Ethical Issues in Addiction Counseling


A Review of “Ethical Issues in Addiction Counseling”
Paul Foreman
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Scott (2000) describes six unique ethical challenges that addiction counselors face in their counseling that other counselors do not typically have to address.   The author states that counselors must not only uphold the ethical standards of their profession, but also be cognizant of any federal statutes that may supersede their state regulations and act in accordance with them.
A Review of “Ethical Issues in Addiction Counseling”
      Although all counselors face ethical challenges, Scott (2000) explains that addiction counselors face ethical issues that are, in many respects, unique to their discipline.   Because of this, it is very important that addiction counselors understand and address these issues within the context of the foundational ethical standards of the counseling profession (p. 209).   The author addresses six ethical areas that are unique to addiction counseling: (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.
      Scott (2000) begins by stating that the discipline of addiction counseling is evolving at a rapid pace.   Because of this, the author is concerned that there is widening communication gap between researchers and clinical practitioners.   Scott cites Gordis, the director of the NIAAA in the area of alcohol addiction,
      In theory, alcohol researchers seek knowledge about alcohol-related health conditions, and practitioners use this knowledge to help patients recover.   In practice,...