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Rehabil Couns Bull. 2000 Summer;43(4):209-14.

Ethical issues in addiction counseling.

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  • 1Rehabilitation Counseling Program, College of Health, University of North Florida, 4567 St. John's Bluff Rd. South, Jacksonville, FL 3224-2673, USA.


Although all counselors face ethical challenges, addictions counselors encounter ethical issues that are, in many respects, unique to their discipline. This article provides an overview of these issues, which include but are not limited to (a) the lack of communication and continuity between research and clinical practice, (b) lack of agreement over the necessary professional credentials, (c) the questionable propensity of group work in the addictions field, (d) special issues of confidentiality and privileged communication, (e) boundaries of professional practice in making treatment decisions, and (f) unusual circumstances of informed consent. In addressing these issues, addictions counselors must not only uphold the ethical standards of their profession, they must also be cognizant of any federal statutes that may supersede their state regulations and act in accordance with them.

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