1. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
1.1 This code of ethics is adopted by the William Glasser Institute Ireland (WGII) and all members of WGII are governed by this code. Application for membership of WGII is taken as a personal ratification of this code by each member.
1.2 To be a full member of WGII, an individual must (1) complete the course of study prescribed by the William Glasser Institute based in the United States (WGI) and must have received a Certificate to that effect; (2) be accepted as a member by the executive committee of WGII. WGII retains the right to admit members and to terminate the membership.
1.3 Persons who have earned the Certificate in Reality Therapy may refer to their qualification as “Reality Therapy Certified” or “R.T.Cert.” WGII is not empowered to authorize titles such as “therapist”, “psychotherapist”, “counsellor”, “psychiatrist” or “psychologist”.
1.4 All members are expected to apply the principles and procedures of Reality Therapy and Choice Theory in their work, adhere to this code of ethics and continue their professional development in line with the recommendations of WGI and WGII.
2. PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
2.1 At all times a member of the WGII must have due regard for the standards of good practice adopted by fellow-members of the Institute and by fellow-professionals who work in the service of others.
2.2 A counsellor is expected to deal with a client in such a way that the client can choose to grow and develop. Criticism, sarcasm or a judgemental attitude are all contrary to the practice and principles of Reality Therapy.
2.3 In helping the client elaborate plans of action, due regard must be had for the client’s need to experience some success in such undertakings.
2.4 A counsellor is obliged to respect the law of the land.
2.5 A counsellor should be aware of local customs and values and take account of these in counselling.
2.6 Counsellors should monitor their work through regular self- evaluation and, where necessary, consultation with or supervision by professionally competent people.
2.7 In all counselling and consultation work members of WGII will aim to provide a professional and efficient service doing everything possible to keep both costs and inconvenience to a minimum.
3 RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CLIENT
3.1 In Reality Therapy it is recommended that a warm and honest professional relationship be developed with the client. This “professional friendship” is a partnership developed specifically to work for the good of the client.
3.2 Where there is already an ordinary personal friendship or where this develops in counselling, the relationship is no longer a professional counselling one and the counsellor should inform the client of this.
3.3 Since friendship is often one of the unfulfilled needs of clients, it is the counsellor’s duty to help such clients develop friendship skills. The counsellor should not encourage the client to become dependent on the counsellor for friendship or other needs.
3.4 When a counsellor is learning new approaches or skills these should not be used with a client without the latter’s awareness and consent. Similarly, the client should be aware if all or part of the counselling process contributes to statistical or research work of any kind.
3.5 The counsellor is expected to be punctual in appointments with the client and to do everything possible to minimise all cancellations or other interruptions of the counselling process.
3.6 The venue chosen for counselling should be acceptable to the client and should be conducive to the client’s development.
3.7 In all training components, ideally the faculty member and the trainee should not have a relationship as family member, partner or work-colleague. The relationship should be free of all conflicts of interest that might be damaging to the trainee, the faculty member or the Institute. In the case of special dilemmas about this the matter should be referred to the WGII committee.
4.1 Members should treat all information obtained from their clients in the course of counselling with the level of confidentiality that is declared to the client at the outset of counselling. These limits should only be breached where necessary to protect the safety of the client or others.
4.2 Where a client involves his or her counsellor in legal proceedings or permits such involvement to take place, this releases the counsellor from confidentiality in any fact relevant to these legal proceedings.
4.3 Unless the client is told otherwise it is to be taken as implicit that confidentiality covers everything the client says during counselling including the fact that the client was in contact with the counsellor.
4.4 Where any information about the client is shared with another person only minimum details should be communicated.
4.5 All threats against life are to be regarded as serious. The counsellor must take appropriate steps to check if the threat is a strategy used by the client or is a definite intention and the counsellor must act accordingly.
4.6 The counsellor should not use confidential information for any personal advantage or gain.
5 REFERRAL, CONSULTATION AND INTERVENTION
5.1 The counsellor should learn from the client if any other professional help is being sought and should ensure that his or her own intervention will not jeopardize the work of other helpers. We should ask clients to inform that person of the fact that they are seeing us.
5.2 If the counsellor believes that he or she can be of no further help to a client then the client should be informed as soon as possible. If the counsellor believes that the client should seek other professional help instead of or in addition to counselling, he or she should inform the client of this fact.
5.3 The counsellor should learn about other relevant human welfare resources in the community and general locality.
5.4 The counsellor should take all due care only to make referrals or recommendations to other professionals who have the relevant competence to deal adequately with the referral.
5.5 Where there is reasonable suspicion of abuse of the client (or by the client), the counsellor will take the necessary steps to terminate the abuse.
5.6 The Counsellor should reserve the right to make discrete consultations with other professionally competent persons and will do so as a matter of course in dealing with very serious issues.
6 INFORMATION ABOUT THE CLIENT
6.1 Where information about the client is stored in any form this fact should be made known to the client and he or she should have direct access to such information as well as control over its use or destruction.
6.2 No audio or video recording of a counselling session should be undertaken without advance approval of the client and he or she retains control over its subsequent use or destruction.
6.3 In obtaining information from or about a client, the counsellor should deal only with what may be necessary for the client’s welfare.
6.4 All forms of recorded material relating to counselling sessions require the informed consent of the client and must be kept with the utmost care and confidentiality. In the case of computerised data all due care must be given to security of access, security of data transfer and security of erasure with full respect for the rights of the individual and the law of the land.
7 COUNSELLOR’S VALUES
7.1 Where the counsellor’s personal values are relevant to the subject matter of the counselling, the counsellor should make these clear to the client so that the client may be aware of the counsellor’s bias in the matter.
8.1 The counsellor should state his or her qualifications relevant to counselling. In the case of Reality Therapy this should include the statement “Reality Therapy Certified”. Only full members of WGI or WGII may use this description.
8.2 Areas of experience, qualifications and expertise may be mentioned but should be stated accurately and modestly.
8.3 No guarantee of “solution” or “cure” may be given.
8.4 In advertising Reality Therapy there should be no criticism of other counsellors or approaches. Neither should there be any explicit or implicit comparison with other counsellors or approaches.
8.5 Where assistants or associates of a counsellor are not “Reality Therapy Certified” this should be made clear in advertising if they are mentioned or implied.
8.6 Any form of advertising should be acceptable to fellow members of WGII.
8.7 Counsellors should not display an affiliation with an organisation in a manner that falsely implies the sponsorshiop or verification of that organisation.
9 PROFESSIONAL DECLARATION
9.1 At all times the counsellor should be strictly honest with the client. All statements made in advertising, in a professional declaration or in any other communication to clients must be true in the strictest sense and should not be open to any possible misinterpretation.
9.2 At the outset of counselling, the client should be informed of the counsellor’s approach, expectations about confidentiality, qualifications, experience, expertise, limitations of the counselling, ground rules, responsibilities of counsellor and client, possible duration and fees (including additional expenses, surcharges and taxes).
9.3 The counsellor should not accept a client who appears to be outside the counsellor’s competence.
9.4 The client should be told that complaints or grievances about the counselling service may be forwarded to WGII and the correspondence address of WGII should be freely available to the client. The committee of WGII will then be responsible for investigating the matter and deciding on a course of action.
9.5 Where an impartial enquiry is sought by either client or counsellor, a third party or parties acceptable to both must be asked to investigate the matter. WGII will then decide the course of action following on the referee’s verdict and recommendations. Appeals may be directed to the WGI in the USA which will be the ultimate authority in such cases.
Amended October 2002