Ethical Guidelines

All those taking part in internship opportunities are expected to adhere to certain guidelines for ethical, responsible conduct. This is necessary for the benefit and protection of the interns themselves, as well as for the clients, placement sites, instructor, supervisor, and the university. Certain basic guidelines are described below. Interns are also expected to learn and adhere to the broader ethical guidelines dictated by their relevant profession (ACA, ASCA, etc.), as well as the guidelines specific to their placement setting. If, at any time, interns have questions about ethics or responsible conduct, they should contact their instructor or the placement supervisor. At a minimum, interns agree to adhere to the following principles:

Confidentiality. The identify of clients, or information that would reveal the identity of clients, cannot be revealed without the specific permission of the client. The only exceptions to this are cases in which the client may be dangerous to themselves or others and in cases of child abuse. In such situations, there may be legal requirements that responsible institutions be formed. There are also certain legal proceedings in which case notes and other records can be ordered to be released by the courts. Interns must familiarize themselves with, and adhere to, confidentiality procedures of their placements and the laws of the state. Case material discussed in class must be prepared in such a way that confidentiality is maintained.

Recognition of Qualifications and Limitations.Interns must recognize the limitations to their training and abilities and must not exceed these in work with clients. It is incumbent upon interns that they recognize when clinical situations are beyond their knowledge or ability. When such situations arise, interns will seek assistance from their supervisors and instructor.

Identification as Interns. Interns will explicitly identify themselves as interns to their clients, in reports, and in other professional activities. They will not misrepresent their training, qualifications, or status. Interns who will be at a placement for a limited time will inform clients of that limitation at the outset of therapy and will consider it in their work with clients.

Record Keeping. Interns will accurately and reliably maintain written and other records as required by their placement agency.

Dual Relationships. Interns will refrain from clinical work with persons with whom the intern is already involved in other types of relationships. Such "dual relationships" may inhibit the effectiveness of the intern's clinical work and may jeopardize both the client and the trainee. For example, it would not be ethical for a trainee to take as a client someone who was a fellow student in class. Similarly, co-workers, friends, and others should not be seen as clients.

Prohibition Regarding Sexual Conduct or Harassment. Under no circumstances shall interns become involved in sexual or romantic relationships of any sort with clients of their placement institution. Interns will also refrain from sexual harassment and will respect the sensitivity of others regarding sexual matters.

Self-Awareness and Monitoring. Interns will monitor their own emotional and physical status and should be aware of any conditions that might adversely impact their ability to serve their clients or placement agencies. If such conditions arise, interns should inform their site supervisor and instructor.

Baird, B. N. (1996). The internship, practicum, and field Placement handbook.- A guide for the helping professions. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.