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Counselor Connections Chamberlain, South Dakota. October 25, 2013. Today’s Agenda. Moral and Ethical Principles Ethics and… Technology Dual Relationships Releasing Information to others (in or out of the school) Documentation. Experience . Graduate Student 0-2 years 2-5 years

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Counselor connections chamberlain south dakota

Counselor ConnectionsChamberlain, South Dakota

October 25, 2013

Today s agenda
Today’s Agenda

  • Moral and Ethical Principles

  • Ethics and…

    • Technology

    • Dual Relationships

    • Releasing Information to others (in or out of the school)

    • Documentation


  • Graduate Student

  • 0-2 years

  • 2-5 years

  • 5-10 years

  • 10-20 years

  • 20+ years

5 moral principles
5 Moral Principles

  • Autonomy

    • Counselors respect that clients make their own decisions. Counselor help clients to develop independent decision-making skills. Counselor’s refrain from judging clients’ values.

  • Nonmaleficience

    • Do no harm. They do not hurt or manipulate clients for their own gain. Taking care not to inadvertently hurt clients.

  • Beneficence

    • More than just avoiding causing harm to client, counselors should seek to help clients by promoting health and well-being. Promoting the welfare of their clients is essential to this counseling principle.

  • Justice

    • Refers to fairness in dealing with clients and other professionals (access to counseling services high quality services, fair treatment of others).

  • Fidelity

    • Honoring commitments to clients, colleagues and students, including confidentiality, which aids in the promotion of a trusting relationship.

Ethical tips
Ethical Tips

1. Act in the best interests of the student clients at all times. Act in good faith and in the absence of malice.2. Inform student clients of possible limitations on the counseling relationship prior to the beginning of the relationship.3. Increase awareness of personal values, attitudes and beliefs; refer when personal characteristics hinder effectiveness.4. Actively attempt to understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of the clients with whom you work, including your own cultural/ethnic/racial identity and its impact on your values and beliefs about the counseling process.5. Function within the boundaries of personal competence. Be aware of personal skill levels and limitations.6. Be able to fully explain why you do what you do. A theoretical rationale should undergird counseling strategies and interventions.

7. Encourage family involvement, where possible, when working with minors in sensitive areas that might be controversial.

Ethical tips continued
Ethical Tips continued…

8. Follow written job descriptions. Be sure what you are doing is defined as an appropriate function in your work setting.9. Read and adhere to the ethical standards of your profession. Keep copies of the ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors on hand, review them periodically and act accordingly.10. Consult with other professionals (colleagues, supervisors, counselor educators, professional association ethics committee, etc.) Have a readily accessible support network of professionals.11. Join appropriate professional associations. Read association publications and participate in professional development opportunities.12. Stay up-to-date with laws and current court rulings, particularly those pertaining to counseling with minors.13. Consult with a knowledgeable attorney, when necessary. In questionable cases, seek legal advice prior to initiating action.

Questions for self assessment
Questions for Self-Assessment

  • How/when do I inform students of limitations on the counseling relationship?

  • How do I increase my personal awareness of values, attitudes, beliefs, etc.?

  • How do I increase my cultural competency?

  • What are my areas of competence and/or limitations?

  • Do I have a theoretical rationale for my counseling strategies and/or interventions?

Questions for self assessment1
Questions for Self-Assessment

  • Do I know what my job description is? Are all of my duties listed?

  • How often do I access the ASCA Ethical Standards? Could I use them more?

  • Do I have a support network of professionals to consult with? Do I access them appropriately?

  • How do I participate in professional development opportunities?

  • How do I stay current with laws/court-rulings applying to me (specifically those pertaining to working with minors)?

  • Do I seek legal advice from our school’s attorney? Do I know the school’s attorney and contact information?

Ethics in the school and technology
Ethics in the School and Technology

How do you incorporate social media into comprehensive guidance and counseling programs as based on the American School Counseling Association’s National Model (2008) without damaging professional image or violating laws or ethical codes?

Social media
Social Media

  • Social media is defined as a computer-based environment whereby information is sent or shared with a group of individuals who have the ability to respond to that information via the Internet (Shallcross, 2011).

  • Social media has created a culture involving human relationships not seen in previous generations (Belkofer & McNutt, 2011).

  • While many fear this new forum and understand the ethical grey area evident in using social media in school counseling, others remind us that social networking is becoming an everyday phenomenon that cannot be ignored (Kessler, 2010).

Social media includes sites such as
Social media includes sites such as:

  • Facebook

  • Habbo

  • MySpace

  • Nexopia

  • Twitter

  • Second Life

  • Yahoo Chat

  • IMVD

  • Other virtual worlds, such as:

    • blogs

    • wikis

    • podcasts

    • video sharing sites

(Eid& Ward, 2009)

The ASCA National Model (2008) encourages school counselors to utilize systemic means in order to reach all students.

  • School counselors can reach large numbers of parents and students daily, exchange ideas with colleagues, and network with community members.

  • School counselors can use this source to disseminate information in a format that furthers rather than hinders a school counseling program.

  • BUT school counselors MUST maintain professionalism and adhere to ethical standards, legal codes, and school policies.

  • If all these aspects are carefully considered, social media can be used in an advantageous manner.

Advantages and strategies for use
Advantages and Strategies for Use

  • Students are more likely to read relevant information if it is easily accessible through Facebook or other similar forums.

  • School counselors might post:

    • procedures students need in order to visit with a school counselor during the school day;

    • guidance and career information;

    • links to relevant data that help students improve achievement, career, or personal/social issues (ASCA, 2005).

Social media can be used to
Social Media can be used to:

  • inform parents, teachers, and students about existing school counseling programs;

  • offer links to relevant mental health information;

  • provide information on college readiness and scholarship information;

  • Provide links to suicide hotlines

  • share relevant course or testing information;

  • offer details about school counseling groups or programs;

  • share parenting tips;

  • provide links for books, articles, community resources, scholarship and career information

Case study 1 technology
Case Study 1—Technology

  • I have set up a Facebook page for my school counseling department. I’m careful to keep my personal Facebook account totally separate from my school one, and I don’t accept friend requests from any students on my personal account. However, via the school counseling Facebook account, sometimes I see things on students’ Facebook pages that concern me, such as inappropriate pictures, status updates about underage drinking or bullying comments about other students. What is my role, if any, in addressing these issues?

Ethical and legal issues
Ethical and Legal Issues

  • Confidentiality

    • “Does anyone have a right to expect privacy or confidentiality online?”

Ethical and legal issues1
Ethical and Legal Issues

  • The Ethical Standards for School Counselors (ASCA, 2010) states that school counselors “clearly distinguish between statements and actions made as a private individual and those made as a representative of the school counseling profession” (F.1.f.).

  • Further, the standards address the student’s right to privacy and safety, encourage professional distance (A.1.g; A.4.a; A.4.b), and advocate avoidance of dual relationships via social media (A.4.c).

  • Social media, when used via a professional “page,” is not only appropriate, but can enhance a school counseling program. Even with a professional “page,” however, there are cautions to consider.

Informed consent for technology
Informed Consent (for technology)

  • In order to “promote the autonomy of the student to the greatest extent possible” (A.2.e.), students should be informed that joining the group allows the school counselor access to personal information. Informed consent can be shared not only on the Web site and in school handbooks but also discussed in classroom guidance lessons. It is imperative that students understand the difference between public and private information, are encouraged to block personal information from disclosure, and fully understand that disclosed information may be shared with parents.

  • A written informed consent document (located on both the social media page as well as in other written forms given to students and parents) should indicate that school counselors do not respond to emergency issues via the social media page.

Dual relationships and parent rights regarding technology
Dual Relationships and Parent RightsRegarding Technology

  • Parents must be notified about the “confidential nature of the counseling relationship between counselor and student” (ASCA, 2010, B.2.a). School counselors must balance parent rights to information with student confidentiality (Froeschle & Moyer, 2004). The Ethical Standards for School Counselors (ASCA, 2010) states that the “developmental age and circumstances requiring the breach” be considered” (A.2.e).

  • Perusing student personal pages is not endorsed and information on the counseling page should relate only to school counseling activities as approved by the school principal. Should a concern arise regarding confidentiality, it is suggested to consult with other professional school counselors and use an ethical decision making model (Froeschle, Crews, & Li, 2013).

Dual relationships
Dual Relationships

  • The professional school counselor avoids dual relationships which might impair her or his objectivity and increase the risk of harm to the client” (American School Counselor Association Code of Ethics A.4).

  • “Counselors are aware of their influential position with respect to clients, and they avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of clients. Counselors make every effort to avoid dual relationships with clients that impair professional judgment or increase the risk of harm to clients. Examples of such relationships include, but are not limited to, familial, social, financial, business or close personal relationships with clients” (American Counseling Association Code of Ethics A.6.a).

  • “Counselors do not use their professional positions to seek or receive unjustified personal gains, sexual favors, unfair advantage or unearned goods or services” (ACA C.5.d also ” (American School Counselor Association Code of Ethics F.1.f).

Dual relationships1
Dual Relationships

  • School counselors have an ethical obligation to maintain professional distance with students and parents.

  • Professional distance is the appropriate familiarity and closeness a school counselor engages in with students and/or their family members. When professional distance is violated, then dual relationships occur.

  • Dual relationships are a serious breach of ethics for the professional school counselor as they compromise effectiveness, place employers in jeopardy and, most importantly, are a breach of trust in the counseling relationship.

Case study 1
Case Study 1

A high school counselor has recently become licensed as a professional counselor by her state and has decided to open a part-time private counseling practice. Very few counselors in her community have the background to counsel adolescent clients, and she believes there is a market for her services. She talks with the school district guidance coordinator, and they both agree that the high school counselors in her district do no personal counseling because their days are filled with administrative duties, testing, scheduling students, and classroom career development activities. The counselor and the guidance director agree that it would be appropriate for the counselor to accept students as clients in her private practice from the school where the counselor works because she would not be able to provide them with personal counseling at the school and some of them need personal counseling.

Case study 2
Case Study 2

A high school counselor in a small rural school is the only counselor in the building. The counselor's nephew is a sophomore in the school and is experiencing emotional distress because he has been the victim of some recent bullying incidents. The principal asks the counselor to counsel the student on a weekly basis. Although the counselor recognizes the problems inherent in counseling a close relative, she decides to counsel her nephew because she is convinced he needs help, she suspects he will not receive counseling if she does not provide it, and she believes she can assist him in an objective manner. She informs her nephew's parents that she will be counseling him, consults with a counselor in another school on a monthly basis regarding her work with her nephew, and documents in her case notes the content of the sessions.

Releasing information of students ferpa
Releasing Information of Students (FERPA)

  • The term “education records” is defined as (1) directly related to a student and (2) maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. (34 CFR§ 99.3).

  • FERPA provides protection of students’ educational records and is specific to education institutions that receive federal funds. Health records from the school nurse, as a school-affiliated program, are answerable to FERPA regulations. Other records subject to FERPA include special education records and any services provided to students under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.


  • Neither FERPA nor HIPAA prevents a school counseling professional from disclosing “treatment notes” to law enforcement, family members or others when the school counselor “has a good faith belief that the disclosure:

    • (1) is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of the patient or others and

    • (2) is reasonably able to prevent or lessen the threat. This may include, depending on the circumstances, disclosure to law enforcement, family members, the target of the threat or others who the school counselor believes, in good faith, can help mitigate the threat.

    • The disclosure also must be consistent with applicable law and standards of ethical conduct. See 45 CFR § 164.512(j)(1)(i).

FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

◦School officials with legitimate educational interest;

◦ Other schools to which a student is transferring;

◦ Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;

◦ Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;

◦ Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;

◦ Accrediting organizations;

◦ To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;

◦ Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and

◦ State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Ferpa continued
FERPA (continued) consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

  • It is important to understand when considering treatment notes, that once these notes are disclosed, they are technically no longer treatment records and considered educational records.

  • Which then makes the records susceptible to FERPA regulations.

  • Great Resource for HIPPA and FERPA


Case study 1 releasing information
Case Study 1-Releasing Information consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

  • Our district counseling director, who isn’t a school counselor, recently told us that school counselors are required to use our district's new student data program to log in all students we see. We will be logging their first and last names, as well as the general reason we are seeing them. We have been told that only our building principal and the counseling director will have access to print reports and view this information. I want to make sure that following my district directives will not pose an ethical conflict.

Documentation concerns
Documentation Concerns consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

  • What are current concerns that you or your school’s administration has about documentation?

  • What are practices of documentation where you are employed?

Things to consider
Things to consider… consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

  • Why are we being asked this information?

    • Do other understand our role and ethical standards?

    • Do others understand our obligation to maintain confidentiality unless students are at risk of harm?

    • How is this information being used and will it be protected?

  • Do I know what the state laws are for confidentiality?

  • Not consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):all information collected and maintained by schools and school employees about students is subject to the access and disclosure requirements under FERPA. One of the five categories exempt from the definition of “education records” under FERPA is records made by teachers, supervisors, school counselors, administrators and other school personnel that “are kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.”

  • This means school counselors’ case notes are “sole possession records” and not educational records if the records are: 1) a memory aid, 2) not accessible or shared in either verbal or written form, 3) a private note created solely by the individual possessing it and 4) include only observations and professional opinions.

  • If case notes don’t meet the above criteria, then school counselors are legally required to provide them to the requesting parent. FERPA requirements mean school counselors must write case notes through a different lens, only recording observations and professional opinions.

Think about the last student who came to you for a personal/emotional issue. Talk about how you might write a case note that doesn’t record details but rather just your professional opinion and your observations.

Meeting the definition of sole possession records can be tough to do.

Case study 11
Case Study personal/emotional issue. 1

  • You have been seeing Stephen off and on for the first three months of the school year. You have received a request from Stephen’s mother for copies of your case notes. Are you legally required to provide her with your case notes?

Case study 21
Case Study personal/emotional issue. 2

A school counselor places the following statement in a parent handbook given to all parents as they enroll their child in the school: "If you are interested in any counseling relationship I might have with your child, please contact me. I respect the rights of parents, encourage parental involvement in their child's life, and am always willing to provide you with information."

Case study 3
Case Study personal/emotional issue. 3

A middle school counselor receives a call from the mother of a student the counselor has been seeing recently related to the student's reluctance to participate in group activities. The student has been talking to the counselor about his shyness, anxiety around peers, negative self-concept, and interest in developing more self-confidence. The mother tells the counselor that her son has told her he is seeing the counselor. The mother thanks the counselor for talking to her son, asks what her son has been talking about in the counseling sessions, and inquires as to whether there is any way in which she can be helpful. The counselor thanks the mother for her call and explains that the counseling relationship is confidential and that she cannot disclose what the student has been talking to her about. She tells the mother she will contact her if there is anything she needs to know.

Case study 4
Case Study personal/emotional issue. 4

A middle school counselor is seeing a sixth grader regularly because her parents are going through a contentious divorce and the process is very upsetting to the student. The student's English teacher approaches the counselor and asks whether anything is wrong with the student because she appears distracted in class, her grades have declined, and she is quieter than usual. The counselor explains that counseling relationships with students are confidential and that the counselor cannot disclose private information regarding the student.

What i can do differently how i can get there
What I can do differently… personal/emotional issue. How I can get there….