201 KAR 36:040. Code of ethics.


      RELATES TO: KRS 335.540(1)(g)

      STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 335.515(3), (7), (11)

      NECESSITY AND FUNCTION: KRS 335.515(11) requires the board to promulgate a code of ethics for licensed professional counselors and licensed professional counselor associates. This administrative regulation establishes the required code of ethics.


      Section 1. Definitions. (1) "Client" means:

      (a) An individual, family, or group for whom the licensee provides services within the context of the licensee’s practice of professional counseling;

      (b) A corporate entity or other organization if the licensee provides a service of benefit directly to the corporate entity or organization; or

      (c) A legal guardian who is responsible for making decisions relative to the provision of services for a minor or legally incompetent adult.

      (2) "Dual relationship" means a social, business, or personal relationship between a licensee and a client that coexists with the professional-client relationship between the licensee and the client.


      Section 2. Responsibility to Clients. (1) A professional counselor shall:

      (a) Advance and protect the welfare of his client;

      (b) Respect the rights of a person seeking his assistance; and

      (c) Make reasonable efforts to ensure that his services are used appropriately.

      (2) A professional counselor shall not:

      (a) Discriminate against or refuse professional service to anyone on the basis of race, gender, religion, or national origin;

      (b) Exploit the trust and dependency of a client;

      (c)1. Engage in a dual relationship with a client that might:

      a. Impair professional judgment;

      b. Incur a risk of exploitation of the client; or

      c. Otherwise violate a provision of this administrative regulation.

      2. If a dual relationship cannot be avoided, and does not impair professional judgment, incur a risk of exploitation of the client, or otherwise violate a provision of this administrative regulation, a professional counselor shall take appropriate professional precautions to ensure that judgment is not impaired and exploitation of the client does not occur, which shall include:

      a. Written informed consent by the client of the client's understanding of the general prohibitions against dual relationships:

      b. Peer consultation by a licensed professional listed in 201 KAR 36:060, Section 3; and

      c. Proper documentation of the precautions taken by the licensee.

      (d) Engage in a sexual or an intimate relationship with a current client or with a former client for five (5) years following the termination of counseling;

      (e) Use his professional relationship with a client to further his own interests;

      (f) Continue therapeutic relationships unless it is reasonably clear that the client is benefiting from the relationship;

      (g) Fail to assist a person in obtaining other therapeutic services if the professional counselor is unable or unwilling, for appropriate reasons, to provide professional help;

      (h) Abandon or neglect a client in treatment without making reasonable arrangements for the continuation of treatment;

      (i) Videotape, record, or permit third-party observation of counseling sessions without having first obtained written informed consent from the client;

      (j) Engage in sexual or other harassment or exploitation of his client, student, trainee, supervisee, employee, colleague, research subject, or actual or potential witness or complainant in investigations and ethical proceedings; or

      (k) Diagnose, treat, or advise on problems outside the recognized boundaries of his competence.


      Section 3. Confidentiality. (1) A professional counselor shall respect and guard the confidences of each individual client.

      (2) Professional counselors shall not disclose a client confidence except:

      (a) Pursuant to KRS 202A.400, 620.030, or 645.270 or as otherwise mandated, or permitted by law;

      (b) To prevent a clear and immediate danger to a person;

      (c) During the course of a civil, criminal, or disciplinary action arising from the therapy, at which the professional counselor is a defendant; or

      (d) In accordance with the terms of a written waiver. If more than one (1) person in a family receives counseling, a professional counselor shall not disclose information from a particular family member unless he has obtained a waiver from that individual family member. If the family member is a minor, a custodial parent or legal guardian may provide a waiver.

      (3) A professional counselor may use client or clinical materials in teaching, writing, and public presentations if:

      (a) A written waiver has been obtained in accordance with subsection (2)(d) of this section; or

      (b) Appropriate steps have been taken to protect client identity and confidentiality.

      (4) A professional counselor shall store or dispose of client records so as to maintain confidentiality.


      Section 4. Professional Competence and Integrity. A professional counselor shall maintain standards of professional competence and integrity and shall be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with KRS 335.540:

      (1)(a) Upon conviction of a felony, or a misdemeanor related to his practice as a professional counselor; and

      (b) Conviction shall include adjudication based on:

      1. A plea of no contest or an "Alford Plea"; or

      2. The suspension or deferral of a sentence.

      (2) If his license or certificate is subject to disciplinary action by another state's regulatory agency that the board determines violates applicable Kentucky state law or administrative regulation;

      (3) Upon a showing of impairment due to mental incapacity or the abuse of alcohol or other substances which could reasonably be expected to negatively impact the practice of professional counseling; or

      (4) He has failed to cooperate with the board by not:

      (a) Furnishing in writing a complete explanation to a complaint filed with the board;

      (b) Appearing before the board at the time and place designated; or

      (c) Properly responding to subpoenas issued by the board.


      Section 5. Responsibility to His Student or Supervisee. A professional counselor shall:

      (1) Be aware of his influential position with respect to a student or supervisee;

      (2) Avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of a student or supervisee;

      (3) Try to avoid a social, business, personal, or other dual relationship that could:

      (a) Impair professional judgment; and

      (b) Increase the risk of exploitation;

      (4) Take appropriate precautions to ensure that judgment is not impaired and to prevent exploitation if a dual relationship cannot be avoided;

      (5) Not provide counseling to a:

      (a) Student;

      (b) Employee; or

      (c) Supervisee;

      (6) Not engage in sexual intimacy or contact with a:

      (a) Student; or

      (b) Supervisee;

      (7) Not permit a student or supervisee to perform or represent himself as competent to perform a professional service beyond his level of:

      (a) Training;

      (b) Experience; or

      (c) Competence; and

      (8) Not disclose the confidence of a student or supervisee unless:

      (a) Pursuant to KRS 202A.400, 620.030, or 645.270 or as otherwise permitted or mandated by law;

      (b) It is necessary to prevent a clear and immediate danger to a person;

      (c) During the course of a civil, criminal, or disciplinary action arising from the supervision, at which the professional counselor is a defendant;

      (d) In an educational or training setting, of which there are multiple supervisors or professional colleagues who share responsibility for the training of the student or supervisee; or

      (e) In accordance with the terms of a written informed consent agreement.


      Section 6. Financial Arrangements. A professional counselor shall:

      (1) Not charge an excessive fee for service;

      (2) Disclose his fees to a client and supervisee at the beginning of service;

      (3) Make financial arrangements with a patient, third-party payor, or supervisee that:

      (a) Are reasonably understandable; and

      (b) Conform to accepted professional practices;

      (4) Not offer or accept payment for a referral; and

      (5) Represent facts truthfully to a client, third-party payor, or supervisee regarding services rendered.


      Section 7. Advertising. (1) A professional counselor shall:

      (a) Accurately represent education, training, and experience relevant to the practice of professional counseling; and

      (b) Not use professional identification that includes a statement or claim that is false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive, including the following:

      1. A business card;

      2. An office sign;

      3. Letterhead; and

      4. Telephone or association directory listing.

      (2) A statement shall be considered false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive if it:

      (a) Contains a material misrepresentation of fact;

      (b) Is intended to or likely to create an unjustified expectation; or

      (c) Deletes a material fact or information.


      Section 8. Referral and Termination. (1) A licensee shall make a timely and appropriate referral of a client if:

      (a) The licensee is unable to provide the work or service; or

      (b) The client's need exceeds the competency of the licensee.

      (2) A licensee shall terminate a professional counseling service if a client:

      (a) Has attained his stated goal or objective; or

      (b) Fails to benefit from the counseling service.

      (3) A licensee shall communicate the referral or the termination of counseling service to a client.

      (4) A licensee shall not terminate counseling service or refer a client for the purpose of entering into a personal relationship with the client, including:

      (a) A sexual or an intimate relationship;

      (b) A financial or business relationship; or

      (c) Other activity that might serve a personal interest of the licensee. (25 Ky.R. 476; Am. 826; eff. 9-16-98; 29 Ky.R. 2512; 2869; eff. 6-16-03; 32 Ky.R. 2076; 33 Ky.R. 83; eff. 7-24-06.)