Legal & Ethical Tips
- Act in the best interests of the students at all times. Act in good faith and in the absence of malice.
- Inform students of possible limitations on the counseling relationship prior to the beginning of the relationship.
- Increase awareness of personal values, attitudes and beliefs; refer when personal characteristics hinder effectiveness.
- Actively attempt to understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of the students with whom you work, including your own cultural/ethnic/racial identity and its impact on your values and beliefs about the counseling process.
- Function within the boundaries of personal competence. Be aware of personal skill levels and limitations.
- Be able to fully explain why you do what you do. A theoretical rationale should undergird counseling strategies and interventions.
- Encourage family involvement, where possible, when working with minors in sensitive areas that might be controversial.
- Follow written job descriptions. Be sure what you are doing is defined as an appropriate function in your work setting.
- 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.
- Consult with other professionals (colleagues, supervisors, counselor educators, professional association ethics committee, etc.) Have a readily accessible support network of professionals.
- Join appropriate professional associations. Read association publications and participate in professional development opportunities.
- Stay up-to-date with laws and current court rulings, particularly those pertaining to counseling with minors.
- Consult with your school district’s attorney, when necessary. In questionable cases, seek legal advice prior to initiating action.