Applicability of the Code
1. This code represents a mandatory ethical standard for all
individuals who elect to become credential holders through the
International Board of Christian Care (IBCC) or one of its affiliate
boards: the Board of Christian Professional and Pastoral Counselors (BCPPC),
the Board of Christian Life Coaching (BCLC), the Board of Christian Crisis
and Trauma Response (BCCTR), and the Board of Professional Christian
Introduction and Mission of the Code
2. Which is NOT a mission of the AACC Code of Ethics?
a. To bring honor to Jesus Christ.
b. To 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 counselors work.
c. To provide standards of ethical conduct in Christian counseling
that are respected by other professionals and institutions.
d. To cover all the
ethical issues of the Christian counseling profession.
Biblical-Ethical Foundations of the
AACC Ethics Code
3. The Biblical-Ethical Foundations
Statement of the AACC Ethics Code
is intended to also serve as a doctrinal statement for Christian counselors.
I. Ethical Standards for Christian Counselors
ES1-000: A Judeo-Christian Worldview -- Practicing through Faith and Values
4. The AACC Code of Ethics derives its Judeo-Christian worldview from
the special revelation of Jesus Christ, as God-come-in-the-flesh, and from
general revelation, including science and the great arts of humanity.
ES1-010: Affirming Human Worth and Dignity
5. Christian counselors uphold the inherent, God-given worth and dignity
of every client, without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual
behavior or orientation, socioeconomic status, age, disability, marital
status, education, occupation, denomination, belief system, values, or
ES1-100: Compassion in Christian Counseling -- A Call to
6. Christian counselors acknowledge that
the primary rule of
professional-ministerial ethical conduct is to maintain confidentiality.
ES1-120-a: Application to Deadly and Threatening Behavior
7. Under certain conditions, Christian counselors should report deadly
threats made by clients to the proper authorities.
ES1-120-c: Application to Abortion
8. When clients are considering abortion, Christian counselors will
inform them of potential adverse consequences, such as increased risk of
depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Counselors will also inform them
of alternative means to abortion. If clients persist on pursuing abortion,
Christian counselors cannot continue working with them.
ES1-120-e: Application to Premarital and Extramarital Sexual Behavior
9. Christian counselors can work with clients who are sexually active
outside marriage while at the same time advocating that sex is part of
God's good creation and a gift when confined to one man and one woman within
the boundaries of marriage.
ES1-130: Sexual Misconduct Forbidden
10. Because of the inherent
power imbalance of helping relationships, as well as biblical principles
about sexual behavior outside of marriage, Christian counselors are
forbidden from engaging in any kind of sexual exploitation with
clients. Which of the following
counselor behaviors IS acceptable?
Seductive sexual speech or seductive non-verbal behavior.
b. Accepting sexual invitations from clients.
c. Unnecessary questioning and probing into a client's sexual history and
d. Telling a client he or she is attractive.
e. Persuading a client to have sexual relations with the counselor for
f. Sending sexually suggestive text messages or emails to clients.
g. None of the above.
ES1-140: Duel and Multiple Relationships
11. A dual relationship exists when two or more roles are mixed in a
manner that can harm the counseling relationship. Not all dual relationships
are necessarily unethical. Just the ones which exploit the client. For
example, of the following dual relationships, which one IS acceptable?
a. Counseling a close friend.
b. Counseling a family member.
c. Counseling an
d. Counseling a close fellow church member.
in Christian Counseling -- A Call to Excellence
ES1-240: Duties to Consult and/or Refer
12. For which situation is a Christian counselor NOT required to consult
or refer to competent outside resources?
a. When facing an issue not dealt with before or not experienced in
b. When the counselor and the client agree that they share different
religious beliefs without diminishing the excellence of counselor care.
c. When either the counselor or the client is feeling stuck in the
therapeutic process or confused about counseling goals and neither party is
clear about how to proceed.
d. When clients are deteriorating or making no realistic gain over a number
e. When clients present an imminent danger to harm themselves or others.
f. When a client's excessive alcohol dependence requires detoxification.
ES1-250-c: Avoid Counsel against Professional Treatment
13. A Christian counselor may advise clients against seeking medications
if the counselor believes that the use of medications is wrong.
in Christian Counseling -- A Call to Integrity
ES1-320-b: Documentation of Consent and ES1-330: Consent for Biblical and
Spiritual Practices in Counseling
14. The best
consent that enables a Christian counselor to pray with a client or refer to
Bible passages is
a. client consent in writing by professional service agreement,
contract, or consent form.
b. the clientís verbal permission.
c. the counselorís own discernment is all that is needed.
d. no consent is necessary. Clients assume that a Christian counselor will
pray and use the Bible.
ES1-340: Special Consent for More Difficult Interventions
15. Christian counselors are not permitted to engage in more difficult
interventions such as deliverance and spiritual warfare activities, cult
deprogramming work, recovery of memories, and hypnosis.
in Christian Counseling -- A Call to Trustworthiness
16. If counselors
are subpoenaed to appear in court to divulge confidential client
information, they have no choice but to comply.
ES1-430: Protecting Persons from Deadly Harm -- The Rule of Mandatory
ES1-430-c: Special Guidelines When Violence is Threatened against Others
17. If a client tells a counselor
that the client intends to harm an elderly person,
the counselor may break confidentiality in order to protect that elderly
ES1-450: Maintaining Privacy and Preserving Written Records
18. Written records of client communications must be kept, minimally,
in locked storage.
ES1-500: Cultural Regard in
Christian Counseling -- A Call to Dignity
ES1-530: Working with Persons of Different Faiths, Religions, and Values
19. A Christian counselor can
withhold counseling services from a client who has a
different value system than
that of the counselor.
ES1-530-a: Not Imposing Values
20. Christian counselors can disclose their faith orientation to
their clients, but may not impose it upon them.
Management in Christian
Counseling -- A Call to Soundness
for Christian counselors implies the use of empirically validated and
evidence-based treatments that also integrate biblical principles.
ES1-610-a: Treatment Plan Considerations and Principles
22. Treatment plans should identify clear goals with specific
objectives that are attainable, behavioral, and measurable.
ES1-630-a: Safety and Integrity in Family and Group
23. In counseling sessions with multiple clients, such as marriage
counseling, counselors can allow constructive confrontation but must not
allow verbal abuse.
ES1-630-c: Avoiding and Resolving Role Conflicts
24. Before beginning to help a married couple, Christian counselors may
professional neutrality in order to
secure client agreement to not have the counselor nor the counselor's
records subpoenaed or deposed in any future legal proceeding, such as a
divorce or custody hearing.
in Christian Counseling -- A Call to Relationship
ES1-710-b: Solicitation of Clients Under Another's Care
25. It is appropriate for a Christian counselor to offer to counsel a new
client who is currently under the care of another mental health provider,
without that provider's knowledge. The client can then choose who is the
ES1-740-c: Sexual and Romantic Relations Forbidden
26. Christian counseling educators and supervisors may never engage in any
sexual relationships with their students and trainees. However, not
all romantic relationships can be avoided.
ES1-740-f: Acknowledgment of Professional Contributions
27. Christian counseling educators and supervisors can take sole credit for
their students' and trainees' work and research.
ES1-750-g: Exposure to Various
Counseling Theories Encouraged
28. Christian counseling educators should develop programs that expose
students to various accepted theoretical models for counseling and
evidenced-based treatments, including data on their relative effectiveness.
It is acceptable for the educator to identify which of these models is
superior to all the others.
ES1-750-i: Field Placement, Practicum, and Intern Training
29. Christian counseling educators
cannot solicit nor accept any form of fee or remuneration for the
field placement of a student-trainee.
ES1-800: Community Presence
in Christian Counseling -- A Call to Humility
ES1-820: Statements in Public Communication
30. When publically advertising their counseling services, Christian
counselors cannot use testimonials from their current clients.
ES1-830-b: Communication of Unaccredited and Unrelated Credentials
31. If Christian counselors' highest counseling degree is a doctorate degree
from a non-accredited graduate school, these counselors can precede
their name with the designation "Dr." on their business cards.
ES1-880-c: Ghost Writers
32. Christian counselors should
resist using ghostwriters
because it gives credit to someone who did
not produce most of the material.
II. Use of Technology and Technology-related Applications
ES2-000: Additional Ethical Standards in the Use of Technology
ES2-010-c: Computer Systems
33. Christian counselors must be
knowledgeable and up-to-date on computer technology
such as data encryption, system back-up and restore functions, password and
virus protection protocols, and Internet firewalls.
ES2-100: Core Ethical Standards in the Use of Technology
ES2-110-b: Application to Addictive Behaviors
34. Christian counselors do not
condone, advocate for, or assist behavioral addictions
by clients that use online gambling or Internet pornography.
ES2-120-d: Legal, Statutory and Regulatory Issues
ES2-130-a: Benefits and Limitations of Technology Applications
35. When conducting counseling
services by cell phone to a client in a different state, licensed Christian
counselors don't need to find out that state's laws
regarding e-counseling because
they are automatically protected by the law.
ES2-140-b: Maintaining Privacy in Electronic Databases
36. Because of the risks of
electronic data being compromised by Internet hacking, it is best that
Christian counselors who store their clients' information
electronically use coded files
and good passwords.
III. Additional Ethical Standards for Licensed and
Professional Christian Counselors
ES3-000: Fees, Client Billing and Financial
ES3-010-a: Disclosure of Fees and Payment History
37. Christian counselors may
charge their standard, customary fee without due regard for
the client's ability to pay.
That is the client's responsibility.
Integrity with Insurance and Third-Party Payers
38. Christian counselors can charge insurance companies and third-party
payers for missed counseling appointments and for appointments
that were not cancelled 24 hours in
advance by the clients.
ES3-100: Third-party Payers and Managed Care Entities
ES3-110-a: Responsible Action
39. When managed
care companies demand counseling session notes
from Christian counselors, the counselors do not necessarily have to submit
them upon demand.
IV. Additional Ethical Standards for Pastoral and Lay Christian Counselors
ES4-000: Definitions and Roles of Pastors and Pastoral Counselors
ES4-030: The Call of Christian Counseling to Gospel Fidelity
ES4-040: Accepting Fees or Communicating False Roles
40. What is something
pastors and unlicensed pastoral counselors
do NOT do?
Challenge Christian counselors to hold faith to the Gospel and to apply
counseling ministry to the mission and work of the church.
b. Refer parishioners to Christian counselors.
c. Help explain the AACC Code of Ethics to parishioners so they can better
judge the value and safety of Christian counseling.
d. Accept a fee for direct ministry-based
counseling, in addition to a salary as a church or ministry employee.
ES4-100: Definitions and
Roles of Lay Caregivers and Non-ordained Ministers
ES4-130: Lay Caregivers Under Supervision of the Church
41. Lay caregivers must
minister only under the supervision
of a church, a Christian counselor, or a
Christian counseling organization. They must not practice independently or
V. Standards for Resolving Ethical-Legal Conflicts
ES5-000: Base Standards for Ethical Conflict Resolutions
ES-120: Christian Counselors Working in Public Agencies
Christian counselor working in a public agency
is asked to remove a crucifix from his counseling office. The counselor's
first attempt to resolve this dispute
should be arbitration.
VI. Procedural Rules
PR6-000: Authority, Jurisdiction
and Operation of the AACC Law and Ethics Committee (LEC)
PR6-100: General Orientation to Ethical Enforcement
PR6-110-a: Reporting Violations to LEC
43. Ethical complaints are to be resolved
by going to the AACC member, IBCC Credential Holder (the International Board
of Christian Care), or the CCN member (the AACC Christian Care Network). If
these attempts are unsuccessful, then the complaint can be reported to the
AACC Law and Ethics Committee (LEC).
44. The LEC (AACC Law and
Ethics Committee) is obliged to accept anonymous complaints
against AACC members.
PR6-410-b: Time for and
Response from Complainee -- Review Stage
45. The complainee has
30 days from reception of a formal charge letter from the LEC to respond
either in person or in writing. Legal counsel may be consulted and can
attend the case hearing, but cannot speak directly for his or her client at
the hearing -- this representation must be done by the complainee.