Code of Ethics
All members of the Queensland Guidance and Counselling Association are bound by its ethics. This code provides the fundamental ethical principles and values to guide professional practice and professional relationships, to protect the recipients of guidance services and the integrity of the association and the profession.
The Queensland Guidance and Counselling Association is the peak professional association for guidance professionals, school counsellors and school psychologists in Queensland. Our members work in state, independent and Catholic schools across Queensland.
To be the professional association that provides leadership and support in educational guidance and counselling.
- To contribute to excellence in education by promoting quality guidance and counselling practices
- To promote high ethical standards in the guidance and counselling profession
- To provide effective, accessible and cost effective professional support to members
- Promote quality practice
- by defining guidelines for standards of ethical practice
- by requiring continuing professional development
- by providing relevant, accessible, evidence-based professional development to members
- by maintaining rigorous membership criteria
- by developing strategic partnerships with members, schools and relevant stakeholders
- to ensure highly skilled and tertiary trained practitioners
- for effective service delivery and policy for the benefit of members, students and the wider community
- for the profession with government, employers, and relevant stakeholders
- Communicate and market
- the value of guidance and counselling services
- the value of membership of the Queensland Guidance and Counselling Association (QGCA) for school-based practitioners
- professional development opportunities and evidence based resources to all members
- Foster a research culture
- by promoting evidence-based practice
- by advancing the knowledge base of members
- by encouraging action-based research and publication
- Maintain accountable and responsible governance
- by electing a representative executive annually
- using participative decision making
- maintaining strong fiscal integrity
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The role of the guidance professional
Guidance professionals are experienced educators with Masters level post graduate qualifications in guidance and counselling, psychology or educational psychology. With their unique expertise, guidance professionals work in schools to help all students in the areas of academic achievement, social, personal and career development, assisting today’s students to become the productive well-adjusted adults of tomorrow, contributing to better communities.
Guidance professionals understand educational systems and the unique complexities of schools and classrooms. They know and understand the demands on teachers and school systems. As valued professionals in schools, guidance professionals contribute to the development, implementation and evaluation of student learning goals, programs and outcomes. Their tasks are proactive, responsive and prioritised to meet the needs of school communities, and include:
QGCA recognises that the role definition and the work settings of its members vary according to institutional or agency arrangements.
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Code of ethics guiding principles
The development of this code is guided by the belief that guidance professionals exemplify the profession’s values and principles. For the purpose of this code, the term guidance professional has been used to represent titles such as guidance officer, school counsellor, student counsellor, school psychologist and educational psychologist.
It is inherent in the definition of a Profession that a code of ethics governs the activities of each Profession. Such codes require behaviour and practice beyond the personal moral obligations of an individual. They define and demand high standards of behaviour in respect to the services provided to the public and in dealing with professional colleagues. Further, these codes are enforced by the Profession and are acknowledged and accepted by the community. (Australian Council of Professions 2019, What is a Profession? Accessed 22 January 2019, http://www.professions.com.au/about-us/what-is-a-professional)
The values and guiding principles of the Queensland Guidance and Counselling Association’s Code of Ethics are based on integrity, and respect. Integrity and respect guide the ethical practice related to our professional competencies, professional development, supervision and life-long learning, informed consent, confidentiality, assessment, diversity and relationships.
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Guidance professionals recognise that their knowledge, their professional standing, and the information they gather place them in a position of power and trust.
Guidance professionals respect the rights and dignity of people.
Guidance professionals work within their professional competencies
Professional Development, Supervision and Life Long Learning
Guidance professionals continually maintain, improve and broaden their professional knowledge, expertise and competence.
Except when there are legal obligations or when a student may be a danger to themselves or to others, guidance professionals safeguard the confidentiality of client information collected in the course of their practice, teaching or research in line with the Privacy Principles under which the information was collected.
Except in a crisis situation (e.g. when a student may be a danger to themselves or to others), guidance professionals require informed consent to
- provide services to students
- share private information with external support personnel/agencies
- collect private information from external support personnel/agencies
Guidance professionals ensure they choose, administer, interpret and report assessments appropriately and accurately.
Guidance professionals value diversity and recognise that their culture and background may impact on the counselling relationship.
Guidance professionals strive to develop harmonious and cooperative working relationships with colleagues, school staff, parents and students. They provide a high standard of service and evidence-based practice to ensure best outcomes. They recognise the need to function as a member of a team within schools, other organisations and communities.
Guidance professionals ensure they maintain appropriate professional relationships with students, their families and staff.
Guidance professionals participate in research to contribute to the development of evidence based practice to improve outcomes for students and school communities.
Career Guidance and Counselling
Guidance professionals’ career guidance and counselling practice is underpinned by knowledge and skills in the core competencies in the Professional Standards for Australian Career Development Practitioners, specifically
- Career development theory
- Labour market
- Advanced communication skills
- Ethical practice
- Information and resource management
- Professional practice
When a member becomes aware of possible unethical practices by another member, they should attempt to resolve the issue informally by bringing the behaviour of concern to the attention of the individual in a constructive manner. If informal efforts do not resolve the issue, other steps should be taken such as:
- seeking professional supervision
- utilising the channels established by the employer or employing organisation
- discussing the issue with the supervisor of the member concerned
- keeping documentation of all steps taken to resolve the issue
If the matter is unresolved, refer in writing to the QGCA President. QGCA may form an Ethical Conduct Sub-committee to review the reported ethical breach and ensure that the reporting member has attempted to resolve the alleged unethical practices.
QGCA does not endorse the lodging of trivial or vexatious ethical complaints against colleagues.
If a breach of the Code of Ethics is determined, educative processes could be implemented by the sub-committee to address the behaviour of the member concerned. Where the breach is extreme and/or cannot be resolved through educative processes, their QGCA membership may be terminated. All breaches of the Code of Ethics will be treated in a confidential manner by the Executive and the sub-committee, unless there is a legislative requirement to report to another authority.
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