Abstracts from the Year 2012 Code of Ethics Document.
Code of Ethics - National Association Of Christian Counsellors Malaysia
APPLICABILITY OF THE CODE
The NACC Code of Ethics (Code) is adapted from the American Association of Christian Counsellors (AACC) Code of Ethics (Y2004 Final Version). This Code may inform and enlighten all Christian counsellors and ministers, but is not strictly enforceable toward non-NACC persons, nor upon NACC members in their private lives apart from professional-ministerial roles. The Code will be revised and updated from time to time. We invite your continuous feedback, ideas and suggestions for our consideration. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
INTRODUCTION AND MISSION
The Code is designed to assist members of the National Association of Christian Counsellors Malaysia (NACC) to better serve their clients and congregants and to improve the work of Christian counselling worldwide. It will help achieve the major goals of the NACC—to promote Christian counselling in Malaysia, bring honour to Jesus Christ and his church, promote excellence in Christian counselling, and bring unity to Christian counsellors.
A New Code for an Emerging Profession
The Code is a comprehensive, detailed, and integrative synthesis of biblical, clinical, systemic, ethical, and legal information. It was created this way because vaguely worded, content limited, and overly generalized codes are insufficient for the complexities of the modern, 21st-century counselling environment. A more comprehensive and behaviour-specific ethical code is needed for Christian counsellors (and all mental health and ministerial professions, we believe) because of:
- the mounting evidence of questionable and incompetent practices among Christian counsellors, including increasing complaints of client-parishioner harm in America and elsewhere;
- the largely unprotected legal status of Christian counselling, including the increasing state scrutiny, excessive litigation, and unrelenting legalization of professional ethics; and more positively
- the vitality and growing maturity of Christian counselling—including its many theories and controversies—indicating the need for an overarching ethical-legal template to guide the development of biblical and empirically sound Christian counselling models.
This Code—beyond defining the boundaries of unethical practice—affirmatively educates counsellors in the direction of becoming helpers of ethical excellence, capable of more consistently securing the best counselling outcomes. This Code shows four streams of influence. These include (1) the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) and historic orthodox Christian theology; (2) accepted standards of counselling and clinical practice from Christian counselling and the established mental health disciplines; (3) codes of ethics from other Christian and mental health professions; and (4) current and developing standards derived from mental health and ministry-related law.
Mission, Uses, and Limits of the Code
The mission of this Code is to:
- help advance the mission of the NACC to promote Christian counselling in Malaysia and bring honour to Jesus Christ and also to promote excellence and unity in Christian counselling;
- promote the welfare and protect the dignity and fundamental rights of all individuals, families, groups, churches, schools, agencies, ministries, and other organizations with whom Christian counsellors work;
- provide standards of ethical conduct in Christian counselling that are to be advocated and applied by the NACC and that can be respected by other professionals and institutions.
This Code defines biblically based values and universal behavioural standards for ethical Christian counselling. We intend this Code to become a core document by which Christian counsellors, clients, and the church oversee and evaluate Christian counsellors and counselling values, goals, process, and effectiveness. Furthermore, the Code asserts a Christian counselling standard of care that invites respect and application by the courts, the regulatory bodies of church and state, insurance and managed care groups, other professions, and by society.
This Code should be seen as normative but non-exhaustive. It provides a common definition of practice, but does not presume to be a complete picture of Christian counselling nor does it necessarily cover all ethical issues. This Code outlines a foundation of preferred values and agreed professional behaviour upon which Christian counsellors can shape their identity and build their work. It defines standards upon which practice diversity is acknowledged and encouraged as well as the limits beyond which practice deviance is not allowed.
The Code consists of four major parts—Introduction and Mission, Biblical-Ethical Foundations, Ethical Standards, and Procedural Rules (which are being developed). It aspires to define, in the mission and the biblical-ethical foundations statements, the best ideals and goals of Christian counselling. The ethical standards and procedural rules are the codes of individual practice and organizational behaviour that are to guide the membership of the NACC. The mission and foundations statements are to be consulted in working out the problems and dilemmas of ethics application and procedural rules interpretation.
Concerning language, we have endeavoured to avoid pedantic, legalese, and sexist language, but we also avoid a radical inclusive that de-sexes the name of God. Unless denoted, we use the term “client” to refer to clients, patients, congregants, parishioners, or helpees. “Counselling” is usually a generic reference to clinical, psychiatric, pastoral, and lay helping.
Grace for the Task Ahead
This is a dynamic Code, one that will anchor the mission of the AACC and retain some elements without change, but one that will also live and grow with the life and growth of the Association and its membership. The Code calls us to a life-long commitment to ethical and excellent service; it challenges us to encourage ethical behaviour in our colleagues, churches, organizations, and communities. May God give us the grace to own it professionally, the strength to live it honourably, and the hope to see it as a foundation of common identity and corporate unity.
BIBLICAL-ETHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE NACC ETHICS CODE*
* NOTE: This statement of “biblical-ethical foundations” is not a doctrinal statement, nor is it intended to substitute for one. However, this section stands as the baseline ethics policy that will ground this code, assist the search for clear meaning and common interpretation, and guide the resolution of disputed applications of ethical standards and procedural rules.