The maintenance of high standards of professional competence is a responsibility shared by all CMHCs in the best interests of the client, the public, and the profession. CMHCs:

a. Recognize the boundaries of their particular competencies and the limitations of their expertise.

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b. Provide only those services and use only those techniques for which they are qualified by education, training, or experience.

c. Maintain knowledge of relevant scientific and professional information related to the services rendered and recognize the need for ongoing education.

d. Represent accurately their competence, education, training, and experience including licenses and certifications.

e. Perform their duties as teaching professionals based on careful preparation, so that their instruction is accurate and educational.

f. Recognize the importance of continuing education and remain open to new counseling approaches and procedures documented by peer-reviewed scientific and professional literature.

g. Recognize the important need to be competent with respect to cultural diversity; CMHCs are sensitive to the diversity of different populations and to changes in cultural expectations and values over time.

h. Recognize that their effectiveness is dependent on their own mental and physical health. Should their professional judgment or competency be compromised for any reason, they seek capable professional assistance to determine whether to limit, suspend, or terminate services to their clients.

i. Have a responsibility to maintain high standards of professional conduct at all times.

j. Take appropriate steps to informally resolve ethical issues with colleagues, when appropriate, by bringing concerns to their attention. When informal resolution is inappropriate, CMHCs may pursue more formal options, such as state licensing boards.

k. Have a responsibility to empower clients, when appropriate.

l. Are aware of the intimacy of the counseling relationship, maintain a healthy respect for the integrity of the client, and avoid engaging in activities that seek to meet the CMHC’s personal needs at the expense of the client.

m. Actively attempt to understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of the clients with whom they work. This includes learning how the CMHC’s own cultural/ethical/racial/religious identities impact their own values and beliefs about the counseling process.

n. Are responsible for continuing education and remaining abreast of current trends and changes in the field, including the professional literature on best practices.

o. Develop a plan for termination of practice, death, or incapacitation by assigning a colleague or records custodian to handle transfer of clients and files.

p. Make an effort to avoid using language that may be offensive to individuals.