This Code of Ethics (“Code”) outlines the ethical principles and values that guide all members of the Global Association of Certified Pastoral Counselors (“GACPC”), and which informs the public of the standards of ethical conduct for which GACPC members are to be responsible and accountable. It supports the goals and mission of GACPC and its members.
This Code reflects such values as Godliness, integrity, competence, responsibility, and an understanding of and respect for the cultural diversity of society. It is part of a social contract, based on attitudes of mutual respect and trust by which the public supports the autonomy of the profession, and in response, is assured of the commitment of GACPC members to act ethically in the provision of professional services.
This Code is based upon 6 key ethical foundations:
- Nonmaleficence – do no harm (intentional/unintentional; psychological/physical)
- Beneficence – act to benefit others (obligation to make a positive contribution to another’s welfare)
- Autonomy – respect choice (freedom to choose; right to privacy/confidentiality/informed consent)
- Justice – promote the fair treatment of all persons
- Fidelity – faithfulness (keep promises; be loyal and truthful)
- Societal Interest – respecting the need to be responsible to society
These six key ethical foundations are reflected in the following five principles.
- Principle 1: Respectful Relationships
- Principle 2: Professional Practice
- Principle 3: Excellence in Supervisory Relationships & Counseling Education
- Principle 4: Integrity in Research
- Principle 5: Responsibility to the Public and to Society
All GACPC members are responsible to be familiar with this Code and its application to everyday conduct, counseling practice, and in the resolution of ethical dilemmas. Members should endeavour to adhere to the underlying principles and values of this Code, as well as to the relevant laws, regulations, and policies which are applicable to the Christian Counseling profession.
Ethical dilemmas may arise in Counseling practice. The Christian Counselor is responsible to correctly apply the pertinent Code item as a guiding principle for decision-making. In such matters, the Christian Counselor should prayerfully utilize an accepted Ethical Decision-making Model approach.
The following basic steps aid in the approaches to Ethical Decision-making:
- Identification of ethically relevant issues and facts, including pertinent items from this Code.
- Identification of which of the six ethical foundations (above) are applicable in the given situation.
- Development of various courses of Analyses of likely short-term, ongoing, and long-term risks and benefits of each course of action on the individual(s) / group(s) involved or likely to be affected (e.g. client, client’s family, employees, employing institution, students, research participants, colleagues, the profession, society, self).
- Choice of course of action after conscientious application of existing principles, values and standards. (This may involve consultation with colleagues, Ethics Committee, etc)
- Action, with a commitment to assume responsibility for the consequences of the action.
- Evaluation of the results of the course of action.
- Assuming responsibility for the consequences of the action includes correction of negative consequences, if any, or re-engagement in the decision-making process if the ethical issue is not resolved.
This Code is not a static document but will need revisions over time because of the continuing development of ethical knowledge and the emergence of consensus on challenging ethical issues.