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In Modules 1 and 2, you were introduced to the basic minimal standards that govern ethical behavior in clinical practice and in relationships with others as determined by the American Counseling Association (ACA, 2014), the American Mental Health Counseling Association (AMHCA), and the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Additionally, you learned about the ethical decision-making process and the recommended steps to guide clinical mental health counselors in reaching ethical decisions when confronted with ethical dilemmas. Legal issues of an ethical nature in counseling, such as informed consent, were also taught, and case law related to counseling practice and training was taught. For new counselors-in-training, understanding how to apply the code of ethics can be a daunting task. As you prepare for the experiential and field component of your clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) training, it will become an important task. Counselors-in-training are equally responsible for knowing and adhering to counseling codes of ethics as are seasoned professionals. Fortunately, you will have the opportunity to learn more about ethics and counseling in your Professional and Ethical Issues course.

Ethics in counseling is a gray area—it is not black and white as many counselors would like it to be. At some point in your professional counseling career, or perhaps as a practicum student or an intern, you will be faced with an ethical dilemma. As you reflect on the material covered in modules 1 and 2, think about an ethical issue that you might face as a professional counselor. Tasks:

In a minimum of 200 words, respond to the following: Describe an ethical issue you might encounter as a professional counselor in practice. The issue you describe should be relevant to the counseling relationship (Section A of the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics), confidentiality and privacy (Section B of the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics), or professional responsibility (Section C of the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics). Indicate to which section your ethical issue is related (A, B, or C) and clearly explain what makes the issue an ethical counseling issue. Using an ethical decision-making model and information from Section I of the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics, explain the steps you would take to resolve the ethical issue. Explain how what you learned in this module will contribute to your professional growth as a new counselor-in-training. Your discussion should clearly reflect your thoughtful and logical analysis of the information.

Support your rationale and analysis by using at least two resources from professional literature in your response. Professional literature may include peer-reviewed journal articles you can access through the Argosy University online library resources; relevant textbooks; and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (websites ending in .edu or .gov).

Be sure to read all of your classmates’ original posts and respond to more than two of your classmates’ posts. Your responses should be substantive, meaning they should encourage further dialogue and discussion, encourage your classmates to think about other aspects of the topic, compare your response to your classmates’ responses, or ask a relevant question, to better assist you with your understanding. Responses such as “I like/I agree” or “I don’t like/I don’t agree” are not complete enough.

Your discussion posts and all written assignments should reflect graduate-level writing skills and appropriate use of APA style, including in-text citations and references. Submission Details: By the due date assigned, post your responses to the Discussion Area. Through the end of the module, respond to more than two of your classmates’ posts. While responding, critique the ethical dilemmas presented by your classmates and explain how your understanding of the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics supports or refutes your classmates’ processes for resolving the ethical dilemmas.


American Counseling Association. (2014). 2014 ACA code of ethics. Alexandria,VA: Author.

Grading CriteriaMaximum PointsQuality of initial posting, including fulfillment of assignment instructions8Quality of responses to classmates6Frequency of responses to classmates2Reference to supporting readings and other materials2Language and grammar2Total:20 

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