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Mary (Mallie) Humber

One of the most important areas of professionalism, and one of the greatest
areas that lacks clarity, for a school counselor counselor is the issue of ethics
The American School Counselor Association has laid out a framework of
guidelines for counselors that address many common areas of ethical
Issues covered in these guidelines include confidentiality, technology,
dealing with parents and other stakeholders, sharing information with other
professionals, and social justice advocacy, among others
These ethical guidelines are deliberately designed to help counselors
navigate the tough situations they often encounter
It is crucial that counselors be well-versed in them and strictly follow them

Current Problems
According to Janet Froeschle and Charles Crews, the areas more reported by counselors to
be ethical dilemmas they encounter are related to handling student confidentiality,
parental rights, and acting on information regarding student danger to self or others
(Froeschle and Crews, 2014)
Other research shows additional problems that frequently come across the school
counselors desk are issues related to dealing with a colleagues ethical breach,
appropriately collaborating with educational associates, and sharing information with
family members and school personnel (Froeschle and Crews, 2014)
Another issue a counselor may encounter is the dilemma of balancing the necessary
advocacy of their students with that of maintaining appropriate, professional and positive
relationships with their colleagues
Teachers may want private information on their students or your principal may not
understand that your ultimate responsibility is the well-being and advocacy of the
students in the school

How This Is Being Addressed by School

Froeschle and Crews outline many strategies that counselors can use in the
future to help minimize or avoid ethical dilemmas completely
Some of the suggestions mentioned in the article are:
make a good-faith effort to act in the best interests of the students at all
encourage family involvement in the case of minors who are dealing with
controversial issues
probably most importantly to stay up-to-date on and to adhere to the ASCA
Ethical Guidelines (Froeschle and Crews, 2014)
Huey and Remley created a quiz that presents 20 ethical dilemmas for
counselors to explore what their reactions would be (Huey and Remley, 2002)

Ways I Can Help the

Model appropriate ethical and honest behavior to ensure others view the field
in a professional manner
Be familiar and comfortable with the ethical guidelines established by the ASCA
Lead a workshop in your own school to explain the roles and responsibilities of
the counselor to other educators
Be clear about the counseling relationship with all students you work with, as
well as the families of the students
Go over an informed consent with the student so they are aware of my roles
and responsibilities
Share this information with the childs parents, so they understand the
confidentiality aspect of the counseling relationship

American School Counselor Association. (2010). Ethical standards for school counselors.
Retrieved from


Froeschle, J.G. & Crews, C. (2014). An Ethics Challenge for School Counselors. Texas Tech
Remley, Jr. T.P. & Huey, W.C. (2002). An Ethics Quiz for School Counselors. Professional School
Counseling, 6(1), 3.
Stone, C.B. & Zirkel, P.A. (2010). School Counselor Advocacy: When Law and Ethics May
Professional School Counseling, 13(4), 244-247.