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The American Counseling Association (ACA) and the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) are groups whose ethical codes have much in common. However, the key element in both codes is the proper treatment of the patient or client.
The ACA Code of Ethics serves five main purposes--to clarify the nature of counselors' ethical responsibilities, support the mission of the ACA, establish principles of ethical behavior to serve as a guide, serve the clients and the profession and to process ethical complaints and inquiries made against members.
The NAADAC has nine provisions that deal with a wide spectrum of responsibilities--nondiscrimination, client welfare, client relationships, trustworthiness, compliance with the law, rights and duties, dual relationships (nonexploitation of people), preventing harm and duty of care (ensuring a safe work environment.
John Derry points out that members of the ACA and NAADAC share many similar obligations. Perhaps, the most important of these obligations is that the professional counselor must avoid imposing his own values on clients and use objectivity and integrity. This means, according to Derry, that the counselor must have an unconditional regard for each individual client and the client's unique background and personal views.