Ethical Framework

As a member of a professional organisation, a counsellor will meet minimum standards. As an example, this ethical framework is based on that by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP):

  1. Putting clients first
  2. Working to professional standards
  3. Showing respect
  4. Building an appropriate relationship with clients
  5. Maintaining integrity
  6. Demonstrating accountability and candour


  1. respecting human rights and dignity
  2. alleviating symptoms of personal distress and suffering
  3. enhancing people’s wellbeing and capabilities
  4. improving the quality of relationships between people
  5. increasing personal resilience and effectiveness
  6. facilitating a sense of self that is meaningful to the person(s) concerned within their personal and cultural context
  7. appreciating the variety of human experience and culture
  8. protecting the safety of clients
  9. ensuring the integrity of practitioner-client relationships
  10. enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application
  11. striving for the fair and adequate provision of services

  1. Being trustworthy: honouring the trust placed in the practitioner
  2. Autonomy: respect for the client’s right to be self-governing
  3. Beneficence: a commitment to promoting the client’s wellbeing
  4. Non-maleficence: a commitment to avoiding harm to the client
  5. Justice: the fair and impartial treatment of all clients and the provision of adequate services
  6. Self-respect: fostering the practitioner’s self-knowledge, integrity and care for self

  1. Candour: openness with clients about anything that places them at risk of harm or causes actual
  2. Care: benevolent, responsible and competent attentiveness to someone’s needs, wellbeing
    and personal agency
  3. Courage: the capacity to act in spite of known fears, risks and uncertainty
  4. Diligence: the conscientious deployment of the skills and knowledge needed to achieve a
    beneficial outcome
  5. Empathy: the ability to communicate understanding of another person’s experience from that
    person’s perspective
  6. Fairness: impartial and principled in decisions and actions concerning others in ways that promote equality of opportunity and maximise the capability of the people concerned
  7. Humility: the ability to assess accurately and acknowledge one’s own strengths and weaknesses
  8. Identity: sense of self in relationship to others that forms the basis of responsibility, resilience and motivation
  9. Integrity: commitment to being moral in dealings with others, including personal straightforwardness, honesty and coherence
  10. Resilience: the capacity to work with the client’s concerns without being personally diminished
  11. Respect: showing appropriate esteem for people and their understanding of themselves
  12. Sincerity: a personal commitment to consistency between what is professed and what is done
  13. Wisdom: possession of sound judgement that informs practice

  1. Putting clients first
  2. Working to professional standards
  3. Respect
  4. Building an appropriate relationship
  5. Integrity
  6. Accountability and candour
  7. Confidentiality
  8. Supervision
  9. Training and education
  10. Care of self as a practitioner
  11. Responding to ethical dilemmas and issues

For more information see:
Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions
@BACP (adopted 1 July 2018)

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