ACA (1995) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and ACA (1999) Ethical Standards for Internet On-Line Counseling.

The adjudicative function involves monitoring and issuing sanctions in cases in which ACA members have been determined to have practiced in a manner contrary to the ACA (1995) Code of Ethics and standards of Practice and ACA (1999) Ethical Standards for Internet On-Line Counseling. The Ethics Committee uses the Policies and Procedures for Processing Complaints of Ethical Violations (ACA, 1997), which provides concise guidelines for handling formal complaints against ACA members.

The 2002-2003 annual report addresses specific activities of the Ethics Committee related to its charges in each of these areas, as well as committee efforts to monitor and upgrade documents and procedures pertinent to the ACA (1995) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and the Policies and Procedures for Processing Complaints of Ethical Violations (ACA, 1997).

ETHICS COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

The 2002-2003 Ethics Committee comprised six ACA members, five serving 3-year terms and a sixth member completing the 3rd year for an earlier Committee member's resignation. The ACA president-elect appoints two new committee members and a cochair annually, subject to ratification by the ACA Governing Council. Membership on the 2002-2003 Ethics Committee was in compliance with ACA policy designed to promote and preserve multiculturalism and diversity. Members reflected diversity in race, gender, sexual orientation, geography, and professional setting. Members of the 2002-2003 Ethics Committee were Robert M. (Mike) Hubert (senior cochair), Michael M. Kocet (junior cochair), Donald Anderson, Laura W. Kelley, Patricia Stevens, and Vilia Tarvydas. Additional nonvoting members were Gregory P. Wynot (student representative), Jim Whitledge (ACA governing council liaison), and Larry T. Freeman (ethics & professional standards manager, ACA).

At the September 2002 ACA Governing Council meeting, a motion was passed that increased by three the number of members to be appointed by the president-elect to each standing committee (including the Ethics Committee). This action, to be phased in over the next 3 years, coincided with earlier discussions by the 2002-2003 Ethics Committee on Committee restructuring, including expansion of membership. In an effort to ensure effective participation of members assigned to hear cases, the committee has created an adjudication schedule whereby five committee members, selected on a rotating basis, will hear each case.

At the September 2003 ACA Governing Council meeting, an Ethics Committee motion was passed making sweeping changes to the Policies and Procedures for Processing Complaints of Ethical Violations (ACA, 1997). In accordance with the revised policies, the Ethics Committee assumes responsibility for selecting the Committee's cochairs, subject to confirmation by the ACA Governing Council.

Standing Ethics Appeals Panel

The ACA Governing Council (in March 2003) passed a motion to establish a standing ACA Appeals Panel consisting of six members, two appointed annually for 3-year terms. …