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CODE OF ETHICS
Principle One: Competence and Integrity
The AASECT member shall accept responsibility for the consequences of his/her acts, by omission or commission, and make reasonable efforts to ensure that all professional services are appropriate and adequate for the consumer.
The member shall bear a heavy social responsibility because society deems the services as representing specialized expertise and because the consumers using the services are vulnerable. The member shall, therefore, be committed to maintaining high standards of scholarship and practice and shall be accountable as an individual to the standards of the profession. At a minimum, the member shall perform any professional service in accord with the prevailing standards of performance in professional activities when measured against generally prevailing peer performance.
The member shall have training in sex education, counseling, therapy, and/or supervision that is in accord with the standards promulgated by AASECT and the laws relevant to the jurisdiction in which the member practices.
The member shall recognize his/her limits of competence and shall communicate them at the earliest possible time and at any time thereafter to the consumer. When the member's level of competence does not afford optimal benefits to the consumer, the member shall, in a timely and efficient manner, recommend referral to better-qualified sources.
The member shall not knowingly permit any consumer to misunderstand the member's competency and shall clarify credentials, training, affiliations, experiences and skills in an honest and accurate manner.
The member shall recognize the necessity and benefit of professional growth by participating in continuing education.
The member shall not enter into association for professional practice with or assist, aid, or promote in any manner the practice of an unqualified or incompetent person which shall include any person whom the member knows or has reason to believe, does not adhere to the standards of AASECT or is in violation of any law. This shall include, but is not limited to, making a referral to an unqualified or incompetent person. The member shall verify the competence and integrity of the person to whom a consumer is referred.
The member shall not willfully make or file any false report record, or information, or induce another person to make or file any false report, record or information.
The member shall not provide any remuneration, regardless of form, to any source for receiving the referral of a consumer for professional services unless the source of the referral maintains continued involvement in the care of the consumer. Conversely, the member shall not receive any remuneration regardless of form from any source for providing the referral of a consumer for professional services unless the member maintains continued involvement in the care of the consumer. Any such financial arrangement must be disclosed to and approved and acknowledged in writing by the consumer.
The member who becomes emotionally, physically or otherwise impaired or disabled to a degree that it impacts on the best interest of the consumer shall, in a timely and efficient manner, make a referral of the consumer to a qualified and appropriate professional source so as to avoid any undue abandonment of the consumer.
Principle Two: Moral, Ethical, and Legal Standards
The AASECT member shall accept that the quality of his/her professional services (are) is dependent upon both personal morality and professional ethics and on the ability to maintain legal standards.
The member shall be aware of and monitor the fact that his/her personal needs may influence judgments and actions in the therapeutic relationship and shall, regardless of experience or training, have a qualified review source such as a supervisor available to assist in safeguarding against unwise or inappropriate judgments and acts.
The member shall not enter into any dual relationship regardless of nature that jeopardizes the well-being of the consumer.
The member shall avoid any action that might violate or diminish the legal and civil rights of the consumer.
The member shall not engage in or condone practices by any source that are inhumane or that result in illegal or unjustifiable action relevant to race, handicap, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion or national origin.
The member shall make only factual, honest, and clearly stated (not misleading) public announcements, statements or communications such as (but not limited to) for advertising or promotional purposes.
The member shall not set forth identification with AASECT such as (but not limited to) membership or certification status in an announcement statement, or communication, whatever the form, that also includes a college or university degree, unless that degree is based on academic merit and is from an appropriately accredited higher education institution.
The member shall act in accord with AASECT ethics, standards and guidelines related to education, counseling, therapy, supervision and research.
The member shall act in accord with the standards and guidelines for the protection of consumers promulgated by other professional associations with which the member is affiliated and the laws of the jurisdiction(s) in which the member provides professional services.
The member shall report any ethical, regulatory, or legal complaint or judgment relevant to their practice filed against the member with this report being submitted in writing within thirty (30) days of knowledge to the Chair of the AASECT Ethics Committee.
Principle Three: Welfare of the Consumer
The AASECT member shall accept that the consumer is in a unique position of vulnerability in respect to services related to sex education, counseling, therapy, research, and supervision, and shall constantly be mindful of the responsibility for protection of the consumer's welfare, rights and best interests and for the rigorous maintenance of the trust implicit in the educational, counseling or therapeutic alliance.
Principle Four: Welfare of Students, Trainees and Others
The AASECT member shall respect the rights and dignity of students, trainees and others (such as employees), maintain high standards of scholarship and preserve academic freedom and responsibility.
Principle Five: Welfare of Research Subjects
The AASECT member shall conduct his/her investigations with respect for the dignity, rights and welfare of the subjects. Research must be ethical and legal at its inception and not justified solely by its intended or achieved outcome.
The AASECT CODE OF ETHICS AND MEMBERSHIP
Recognizing its responsibilities to society and given its own national objectives, the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) has adopted the following Code of Ethics. The Code (1) is a condition for membership; (2) applies to all AASECT members, regardless of their certification or member status: and (3) embraces any activity that directly or indirectly relates to professional identity or training. The Code does not replace or modify the requirements for or purposes of certification as a sex educator, counselor, therapist or Supervisor.
By public policy, AASECT has a duty to promote (and enforce) quality services from and proper conduct/professionalism by its members. Professionalism is a product of society. Professional status is a privilege, not a right earned by holding a degree, certification, or membership. While professional ethics are not law, they are permissive and they establish both aspirational standards and guidelines for professional practice. AASECT accepts that a professional association has a public duty to advocate standards for the services offered by its membership, so as to (ensure) promote both the protection of and benefits to the consumer. Therefore, AASECT promulgates ethical standards that must be honored by its members.
Goals and Objectives
The Code of Ethics is intended to advance the status of sex education counseling, therapy, supervision and research. The Code of Ethics should not be viewed (solely) as disciplinary in intent. The purpose is to provide guidance to AASECT practitioners and to provide an observable code from which society and consumers may derive expected behavior. (The benefits are primarily for the consumer and society, and only secondarily for the practitioner and AASECT.)
Integrity, competence, confidentiality, responsibility and other applicable standards are not always subject to finite definitions, descriptions, prescriptions or proscriptions. Virtually every professional situation requires that the practitioner make judgments as to propriety. Through setting forth suggested standards (rules) of ethical conduct for practice-related conditions, qualities, skills and services, the Code of Ethics is intended to assist AASECT members with such judgments. Each member must exercise self-regulation and satisfy governmental regulatory and legal requirements.
Accountability to AASECT
While ethics do not have the same authority as law, membership in AASECT is predicated upon adherence to the Code of Ethics. That is, members of AASECT, in the conduct of all aspects of their life that relates to their professional work and identity, are expected to honor the Code of Ethics, and to act according to general principles of professional ethical practice that may not be directly dealt with in this Code of Ethics.
The Code of Ethics creates accountability for the member to AASECT. It should be underscored that the Code of Ethics is relevant to justifying membership in AASECT, and is not intended to serve as a standard of care for professional practice in legal proceedings.
Membership in AASECT may be terminated for sufficient cause as outlined in the Bylaws, the Membership Application, and the formal Application for Membership and/or Certification. A prerequisite for initial membership and a requisite for continued membership in AASECT is that each potential member or current member must notify the AASECT Board of Directors in writing of any previous or current legal (civil or criminal), ethical or regulatory (licensing) complaints or judgments, relevant to their practice, and provide any documentation or information pertaining thereto that is requested on behalf of the AASECT Board of Directors. The member shall inform AASECT in writing of any adjudicatory outcome relevant to their practice. Such notification must be done within thirty (30) days of the members' knowledge of the complaint and any request from AASECT for information or documentation must be fulfilled within thirty (30) days. Decisions on all applications for AASECT certification or recertification will be suspended until the adjudicatory outcome of complaints have been determined. Termination shall be by two-thirds vote of the entire Board of Directors in accordance with the policies and procedures established by the Bylaws, and the Letter of Application, and the Formal Application for Membership and Certification.
The Board of Directors shall determine the appropriateness of continued or terminated membership in AASECT for any AASECT member who is: (1) adjudged to have violated a civil law that is material and relevant to professional practice; (2) convicted of a criminal misdemeanor or felony, (3) disciplined by a professional ethics committee of the State to which the member belongs, (4) disciplined by a State Licensing or Certification Board, (5) disciplined, or expelled by an Institutional Grievance Boards of the University, College, governmental agency, or organization to which the member belongs; and (6) for religious counselors, disciplined by the State Leader of the Religious Denomination or other appropriate leadership group to which the member belongs. The information available to and the deliberations of the Board of Directors shall be deemed confidential by all AASECT sources. The action regarding continued or terminated membership, with concomitant conditions made by the Board of Directors is final. (No appeal right exists). The member will be notified by the Board in writing of any membership or certification termination. There is no appeal to this process
Inquiries from AASECT Members
The AASECT Ethics Advisory Committee (AEC) has a duty to respond to inquiries from AASECT members only. Members who contact AASECT Office in need of ethics consultation will be referred to the Secretary who will redact all identifying information and refer the complaints to the AEC Chairperson. The AEC Chairperson will assess the inquirer's needs, and arrange for follow-up consultation with the Secretary, if appropriate, on the basis of an educational discussion about the principles the EAC sees in the complaint. Before the follow-up consultation, the Chairperson will collaborate with other AEC members on the issues at hand. Some or all of these meetings may occur by telephone, or through e-mail or other electronic means. The identity of all inquirers will be held in confidence within the AASECT Office and Secretary.
The Chairperson will keep a written record using the AEC Inquiry Consultation Form of all inquiries and make special note of the ethical principles and standards relevant to each inquiry. The Chairperson will conduct each discussion with all available full members of the EAC on each inquiry except in the event of any conflict of interest. The Secretary will then make further contact with the inquirer sharing the educational discussion created by the EAC.
The Secretary may, when needed, contract with a Member for changes in the Member's professional conduct to conform to the principles in an educational discussion. Failure by the Member to so contract, or subsequent complaints that such a contract has been breached, may result in corrective action by the Board of Directors as described above.
©2004. American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors & Therapists (AASECT). All rights reserved.
©2004. American Association of Sexuality Educators
Counselors & Therapists (AASECT). All rights reserved.