Ethics : The NewFrontier
 
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While Every profession has ethical standards and every mental health / substance abuse professional is required to take a course on law and ethics .ethical dilemmas  continue to rear their ugly heads every day in private practices and treatment centers across the country. From violating confidentially laws( leaking to the press celebrity Y is here) , to taking gifts and referral fees for clients, to billing insurance companies wrongfully etc) we continue to struggle with decisions that are often corrupt and not in the client,  the treatment center or societies  best interest. 
 
As addiction professionals, we have ethical responsibilities to our respective professions, to our colleagues, our clients, our employers, to the general public and to broader society as a whole. Ethics simply stated are beliefs about what an individual or group maintain about  what constitutes proper behavior. In essence they are standards which one used to make decisions about behavior.Ethics are not MORALS . Morals derive from the Latin word Mores which translates into customs or values. Morality involves the judgement or evaluation of an ethical system.
 
Ethical issues fall into the following categories:  Confidentiality, Informed Consent, Boundaries, Dual Relationships, Payments , Referral Fees , Organizational Billing Practices and Record Keeping   ( Congress 1999) has developed an easy way of assessing: Examine
 Think, Hypothesize, , Identify and Consult.
 
Using that schema here’s a few ethical dilemmas for you and your teams’ consideration and discussion . Share your discussions .
1. 19 year old girl is your client. Mother is paying for treatment and wants to know what daughter says about her . No consent form is signed.
2. A handsome admissions counselor is your subordinate. You invite him to coffee after a 12 step meeting.
3. A client gives you a $10.00 Starbucks card. What do you so?
4. A client gives  you Court side Lakers tickets. do you keep them?
5. You pay a call center to refer you.
6. You had a bad day. You go to a meeting your client is attending. Do you share?
7. If you bill insurance you can collect 27,000 for treatment . You are licensed as a sober living home. What do you do?
 
Resources 
 
The Ethics of an Addiction Counselor
NAADAC , The Association of Addiction Professionals
NASW Code Of Ethics
NII Code of Ethics
AIS Code of Ethics
APA Ethics Office
Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions

National Board for Certified Counselors; The Practice of Internet Counseling http://www.nbcc.org/assest/ethics/internetcounseling.pdf

 

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