Chapter 21. Code of Conduct
A. The Louisiana Licensed Professional Board of Examiners is dedicated to the enhancement of the worth, dignity, potential and uniqueness of each individual in the state of Louisiana.
B. Specification of a code of conduct enables the Board to clarify to present and future counselors and to those served by counselors the responsibilities held in common by persons practicing mental health counseling.
C. Mental health counseling, as defined in the licensure law, is "assisting an individual or group, through the counseling relationship, to develop an understanding of personal problems, to define goals and to plan actions reflecting his or their interests, abilities, aptitudes, and needs as these are related to personal and social concerns, educational progress, and occupations and careers."
D. The existence of this code of conduct serves to govern the practice of mental health counseling and the professional functioning of Licensed Professional Counselors in the state of Louisiana.
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with R.S. 37:1101-1115.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Promulgated by the Department of Health and Hospitals, Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners, LR 15:622 (August 1989), amended LR 24:438 (March 1998)
§2103 Counseling Relationship
A. Client Welfare
1. Primary Responsibility. The primary responsibility of counselors shall be to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients.
2. Positive Growth and Development. Counselors shall encourage client growth and development in ways that foster the clients' interest and welfare; counselors shall avoid fostering dependent counseling relationships.
3. Counseling Plans. Counselors and their clients shall work jointly in devising integrated, individual counseling plans that offer reasonable promise of success and are consistent with abilities and circumstances of clients. Counselors and clients shall regularly review counseling plans to ensure their continued viability and effectiveness, respecting clients' freedom of choice.
4. Family Involvement. Counselors shall recognize that families are usually important in clients' lives and shall strive to enlist family understanding and involvement as a positive resource, when appropriate.
5. Career and Employment Needs. Counselors shall work with their clients in considering employment in jobs and circumstances that are consistent with the clients' overall abilities, vocational limitations, physical restrictions, general temperament, interest and aptitude patterns, social skills, education, general qualifications, and other relevant characteristics and needs. Counselors shall neither place nor participate in placing clients in positions that will result in damaging the interest and the welfare of clients, employers, or the public.
B. Respecting Diversity
1. Nondiscrimination. Counselors shall not condone or engage in discrimination based on age, color, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, or socioeconomic status.
2. Respecting Differences. Counselors shall actively attempt to understand the diverse cultural backgrounds, of the clients with whom they work. This includes, but is not limited to, learning how the counselor's own cultural/ethnic/racial identity impacts her/his values and beliefs about the counseling process.
C. Client Rights
1. Disclosure to Clients. When counseling is initiated, and throughout the counseling process as necessary, counselors shall inform clients of the purposes, goals, techniques, procedures, limitations, potential risks and benefits of services to be performed, and other pertinent information. Counselors shall take steps to ensure that clients understand and implications of diagnosis, the intended use of tests and reports, fees, and billing arrangements. Clients have the right to expect confidentiality and to be provided with an explanation of its limitations, including supervision and/or treatment team professionals; to obtain clear information about their case records; to participate in the ongoing counseling plans; and to refuse any recommended services and be advised of the consequences of such refusal.
2. Freedom of Choice. Counselors shall offer clients the freedom to choose whether to enter into a counseling relationship and to determine which professional(s) will provide counseling. Restrictions that limit choices of clients shall be fully explained.
3. Inability to Give Consent. When counseling minors or persons unable to give voluntary informed consent, counselors shall act in these clients' best interests.
D. Clients Served By Others
If a client is receiving services from another mental health professional, counselors, with clients consent, shall inform the professional persons already involved and develop clear agreements to avoid confusion and conflict for the client.
E. Personal Needs and Values
1. Personal Needs. In the counseling relationship, counselors shall be aware of the intimacy and responsibilities inherent in the counseling relationship, maintain respect for clients, and shall avoid actions that seek to meet their personal needs at the expense of clients.
2. Personal Values. Counselors shall be aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and how these apply in a diverse society, and shall avoid imposing their values on clients.
F. Dual Relationships
1. Avoid When Possible. Counselors shall be aware of their influential positions with respect to clients, and they shall avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of clients. Counselors shall make every effort to avoid dual relationships with clients that could impair professional judgement or increase the risk of harm to clients. (Examples of such relationships include, but are not limited to, familial, social, financial, business, or close personal relationships with clients.) When a dual relationship cannot be avoided, counselors shall take appropriate professional precautions such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs.
2. Superior/Subordinate Relationships. Counselors shall not accept as clients superiors or subordinates with whom they have administrative, supervisory, or evaluative relationships.
G. Sexual Intimacies with Clients
1. Current Clients. Counselors shall not have any type of sexual intimacies with clients and shall not counsel persons with whom they have had a sexual relationship.
2. Former Clients. Counselors shall not engage in sexual intimacies with former clients within a minimum of two years after terminating the counseling relationship. Counselors who engage in such relationship after two years following termination shall have the responsibility to thoroughly examine and document that such relations did not have an exploitative nature, based on factors such as duration of counseling, amount of time since counseling, termination circumstances, clients's personal history and mental status, adverse impact on the client, and actions by the counselor suggesting a plan to initiate a sexual relationship with the client after termination.
H. Multiple Clients. When counselors agree to provide counseling services to two or more persons who have a relationship (such as husband and wife, or parents and children), counselors shall clarify at the outset which person or persons are clients and the nature of the relationships they will have with each involved person. If it becomes apparent that counselors may be called upon to perform potentially conflicting roles, they shall clarify, adjust, or withdraw from roles appropriately.
I. Group Work
1. Screening. Counselors shall screen prospective group counseling/therapy participants. To the extent possible, counselors shall select members whose needs and goals are compatible with goals of the group, who will not impede the group process, and whose well-being will not be jeopardized by the group experience.
2. Protecting Clients. In a group setting, counselors shall take reasonable precautions to protect clients from physical or psychological trauma.
J. Fees and Bartering
1. Advance Understanding. Counselors shall clearly explain to clients, prior to entering the counseling relationship, all financial arrangements related to professional services including the use of collection agencies or legal measures for nonpayment.
2. Establishing Fees. In establishing fees for professional counseling services, counselors shall consider the financial status of clients and locality. In the event that the established fee structure is inappropriate for a client, assistance shall be provided in attempting to find comparable services of acceptable cost.
3. Bartering Discouraged. Counselors shall ordinarily refrain from accepting goods or services from clients in return for counseling services because such arrangements create inherent potential for conflicts, exploitation, and distortion of the professional relationship. Counselors may participate in bartering only if the relationship is not exploitive, if the client requests it, if a clear written contract is established, and if such arrangements are an accepted practice among professionals in the community.
4. Pro Bono Service. Counselors shall contribute to society by devoting a portion of their professional activity to services for which there is little or no financial return (pro bono).
K. Termination and Referral
1. Abandoment Prohibited. Counselors shall not abandon or neglect clients in counseling. Counselors shall assist in making appropriate arrangements for the continuation of treatment, when necessary, during interruptions such as vacations, and following termination.
2. Inability to Assist Clients. If counselors determine an inability to be of professional assistance to clients, they shall avoid entering or immediately terminate a counseling relationship. Counselors shall be knowledgeable about referral resources and suggest appropriate alternatives. If clients decline the suggested referral, counselors shall discontinue the relationship.
3. Appropriate Termination. Counselors shall terminate a counseling relationship, securing client agreement when possible, when it is reasonably clear that the client is no longer benefiting, when services are no longer required, when counseling no longer serves the client's needs or interests, when agency or institution limits do not allow provision of further counseling services.
L. Computer Technology
1. Use of Computers. When computer applications are used in counseling services, counselors shall ensure that: (a) the client is intellectually, emotionally, and physically capable of using the computer application; (b) the computer application is appropriate for the needs of the client; (c) the client understands the purpose and operation of the computer applications; and (d) a follow-up of client use of a computer application is provided to correct possible misconceptions, discover inappropriate use, and assess subsequent needs.
2. Explanation of Limitations. Counselors shall ensure that clients are provided information as a part of the counseling relationship that adequately explains the limitations of computer technology.
3. Access to Computer Applications. Counselors shall provide for equal access to computer applications in counseling services.
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with R.S. 37:1101-15.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Promulgated by the Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners, LR 15:622 (August 1989), amended LR 24:438 (March 1998)
A. Right to Privacy
1. Respect for Privacy. Counselors shall respect their clients' right to privacy and avoid illegal and unwarranted disclosures of confidential information.
2. Client Waiver. The right to privacy may be waived by the client or their legally recognized representative.
3. Exceptions. The general requirement that counselors shall keep information confidential does not apply when disclosure is required to prevent clear and imminent danger to the client or others or when legal requirements demand that confidential information be revealed. Counselors shall consult with other professionals when in doubt as to the validity of an exception.
4. Contagious, Fatal Diseases. A counselor who receives information confirming that a client has a disease commonly known to be both communicable and fatal shall be justified in disclosing information to an identifiable third party, who by his or her relationship with the client is at a high risk of contracting the disease. Prior to making a disclosure the counselor shall ascertain that the client has not already informed the third party about his or her disease and that the client is not intending to inform the third party in the immediate future.
5. Court Ordered Disclosure. When court ordered to release confidential information without a client's permission, counselors shall request to the court that the disclosure not be required due to potential harm to the client or counseling relationship.
6. Minimal Disclosure. When circumstances require the disclosure of confidential information, only essential information shall be revealed. To the extent possible, clients are informed before confidential information is disclosed.
7. Explanation of Limitations. When counseling is initiated and throughout the counseling process as necessary, counselors shall inform clients of the limitations of confidentiality and identify foreseeable situations in which confidentiality must be breached.
8. Subordinates. Counselors shall make every effort to ensure that privacy and confidentiality of clients are maintained by subordinates including employees, supervisees, clerical assistants, and volunteers.
9. Treatment Teams. If client treatment will involve a continued review by a treatment team, the client shall be informed of the team's existence and composition.
B. Groups and Families
1. Group Work. In group work, counselors shall clearly define confidentiality and the parameters for the specific group being entered, explain its importance, and discuss the difficulties related to confidentiality involved in group work. The fact that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed shall be clearly communicated to group members.
2. Family Counseling. In family counseling, information about one family member shall not be disclosed to another member without permission. Counselors shall protect the privacy rights of each family member.
C. Minor or Incompetent Clients. When counseling clients who are minors or individuals who are unable to give voluntary, informed consent, parents or guardians shall be included in the counseling process as appropriate. Counselors shall act in the best interests of clients and take measures to safeguard confidentiality.
1. Requirement of Records. Counselors shall maintain records necessary for rendering professional services to their clients and as required by laws, regulations, or agency or institution procedures.
2. Confidentiality of Records. Counselors shall be responsible for securing the safety and confidentiality of any counseling records they create, maintain, transfer, or destroy whether the records are written, taped, computerized, or stored in any other medium.
3. Permission to Record or Observe. Counselors shall obtain permission from clients prior to electronically recording or observing sessions.
4. Client Access. Counselors shall recognize that counseling records are kept for the benefit of clients, and therefore shall provide access to records and copies of records when requested by competent clients, unless the records contain information that may be misleading and detrimental to the client. In situations involving multiple clients, access to records shall be limited to those parts of records that do not include confidential information related to another client.
5. Disclosure or Transfer. Counselors shall obtain written permission from clients to disclose or transfer records to legitimate third parties unless exceptions to confidentiality exist as listed in %2105.A. Steps shall be taken to ensure that receivers of counseling records are sensitive to their confidential nature.
E. Research and Training
1. Data Disguise Required. Use of data derived from counseling relationships for purposes of training, research, or publication shall be confined to content that is disguised to ensure the anonymity of the individuals involved.
2. Agreement for Identification. Identification of a client in a presentation or publication shall be permissible only when the client has reviewed the material and has agreed to its presentation or publication.
1. Respect for Privacy. Information obtained in a consulting relationship shall be discussed for professional purposes only with persons clearly concerned with the case. Written and oral reports shall present data germane to the purposes of the consultation, and every effort shall be made to protect client identity and avoid undue invasion of privacy.
2. Cooperation Agencies. Before sharing information, counselors shall make efforts to ensure that there are defined policies in other agencies serving the counselor's clients that effectively protect the confidentiality of information.
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with R.S. 37:1101-15.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Promulgated by the Department of Health and Hospitals, Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners, LR 15:623 (August 1989), amended LR 24:440 (March 1998).
§2107. Professional Responsibilities
A. Standards Knowledge. Counselors shall have a responsibility to read, understand, and follow the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Practice.
B. Professional Competence
1. Boundaries of Competence. Counselors shall practice only within the boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised experience, state and national professional credentials, and appropriate professional experience. Counselors shall demonstrate a commitment to gain knowledge, personal awareness, sensitivity, and skills pertinent to working with a diverse client population. The Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners shall require their licensees to submit to this board a written statement of area(s) of intended practice along with supporting documentation of qualifications for the respective area(s) in which practice is intended.
2. New Specialty Areas of Practice. Counselors shall practice in specialty areas new to them only after appropriate education, training, and supervised experience. While developing skills in new specialty areas, counselors shall take steps to ensure the competence of their work and to protect others from possible harm. The Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners shall require their licensees to submit to this board a written statement of new area(s) of intended practice along with supporting documentation of qualifications for the respective area(s) in which practice is intended.
3. Qualified for Employment. Counselors shall accept employment only for positions for which they are qualified by education, training, supervised experience, state and national professional credentials, and appropriate professional experience. Counselors shall hire for professional counseling positions only individuals who are qualified and competent.
4. Monitor Effectiveness. Counselors shall continually monitor their effectiveness as professionals and take steps to improve when necessary. Counselors in private practice shall take reasonable steps to seek out peer supervision to evaluate their efficacy as counselors.
5. Ethical Issues Consultation. Counselors shall take reasonable steps to consult with other counselors or related professionals when they have questions regarding their ethical obligations or professional practice.
6. Continuing Education. Counselors shall recognize the need for continuing education to maintain a reasonable level of awareness of current scientific and professional information in their fields of activity. They shall take steps to maintain competence in the skills they use, are open to new procedures, and keep current when the diverse and/or special populations with whom they work.
7. Impairment. Counselors shall refrain from offering or accepting professional services when their physical, mental or emotional problems are likely to harm a client or others. They shall be alert to the signs of impairment, seek assistance for problems, and, if necessary, limit, suspend, or terminate their professional responsibilities.
C. Advertising and Soliciting Clients
1. Accurate Advertising. There are no restrictions on advertising by counselors except those that can be specifically justified to protect the public from deceptive practices. Counselors shall advertise or represent their services to the public by identifying their credentials in an accurate that is not false, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent. Counselors shall only advertise the highest degree earned which is in counseling or a closely related field from a college or university that was accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation at the time the degree was awarded.
2. Testimonials. Counselors who use testimonials shall not solicit them from clients or other persons who, because of their particular circumstances, may be vulnerable to undue influence.
3. Statements by Others. Counselors shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that statements made by others about them or the profession of counseling are accurate.
4. Recruiting Through Employment. Counselors shall not use their places of employment or institutional affiliation to recruit or gain clients, supervisees, or consultees for their private practices.
5. Products and Training Advertisements. Counselors who develop products related to their profession or conduct workshops or training events shall ensure that the advertisements concerning these products or events are accurate and disclose adequate information for consumers to make informed choices.
6. Promoting to Those Served. Counselors shall not use counseling, teaching, training, or supervisory relationships to promote their products or training events in a manner that is deceptive or would exert undue influence on individuals who may be vulnerable. Counselors may adopt textbooks they have authored for instruction purposes.
7. Professional Association Involvement. Counselors shall actively participate in local, state, and national associations that foster the development and improvement of counseling.
1. Credentials Claimed. Counselors shall claim or imply only professional credentials possessed and are responsible for correcting any known misrepresentations of their credentials by others. Professional credentials shall include graduate degrees in counseling or closely related mental health fields, accreditation of graduate programs, national voluntary certifications, government-issued certifications or licenses, ACA professional membership, or any other credential that might indicate to the public specialized knowledge or expertise in counseling.
2. ACA Professional Membership. ACA professional members may announce to the public their membership status. Regular members shall not announce their ACA membership in a manner that might imply they are credentialed counselors.
3. Credential Guidelines. Counselors shall follow the guidelines for use of credentials that have been established by the entities that issue the credentials.
4. Misrepresentation of Credentials. Counselors shall not attribute more to their credentials than the credentials represent, and shall not imply that other counselors are not qualified because they do not possess certain credentials.
5. Doctoral Degrees From Other Fields.
a. Counselors who hold a master's degree in counseling or a closely related mental health field, but hold a doctoral degree from other than counseling or a closely related field shall not use the title, "Dr." in their practices and shall not announce to the public in relation to their practice or status as a counselor that they hold a doctorate.
b. A doctoral degree in counseling or a closely related field is defined as a doctoral degree from a regionally accredited university that shall conform to one of the criteria below:
i. a CACREP accredited doctoral counseling program;
ii. a doctoral counseling program incorporating the work "counseling" or "counselor" it its title;
iii. a doctoral program incorporating a counseling related term it its title (e.g. "Marriage and Family Therapy"); or
iv. a doctoral program in a behavioral science that would augment the counseling skills of a Licensed Professional Counselor.
E. Public Responsibility
1. Nondiscrimination. Counselors shall not discriminate against clients, students, or supervisees in a manner that has a negative impact based on their age, color, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, or for any other reason.
2. Sexual Harassment. Counselors shall not engage in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as sexual solicitation, physical advances, or verbal or nonverbal conduct that is sexual in nature, that occurs in connection with professional activities or roles, and that either: (a) is unwelcome, is offensive, or creates a hostile workplace environment, and counselors know or are told this; or (b) is sufficiently severe or intense to be perceived as harassment to a reasonable person in the context. Sexual harassment can consist of a single intense or severe act or multiple persistent or pervasive acts.
3. Reports to Third Parties. Counselors shall be accurate, honest, and unbiased in reporting their professional activities and judgments to appropriate third parties including courts, health insurance companies, those who are the recipients of evaluation reports, and others.
4. Media Presentations. When counselors provide advice or comment by means of public lectures, demonstrations, radio or television programs, prerecorded tapes, printed articles, mailed material, or other media, they shall take reasonable precautions to ensure that (a) the statements are based on appropriate professional counseling literature and practice; (b) the statements are otherwise consistent with the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Practice; and (c) the recipients of the information are not encouraged to infer that a professional counseling relationship has been established.
5. Unjustified Gains. Counselors shall not use their professional positions to seek or receive unjustified personal gains, sexual favors, unfair advantage, or unearned goods or services.
F. Responsibility to Other Professionals
1. Different Approaches. Counselors shall be respectful of approaches to professional counseling that differ from their own. Counselors shall know and take into account the traditions and practices of other professional groups with which they work.
2. Personal Public Statements. When making personal statements in a public context, counselors shall clarify that they are speaking from their personal perspectives and that they are not speaking on behalf of all counselors or the profession.
3. Clients Served by Others. When counselors learn that their clients are in a professional relationship with another mental health professional, they shall request release from clients to inform the other professionals and strive to establish positive and collaborative professional relationships.
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with R.S. 37:1101-15.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Peomulgated by the Department of Health and Hospitals, Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners, LR 15:622 (August 1989), amended LR 24:441 (March 1998), LR 26:396 (March 2000)
§2109. Relationships with Other Professionals
A. Relationships with Employers and Employees
1. Role Definition. Counselors shall define and describe for their employers and employees the parameters and levels of their professional roles.
2. Agreements. Counselors shall establish working agreements with supervisors, colleagues, and subordinates regarding counseling or clinical relationships, confidentiality, adherence to professional standards, distinction between public and private material, maintenance and dissemination of recorded information, workload, and accountability. Working agreements in each instance shall be specified and made known to those concerned.
3. Negative Conditions. Counselors shall alert their employers to conditions that may be potentially disruptive or damaging to the counselor's professional responsibilities or that may limit their effectiveness.
4. Evaluation. Counselors shall submit regularly to professional review and evaluation by their supervisor or the appropriate representative of the employer.
5. In-Service. Counselors shall be responsible for in-service development of self and staff.
6. Goals. Counselors shall inform their staff of goals and programs.
7. Practices. Counselors shall provide personnel and agency practices that respect and enhance the rights and welfare of each employee and recipient of agency services. Counselors shall strive to maintain the highest levels of professional services.
8. Personnel Selection and Assignment. Counselors shall select competent staff and assign responsibilities compatible with their skills and experiences.
9. Discrimination. Counselors, as either employers or employees, shall not engage in or condone practices that are inhumane, illegal, or unjustifiable (such as considerations based on age, color, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status) in hiring, promotion, or training. 10. Professional Conduct. Counselors shall have a responsibility both to clients and to the agency or institution within which services are performed to maintain high standards of professional conduct.
11. Exploitive Relationships. Counselors shall not engage in exploitive relationships with individuals over whom they have supervisory, evaluative, or instructional control or authority.
12. Employer Policies. The acceptance of employment in an agency or institution implies that counselors shall be in agreement with its general policies and principles. Counselors shall strive to reach agreement with employers as to acceptable standards of conduct that allow for changes in institutional policy conducive to the growth and development of clients.
1. Consultation as an Option. Counselors may choose to consult with any other professionally competent persons about their clients. In choosing consultants, counselors shall avoid placing the consultant in a conflict of interest situation that would preclude the consultant being a proper party to the counselor's efforts to help the client. Should counselors be engaged in a work setting that compromises this consultation standard, they shall consult with other professionals whenever possible to consider justifiable alternatives.
2. Consultant Competency. Counselors shall be reasonably certain that they have or the organization represented has the necessary competencies and resources for giving the kind of consulting services needed and that appropriate referral resources are available.
3. Understanding with Clients. When providing consultation, counselors shall attempt to develop with their clients a clear understanding of problem definition, goals for change, and predicted consequences of interventions selected.
4. Consultant Goals. The Consulting relationship is one in which client adaptability and growth toward self-direction shall be consistently encouraged and cultivated.
C. Fees for Referral
1. Accepting Fees from Agency Clients. Counselors shall refuse a private fee or other remuneration for rendering services to persons who are entitled to such services through the counselor's employing agency or institution. The policies of a particular agency may make explicit provisions for agency clients to receive counseling services from members of its staff in private practice. In such instances, the clients must be informed of other options open to them should they seek private counseling services.
2. Referral Fees. Counselors shall not accept a referral fee from other professionals.
D. Subcontractor Arrangements. When counselors work as subcontractors for counseling services for a third party, they shall have a duty to inform clients of the limitations of confidentiality that the organization may place on counselors in providing counseling services to clients. The limits of such confidentiality ordinarily shall be discussed as part of the intake session.
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with R.S. 37:1101-15.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Promulgated by the Department of Health and Hospitals, Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners, LR 15:625-26 (August 1989), amended LR 24:443 (March 1998).
§2111. Evaluation, Appraisal, and Interpretation
1. Appraisal Techniques. The primary purpose of appraisal (henceforth known as "appraisal") is to provide measures that are objective and interpretable in either comparative or absolute terms. Counselors shall recognize the need to interpret the statements in this section as applying to the whole range of appraisal techniques, including test and nontest data.
Counselors shall recognize their legal parameters in utilizing formalized appraisal techniques and adhere to such.
2. Client Welfare. Counselors shall promote the welfare and best interests of the client in the development, publication and utilization of appraisal techniques. They shall not misuse appraisal results and interpretations and shall take reasonable steps to prevent others from misusing the information these techniques provide. They shall respect the client's right to know the result, the interpretations made, and the bases for their conclusions and recommendations.
B. Competence to Use and Interpret Tests
1. Limits of Competence. Counselors shall recognize the limits of their competence and perform only those testing and appraisal services for which they have been trained and is within RS 37:1101-1115. They shall be familiar with reliability, validity, related standardization, error of measurement, and proper application of any technique utilized. Counselors using computer-based test interpretations shall be trained in the construction being measured and the specific instrument being used prior to using this type of computer application. Counselors shall take reasonable measures to ensure the proper use of formalized appraisal techniques by persons under their supervision.
2. Appropriate Use. Counselors shall be responsible for the appropriate application, scoring, interpretation, and use of appraisal instruments, whether they score and interpret such tests themselves or use computerized or other services.
3. Decisions Based on Results. Counselors shall be responsible for decisions involving individuals or policies that are based on appraisal results have a thorough understanding of formalized measurement technique, including validation criteria, test research, and guidelines for test development and use.
4. Accurate Information. Counselors shall provide accurate information and avoid false claims or misconceptions when making statements about formalized appraisal instruments or techniques.
C. Informed Consent
1. Explanation to Clients. Prior to performing such, counselors shall explain the nature and purposes of a formal appraisal and the specific use of results in language the client (or other legally authorized person on behalf of the client) can understand, unless as explicit exception to this right has been agreed upon in advance. Regardless of whether scoring and interpretation are completed by counselors. or by computer or other outside services, counselors shall take reasonable steps to ensure that appropriate explanations are given to the client.
2. Recipients of Results. The examinee's welfare, explicit understanding, and prior agreement shall determine the recipients of test results. Counselors shall include accurate and appropriate interpretations with any release of individual or group test results.
D. Release of Information to Competent Professionals
1. Misuse of Results. Counselors shall not misuse appraisal results, including test results, and interpretations, and shall take reasonable steps to prevent the misuse of such by others.
2. Release of Raw Data. Counselors shall ordinarily release data (e.g. protocols, counseling or interview notes, or questionnaires) in which the client is identified only with the consent of the client or the client's legal representative. Such data are usually released only to persons recognized by counselors as competent to interpret the data.
E. Test Selection
1. Appropriateness of Instruments. Counselors shall carefully consider the validity, reliability, psychometric limitations, and appropriateness of instruments when selecting tests for use in a given situation or with a particular client.
2. Culturally Diverse Populations. Counselors shall be cautious when selecting tests for culturally diverse populations to avoid inappropriateness of testing that may be outside of socialized behavioral or cognitive patterns.
F. Conditions of Test Administration
1. Administration Conditions. Counselors shll administer tests under the same conditions that were established in their standardization. When tests are not administered under standard conditions or when unusual behavior or irregularities occur during the testing session, those conditions shall be noted in interpretation, and the results may be designated as invalid or of questionable validity.
2. Computer Administration. Counselors shall be responsible for ensuring that administration programs function properly to provide clients with accurate results when a computer or other electronic methods are used for test administration.
3. Unsupervised Test-Taking. Counselors shall not permit unsupervised or inadequately supervised use of tests or appraisals unless the tests or appraisals are designed, intended, and validated for self-administration and/or scoring.
4. Disclosure of Favorable Conditions. Prior to test administration, conditions that produce most favorable test results shall be made known to the examinee.
G. Diversity in Testing Counselors shall be cautious in using appraisal techniques, making evaluations, and interpreting the performance of populations not represented in the norm group on which an instrument was standardized. They shall recognize the effects of age, color, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status on test administration and interpretation and place test results in proper perspective with other relevant factors.
H. Test Scoring and Interpretation
1. Reporting Reservations. In reporting appraisal results, counselors shall indicate any reservations that exist regarding validity or reliability because of the circumstances of the appraisal or the inappropriateness of the norms for the person tested.
2. Research Instruments. Counselors shall exercise caution when interpreting the results of research instruments possessing insufficient technical data to support respondent results. The specific purposes for the use of such instruments shall be stated explicitly to the examinee.
3. Testing Services. Counselors who provide test scoring and test interpretation services to support the appraisal process shall confirm the validity of such interpretations. They shall accurately describe the purpose, norms, validity, reliability, and applications of the procedures and any special qualifications applicable to their use. The public offering of an automated test interpretations service is shall be considered a professional-to-professional consultation. The formal responsibility of the consultant shall be to the consultee, but the ultimate and overriding responsibility shall be to the client.
I. Test Security. Counselors shall maintain the integrity and security of tests and other appraisal techniques consistent with legal and contractual obligations. Counselors shall not appropriate, reproduce, or modify published tests or parts thereof without acknowledgment and permission from the publisher.
J. Obsolete Tests and Outdated Test Results. Counselors shall not use data or test results that are obsolete or outdated for the current purpose. Counselors shall make every effort to prevent the misuse of obsolete measures and test data by others.
K. Test Construction. Counselors shall use established scientific procedures, relevant standards, and current professional knowledge for test design in the development, publication, and utilization of appraisal techniques.
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with R.S. 37:1101-15.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Promulgated by the Department of Health and Hospital, Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners, LR 15:624 (August 1989), amended LA 24:443 (March 1998).
§2113. Teaching, Training, and Supervision.
A. Counselor Educators and Trainers.
1. Educators as Teachers and Practitioners. Counselors who are responsible for developing, implementing, and supervising educational programs shall be skilled as teachers and practitioners. They shall be knowledgeable regarding the ethical, legal, and regulatory aspects of the profession, shall be skilled in applying that knowledge, and shall make students and supervisees aware of their responsibilities. Counselors shall conduct counselor education and training programs in an ethical manner and shall serve as role models for professional behavior. Counselor educators shall make an effort to infuse material related to human diversity into all courses and/or workshops that are designed to promote the development of professional counselors.
2. Relationship Boundaries with Students and Supervisees. Counselors shall clearly define and maintain ethical, professional, and social relationship boundaries with their students and supervisees. They shall be aware of the differential in power that exists and the student's or supervisee's possible incomprehension of that power differential. Counselors shall explain to students and supervisees the potential for the relationship to become exploitive.
3. Sexual Relationships. Counselors shall not engage in sexual relationships with students or supervisees and shall not subject them to sexual harassment.
4. Contributions to Research. Counselors shall give credit to students or supervisees for their contributions to research and scholarly projects. Credit shall be given through coauthorship, acknowledgment, footnote statement, or other appropriate means, in accordance with such contributions.
5. Close Relatives. Counselors shall not accept close relatives as students or supervisees.
6. Supervision Preparations. Counselors who offer clinical supervision services shall be adequately prepared in supervision methods and techniques. Counselors who are doctoral students serving as practicum or internship supervisors to master's level students shall be adequately prepared and supervised by the training program.
7. Responsibility for Services to Clients. Counselors who supervise the counseling services of others shall take reasonable measures to ensure that counseling services provided to clients are professional.
8. Endorsement. Counselors shall not endorse students or supervisees for certification, licensure, employment, or completion of an academic or training program if they believe students or supervisees are not qualified for the endorsement. Counselors shall take reasonable steps to assist students or supervisees who are not qualified for endorsement to become qualified.
B. Counselor Education and Training Programs
1. Orientation. Prior to admission, counselors shall orient prospective students to the counselor education or training program's expectations, including but not limited to the following: (a) the type and level of skill acquisition required for successful completion of the training, (b) subject matter to be covered, (c) basis for evaluation, (d) training components that encourage self-growth or self-disclosure as part of the training process, (e) the type of supervision settings and requirements of the sites for required clinical field experiences, (f) student and supervisee evaluation and dismissal policies and procedures, and (g) up-to-date employment prospects
2. Integration of Study and Practice. Counselors shall establish counselor education and training programs that integrate academic study and supervised practice.
3. Evaluation. Counselors shall clearly state to students and supervisees, in advance of training, the levels of competency expected, appraisal methods, and timing of evaluations for both
didactic and experiential components. Counselors shall provide students and supervisees with periodicperformance appraisal and evaluation feedback throughout the training program.
4. Teaching Ethics. Counselors shall make students and supervisees aware of the ethical responsibilities and standards of the profession and the students' and supervisees' ethical responsibilities to the profession.
5. Peer Relationships. When students or supervisees are assigned to lead counseling groups or provide clinical supervision for their peers, counselors shall take steps to ensure that students and supervisees placed in these roles do not have personal or adverse relationships with peers and that they understand they have the same ethical obligations as counselor educators, trainers, and supervisors. Counselors shall make every effort to ensure that the rights of peers are not compromised when students or supervisees are assigned to lead counseling groups or provide clinical supervision.
6. Varied Theoretical Positions. Counselors shall present varied theoretical positions so that students and supervisees may make comparisons and have opportunities to develop their own positions. Counselors shall provide information concerning the scientific bases of professional practice.
7. Field Placement. Counselors shall develop clear policies within their training program regarding field placement and other clinical experiences. Counselors shall provide clearly stated roles and responsibilities for the student or supervisee, the site supervisor, and the program supervisor. They shall confirm that site supervisors are qualified to provide supervision and are informed of their professional and ethical responsibilities in this role.
8. Dual Relationships as Supervisors. Counselors shall avoid dual relationships such as performing the role of site supervisor and training program supervisor in the student's or supervisee's training program. Counselors shall not accept any form of professional services, fees, commissions, reimbursement, or remuneration from a site for student or supervisee placement.
9. Diversity in Programs. Counselors shall be responsive to their institution's and program's recruitment and retention needs for training program administrators, faculty, and students with diverse backgrounds and special needs.
C. Students and Supervisees
1. Limitations. Counselors, through ongoing evaluation and appraisal, shall be aware of the academic and personal limitations of students and supervisees that might impede performance. Counselors shall assist students and supervisees in securing remedial assistance when needed, and dismiss from the training program supervisees who are unable to provide competent service due to academic or personal limitations. Counselors shall seek professional consultation and document their decision to dismiss or refer students or supervisees for assistance. Counselors shall assure that students and supervisees have recourse to address decisions made, to require them to seek assistance, or to dismiss them.
2. Self-Growth Experience. Counselors shall use professional judgment when designing training experiences conducted by the counselors themselves that require student and supervisee self-growth or self-disclosure. Safeguards shall be provided so that students and supervisees are aware of the ramifications their self-disclosure may have on counselors whose primary role as teacher, trainer, or supervisor requires acting on ethical obligations to the profession. Evaluative components of experiential training experiences shall explicitly delineate predetermined academic standards that are separate and not dependent on the student's level of self-disclosure.
3. Counseling for Students and Supervisees. If students or supervisees request counseling, supervisors or counselor educators shall provide them with acceptable referrals. Supervisors or counselor educators shall not serve as counselor to students or supervisees over whom they hold administrative, teaching, or evaluative roles unless this is a brief role associated with a training experience.
4. Clients of Students and Supervisees. Counselors shall make every effort to ensure that the clients at field placements are aware of the services rendered and the qualifications of the students and supervisees rendering those services. Clients shall receive professional disclosure information and shall be informed of the limits of confidentiality. Client permission shall be obtained in order for the students and supervisees to use any information concerning the counseling relationship in the training process.
5. Standards for Students and Supervisees. Students and supervisees preparing to become counselors shall adhere to the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Practice. Students and supervisees shall have the same obligations to clients as those required of counselors.
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with R.S. 37:1101-15.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Promulgated by the Department of Health and Hospital, Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners, LR 15:626 (August 1989), amended LR 24:445 (March 1998).
§2115. Research and Publication.
A. Research Responsibilities
1. Use of Human Subjects. Counselors shall plan, design, conduct, and report research in a manner consistent with pertinent ethical principles, federal and state laws, host institutional regulations, and scientific standards governing research with human subjects. Counselors shall design and conduct research that reflects cultural sensitivity appropriateness.
2. Deviation from Standard Practices. Counselors shall seek consultation and observe stringent safeguards to protect the rights of research participants when a research problem suggests a deviation from standard acceptable practices.
3. Precautions to Avoid Injury. Counselors who conduct research with human subjects shall be responsible for the subjects' welfare throughout the experiment and shall take reasonable precautions to avoid causing injurious psychological, physical, or social effects to their subjects.
4. Principal Researcher Responsibility. The ultimate responsibility for ethical research practice shall lie with the principal researcher. All others involved in the research activities shall share ethical obligations and full responsibility for their own actions.
5. Minimal Interference. Counselors shall take reasonable precautions to avoid causing disruptions in subjects' lives due to participation in research.
6. Diversity. Counselors shall be sensitive to diversity and research issues with special populations. They shall seek consultation when appropriate.
B. Informed Consent
1. Topics Disclosed. In obtaining informed consent for research, counselors shall use language that is understandable to research participants and that: (a) accurately explains the purpose and procedures to be followed; (b) identifies any procedures that are experimental or relatively untried; (c) describes the attendant discomforts and risks; (d) describes the benefits or changes in individuals or organizations that might be reasonably expected; (e) discloses appropriate alternative procedures that would be advantageous for subjects; (f) offers to answer any inquiries concerning the procedures; (7) describes any limitations on confidentiality; and (g) instructs that subjects are free to withdraw their consent and to discontinue participation in the project at any time.
2. Deception. Counselors shall not conduct research involving deception unless alternative procedures are not feasible and the prospective value of the research justifies the deception. When the methodological requirements of a study necessitate concealment or deception, the investigator shall be required to explain clearly the reasons for this action as soon as possible.
3. Voluntary Participation. Participation in research shall be typically voluntary and without any penalty for refusal to participate. Involuntary participation shall be appropriate only when it can be demonstrated that participation will have no harmful effects on subjects and is essential to the investigation.
4. Confidentiality of Information. Information obtained about research participants during the course of an investigation is confidential. When the possibility exists that others may obtain access to such information, ethical research practice requires that the possibility, together with the plans for protecting confidentiality, shall be explained to participants as a part of the procedure for obtaining informed consent.
5. Persons Incapable of Giving Informed Consent. When a person is incapable of giving informed consent, counselors shall provide an appropriate explanation, obtain agreement for participation and shall obtain appropriate consent from a legally authorized person.
6. Commitments to Participants. Counselors shall take reasonable measures to honor all commitments to research participants.
7. Explanations After Data Collections. After data are collected, counselors shall provide participants with full clarification of the nature of the study to remove any misconceptions. Where scientific or human values justify delaying or withholding information, counselors shall take reasonable measures to avoid causing harm.
8. Agreements to Cooperate. Counselors who agree to cooperate with another individual in research or publication incur an obligation to cooperate as promised in terms of punctuality of performance and with regard to the completeness and accuracy of the information required.
9. Informed Consent for Sponsors. In the pursuit of research, counselors shall give sponsors, institutions, and publication channels the same respect and opportunity for giving informed consent that they accord to individual research participants. Counselors shall be aware of their obligation to future research workers and ensure that host institutions are given feedback information and proper acknowledgment.
C. Reporting Results
1. Information Affecting Outcome. When reporting research results, counselors shall explicitly mention all variables and conditions known to the investigator that may have affected the outcome of a study or the interpretation of data.
2. Accurate Results. Counselors shall plan, conduct, and report research accurately and in a manner that minimizes the possibility that results will be misleading. They shall provide thorough discussions of the limitations of their data and alternative hypotheses. Counselors shall not engage in fraudulent research, distort data, misrepresent data, or deliberately bias their results.
3. Obligation to Report Unfavorable Results. Counselors shall communicate to other counselors the results of any research judged to be of professional value. Results that reflect unfavorably on institutions, programs, services, prevailing opinions, or vested interests shall not withheld.
4. Identity of Subjects. Counselors who supply data, aid in the research of another person, report research results, or make original data available shall take due care to disguise the identity of respective subjects in the absence of specific authorization from the subjects to do otherwise.
5. Replication Studies. Counselors shall obligated to make available sufficient original research data to qualified professionals who may wish to replicate the study.
1. Recognition of Others. When conducting and reporting research, counselors shall be familiar with and give recognition to previous work on the topic, observe copyright laws, and give full credit to those to whom credit is due.
2. Contributors. Counselors shall give credit through joint authorship, acknowledgment, footnote statements, or other appropriate means to those who have contributed significantly to research or concept development in accordance with such contributions. The principal contributor shall be listed first and minor technical or professional contributions shall be acknowledged in notes or introductory statements.
3. Student Research. For an article that is substantially based on a student's dissertation or thesis, the student shall be listed as the principal author.
4. Duplicate Submission. Counselors shall submit manuscripts for consideration to only one journal at a time. Manuscripts that are published in whole or in substantial part in another journal or published work shall not submitted for publication without acknowledgment and permission from the previous publication.
5. Professional Review. Counselors who review material submitted for publication, research, or other scholarly purposes shall respect the confidentiality and proprietary rights of those who submitted it.
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with R.S. 37:1101-15.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Promulgated by the Department of Health and Hospital, Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners, LR 15:625 (August 1989), amended LR 24:446 (March 1998).
§2117. Resolving Ethical Issues
A. Knowledge of Standards. Counselors shall be familiar with the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Practice and other applicable ethics codes from other professional organizations of which they are members, or from certification and licensure bodies. Lack of knowledge or misunderstanding of an ethical responsibility shall not a defense against a charge of unethical conduct.
B. Suspected Violations.
1. Ethical Behavior Expected. Counselors shall expect professional associates to adhere to Code of Ethics. When counselors possess reasonable cause that raises doubts as to whether a counselor is acting in an ethical manner, they shall take appropriate action.
2. Consultation. When uncertain as to whether a particular situation or course of action may be in violation of Code of Ethics, counselors shall consult with other counselors who are knowledgeable about ethics, with colleagues, or with appropriate authorities.
3. Organization Conflicts. If the demands of an organization with which counselors are affiliated pose a conflict with Code of Ethics, counselors shall specify the nature of such conflicts and express to their supervisors or other responsible officials their commitment to Code of Ethics. When possible, counselors shall work toward change within the organization to allow full adherence to Code of Ethics.
4. Informal Resolution. When counselors have reasonable cause to believe that another counselor is violating an ethical standard, they shall attempt to first resolve the issue informally with the other counselor if feasible, providing that such action does not violate confidentiality rights that may be involved.
5. Reporting Suspected Violations. When an informal resolution is not appropriate or feasible, counselors, upon reasonable cause, shall take action such as reporting the suspected ethical violation to state or national ethics committee, unless this action conflicts with confidentiality rights that cannot be resolved.
6. Unwarranted Complaints. Counselors shall not initiate, participate in, or encourage the filing of ethics complaints that are unwarranted or intend to harm a counselor rather than to protect clients or the public.
C. Cooperations with Ethics Committees. Counselors shall assist in the process of enforcing Code of Ethics. Counselors shall cooperate with investigations, proceedings, and requirements of the ACA Ethics Committee or ethics committees of other duly constituted associations or boards having jurisdiction over those charged with a violation. Counselors shall be familiar with the ACA Policies and Procedures and use it as a reference in assisting the enforcement of the Code of Ethics.
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with R.S. 37:1101-15
HISTORICAL NOTE: Promulgated by the Department of Health and Hospitals, Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners, LR 15:622 (August 1989), amended LR 24:447 (March 1998).
A. The following comprises the information that must be available in writing for each client seen by a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Louisiana. Counselors must read and incorporate the Code of Conduct for Professional Counselors in their declaration statement.
1. LPC/Counselor Intern's name, mailing address, and telephone number.
a) include degrees earned and institution(s) attended;
b) give your licensure number, specifying the LPC Board of Examiners including address and telephone number as the grantor of your license.
c) an individual under supervision must refer to him/herself as a Counselor Intern and include the name and address of his/her Board approved supervisor.
3. Counseling Relationship;
a) provide a general statement about the dynamics of the counseling relationship;
b) include general goals for clients.
4. Areas of Expertise:
a) list your areas of expertise such as career counseling, marriage and family counseling, adolescents, etc.
b) list your national certifications in counseling.
5. Fee Scales:
a) list your fees and describe your billing policies;
b) describe your policy on scheduling and breaking appointments;
c) state your policy on insurance payments.
6. Explanation of the Types of Services Offered and Clients Serves:
a) include the theoretical basis and the type of techniques and/or strategies that you use in therapy;
b) specify the modality you use such as group and/or individual therapy;
c) specify the type(s) of clients you serve.
7. Code of Conduct: state that you are required by state law to adhere to a Code of Conduct for your practice which is determined by the Louisiana Licensing Board, and a copy of this Code is available on request.
8. Privileged Communication: describe the rules governing privileged communication and include the limits of confidentiality.
9. Emergency Situations: describe your policy for emergency client situations.
10. Client Responsibilities: list client responsibilities, e.g. clients are expected to follow office procedures for keeping appointments, clients must pay for services at the time of each visit, and clients must (terminate the counseling relationship before being seen by another mental health professional) notify the counselor of any other ongoing professional mental health relationship. If a client is seeing another mental health professional (psychologist, board certified social worker, etc.), then permission must be granted by the first therapist for the second to work with the same client. (See Code of Conduct).
11. Physical Health: Suggest that client have a complete physical examination if he/she has not had one within the past year. Also have client list any medications that he/she may be taking.
12. Potential Counseling Risks: Indicate that as a result of mental health counseling, the client may realize that he/she has additional issues which may not have surfaced prior to the onset of the counseling relationship. The counselor may also indicate possible risk within specific specialty areas (i.e., marriage and family - As one partner changes, additional strain may be placed on the martial relationship if the other partner refuses to work.
13. It is also required that a place be provided for the signatures of the counselor/counselor intern, the client(s), and the counselor intern's supervisor. A general statement indicating that the client has read and understands the declaration statement and the date of the signature must also be included.
B. To practice mental health counseling in Louisiana the Licensed Professional Counselor must have a copy of his/her declaration statement on file in the LPC Board office. A current declaration statement must be attached to all license renewals. The Counselor Intern must include a copy of his/her declaration statement with his/her Registration of Supervision. The Code of Conduct can be duplicated for clients and additional copies are available from the board.
AUTHORITY NOTE: Promulgated in accordance with R.S. 37: 1101-1115.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Promulgated by the Department of Health and Hospitals, Board of Examiners, LR 15:627 (August 1989), amended LR 20:544 (May 1994)