The purpose of this document is to define the general ethical framework for EAC members. The framework is based on a set of philosophical principles, which are listed later in this document.
Organisational and individual members of the EAC are expected to adhere to this Charter. The text takes into account issues that can be reasonably foreseen in the practise of the counselling profession. Each member has to devise and monitor specific standards and rules, which take into account and respect existing laws and the particular social and cultural norms of their country. Counselling and associated activities should be informed by the principles outlined in this document.
Counsellor – a person offering a counselling service to clients, in line with the EAC definition of counselling, who has the levels of skill and training specified in the standards laid down by EAC.
Client – a person, a couple, a family, a group or an organisation directly or indirectly seeking help through a counselling relationship.
Counselling Relationship – an explicitly agreed and formally contracted professional relationship between a counsellor and a client.
Direct Assignment – the counselling relationship is initiated by the client.
Indirect Assignment – the counselling relationship with the client is initiated by someone else, e.g. an employer on behalf of an employee, courts of law and legal processes. In such cases the client must give consent.
Third Party – a person(s) not involved in the direct or indirect assignment. A third party may be a family member, friend, colleague, employer and other professional or a court of law.
B. Philosophical Principles
1. The core values of a counsellor are based on respect for universal human rights and for individual and cultural differences.
2. The values underpin a set of attitudes and skills which have special regard for the integrity, authority and autonomy of the client.
3. RESPECT is the unconditional acceptance of clients but not necessarily acceptance of all of their behaviour. Counsellors have responsibility for making themselves aware of individual and cultural differences.
4. INTEGRITY honours the right of the client to maintain their physical and emotional boundaries and the right not to be exploited in any way.
5. AUTHORITY recognises that responsibility for entering a counselling relationship is vested in the client whether the counselling is initiated by direct or indirect assignment.
6. AUTONOMY acknowledges the freedom of the client to express themselves, their needs and their beliefs within the boundaries of a shared respect for universal human rights and individual and cultural differences.
7. PRIVACY protects the counselling relationship from uncontracted observation or inappropriate observation, interference or intrusion by others.
8. CONFIDENTIALITY respects personal information disclosed within a relationship of trust and protects that information from inappropriate disclosure to others.
9. RESPONSIBILITY requires the counsellor to actively ensure the observance of the key philosophical principles, outlined above, in the service provided through the counselling relationship.
10. COMPETENCE is the requirement on counsellors to ensure and maintain high standards of practice in their work. Counsellors should provide only those services and use only those techniques for which they are qualified by education, training or experience.
D. Ethical Framework
1. The counselling approach values the integrity, authority and autonomy of the client. This is expressed in a skilled and professional way in the counselling relationship.