ETHICAL COMPLAINT FORM
RULES OF CONDUCT
The following Rules
of Conduct, adopted by the DCB, set forth the minimum standards of
conduct which all certified professionals are expected to honor. Failure to
comply with an obligation or prohibition set forth in the rules may result
in discipline by the DCB.
accompany some of the rules. These discussions are intended to interpret,
explain, or illustrate the meaning of the rules, but the rules themselves
remain the authoritative standards of the conduct for which disciplinary
action may be imposed.
Once certified, a certified professional shall not be convicted for any
misdemeanor or felony relating to the individual’s ability to provide
substance abuse and other behavioral health services as determined by DCB.
A certificate of conviction shall be deemed conclusive evidence of an
individual's guilt of the felony or misdemeanor for which he or she has been
charged. If that felony or misdemeanor relates to the individual's ability
to provide substance abuse and other behavioral health services as
determined by DCB, the conviction shall also be proof of violation of this
Rule. Some specific examples within this section include but are not
limited to crimes involving violence, use or sale of drugs, fraud, theft,
and sexual misconduct.
A certified professional shall not be convicted of any crime that
involves the use of any controlled or psychoactive substance.
A certificate of conviction shall be deemed conclusive evidence of a
certified professional’s guilt of the crime for which he or she has been
A certified professional shall, under no circumstances, engage in sexual
activities or sexual contact with clients, whether such contact is
consensual or forced.
A certified professional shall not engage in sexual activities or sexual
contact with clients’ relatives or other individuals with whom clients
maintain a close personal relationship when there is a risk of exploitation
or potential harm to the client.
Sexual activities or sexual contact with clients’ relatives or other
individuals with whom clients maintain a personal relationship has the
potential to be harmful to the client and may make it difficult for the
certified professional and client to maintain appropriate professional
boundaries. Certified professionals, not their clients, their clients’
relatives, or other individuals with whom the client maintains a personal
relationship, assume the full burden of setting clear, appropriate, and
culturally sensitive boundaries.
A certified professional shall not engage in sexual activities or
sexual contact with former clients because of the potential harm to the
If certified professionals engage in conduct contrary to this prohibition or
claim that an exception to this prohibition is warranted because of
extraordinary circumstances, it is certified professionals, not their
clients, who assume the full burden of demonstrating that the former client
has not been exploited, coerced, or manipulated, intentionally or
A certified professional shall not provide clinical services to
individuals with whom they have had a prior sexual relationship.
Providing clinical services to a former sexual partner has the potential to
be harmful to the individual and is likely to make it difficult for the
certified professional and individual to maintain appropriate professional
A certified professional shall not:
1. present or cause
to be presented a false or fraudulent claim, or any proof in support of such
claim, to be paid under any contract or certificate of insurance;
2. prepare, make, or
subscribe to a false or fraudulent account, certificate, affidavit, proof of
loss, or other document or writing, with knowledge that the same may be
presented or used in support of a claim for payment under a policy of
3. present or cause
to be presented a false or fraudulent claim or benefit application, or any
false or fraudulent proof in support of such a claim or benefit application,
or false or fraudulent information, which would affect a future claim or
benefit application, or be paid under any employee benefit program;
4. seek to have an
employee commit fraud or assist in an act of commission or omission to aid
fraud related behavior.
The term "fraudulent claim" includes but is not limited to charging a client
or a third-party payor for a service not performed or submitting an account
or charge for services that is false or misleading. It does not include
charging for an unkept appointment when the original verbal or written
contract for services allows for such a charge.
An individual shall not use misrepresentation in the procurement of
certification or recertification, or assist another in
the preparation or procurement of certification or recertification through
misrepresentation. The term "misrepresentation" includes but is not limited
to the misrepresentation of professional qualifications, education,
certification, accreditation, affiliations, employment experience, the
plagiarism of application and recertification materials, or the
falsification of references.
An individual shall
not use a title designation, credential or license, firm name, letterhead,
publication, term, title, or document which states or implies an
ability, relationship, or qualification that does not exist and to which
they are not entitled.
A certified professional shall not provide service under a false name or a
name other than the name under which his or her certification or license is
professional shall not sign or issue, in their professional capacity, a
document or a statement that the professional knows or should have known to
contain a false or misleading statement.
A certified professional shall not produce, publish, create, or partake in
the creation of any false, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading
A certified professional who participates in the writing, editing, or
publication of professional papers, videos/films, pamphlets or books must
act to preserve the integrity of the profession by acknowledging and
documenting any materials and/or techniques or people (i.e. co-authors,
researchers, etc.) used in creating their opinions/papers, books, etc.
Additionally, any work that is photocopied prior to receipt of approval by
the author is discouraged. Whenever and wherever possible, the certified
professional should seek permission from the author/creator of such
materials. The use of copyrighted materials without first receiving author
approval is against the law and, therefore, in violation of the Code of
EXPLOITATION OF CLIENTS
A certified professional shall not develop, implement, or maintain
exploitative relationships with clients and/or family
members of clients.
Ethical problems are often raised when those persons providing services
blend their professional relationships with another kind of relationship.
Dual relationships can take many forms and are inherent in the work of all
helping professions regardless of their setting or client population. The
nature of the professional-client relationship is such that the client
remains vulnerable to the real or perceived influences of the professional.
Those who are in a position to influence a client’s behavior may impose
their own desires upon the client.
may make it difficult for the professional to maintain appropriate
professional boundaries. It is the professional’s responsibility to assume
the full burden for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive
Examples of dual or
multiple relationships that are potentially exploitive through the violation
of professional boundaries include but are not limited to: sexual
relationships, bartering arrangements, business arrangements, counseling
one’s own family members, and friendship.
Behavior that takes
advantage of a client, in any way, is contrary to this rule.
A certified professional shall not misappropriate property from clients
and/or family members of clients.
A certified professional shall not enter into a relationship with a client
which involves financial gain to the certified professional or a third party
resulting from the promotion or the sale of services unrelated to the
provision of services or of goods, property, or any psychoactive substance.
professional shall not promote to a client for their personal gain any
treatment, procedure, product, or service.
A certified professional shall not ask for nor accept gifts or favors
from clients and/or family members of clients.
When a certified professional "plays" or "preys" upon the client's
gratitude for services or covertly or overtly implies or states that the
client remains indebted and should "repay" him or her through gifts or other
favors, he or she violates this rule. The unique position of trust and
responsibility with the client not only becomes jeopardized, but the
certified professional has also engaged in unethical actions.
A certified professional shall not offer, give, or receive commissions,
rebates, or any other forms of remuneration for a client referral.
Notwithstanding this provision, a certified professional may pay an
independent advertising or marketing agent compensation for advertising or
marketing services rendered on their behalf by such agent. Included in this
would be compensation for referrals of clients identified through such
services on a per client basis.
A certified professional shall not accept fees or gratuities for
professional work from a person who is entitled to such services through an
institution and/or agency by which the certified professional is employed.
A certified professional shall not in any way participate in discrimination
on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion,
national origin, socio-economic status, political belief, psychiatric or
psychological impairment, or physical disability.
The certified professional who promotes, condones, or engages in
discriminatory conduct towards a client, a client's family, or a client's
significant other(s) during the course of the professional activities
creates an atmosphere that constitutes conduct contrary to the principles of
the profession. Similarly, discriminatory conduct towards colleagues,
employees, supervisors, and students/interns with whom the certified
professional interacts remains unacceptable.
A certified professional who fails to seek therapy for any
psychoactive substance abuse or dependence, psychiatric or psychological
impairment, emotional distress, or for any other physical health related
adversity that interferes with their professional functioning shall be in
violation of this rule. Where any such conditions exist and impede their
ability to function competently, a certified professional must request
inactive status of their DCB credential for medical reasons for as long as
A certified professional shall meet and comply with all terms, conditions,
or limitations of a certification or license.
A certified professional shall not engage in conduct that does not meet the
generally accepted standards of practice.
A certified professional must continually enrich his or her
professional knowledge and must competently comprehend and perform the
global criteria within the core functions. They shall not perform any
client services in a manner that falls below the minimum standards of
competence for the substance abuse and other behavioral health profession.
It is recognized
that honest disagreements may exist between professionals as to the best
form of service for a given client. Competency does not mean perfection;
nor is incompetence normally established by the showing of an isolated
instance in which performance has been inadequate. However, when a
professional demonstrates multiple inadequacies in performance, or when
their behavior portrays a gross neglect of a client's rights and condition,
a finding of incompetence will be warranted and disciplinary action imposed.
A certified professional shall not perform services outside of their area of
training, expertise, competence, or scope of practice.
A certified professional should not use a modality or a technique if they do
not have the education, training, or skills to perform in a competent or
A certified professional shall not reveal confidential information obtained
as the result of a professional relationship, without the prior written
consent from the recipient of services, except as authorized or required by
The certified professional shall not permit publication of photographs,
disclosure of client names or records, or the nature of services being
provided without securing all requisite releases from the client, or parents
or legal guardians of minor clients.
The certified professional can unwittingly compromise a client's
right to confidentiality by permitting photographs and articles in
publications that identify clients and/or the nature of services being
provided without securing releases.
The certified professional shall not discontinue professional services to a
client nor shall they abandon the client without facilitating an appropriate
closure of professional services for the client.
This rule generally applies to those professionals in private practice or
who have the capacity to directly bill the client or the insurer for
services rendered. In an agency setting, the contract for services exists
between the client and the agency. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility
of the agency to assure continuation of services to the client in
circumstances wherein the certified professional is not available to provide
for the continuity of care. In the case of a certified professional who has
direct contractive responsibilities, this person shall not discontinue
professional services to a client unless:
1. services have
2. the client
requests the discontinuation;
3. alternative or
replacement services are arranged, or the client is given reasonable
opportunity to arrange alternative or replacement services.
A certified professional shall not fail to obtain an appropriate
consultation or make an appropriate referral when the client's problem is
beyond their area of training, expertise, competence, or scope of service.
Certified professionals should strive to achieve and maintain the
highest level of professional competence. In order to provide the highest
standard of service for clients, they must maintain the commitment to assess
their own personal strengths, limitations, biases, and effectiveness.
When a certified
professional recognizes that a client's needs exceed their education,
training, and capabilities, they must pursue advice and counsel from
colleagues and supervisors. When a client's issues are outside the
professional's level of functioning or scope of service, they must refer the
client to another professional who will provide the appropriate service.
SAFETY & WELFARE
A certified professional shall not administer to himself or herself any
psychoactive substance to the extent or in such manner as to be dangerous or
injurious to a recipient of services, to any other person, or to the extent
that such use of any psychoactive substance impairs the ability of the
professional to safely and competently provide services.
All certified professionals are mandated child abuse reporters.
Certified professionals are encouraged to be familiar with all applicable
state child abuse reporting laws.
A certified professional shall not falsify, amend, or knowingly make
incorrect entries or fail to make timely essential entries into the client
ASSISTING UNQUALIFIED/UNLICENSED PRACTICE
A certified professional shall not refer a client to a person that he/she
knows or should have known is not qualified by training, experience,
certification, or license to perform the delegated professional
IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS
A certified professional holding a certification, license, or other
authorization to practice issued by any certification authority or any
state, province, territory, tribe, or federal government whose certification
or license has been suspended, revoked, placed on probation, or other
restriction or discipline shall promptly alert the Board of such
COOPERATION WITH THE BOARD
A certified professional shall cooperate in any investigation conducted
pursuant to this Code of Ethical Conduct and shall not interfere with an
investigation or a disciplinary proceeding or attempt to prevent a
disciplinary proceeding or other legal action from being filed, prosecuted,
or completed. Interference attempts may include but are not limited to:
1. the willful misrepresentation of facts before the disciplining
authority or its authorized representative;
2. the use of threats or harassment against, or an inducement to, any
client or witness in an effort to prevent them from providing evidence in a
disciplinary proceeding or any other legal action;
the use of threats or harassment against, or an
inducement to, any
person in an effort to prevent or
attempt to prevent a disciplinary proceeding or other legal action from
being filed, prosecuted or completed;
4. refusing to accept and/or respond
to a letter of complaint, allowing a credential to lapse while an ethics
complaint is pending, or attempting to resign a credential while an ethics
complaint is pending. Violation of this rule under these circumstances will
result in the immediate and indefinite suspension of the certified
professional’s credential until the ethical complaint is resolved.
A certified professional shall:
1. not make a false statement to the
DCB or any other disciplinary authority;
2. promptly alert colleagues informally to potentially unethical
behavior so said colleague could take corrective action;
3. report violations of professional
conduct of other certified professionals to the appropriate
licensing/disciplinary authority when he/she knows or should have known that
another certified professional has violated ethical standards and has failed
to take corrective action after informal intervention.
A certified professional shall report any uncorrected violation of the Code
of Ethical Conduct within 90 days of alleged violation. Failure to report a
violation may be grounds for discipline.
A certified professional with firsthand knowledge of the actions of a
respondent or a complainant shall cooperate with the DCB investigation or
disciplinary proceeding. Failure or an unwillingness to cooperate in the
DCB investigation or disciplinary proceeding shall be grounds for
A certified professional shall not file a complaint or provide information
to the DCB, which he/she knows or should have known, is false or misleading.
submitting information to DCB, a certified professional shall comply
with any requirements pertaining to the disclosure of client information
established by the federal or state government.